Wednesday, April 20

Is SNAP becoming irrelevant?

(This story has appeared in Free Malaysia Today)

KUCHING: After severe beating in the last week-end polls, Sarawak National Party (SNAP) has now withdrawn into a corner licking the wounds of its defeat.

“This defeat is not only shameful, but questions are being asked whether the party continues to be relevant or not,” said a former SNAP minister and leader.

The leader who refused to be named was an assistant minister in the good old days of the party in 1970s and 1980s.

All the 27 candidates of the party lost heavily in the rural areas which it claimed to be its traditional home ground and strongholds. Except for Tedong Anak Gunda in Pakan, all of its candidates including its president Edwin Dundang lost their deposits.
Dundang managed to secure 281 votes in the party’s so-called strong hold since September 1963 until November 2002 - a period of 39 years.

In Pakan Tedong Gunda secured 2,741 votes. But the voters had no choice. It was either him of SPDP President William Mawan Ikom.

“Isn’t it shameful to lose badly and to lose all the deposits?” the assistant minister asked.

The recently concluded state election was its second outing (the first was in 2006) after it was forced to leave the Barisan Nasional.

Following this crisis, SNAP’s fortunes began to dip down after nine of its elected representatives and senior party leaders left the party to form Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) due to the leadership crisis in 2002.

SPDP was immediately accepted to join the Barisan Nasional.

Adding to SNAP’s problem was the fact that it had been deregistered by the Registrar of Societies as a result of the crisis, but it appealed for stay of execution.

Following the court of appeal decision to remove the ROS’s order (deregistration) in June last year, SNAP started to rebrand and rejuvenate itself to become the party of the future.

Its programme of rebranding in January 2011 and February attracted a number of ex-Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) leaders as well as some financiers from peninsular Malaysia.

But things were not moving even though some financial resources had been given to them. Their lack of planning and slow moving forced some financial supporters to withdraw. Potential and educated Dayak leaders were reluctant to join the party.And yet their leaders talked big saying that SNAP should be dominant party in Sarawak and not Parti Keadilan Rakyat and not DAP.

“We must be given the leading role in Sarawak Pakatan Rakyat,” said its President.

“The party with its glorious past and representing the Dayak community should take the lead. Therefore SNAP felt insulted by PKR which wanted us to contest in only three seats,” he said.

“We have all the branches over the state with a membership of 123,000,” he said, declaring that it would contest in all Dayak majority seats.

Even it asked for 48 seats including the 29 Dayak majority seats.

PKR, a peninsular-based party, should stay away from these constituencies, he said.

SNAP secretary general Stanley Jugol suggested that PKR candidates should contest using SNAP’s symbol.

“We are more popular than PKR,” he said.

Of course PKR was not fool as it knew its strength. After all it has been preparing to contest against the state Barisan Nasional since 2006.

SNAP blamed PKR for the failed negotiation and left Pakatan Rakyat, a coalition of PKR, DAP and PAS.

Efforts by PKR to negotiate for seats were ignored. Telephones and ‘smses’ went unanswered.

Days before nomination days, the movement of change, Sarawak (MoCS) revealed that SNAP’s financiers John Soh had withdrawn supporting the party due to lack of commitment given to the party and its lack of planning and direction.

A number of sympathetic organisations also announced their disassociation with the party, leaving it in a limbo.

But the most devastating effect on SNAP’s credibility was the disclosure that it had obtained some funds from UMNO to fight not only Taib Mahmud, but also PKR.

That little piece of news spread like wildfire in the rural areas especially in the constitunecies where SNAP was contesting.

Despite these handicaps, SNAP leaders insisted that it would contest in the Dayak majority and some mixed constituencies.

During a Press conference, a question was privately asked why did SNAP put some ‘lousy and bangkrupt’ candidates to contest.

Jugol replied that it was to ensure that PKR would not contest in those constituencies since SNAP had announced its candidates.

Their reasoning backfired as it pointed to SNAP’s selfish decision – its main aim was to prevent PKR from contesting in these constituencies, but missed the bigger picture that of ousting the BN leaders.

“That will give SNAP not only a wrong impression and perception to the voters, but in the process it lost its integrity and credibility” said a political analyst.

SNAP’s leaders should realise that after eight years in the “ICU” it was suddenly waken from the deep ‘slumber’ at the time when the state was preparing for its 10th state election.

“It is still weak and cannot talk big,” said the analyst.

Worst, it wanted to contest not only in two to three seats, but the whole of the 29 Dayak majority seats and 19 other mixed constituencies.

