By Mohamad Abdullah
MIRI: Sarawak National Party (SNAP) president Edwin Dundang Bugak yesterday hit back, slamming and decrying the recent action of deputy president Ting Ling Kiew and his group as an act of betrayal to the party.
ANOTHER CRISIS: Dundang showing the report in The Borneo Post of Ting’s purported backstabbing of him.
He said based on SNAP’s constitution only its secretary general — in this case, Stanley Jugol — and president have the power to call for the CEC meeting; not the deputy president.
“It’s the biggest joke for SNAP on April 1 (which is April Fool’s Day) and the joker is Ting Ling Kiew himself,” Dundang told The Borneo Post in an interview at his residence in Pujut 4 yesterday.
“I am sorry to say that Ting has misled the incoming prime minister,” Dundang said in response to The Borneo Post headline story, ‘New twist to SNAP drama’ yesterday.
He said it was pointless to bring SNAP as a party to the Minister of Home Affairs when the party’s appeal against deregistration is still with the court.
Dundang was referring to the deregistration of SNAP by the Registrar of Societies on Nov 5, 2002.
The latest development makes it seem that the party, which used to be a major force in the state’s political scene, is unable to rid itself of the protracted crisis.
SNAP has certainly failed to regain its past glory since giving birth to the now defunct Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) in the 80s and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) at the turn of the millennium, both following irreparable leadership crises.
But yesterday, hardly cowed by what had happened in Putrajaya, Dundang said Ting and his group could leave SNAP and join Barisan Nasional (BN) individually any time they wished to.
“It’s a pity that the incoming prime minister is being fed lies on April Fool’s Day,” Dundang said, adding that Ting never called for a CEC meeting let alone got the 16 people for a sit-down as reported in the press yesterday.
According to Dundang, if there was such a meeting it was one that was attended by three people — Ting, senior vice-president Kebing Wan and one other person.
Dundang said he had in fact contacted most of the CEC members and all denied that they had attended any emergency meeting chaired by Ting.
“The way I see it, it is a fabrication by Ting for his own political agenda,” Dundang said, adding SNAP was still intact and that he (Dundang) still enjoyed the support of thirteen other CEC members.
Dundang went on to say that even though he was stunned by yesterday’s report he was not surprised by the leading player, Ting.
He said Ting was capable of such a move as he had always been the troublemaker in the party.
“For the record, he was sacked no less than twice from the party during the time of Datuk Amar James Wong Kim Min as president.
“SNAP only took him back at the 2003 AGM, believing that he had turned over a new leaf,” he said.
Tuesday’s development, he said, proved that the party was wrong about Ting as it was another act of backstabbing by the party’s No. 2 of his superior.
Dundang said by virtue of the democratic principle as practised by SNAP, Ting and his followers could leave the party any time.
Justifying SNAP’s position to work with the opposition, he said the party had been refused by BN since 2002 while PR had accorded it equal respect and recognition.
Dundang also called on SNAP members not to be confused and misled by the “recalcitrant group of three”.
On Tuesday, Ting and Kebing met Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak, saying their action was driven by their love for the party and they would support BN’s candidate Malcom Mussen Lamoh in the Batang Ai by-election.
Ting also urged party members not to trust leaders who jumped like frogs and reject political opportunists.
He claimed that in their 20-minute meeting with Najib in Putrajaya, the deputy prime minister said the situation affecting SNAP was only a technical matter while the national BN had never expelled SNAP.
He also claimed that Najib had said the BN had not received any letter from SNAP of its wish to leave the government coalition.
Meanwhile, bloggers in Sarawak went into overdrive in their speculation of the latest twist in SNAP’s saga, with some even predicting that Najib, during his coming visit to Batang Ai soon, would announce acceptance of the party into BN’s fold.
Observers here said if that happened Dundang would be an embattled president.