KUCHING: Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president James Masing has decided to seek a judicial review on the Sabah People’s Front (SPF) name change to Sarawak Workers Party (SWP).
SWP, which declared itself as Barisan Nasional-friendly, has been a major thorn in PRS’ side in recent months.
Yesterday, Masing said he will file a court notice “as soon as all the legal documents are ready”.
“We will apply for a judicial review as it is the only way to settle doubts over SWP’s legitimacy, which has come under question following a police report by several office-bearers of SPF.
“In the wake of such allegations, we feel this is the best way to clear the air once and for all.
“It is the most appropriate thing to do because we cannot condone any unlawful formation of any organisation,” he said, referring to the police report and complaints lodged with the Registrar of Society (ROS).
The SPF office-bearers claimed that all the documents pertaining to the change of party’s name from SPF to SWP, including the minutes of the extraordinary general meeting purportedly called by the party for this purpose, were forged.
The office-bearers had raised the matter with the ROS, demanding that it investigate SWP’s legality.
But ROS had “brushed aside” the complaint, saying that SWP was legit and that all documents submitted to the ROS were in order when the party applied for a change of name, address, logo and constitution.
‘Ready to face anyone’
ROS had also said that it was “irritating” to note that a “certain group” is still questioning SWP’s legitimacy after several months.
It is understood that the “certain group” mentioned is PRS.
PRS’ concern about the mounting threat to its seats is understandable.
Following last April’s state election, political analysts pointed to a marked swing in votes in favour of the opposition among the Chinese and Dayaks communities.
PRS is a Dayak-majority party. It lost one state seat – Pelagus – last year to independent George Lagong. The seat was previously held by Larry Sng, currently SWP president.
Larry won the seat while a member of PRS. The party sacked him and his supporters in 2009 for insubordination.
In the last state election, he tried every avenue possible to defend his seat “under” a BN banner, including applying to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to be a BN-direct candidate.
But Masing thwarted his every attempt. He relented but not before aiding his uncle, Lagong’s bid for the Pelagus seat. Lagong eventually beat Masing’s man by a 2,837-vote majority.
Larry recently announced that his party, funded by his father businessman Sng Chee Hua, who is a ally of Chief Minister Taib Mahmud, will contest in all six parliamentary constituencies allocated to PRS.
The six seats are Julau, Selangau, Kanowit, Hulu Rejang, Lubok Antu and Sri Aman.
Said Masing of SWP’s notice to contest: “We are not worried about facing the party in the coming general election.
“We are ever ready to face anyone for as long as the party is truly a legal entity. We don’t want to fight against a party whose status is still doubtful.”
Time to quash SWP
Besides SWP’s war against PRS, there is also the opposition Pakatan Rakyat to contend with and a seemingly “loose” canon in the name of Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) vice- president Wong Judat.
Judat is hellbent on taking revenge on Julau MP Joseph Salang, who is a PRS vice-president, for alleged abuse of funds. Salang had allegedly diverted funds meant for Judat’s Meluan constituency to his own area.
Judat has lent his support to SWP and has been heard maligning Salang in all SWP-initiated events.
Strangely, SPDP president William Mawan has done nothing to check him.
SPDP itself is facing its own share of issues with five of its elected representatives including one MP, sacked and declaring a new BN club.
SWP may just be a mosquito party, but sources say that if not quashed quickly, its bite could be painful to PRS candidates in certain areas.
Although believed to be less threatening than Pakatan, an observer here summed it up when he said: “In this war, PRS cannot afford any risks, even calculated ones.”