New twist to SNAP drama
By Raynore Mering
KUCHING: A group of Sarawak National Party (SNAP) central executive committee (CEC) members have turned their backs on their president Edwin Dundang in what could be a last ditch effort to save their party. Its deputy president Ting Ling Kiew and senior vice-president Kebing Wan met Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in Putrajaya at 11.30am yesterday after making an appointment just a day before. Ling told The Borneo Post last night that during the 20-minute meeting, he conveyed the wishes and hopes of the CEC members to the incoming prime minister and assured him of their support for the Barisan Nasional (BN) in the Batang Ai by-election. He claimed that a majority of the 16 CEC members were together with him, minus Dundang, secretary-general Stanley Jugol and treasurer general Larry Linang. When asked what Najib said to him, Ting replied: “Datuk Seri said that for him the SNAP situation is only a technical thing because of the Registrar of Societies (ROS).
“But for the BN record at the federal level, they never sacked SNAP and SNAP also never resigned from Barisan. So because of the court case, we are just hanging like this.” The party was deregistered by ROS in 2001 following a leadership crisis and since then, it has been battling the deregistration order in court, leaving the party in limbo.
The deregisration led to the formation of the Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP). Ting explained that he had sought a meeting with Najib after the majority of CEC members met at an emergency meeting on Monday and decided that they would fully support the BN government and the coalition’s candidate in the by-election.
He said SNAP endorsed and fully supported Najib’s leadership as the new prime minister. Having said that, he revealed that all CEC members were invited to the emergency meeting but Dundang was occupied in Batang Ai, campaigning for Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR). He conceded that Dundang was therefore, unaware of his meeting Najib but he was not concerned, adding “we have the majority with us”.
He claimed that Dundang has already committed himself to PKR.“We are doing this because we love our party and we want to save our party and we don’t want to leave the BN,” Ting, who has been a SNAP member since 1969, affirmed. In this respect, Ting urged all SNAP members in Batang Ai to vote for the BN candidate, Malcolm Mussen Lamoh on April 7, saying SNAP Batang Ai division chairman Augustine Sating was leading party members in the constituency to support the coalition.
We appeal to all SNAP members and other peace-loving Malaysians in the state to reject non-Sarawak political parties contesting in Sarawak during this by-election. “SNAP members should not trust leaders who jump like frogs which make irritating sound during the rainy season. SNAP members should reject political opportunists. Do not split the rural natives any further,” he said.
Mussen will lock horns with PKR’s Jawah Gerang, the former five-term MP of Lubok Antu. The Batang Ai by-election was called following the demise of Datuk Dublin Unting on Feb 24.