Thursday, January 13, 2011

SNAP to be rebranded

Friday, January 7

From the blog - The Broken Shield

Picture shows the group before the meeting

KUCHING: Discussions have now been carried out between leaders of Sarawak National Party (SNAP) and leaders of the defunct Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) on the move to rebrand SNAP which has been left in political doldrums for the last eight years after a leadership crisis.

The rebranding of the party will not only make it into a formidable force, but it will become a truly multi-racial party of the future.

Among those involved in the discussions include former PBDS President Daniel Tajem, former PBDS treasurer general Anthony Liman, Douglas Alau, former PBDS executive secretary and several hardcore members of the defunct party, who have not joined any political party since the deregistration of PBDS in 2004.

Committee members of the stillborn Malaysian Dayak Congress (MDC) have also joined the discussions.

Asked to confirm the move, the SNAP Secretary general Stanley Jugol admitted that several discussions have already been held in Kuching and in Miri and a number of these leaders have been appointed to hold key posts in the party.

“SNAP is open to all who share its aspirations and struggle. It is going to remain as an inclusive party working under Pakatan Rakyat (People’s Alliance).

“By rebranding the party, it is hoped that SNAP will once again return to its past glory,” he said, pointing out that the formation of Sarawak Pakatan Rakyat in May last year gave an opportunity for SNAP to play a bigger role both nationally and locally.

“We want to play a bigger role in Pakatan, but the party must first reorganise or rebrand itself in an effort to strengthen the party,” Jugol said, adding that the party needs the expertise and the guidance of the veteran Dayak politicians.

“But we also need young and professional people to come forward to be members of the party, because they are going to be the future leaders of the party,” he said.

Jugol said that the party has agreed to organise asymposium in Sibu on 15 January to explain the move to the people.

He also said that another symposium will be held in Kuching towards the end of the month on the same objective.

Later in February, the “new” SNAP will be launched, he said.

Jugol said that the party also agreed to form a “Council of Elders” whose main task is to guide and advice the party on matters of importance such as the issues of native customary rights land, traditions, customs and Adat.

Following a bitter leadership crisis in 2002, SNAP was not only reduced into a “mosquito” party, but was also deregistered by the Registrar of Societies. However, it was given a stay of execution pending its appeal to High Court. It was only on 26 June last year that the Court decided on SNAP’s favour.

The crisis began when the party found its former Treasurer General Tiong King Sing, the MP for Bintulu guilty as charged for tarnishing the name of the party over the failed TV3 building project in Bintulu.

His expulsion on 11 April 2002 led to nine central executive committee members walking out from the meeting as they did not agree with the decision of the party.

It also triggered the mass resignations of nine of its elected representatives and members who on 5 November 2002 formed Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP). The “gang of nine” as they were popularly known was led by William Mawan Ikom, who later became president of the newly formed party.

The third party to be formed after Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) and Party Negara Sarawak (PANAS), SNAP’s formation on 10 April 1961 opened the way for the Dayaks to participate in politics during Sarawak’s preparation for independence.

When Sarawak became independence through the formation of Malaysia in September 1963, Ningkan who was the founding secretary general was made Sarawak’s first chief minister.

In the height of its electoral successes, SNAP had nine MPs and 18 state legislators. In 1976 SNAP joined the Barisan Nasional until it was unceremoniously kicked out in 2002.

Today it joins a new coalition, Pakatan Rakyat together with DAP, PKR and PAS.

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