BN-direct candidates – good for PBB eventually?

COMMENT: Chief Minister Adenan Satem’s intention to field direct BN candidates to solve the infighting over seat allocation between Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) and Parti Tenaga Rakyat Sarawak (Teras) and between Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) and United People’s Party (UPP) in the coming state polls may be counter-productive to the state BN.

It may even tear the BN apart if it is not handled properly.

SPDP and Teras are claiming the rights to contest in at least five seats currently held by the latter namely Tasik Biru, Pakan, Marudi, Bekenu and Batu Danau.

The five seats are among the eight traditionally allocated to SPDP, but incumbents William Mawan Ikom (Pakan), Peter Nansian (Tasik Biru), Sylvester Entri (Marudi), Rosey Yunus (Bekenu) and Paulus Gumbang (Batu Danau) opted out of SPDP and formed Teras in May 2014.

Teras is also eyeing the other three seats namely Krian, Meluan and Ba’Kelalan.

Similarly, SUPP and UPP are claiming the rights to contest in 15 Chinese majority seats and four Dayak seats.

SUPP lost 13 of the seats – Padungan, Pending, Kota Sentosa, Batu Kawah, Batu Lintang, Repok, Meradong, Dudong, Pelawan, Bukit Assek, Piasau, Kidurong and Pujut – to the DAP.

It won only two Chinese seats – Senadin and Bawang Assan and the four Dayak seats of Opar, Bengoh (now Mambong), Simanggang and Engkilili.

While the incumbents for Simanggang (Frances Harden) and Senadin (Lee Kim Shin) remain in SUPP, the rest led by Wong Soon Koh (Bawang Assan) are now in UPP.

UPP projects its candidates as the most “winnable” in the 19 seats traditionally allocated to SUPP after the latter lost 13 of the seats. But SUPP is unlikely to surrender any of the seats to “its enemies”.

This is how the problem of seat claims comes about. It is posing not only a big headache to the chairman of the state BN chairman and chief minister but is also threatening the unity of the Sarawak BN.

Now to solve the problem, Adenan is considering fielding direct BN candidates in the disputed seats.

It is not clear what will happen to the candidates proposed by SPDP, Teras, SUPP and UPP.

Are the four parties going to stand idle without giving any fight? Do you think SPDP president Tiong King Sing who is noted for his fighting spirit will simply allow direct BN candidates to contest in his allocated seats? Or for that matter SUPP president Dr Sim Kui Hian?

What are the criteria of choosing direct BN candidates?

Surely Adenan will not pick direct BN candidates from the rank and file of SPDP, Teras, SUPP and UPP. He could pick those who are ‘neutral’ and ‘outsiders’.

It will be awkward if Adenan’s direct BN candidates are recycled candidates or the incumbents. Awkward still if he is to choose candidates like Peter Nansian for Tasik Biru, Dr Jerip Susil for Mambong, Sylvester Entri for Marudi, William Mawan Ikom for Pakan and Wong Soon Koh for Bawang Assan.

If they win, will they return to Teras in the case of Nansian, Mawan and Entri and UPP in the case of Wong and Jerip? Both Teras and UPP are not BN parties.

Will Adenan also form yet another BN-Plus government? Currently some of the YBs in the BN-Plus entity had been accused of being biased, especially in the allocation of minor rural development projects. Community leaders who are not in their camp have been dismissed and replaced by relatives and supporters.

The community leaders, especially the longhouse chiefs, are dividing themselves along party lines and even some longhouses are breaking up due to one group supporting SPDP and another supporting Teras.

Or will Adenan choose those who are leaning towards PBB?

“The fielding of direct BN candidates is going to worsen the situation instead of solving it,” said a political observer.

It will be certain the four parties will also be fielding their own candidates, he said.

Last week in Pakan, Mawan told his supporters that he would defend his seat; so were the four other incumbents.

It will not therefore be surprising to see four-way fights in the 27 disputed seats.

For example, Tasik Biru may see a candidate each from SPDP and Teras, as well as candidates from BN-direct and the opposition.

Assuming the direct BN candidate wins the seat, which party will he choose?

I believe he will choose the strongest party which forms the backbone of the state government.

There are lots of “perks” and “goodies” such as government contracts and political positions awaiting him. Don’t tell me he will reject the offer to join PBB.

It has happened in the past and will happen in the future when the elected YBs will abandon their principle and seek material gains and personal interest.

Supposing no direct BN elected candidates want to join SPDP, what will happen to the party?

Maybe it will not badly affect SUPP, except for the four Dayak seats.

So this is the sword of Damocles that is waiting to fall on SPDP and SUPP.

For PBB, it does not worry much. It is certain to win the 40 seats allocated to it. To form a strong government, it needs only Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) which has been allocated 11 seats.

In the final analysis, PBB will stand to gain from the squabbles between the BN parties and Teras and UPP. -THE ANT DAILY

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