Saturday, 23rd January 2010
Four state assemblymen, one Member of Parliament and three supreme council members of the Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party walked out of the party’s supreme council meeting this afternoon when party president William Mawan named Nelson Balang Rining, the state assemblyman for Ba’Kelalan as the new secretary-general.
Elected vice-president in December's triennial delegates assembly, Balang replaces Sylvester Enteri, the state assemblyman for Marudi.
The four assemblymen who walked out were Sylvester Enteri, Peter Nansian, state assemblyman for Tasik Biru, Rosey Yunus, state assemblywoman for Bekenu and Paulus Gumbang, state assemblyman for Batu Danau.
The MP who joined the walkout was Dr Tiki Lafe of Mas Gading.
The three supreme council members were George Garai, Peter Gani and Ida Iga.
'Mawan did not keep his promise'
Garai said that they walked out in protest over the appointment of Balang as the new secretary-general and Paul Igai, political secretary to the chief minister as his deputy.
“The president promised status quo to the line-up before the party’s triennial delegates assembly, but now it appears that he has not kept his promise. He also failed to honour his promise to appoint an elected representative to be deputy secretary-general of the party,” charged Garai.
“We don’t agree with the president’s choice,” he said.
Speculation has been rife that Enteri would be replaced as the secretary-general after he was alleged to have supported Philip Ngo in challenging the incumbent deputy president Peter Nyarok in the party elections last month.
Ngo was soundly beaten in the contest.
The beginning of a split?
Although Paul Igai denied that the eight party leaders walked out in protest over Balang’s appointment as the new secretary-general, observers see the walkout as a signal of a major split in the seven-year old party.
Any split now, said a veteran politician, is sure to undermine SPDP’s chances in the coming state election. SPDP has eight seats, many of which were won on a borderline majority.
But Mawan, according to his aides, believes that Balang’s appointment is to thwart the growing influence of Baru Bian, PKR state chairman in the Ba’Kelalan constituency.
They said that the president has his own reasons in reorganizing the party, and one of them is to strengthen his own position.
Agi Idup Agi Ngelaban