William ‘katak’ Mawan will not have it easy in Pakan

ELECTION TALK: We are only too familiar with political ‘frogs’ or kataks in this country. There are many around and they come in all shapes and sizes.

Politicians jump from one party to another for many reasons but there is one we only know too well – to ensure their political survival.

It’s election time in Sarawak and one politician stands out like a sore thumb in party hopping – William Mawan.

At last count, Mawan has been in four political parties and it could be five should he succeed in defending his Pakan seat on May 7.

No wonder, friends and foes have started to give him the moniker - William ‘katak’ Mawan.

Unfortunately for Mawan, it will not be plain sailing for him as he offers himself to be the sixth term Pakan assemblyman. He has represented Pakan as SNAP-BN candidate since 1991 and from 2002 as the SPDP-BN candidate.

But in this election, he is the BN direct candidate.

Confusion, anger and distrust of him among Pakan voters could be some of the problems that he has to overcome in order to win again in this Iban-majority constituency.

Friends and foes of Mawan have described his resignation as president and member of Parti Tenaga Rakyat Sarawak (Teras) in order to contest as the BN direct candidate in Pakan as a “move to save himself”.

Many of his friends found his action unacceptable while others equated him with South Korean Captain Lee Joon Seok who abandoned his sinking ship leaving behind the passengers to be drowned.

When the South Korean ship sank in turbulent waters in April 2014, Captain Lee and his crew were the first to abandon ship, leaving behind their passengers. They were saved by the Coast Guard, but more than 300 passengers, mostly school children, were dragged down to the bottom of the sea.

Lee was found guilty for abandoning his ship and sentenced to 36 years to prison.

For Mawan, he has a tainted record of abandoning one party after another. In the early 80s, he was a DAP member. When he was rejected by the Pakan voters, he left the party and joined SNAP.

After a number of failed attempts, he finally won the Pakan seat in 1991.

Due to a leadership crisis in SNAP in 2002, he resigned and together with eight other SNAP supreme council members, formed SPDP.

Then in May 2014, Mawan who was the founding SPDP president abandoned SPDP and joined Teras.

Now, it seems that he is abandoning Teras in order to contest as a BN direct candidate to defend his Pakan seat.

State BN chairman and Chief Minister Adenan Satem has insisted that Mawan must resign from Teras. If he wins, he can choose any of the existing BN parties including PBB.

As an obedient (can also read as “subservient”) servant, Mawan has accepted the CM’s directive, adding that “I am willing to jump from the fifth floor, if Adenan wants me to do so”.

Mawan is aware that Pakan voters are not happy with him. But he appears not to be bothered whether Teras supporters in Pakan still support him or not as long as he is the candidate.

One thing is certain - his rivals will make an issue of Mawan’s “leap-frogging” activities.

One of his rivals is Rinda Alexander of Sarawak DAP. Another could be Dr Jawi Jingot, who has resigned from SPDP after the party failed to nominate him.

Fed up with Mawan, several local SPDP leaders and even Teras members are said to be throwing their support to Jawi. It is also speculated that another senior BN politician is behind him.

However, whatever you say about Mawan, he is a “shrewd” politician. Otherwise, how could he survive and defend the Pakan seat since 1991. He is still popular in Pakan even though his majorities have been on the downward trend over the last three state elections.

In 2001, his majority was 2,302 votes, and went down to 1,763 in 2006.

In 2011, his majority went further down to 1,197 votes against a poorly organized SNAP candidate Jamal Abdullah @ Tedong Anak Gunda.

With all the factors said to be working against him, how will he perform this time around?

Certainly, William ‘katak’ Mawan will not have it easy in Pakan.-The Ant Daily

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