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KUCHING, Nov 20: Nineteen of 30 Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sarawak divisional heads have pledged their support for Baru Bian to continue as chairman of the State Leadership Council (MPN) Sarawak.
In a statement issued today, the group stated they were fully aware of certain characters in Sarawak who were manoeuvring and soliciting the support of several divisional heads in the state to surreptitiously undermine Baru’s leadership by replacing him.
“We know that Statutory Declarations calling for the removal of Baru Bian have been circulated amongst the divisional heads and that a huge amount of money is being offered to ‘sweeten the deal’.
“And we are aware too that this move to remove Baru Bian as chairman of MPN Sarawak was planned to be executed during this Keadilan Sarawak Convention.
“This goes against the democratic principles the party stands for and we reject such insidious moves,” the statement emphasised.
The group strongly urged the top leaders to close ranks for the sake of the party and to respect PKR Sarawak’s autonomy in making decisions involving the state.
The 19 PKR Sarawak divisional heads who have signed the statement supporting Baru were Mas Gading MP Boniface Willie Tumek, Willie Mongin (Puncak Borneo MP), Ali Biju (Saratok MP), See Chee How (Stampin assemblyman), Cyril Langin (Serian), Simon Siah (Bandar Kuching), Baharuddin Mokhsen (Petrajaya), Abg Zulkifli Abg Engkeh (Batang Lupar), Yen Jebeni (Lubok Antu), Vernon Kedit (Betong), George Chen (Kanowit), Abdul Raafidin Majidi (Sibu), Hung Soon Kieng (Lanang), Kelvin Kilo (Bintulu), Abun Sui Anyit (Hulu Rajang), Jemree Sabli (Kota Samarahan), Rolan Engan (Baram) and Baru himself.
The 11 divisional heads who did not sign were Larry Sng (Julau), Sng Chee Hua (Sarikei), Sng Chee Eng (Kapit), Dr Michael Teo (Miri), Dr Lau Liak Koi (Limbang), Joshua Jabeng (Selangau), Morshidi Mahtali (Igan), Ahmad Nazib Johari (Santubong), Piee Ling (Batang Sadong), Abdul Jalil Bujang (Mukah) and Mohdar Ismail (Sibuti).
Meanwhile, a local Chinese daily reported on Nov 12 that a petition has been launched in the party to demand that Baru be replaced as the state chief.
The sources claimed that Baru was seen as being incapable of leading the party in the next state election as he was occupied by too many responsibilities.
Besides being a federal minister, Baru is also Ba’Kelalan assemblyman and Selangau MP.
All PKR branches in northern Sarawak, except for Lawas which is headed by Baru, have reportedly signed the petition. The branches involved are said to be Limbang, Sibuti, Miri, Baram and Hulu Rajang.
Just yesterday (Nov 19), the DayakDaily reported that Selangau branch head Joshua Jabeng claimed that 18 out of 31 PKR Sarawak branches have expressed their views to remove Baru as MPN chief.
Referring to Baru calling off the state convention, he said the majority wanted change and thus, there was no need for Baru to block and embarrass party president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who will be attending to meet the people.
He added that Sarawak MPN needed a leader who can lead and dedicate more time to engage with all the branch chairmen especially with the 12th State Election just round the corner. — DayakDaily