People were laughing at them especially the BN component parties as it helped to split the Dayak votes much against the Patakan Rakyat’s desire for a one-to-one fight against the BN candidates in all the 71 seats.

“This was SNAP’s biggest political blunder.

“The party should not have contested but continued to rebrand or rejuvenate itself until perhaps the next state election,” said a political scientist.

“SNAP should only think of contesting in 2015 election. By then it has fully recovered from the eight years in the political doldrum,” he said.

From onward, there are two things that it must do if it wants to continue to stay relevance. First, the party calls for an urgent emergency meeting to discuss the future of the party.

Second, the present committee must all resign to open the way for new, young and capable leaders to take over. Otherwise, the party will be further reduced into smaller than a mosquito party.

And third, it must return to the fold of the Pakatan Rakyat. On its own, SNAP cannot remain to become a single party purely representing the Dayaks.

Sectarian political parties are no longer relevant to serve the narrow and bigoted interest of a community.

It needs to be together with national based parties like PKR and DAP in the effort to create a two-party system.


Gospal truth said...

KUALA LUMPUR: The incident in Sarawak’s Senadin constituency involving PKR candidate Dr Michael Teo will be presented to the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva today.

The disputed results on April 16 will form the spine of a presentation to be made by Sarawak Report (SR) and other observers of the recently concluded 10th Sarawak election.

According to SR blogger Clare Rewcastle Brown, “we will tell exactly what happened (in Sarawak)”.

Citing Senadin, she said PKR was leading by 1,000 odd-votes during the last ballot counting in Miri City Stadium when suddenly a blackout “conveniently occurred”.

The blackout, she said, lasted an hour during which time the Election Commission (EC) continued counting.

“Suddenly they brought in ‘postal’ votes at an illegally late hour and SUPP was declared ‘winners’ with a slim 58-vote majority.

“The EC also announced 158 spoiled votes favouring PKR. The commission refused a recount despite the fact that there was a clear case for it,” she said.

Brown added that the Senadin incident was only one example that SR was planning to present to the UN.

She said SR’s report to the UN would include the “mass disenfranchisement of much of the population in the interior”.

This, she said, enabled Taib to operate a “rotten borough system” where seats are decided by just a tiny number of people whom he can pressure and influence.

“Some 470,000 natives do not voting rights out of Sarawak’s 2.5 million population.

“There is also the illegal touting of projects and votes by Barisan Nasional politicians, including the prime minister, in the run-up to the election.

“These are used as a direct bribe and form of blackmail. They tell the voters that they will not get the projects and worse, may be discriminated against in the provision of basic amenities if they do not vote BN, ” she said in her posting on SR.

Postal votes and bribery

On postal votes, she said this was another issue which would be made known to the UN.

She said SR would inform the UN about the abuse of postal votes and the “outrageous targeting of postal votes at single constituencies” BN wants to influence.

“We will also tell them about the practice of doubling up by sending in postal votes by the army and then bringing in plane loads of the same soldiers to vote in person as well and the introduction of suspicious last-minute ‘postal votes’ in order to try and boost BN’s tallies far later than legally allowed.”

The other areas that the report will highlihgt include the use of gangsters to intimidate and turn away voters from the polling stations, the abuses by the EC which included switching voters’ polling stations away from their home areas to distant places they cannot get to and hiding ballot boxes.

The UN will also hear of the tampering of Form 14, cutting off mobile phone networks on polling day as well as the “naked bribery by BN” of poor voters on the eve of the election.

Brown said the scale of these bribes went sky high at this election and was indicative of how unpopular BN is.

BN secured 55 seats against the opposition’s 16 in the April 16 polls

Anonymous said...

Dayaks will not cheat by the SNAP anymore,even they can win..later they will become frog again...fight each other..and never ending...SNAP is for desperate Leader only ! I'm not anti SNAP but people trust on the party has been gone long time enough....The party do not have clear direction & purpose..2X5,,they should take example of DAP which fight for the interest of all malaysian & never give up....if we want fight corrupt BN...we should choose DAP...idup DAP

Where is Francis Siah? said...

Francis Siah should be the 1st person to blow up the corruption act by Mauh against his MOCS candidate. Why keep quiet? Atau pun BN punya arahan kepada beliau hanya untuk membuat propaganda against SNAP to ensure that BN in dayak areas semua menang?????

A NGO today claimed to have video proof that BN had indulged in vote-buying in the recently-concluded Sarawak election.

