September 17, 2007 13:44 PM
KUCHING, Sept 17 (Bernama) -- The Sarawak National Party (SNAP) will continue championing the special privileges and rights of the people, especially the Dayaks, as enshrined in the Federal Constitution despite faring badly in the last state election.
SNAP president Edwin Dundang today said the feeling that such rights, particularly related to native customary rights (NCR) land, must be safeguarded was prevalent among the rural Dayaks, the largest ethnic group in Sarawak.
The party supported the Barisan Nasional government but felt the state government had failed to meet the expectations of the rural communities, said Dundang, who was re-elected to helm the party for a three-year term at its triennial general assembly (TGA) here on Sunday.
In last year's May 21 state election, SNAP won one seat in Engkilili when Malaysian Dayak Congress (MDC) deputy protem chief Dr Jonical Rayong contested under the opposition SNAP ticket after the MDC was not registered in time for the polls.
Dr Jonical defeated BN candidate Jonathan Krai Pilo from the Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP).
Dundang said the party would also welcome the entry of Umno into Sarawak if it would change and improve the lot of the Dayak community, who felt they had been marginalised by the current state government.
On the party's appeal against the Kuala Lumpur High Court's decision in September last year, to uphold the Registrar of Societies (ROS)'s decision to deregister SNAP on Nov 5, 2002, he said no date had been fixed for the hearing.
SNAP, one of the state's oldest political parties, was deregistered following a leadership crisis but was given a reprieve after the Court of Appeal granted a stay of execution, pending hearing of the appeal, the second time.
"We continue to operate as usual," said Dundang.At the TGA attended by about 100 delegates from 44 branches, former Bintulu Member of Parliament Ting Ling Kiew was elected the new deputy president, succeeding Datuk Justine Jinggut, the former MP for Hulu Rajang, while Kebing Wan, a former political secretary to the Chief Minister, was elected senior vice-president, replacing former senator Datuk Michael Bong, who has retired from politics.
The seven elected vice-presidents are Johnny Wong Sie Lee, Frankie Nyombui, Datuk Seri Dennis Chang Foh Onn, Dr Razali Bolhi, Dr John Bampa, Dr John Brian Anthony Guang and Augustine Sating Jemut. The appointed vice- presidents are Entalai Anak Munan and Roland Teo.
Ibi Uding and Dayrell Walter Entrie became vice-presidents by virtue of their positions as the Wanita chief and Youth chief respectively.
Businessman Edmund Stanley Jugol was re-elected Secretary-general and Engkamat Jelani the new Treasure-general. BERNAMA