SWP President Larry Sng To Take On Joseph Salang For Julau Parliamentary Seat?
JULAU, May 30 (Bernama) -- Is the dutiful son set to reclaim the "territory" his father was forced to give up 13 years ago in 1999?
Talks here have it that Larry Sng Wei Shien, 33, the freshly-minted president of the Sarawak Workers Party (SWP) will contest the Julau parliamentary seat this coming 13th general election.
A source told Bernama that his father Datuk Sng Chee Hua, accompanied by a few of his trusted aides had met with a local politician in Sarikei town over the weekend.
Over lunch, the politician who is waging a personal war against Datuk Joseph Salang, the three-term incumbent from Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) had suggested to Sng senior for SWP to nominate a quality candidate for Julau.
He said Larry, a former Pelagus assemblyman and former assistant minister in the Chief Minister's Office/assistant minister of industrial development was the most suitable person to carry the SWP flag.
Larry, currently the special advisor to the state government on youth matters, was absent at the meeting but his father agreed for him to contest for want of a calibre candidate, according to the source.
SWP, the state's latest opposition party is on a crusade to claim all of PRS' six seats of Sri Aman, Lubok Antu, Selangau, Kanowit, Julau and Ulu Rajang and eventually to replace the Dayak-based party in the state Barisan Nasional (BN).
The senior Sng was once Julau member of parliament for one term from 1995 from the now defunct Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS). He is also a founder member of PRS but a quarrel over its leadership with its president Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing had him booted out in 2006. Masing too later sacked the junior Sng over a similar fallout in 2007.
In the 1999 general election while Sng senior was in the interior campaigning for a second term, word came from the BN headquarters in Kuala Lumpur that his service was no longer needed.
Salang was pushed into the scene and won, then in 2004 as a direct BN candidate and in the 2008 election on a PRS ticket.
He is currently one of its vice-presidents and also the deputy minister of information, communications and culture.
When contacted, the amicable Salang, 62, said he too had heard of the latest development while in his constituency over the weekend.
"I have been told the same politician is inviting SWP leaders to his longhouse in Nanga Engkamop, here, on June 2 for a big Gawai Dayak do. Pure goodwill aside, the gathering is obvious....to announce to Julau folk of the Sngs' return.
"Whatever it is, I am not going to lose sleep over it. If the Julau voters think it is time for change; for a better leader to take over, so be it. Afterall, in a democracy like ours everyone has the right to contest in an election," he said.
Meanwhile, according to the source, longhouse chiefs from over 100 longhouses in the area are being invited for the celebration in Nanga Engkamop. (The following day Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will visit two longhouses, Rh.Mathew Jana anak Saweng in Batu Matop and Rh.George Chungot in Nanga Nansang, Pakan for his first ever gawai "ngabang" (visit) to Iban longhouses here.)
Salang said if indeed Larry were to contest in Julau, the politician who had suggested him would have some real explanation to do.
"He has been going around telling that I am an outsider and should be shown the door for the time has come for a local-born to take over," he claimed.
"So my question to him is he a Meluan- or Pakan-born and bred? At least my grandparents were locals."
If there is one thing that worries Salang is the thought that people might resort to vote buying to win, and it would be a very sad day for the people of Julau.
When asked by reporters at the party's inaugural annual general meeting, here, yesterday, if he would be a candidate in either Selangau or Julau, Larry neither confirmed nor denied, saying SWP was still assessing on the ground, its candidate's winning chances.
But he said SWP would definitely contest in all the six PRS seats.
The Julau parliamentary seat has over 500 longhouses and 20,761 registered voters who are mainly Iban.
Its state seats are Meluan and Pakan. The Meluan seat is represented by Wong anak Judat and Pakan, by state Minister of Social Development Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom, both from SPDP). The latter is also its president.