The Malaysian Election Observers Network (Meonet) put up a video of a tuai rumah or longhouse chief in the Tamin constituency, who apparently admitted to receiving RM10,000 on behalf of his longhouse to support BN.

NONETamin was won by BN through PRS candidate Joseph Mauh Ikeh, who obtained 4,998 votes, a 1,292-majority over PKR's Mengga Mikui, who finished with 3,706 votes in the predominantly Iban area.

In the nearly six-minute video - done almost entirely in the Iban dialect - the longhouse chief claimed that some BN representatives gave him three cheques, with the biggest valued at RM5,000, on the morning of April 13.

It is understood that two other cheques, valued at RM2,000 and RM3,000, were given earlier.

“Dulu nadai, RM20 aja bagi nya (We got nothing in the past, they only gave RM20),” the headman said when asked if his longhouse had received that much in cash handouts in previous elections.

Meonet coordinator Ong Boon Keong said the video was shot yesterday after they received information from one of their observers.

Ong said the three cheques were issued to the longhouse development and security committee, on top of RM50 handouts given to 14 heads of families living in the community.

When asked if all in the longhouse voted for BN, the headman simply said, “Bisik mangkah” (We did mark), referring to the act of marking 'X' next to a voter's party of choice on the ballot paper.

The longhouse chief however admitted that the longhouse residents “nadai untung”, or gained nothing, after voting for BN for the past 25 years but felt obliged to vote for the ruling party as they had already been “bought”.

Anonymous said...

I am one of SNAP supporters and at times mingled around with one or two of the party office bearers.Prior to the election,i did ask them is Snap really ready to stand in all Dayak areas.The answer to my question were as follows;What makes you think Snap is not ready;we have better resources then PKR;we still have thousands of members;we are the local party preferable by the local,etc.The next minute Snap lost very badly.To me,as an ordinary kaki lima politician,the reasons for Snap shameful losses are ,among others,as follows;Firstly,their leaders are politically arrogant-by boasting in so many things,especially while dealing with PKR.Secondly,half of their candidates were not politician at all,and their intention were to get some money out of their candidacies,thirdly,the damaging allegations against Snap were never publicly explained or tackled;fourthly,the Party is still weak(after lengthy rest) but succumbed to irrational emotion of 'hope';fifthly,the party had failed to do their homework by blatantly ignoring the sentiment on the ground knowing very well Snap hardly has any active branch or machineries and the last,someone had intentionally ,without the knowledge of party members,made use of Snap to do some business.

Anonymous said...

SNAP is no longer relevant to the Dayak communities at large since we already have the Pakatan Rakyat which is more reliable and dependable.
Besides, SNAP leaders are spent leaders, leaders who become apparent when election arrives but will remain 'unseen' and 'unheard' when there is no election.
The best thing that SNAP could have done now is to disband the party and for its members to join any one of the Pakatan Rakyat parties.

Snoring Ibans said...

DAP's Lim (Kit Siang)has every reasons to propose a merger with SNAP, a party that succummed to the poisionous blade of false accusation inflicted by its so-called holy partner PKR. DAP knew what happened to SNAP and how PKR murdered her even before, during and after the (recent) State Election and got away as Lucifer.

They can no longer trust PKR as genuine partner by the manner PKR betrayed SNAP and before DAP become PKR's next political victim, it is a great move by DAP to suggest a merger with a party honest enough to be a partner - SNAP.

Time will tell

Somebody stir the shit? said...

PKR the real spoilers: SAPP
(Daily Express) - Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) said PKR no longer serves any purpose being in the Pakatan Rakyat opposition coalition because it is proven they could not deliver Bumiputera votes and rural seats.
Former PKR leader, Datuk Nahalan Damsal, said the three seats won by PKR in the recent Sarawak election were due to other factors.
"The Bakalelan seat was won by Baru Bian due to his strong personality, good record and financial backing," he said.
"Ali Biju won the Krian seat because of his good local networks, big family and strong financial resources. As for Batu Lintang, it was a gift from the DAP to the PKR," he said, adding that PKR virtually lost in the 46 seats it contested.

On other developments, he said the culture of internal conflicts in PKR was still rampant. Citing the case of Dominique Ng, the founder of Sarawak PKR and the only PKR candidate who won in Sarawak election in 2006, he said Ng was humiliated when the party dropped him at the last minute.
PKR leaders, he claimed, promised Ng candidacy for parliament.
But if the PKR don't consider Ng good enough as candidate for the state seat, "why would (they consider) he be good enough for Parliament?" he asked.
Ng's is a case of dishonesty, divisive politics, internal conflicts and factionalism practised by PKR everywhere including in Sabah, he said.

