By Joseph Tawie
KUCHING: Newly registered Sarawak Workers’ Party (SWP), it appears, has successfully driven a deep wedge between Chief Minister Taib Mahmud and his Dayak-based allies in the state Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.
Throwing caution to the wind, Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) has warned both state and federal BN leaders that any endorsement of SWP’s decision to field candidates in BN-held seats will be akin to signing BN’s death warrant.
PRS secretary-general Wilfred Nissom said any assistance by BN to SWP would hurt not only the state but also federal level BN.
“First we were told that SWP intended to be BN-friendly. Now it is being confirmed that SWP is set to fight BN in the six parliamentary seats held by PRS.
“Should SWP be given the assistance to succeed in this, not only PRS but also the federal BN would be hurt,” Nissom said when asked to comment on the election of Larry Sng, 33, as the president of the new party.
There’s bad blood between the Sng family and PRS leadership.
Larry who won the Pelagus state seat under PRS ticket was sacked for insubordination in 2006. His father Sng Chee Hua was also sacked.
But despite being partyless, Larry was retained by Taib in the state cabinet as Assistant Minister in charge of Youth Affairs.
Numerous attempts by PRS president James Masing to dislodge Larry, who is seen as Taib’s blue-eyed boy, proved futile. In the 2011 state polls, Larry’s every attempt at defending his seat including seeking to be a BN-direct member was thwarted by Masing despite Taib’s public support for him.
Post 2011 state polls, Taib again retained a now partyless and seatless Larry in the Chief Minister’s Office as Youth Affairs adviser.
With Taib’s blessings
With Taib’s apparent blessings, Larry became the president of SWP yesterday and immediately announced that the party would contest against PRS in six seats namely Lubok Antu, Sri Aman, Hulu Rajang, Kanowit, Julau and Selangau.
The PRS six seats are considered among ‘BN’s fixed deposit’ in the 31 parliamentary seats in Sarawak.
Although Masing has dismissed SWP as a threat, a rattled Nissom however said the latest development showed the ‘true colours’ of Larry and his father Sng, who is reportedly vengeful.
Sng allegedly has more than business ties with Taib. It is rumoured that Taib himself had encouraged the Sngs to find a party and start afresh.
In fact Taib had reportedly said that SWP had created a “fresh setting” for politics in Sarawak and that its existence would give electorate another option to consider in the coming election.
So far Taib has not made any denial.
Judat wants revenge
Meanwhile speculations abound over SWP’s fight in Julau, whose incumbent is PRS vice president Joseph Salang. Salang is also a federal level deputy minister.
Julau parliamentary constituency includes Merluan state seat now held by Sarawak Progressive Democractic Party (SPDP) Wong Judat.
Judat has an axe to grind with Salang over a contentious road project and has since thrown his support behind “any candidate” SWP fields in Julau.
It is speculated that Larry will contest in Julau, while his father Sng is likely to stand in the Selangau seat currently held by PRS deputy president Joseph Entulu.
Salang meanwhile has welcomed Larry’s presence saying: “I hope he is less a stranger to Julau as I have been to a certain individual.”
Salang was alluding to Judat who had accused him of being an outsider and not from Julau. Larry will be a newcomer in Julau, which was once his father’s former constituency.
Meanwhile Larry’s uncle, George Lagong who is the current Pelagus assemblyman has declared his intention to contest in Hulu Rajang.
Lagong, who is SWP deputy president, is likely to face off with Hulu Rajang incumbent Billy Abit Joo or Masing’s private secretary Wilson Ugak Kumbong.
In Kanowit SWP is tipped to field part-time lecturer Ellison Ludan while in Lubok Antu former senior police officer Johnathan Jalin is set to contest against PRS’s William Nyalau.
SWP is yet to identify its candidates for Sri Aman held by Masir Kujat. – FMT