Local power brokers have big hand in Mambong SUPP candidate

FOCUS: Ever since Sarawak BN chairman and Chief Minister Adenan Satem decided against confirming the candidacy of Bengoh assemblyman Dr Jerip Susil in early October, the dust has been flying in the constituency as several potential candidates from Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) go to the ground to reach out and socialise.

Among them are a SUPP branch chief Ahkim Sarok, Jennifer Chee, the widow of former Bengoh assemblyman William Tanyuh, and senior civil servant Dr Benedict Poris.

Bengoh, or Mambong – if the latest delineation is in time for the coming state election – looks ready to embrace SUPP once again after months of being in a quandary when Jerip abandoned SUPP for United People’s Party (UPP).

Adenan’s declaration of three Bidayuh assemblymen, Michael Manyin (Tebedu), Roland Sagah (Tarat) and Martin Ben (Kedup) – but minus three others namely, Jerip, Peter Nansian (Tasik Biru) and Ranum Mina (Opar) – will defend their seats in the coming state election, has a way with the Bengoh constituents.

Folk who were confused are confused no more. SUPP is BN; UPP is not, and that is the only reason why Jerip was not one of the three Bidayuh assemblymen named by Adenan.

Bengoh folk, especially SUPP members who only until recently were confused by UPP, welcomed the SUPP potential candidates into their villages, saying they felt a great sense of relief by Adenan’s announcement, which can only mean Mambong will be allocated to SUPP.

SUPP members and supporters, however, are careful about not committing themselves to any of the SUPP wannabes. The reason being, they know that while SUPP has a traditional right over the seat, the real power brokers are SUPP’s BN colleagues, PRS, SPDP and PBB. Especially PBB.

In other words, whoever gets to be given the BN ticket in Mambong will be someone in the favour of the local PBB top guns and several prominent figures in the area.

It is not enough to appeal to just the SUPP grassroots leaders. It is far from enough to get the okay of the local SUPP officials and unit leaders.

For some months already, since Jerip’s departure for UPP, SUPP’s party machinery had been broken in many parts. Much of Mambong SUPP’s running power today is tapped from the BN machinery.

And the real power behind the BN machinery today is Mambong MP James Dawos. Along with him are his PBB lieutenants who include the party’s aggressive and proactive youth leaders.

Outside PBB are several influential figures like former Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA) president Detta Samen and State Public Service Commission (PSC) board member Peter Nyomek.

SUPP alone will not be able to decide who should be its Mambong candidate in the coming state election; it must consult with the power brokers – Dawos and his PBB lieutenants, and such names as Detta and Nyomek.

Mambong is not all about SUPP. It is about BN consensus.

SUPP’s Mambong candidate will be the product of a BN consensus, Ahkim, Jennifer and Poris can begin to see themselves in that light.

Adenan will name the candidate when he sees that consensus.-The Ant Daily

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