News on the merger status of SPDP and PRS has emerged as still in negotiation stage. “As far as I know, there has been no concrete action yet. I hope nobody would get offended if I describe the process at this point as ‘only lightning and thunder, but no rain’,” said William Mawan, the president of SPDP.
Merger for greater leverage, says Mawan
PAKAN: The main intention of merging Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) and Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) is to prevent them from being pitted against each other by irresponsible quarters in future.
This was pointed out by SPDP president Dato Sri William Mawan when he replied to a question from the floor during a dialogue session at Rumah Abi Gayan, a 16-door Iban longhouse by Amut Tengah River in Pakan yesterday.
After requesting anonymity, the questioner asked Mawan about the progress of the proposed SPDP-PRS merger which he said was widely reported in the media and had caught the attention of many longhouse people.
Mawan said the committees from both parties were still engaged in negotiations.
The SPDP committee was headed by deputy president Datuk Peter Nyarok while PRS’ was headed by Datuk Dublin Unting.
They were supposed to report to their respective party presidents.
“As far as I know, there has been no concrete action yet. I hope nobody would get offended if I describe the process at this point as ‘only lightning and thunder, but no rain’,” said Mawan.
On the possibility of being pitted against each other, he said if it happened it would be aimed at destabilising the BN at both state and federal levels.
“Mathematically, SPDP and PRS are politically weak although we are part of the ruling BN government,” he said.
Singly, he said, the parties have a small number of MPs and assemblymen, which is “weak representation and leverage” and, therefore, puts them in a ‘risky position’ as the more dominant quarters can exploit them easily.
“If we merge and have a united voice, our increased strength due to greater representation and political leverage would shield us from unscrupulous elements,” he said.
Currently SPDP has four members of parliament (MPs) - Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Jacob Dunggau Sagan, Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Industry Jelaing Mersat, BN Backbenchers Club chairman Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing and Datuk Dr Tiki Lafe.
The party has eight assemblymen — Mawan himself, Assistant Minister of Cooperative Development Datuk Peter Nyarok, Assistant Minister of Public Utility (Water Supply) Sylvester Entri, Peter Nansian, Rosey Yunus, Wong Judat, Nelson Balang and Paulus Palu Gumbang.
PRS has six MPs - Deputy Minister of Water, Energy and Communications Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum; Deputy Minister of Rural and Regional Development Joseph Entulu; Datuk Billy Abit Joo; Aaron Dagang; Masir Kujat; and William Nyallau.
The party’s eight assemblymen are Land Development Minister Dato Sri Dr James Masing, Assistant Minister of Youth Datuk Dublin Unting, Assistant Minister of Industrial Development and Planning Larry Sng, Joseph Mauh, John Sikie, Liwan Lagang, Mong Dagang and Snowdan Lawan.
If a merged entity comes into being, it would have at least 14 MPs and 16 assemblymen, thus becoming the second biggest BN component party in Sarawak after Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) headed by Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.
It was reported recently that Taib suggested the new entity could then merge with PBB in future for a stronger BN.
Another BN partner is Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP).
Among those present at the dialogue yesterday were a political secretary to the chief minister Paul Igai, Acting Pakan District Officer Inting Nyami, Special Affairs Department (Jasa) coordinator for Julau Sylvester Embuas, Penghulu Dundang Jalin, host Tuai Rumah Abi Gayan and nine other longhouse chiefs from Sungai Amut-Sungai Genega area.
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Sunday, July 13, 2008