Sunday 25 March 2012

Masing’s ‘key’ man to quit party

The much rumoured exit of a Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) leader is expected to trigger an exodus to the opposition.

KUCHING:  Rumours are rife that a ‘lead’ official of Parti Rakyat Sarawak’s (PRS) highest policy making-body is expected to resign and join the opposition PKR later this month.

Patrick Sibat Sujang, who is a founding member of PRS,  is expected to hand his application to de facto PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim during the latter’s visit to Kuching on April 1.

Sujang’s resignation is expected to trigger an exodus from the party.

Sujang, who is also an advisor to PRS president and Land Development Minister James Masing on the native customary rights (NCR) land matters, is offering himself as a potential candidate for the Baram parliamentary constituency.

The incumbent for the constituency is Jacob Dungau Sagan, senior vice-president of Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP). Sagan is also the Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry.

Sujang is banking his hope on the more than 10,000 Iban votes and about 50% of the balance  11,000 Kayan, Kenyah and Penan votes. All these communities are very much against Barisan Nasional for the construction of the proposed Baram dam.

Moreover, the revelation that Sagan’s family has allegedly been given government contracts and belian licences as rewards for supporting the Baram dam had incurred the wrath of Orang Ulu voters.

Meanwhile, it is reliably learnt that PRS is gathering more information or evidence on Sujang’s ‘prejudicial activities’ against the party.

According to a PRS member, Sujang activities will be discussed at supreme council meeting on April 14, 2012.

“The meeting was supposed to be held on April 7, but has to be postponed to enable the party to collect more evidence against Patrick (Sujang),” said a PRS supreme council member, who did not wish to be named.

“It is expected that a show-cause letter as to why action should not be taken against him is to be delivered after the meeting,” he said.

Sujang, who is an EIA consultant, is known to be very vocal during the meetings of the party’s supreme council especially on the issue of native customary rights land, and for that he has created a number of enemies within the party.

Anti-BN sentiment

Nevertheless, many of his ideas such as increasing the number of acreage of land from three acres to 14 acres to each family of those who have been displaced by Bakun, Baram, Murum and other dams have been adopted by the state land ministry.

Of late, he is openly critical of the party leadership especially on Masing’s golden rule of life – jangan lawan towkay.

Sujang agreed with Masing’s rule in the ‘employer with the employees’ context as the employer who owns the business pays his employees’ salaries or wages.

“But I don’t agree with him that the elected representatives are the towkays and that the voters are the servants.

“’Jangan lawan towkay’ cannot be applied here as voters are the ones who elected representatives and put them where they are today.

“It merely shows their arrogance,” Sujang said.

He believed that Masing’s message (jangan lawan towkay)  is not entirely meant for Frusis Lebi, a handicapped person, whose agricultural subsidies and welfare allowance were withdrawn upon instruction from Masing’s colleague and Assistant Minister of Agriculture (Research and Marketing) Mong Dagang.

Said Sujang: “Masing’s message has a bigger audience. He means that all leaders of component parties of the state BN ‘jangan lawan towkay’, and in this context it is Abdul Taib Mahmud who is the Chief Minister and the towkay.

“As exposed by Sarawak Report some of BN leaders have some businesses, government contracts or licences dished out by the towkay,” he said.

“Anyone who dares to challenge Taib or question his leadership will certain to face the consequences of his wrath, and their businesses may be affected.

“That explains why some of our Dayak YBs remain quiet on issues that affect the Dayak community because of this fear,” he added.

On the show-cause letter, Sujang said that the show-cause letter might be too late, as he could have resigned from the party by then.

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