Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sarawak state rep leads 12,000 into PKR

Tony Thien | Nov 15, 08 8:08pm

About 12,000 people in Sarawak, including 6,000 supporters of Ngemah state rep Gabriel Adit, have applied to join PKR.

Their application forms were submitted to PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim at a huge dinner gathering in Sibu tonight which saw more than 4,000 people in attendance.

Also signing up with the opposition party is controversial former PRS Balleh division publicity chief, Beginda Minda.

He was forced to leave the state BN component party following his call on the chief minister and his deputy to step down.

Adit, 58, claimed that he had submitted the application forms for PKR membership from 6,000 of his supporters tonight.

The other 6,000 new applications were believed to be from former PRS members and non-party members.

In his speech, Adit, a four-term assemblyperson, told the crowd that the main reason for joining PKR was due to the “political castration” of the Dayaks under the BN state government.

He added that PKR was the best vehicle to address the plight of the Dayaks. Adit also declared that Anwar was the most suitable and acceptable leader to become prime minister.

“Enough is enough of BN. Now change is coming to Sarawak,” he said, adding that there are many BN members waiting to join PKR.

With Adit’s entry, PKR now has two seats in the Sarawak state assembly. The other is Dominique Ng representing Padungan.

Adit first won the Ngemeh seat on the now-defunct Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak ticket in 1991 but in the 2006 state elections, he stood as an independent.

His entry is seen as a major boost for PKR which is gearing up for the next state polls, due in 30 months.

Ready for state polls

The party is banking on the support from the Dayak communities who are increasingly disgruntled with the state government’s management of native customary rights land issues.

The dinner at the Sibu Trade and Exhibition Centre was organised by ‘Friends of PKR’ with Adit chairing the organising committee. The gathering is believed to be one of the largest political dinners ever held in Sibu.

Present at the gathering were Ng, national PKR leaders Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, Tian Chua and Sallehuddin Hashim, state DAP leaders Wong Ho Leng and Chiew Chin Sing.

Earlier, Anwar was given a big welcome at Sibu airport upon his arrival at this central Sarawak town.

He was said to be visibly moved by the huge crowd who turned up to welcome him.

In his speech tonight, he described Adit as a “true people’s representative” and that he would help PKR bring change to Sarawak.

He urged everyone to work together to ensure Pakatan Rakyat take over Sarawak at the next state elections, which is due in two years’ time.

Anwar also said that a number of other elected representatives in Sarawak will follow Adit’s footsteps in joining the opposition front.

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