KUCHING: The “SPDP 5” and their supporters who met last week are demanding that Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) president William Mawan Ikom step down to “save the party”.
“We will be going to Kuala Lumpur next week to meet Prime Minister (Najib Tun Razak) to brief him on what is happening in the party.
“Later, we will submit a letter to Mawan asking him to step down to save the party,” said a member of the group.
The member, who refused to be identified, said that all the five and their supporters met here to discuss their moves.
The five are Dr Tiki Lafe (Mas Gading MP and SPDP vice-president), Peter Nansian (Tasik Biru assemblyman and senior vice-president), Sylvester Entri (Marudi assemblyman and vice-president), Rosey Yunus (Bekenu assemblywoman and a supreme council member) and Paulus Gumbang (Batu Danau assemblyman and a supreme council member).
“One of the moves is to demand that Mawan step down and the other to form a new party,” said the member.
The rebel group claimed that it has the support of the federal and state leaders, pointing out that Yunus had been appointed as an assistant minster instead of Meluan assemblyman Wong Judat who was recommended by Mawan.
“This indicates the state Barisan Nasional support for our group,” the member said, adding that the group has also the backing of the majority of SPDP branches in the state.
Pledge to ‘swim or sink’ together
The SPDP 5 and three other supreme council members walked out of a SPDP supreme council meeting in January last year when Mawan broke his promise to keep Entri as secretary-general by appointing Nelson Balang Rining.
The promise to retain Entri was made before the December 2009 party election, and was apparently aimed at keeping Entri and his group from challenging Mawan and his men.
Since then, the SPDP 5 have failed to attend any of the supreme council meetings or functions organised by the party.
This act of defiance prompted the party to set up a disciplinary committee last month to deal with them.
The disciplinary panel headed by Safiq Abdullah met and issued show-cause letters.
Meanwhile, Nansian said that only Entri has so far received a show-cause letter a day before the state cabinet reshuffle.
“The rest of us are still waiting,” he said, adding that the letter cannot be issued personally to Entri, as the five had acted together as a group.
“We have been recognised as a group. It is very simple… Technically, if you touch one, you touch all,” he said.
It is understood that during the meeting last week, the SPDP 5 and their followers pledged to “swim or sink” together.
It is also understood that the “rebels” have identified their own candidates for the four parliamentary seats allocated to the party.
While Lafe will be asked to defend his Mas Gading seat, the others – Jelaing Mersat, Jacob Sagan Dunggau and Tiong King Sing – will be dropped.
Mersat (Saratok), Dunggau (Baram) and Tiong (Bintulu) are the president’s men whom Mawan said would be re-nominated to defend their seats.