Confronting the bear

The document titled "Spending performance according to parliamentary constituency".

Commentary

Although Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing has never said it loud and clear that Selangau MP Datuk Joseph Entulu Belaun will be replaced, many tell-tale signs indicate otherwise.

Many in the party including Entulu are well aware tension has been building up between the two men and it only got worse after the 2016 state election. With the 14th General Election (GE14) drawing nearer everyday, the tension between the top leaders within the party is escalating.

It is quite obvious that Masing is all ready to oust Entulu for reasons only he knows best. This can be seen from the party’s election last year, when Datuk Joseph Salang was asked to challenge Entulu. Despite the fact that Entulu managed to keep the deputy president’s post, it did not change Masing’s mind about removing Entulu.

Perhaps if Entulu were to stay out of trouble and keep his discontentment to himself, like the loner politician Kanowit MP Aaron Ago Dagang, there would be no excuse for Masing to remove Entulu from the GE14 candidate list. Entulu would continue to be the candidate for Selangau, and of course, a full minister in the federal government if Barisan Nasional (BN) manages to defend itself in the upcoming general election which must be called by August next year.


However, rumours have it that Entulu did not “behave”. It was said that he had supported his longtime friend Ali Puji to contest against Christopher Gira in Tamin, resulting in Gira facing a tough three-cornered fight in the state constituency where he managed to poll 6,230 votes against independent candidate Ali’s 4,145 and PKR’s Simon Joseph who garnered 954 votes.

Entulu’s performance as an MP is providing added justification for his candidacy in GE14 to be most likely removed. A document titled “Spending Performance According to Parliamentary Constituency” has been leaked and it shows that Entulu’s performance as being quite disappointing.

In Malaysia, every MP is entitled to RM6 million in development funds which the MPs may use on his or her constituency. They are expected to submit proposals and the proposals have to be approved before the projects can be implemented.

For Entulu, the leaked document showed he had only 66 projects worth RM1.1 million. That is to say, he could potentially have facilitated RM6 million worth of projects in his constituency, but he did not. Compared to other MPs, he had the lowest number of projects implemented as well as project costs.

Secondly, his total expenditure from the allocation given to him was only RM209,500, resulting in a spending percentage of 19.62 per cent, again the lowest among his colleagues in Parliament.

Datuk Joseph Entulu Belaun

Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, let us take a look at Ago who is one of the high achievers. His total approved projects is 151 with a total worth of RM5.9 million. The Kanowit MP’s total expenditure is RM5.6 million and his spending percentage is 95.07.

From here, we may derive a glimpse of why Ago, who is a lone wolf within PRS and does not enjoy that much support in the party, will continue to be fielded but not Entulu, who has fallen from favour even if he has risen to a full minister status.

In his many interviews or public statements, Masing has neither hid his intention of ousting Entulu nor confirmed it.

However, from Masing’s speech at PRS’ 13th Anniversary dinner held recently in Sri Aman, we can all be very certain that Entulu will not be fielded to defend Selangau for PRS.

Masing stressed on two major points that night — the importance of loyalty to the party which superseded winability and his unwavering determination to field at least one woman candidate in the coming general election.

Masing did not volunteer any context for why he said what he said but it was obvious to party members and leaders that night that those two points were targeted at both Entulu and Lubok Antu MP Datuk William Nyalau Badak who we will look closer at another time.

For now, it is quite safe to say that Entulu’s days in PRS are numbered, unless there is some divine intervention.

That being said, the three-term MP is no sitting duck. Entulu is an experienced politician who knows what to do in such situations. He has proven once before in the party election that he is not without supporters. If Masing is thinking of defanging the bear, he should expect nothing less than a full-scale war. — DayakDaily