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KUCHING, March 21: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas kept mum over current political developments involving Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) where Saratok MP Tan Sri William Mawan recently announced that he has been a party member since 2016.
During a function at Batu Kitang here this morning, reporters were eager to ask Uggah to comment but he refused to answer even before specific questions were uttered, saying that he wanted to focus on the function only.
Uggah, who is also PBB deputy president, was there to launch the first batch of durian paste shipment to China by Top Fruits (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd.
Mawan’s announcement on Monday was flanked by statements from state Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties, namely United People’s Party (UPP) and Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) related to the issue of direct BN candidates.
UPP through its secretary-general George Lo wanted clarification from Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg on his comments last Sunday about not fielding direct BN candidates for the coming general election.
“If UPP candidates are to contest as SUPP (Sarawak United Peoples’ Party) candidates in the next parliamentary election, then it should be after the exercise of getting these two parties fully united is finally completed.
“We have started an exercise to unite the two parties, but it will take some time. The first step of getting the two parties together is the signing of an MoU,” he was quoted as saying by a local daily on Sunday.
UPP had announced that it would field two candidates for Sibu and Lanang seats for the coming general elections.
The presidents from UPP and SUPP respectively were supposed hold an MoU signing on Sunday, to be witnessed by Abang Johari, but the signing was postponed to a later date.
Meanwhile PDP secretary-general Paul Igai yesterday told a local daily that his party has nominated its own candidate, businessman Subeng Mula, for the Saratok seat, now occupied by Mawan.
“As we are too close to the election, it is better for us not to comment too much on this (Mawan) because we do not want to rock the BN boat.
“But we are quite confident that our nominee will be picked because in the spirit of BN we will stick to the power sharing,” he said.
The Saratok Parliamentary seat has been traditionally allocated to PDP, formerly Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP), where Mawan was its president before he resigned in May 2014 to join Parti Tenaga Rakyat Sarawak (Teras).
He then resigned from Teras before the 2016 state election and defended the Pakan seat under BN direct candidacy.
Abang Johari after a function in Miri last night confirmed that Mawan had applied to be a PBB member in 2016, although he did not elaborate if Mawan’s application was approved or not, nor where he stands in the party’s Pesaka wing.
“I was there with the late (Pehin Sri) Tok Nan (Adenan Satem),” he said.
Mawan on Monday announced that he has been a PBB member since 2016. His disclosure came a day after Abang Johari said to his knowledge, there would not be direct BN candidates fielded for the coming general election.
Mawan had also said he will “bring” his Pakan state seat to PBB which would give the party the largest share of state seats in Sarawak which is 46, if including Pakan, out of 82.
This was unlike the 2016 state election where individuals for various reasons, among them candidates from BN-friendly but non-BN component parties, were required to resign to stand as direct BN candidates.
In December 2017, Abang Johari gave his assurance that all elected representatives from PBB at state level would not be nominated for the coming general election.
This is so that other qualified leaders would have the opportunity to contest.
Mawan is the current Saratok MP as well as Pakan assemblyman. — DayakDaily