By Joseph Tawie
KUCHING: Trouble is brewing in the Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) with the continued absence of eight members in its supreme council meetings.
This is cause for concern for the SPDP, especially when it is preparing itself for the coming state election.“It is a big headache for SPDP president William Mawan as he is unable to solve it,” said an observer.
The eight are Peter Nansian (Tasik Biru), Sylvester Enteri (Marudi), Rosey Yunus (Bekenu), Paulus Gumbang (Batu Danau), MP Tiki Lafe (Mas Gading), and supreme council members George Garai, Peter Gani and Ida Egar.
For the third consecutive time, they have failed to attend the supreme council meeting. But this time they gave various reasons, including some stupid ones, for not being able to attend.
Had it not been for their excuses, the eight, according to the party constitution, would have been automatically dismissed as supreme council members.
In yesterday's meeting, their deliberate absence was the subject of heated debate. It appeared that the council members were split on how to solve the issue.
The hawkish members demanded that stern action, including dismissal, be taken against them, but the more liberal ones preferred to give them another chance.
In an interview with FMT, Mawan said he personally wrote each one of them a letter, pleading with them to attend the meeting as it was discussing, among others, the party’s preparation for the coming election.
“We want them to come back to work as a team. Teamwork is important to ensure victory and to uphold the interest of the Barisan Nasional.
“Our quarrel is just like a husband-wife tiff. I am sure they will return. I am sure of that,” he said, adding that taking action against them would not solve the problem.
Mawan pledged to the state assemblymen that they would be nominated to defend their seats.
“But of course, it all depends on the decision of the BN. If anyone, including me, cannot win the seat, then we will be replaced. We are looking for winnable candidates,” he added.
'Godfather in SPDP'
When contacted, a member of the “SPDP 5” said that he received the letter asking him to return to the party. Mawan made a number of promises, including nominating him as a candidate to defend his seat in the coming election.
“But what is the point if he (Mawan) cannot keep his words. How committed is he to his words?” he asked.
“Mawan does not make any decision, if I know him well. The decision is being made by his godfather,” he added.
He did not identify who was the godfather in SPDP.
The trouble in SPDP began when the eight members walked out of a supreme council meeting in January in protest against Mawan who allegedly failed to honour his promise to maintain the status quo in the party.
The status quo was that Enteri should be retained as secretary-general if he did not offer himself as a candidate for the post of deputy president.
For this reason, Enteri declined nominations although he had very strong support from the grassroots leaders and delegates.
However, after the party election, Enteri was replaced with Nelson Balang as secretary-general and this triggered the walkout.
Meanwhile, the four state assemblymen have been actively visiting their constituencies in preparation for the coming election.
They are said to be closely working with another member of the BN coalition, Parti Rakyat Sarawak, which is headed by James Masing.
It is also understood that Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud is fully aware of their activities in their respective constituencies.