Banting said...

Lim Kit Siang proposes DAP - SNAP merger. Lim Kit Siang is sincere to help SNAP. If the merge is materialised, what would be the name of the new party? Probably DANAP (Democratic National Party); that sound good?

KK Lau said...

As many as 26 gangsters were deployed by Harbour-Link Group of Bintulu to assist Taib Mahmud to secure the votes from disgruntled Dayaks and Melanaus voters in the Balingian state constituency. Habour Link is the contractor/transporter for Press Metal Sarawak which operates the Aluminium Plant in Mukah.The company's extensive network in logistic and shipping could be directly linked to Raziah Mahmud, Taib's billionaire sister. Reliable source also confirmed that the special branch and Election Commission senior officials were also roped in to intimidate voters in Balingian.

Anonymous said...

I was so pissed off with SNAP because I believed SNAP leaders at recent election was loyal to money instead of to Dayak community. However, I believe SNAP can stay relevant if it merges with DAP and the current leaders give way to completely new leaders. SNAP will be treated as anak tiri in BN and only handful of leaders benefits from the BN handouts. SNAP please consider Lim Kit Sing's proposal. Such proposal is full of wisdom for the party and Sarawakians. Remove your ego and think of Sarawak.

Tbsbidayuh said...

I feel ashamed by the SNAP a.k.a Parti Asal Bansa Dayak performance during recent election. even the president votes is even worse than George Chan vote. The best SNAP can do now is to scroll down their business and go back to longhouse to learn the Dayak struggle. They cannot shout aloud of their self-ego and delusion because Dayak knows how politic works and SNAP existence is no more relevant to the Dayak.

Anonymous said...

"Is SNAP becoming irrelevant?"

It is a pertinent question to ask (or to debate) in the aftermath of SNAP's defeat during the recently concluded election.

Whether SNAP is becoming irrelevant will depend on the effectiveness of its implementable revival or rebranding programmes from now on until the coming of the 11th State election due in 2016. For SNAP to be relevant,there were already some suggestions made or written on the walls including “merger with DAP” and/or forging strategic alliance within PAKATAN.

One way for SNAP to become relevant is to review and consider constitutional amendment as a major step toward “rebranding” and moving forward to meet the dynamics of political development.Hold on to the card and play it rightly, SNAP can and still remain relevant as a Sarawak-multiracial based political party.

The ultimate or final test of SNAP’s relevance in Sarawak politics is left to be seen in 2016election.

It is a blessing that SNAP did not win any seat in the recent election.Thus SNAP is spared of the political sickness called “Frog-Ray-ong”.

Anonymous said...

new blood needs to takeover all the leadership from the old guards

back to the roots...dayak

Anonymous said...


You shutup you stinking mouth. Between PKR and SNAP, SNAP is more relevant for Dayak struggle.
I am not aginst PKR as I was once there , but after SNAP rejuvenation all Dayak should now join SNAP. Dont you think so stupid TBSB?

Anonymous said...

Hardly some months after being discharged from “political-ICU-ward” SNAP was and still weak. Nonetheless, SNAP decided to participate in the recent state election with dignity of its own in spite of its handicaps. Comparatively WAS it total failure WHEN the Party won very decimal in term of total number of votes and won ZERO seatin the election? Mathematically SNAP DID NOT lose BECAUSE the Party had NO seat to lose. Whether SNAP did lose its credibility and integrity because of the stand it took during the election was and is a matter of opinions (of certain political analyst). In real terms, SNAP was being enriched with bitter experiences that both failure and success were neither ultimate nor final.
After the election SNAP won the attention of DAP veteran namely Lim Kit Siang who proposed SNAP-DAP merger which would make SNAP as a party become irrelevant and non-existence. The proposal for merger could also be viewed as a “veiled’ fear that SNAP would become a force to be reckoned with in due time and hence SNAP becomes progressively relevant in the increasingly complex political development.
Those fragmentations of negative as well as positive comments written and/or said about SNAP must be taken in good spirit (by SNAP leaders, members and supporters alike). They must become valuable indicators/reflectors for SNAP to look at itself intently in the mirror within and outside. How SNAP continues promoting itself (in spite of the constraints) to become not irrelevant depends entirely on SNAP’s ability, flexibility and capacity building in “Managing Change” constantly to attract new membership and stakeholders and move forward(sometime backward or goes-tern and sideways when necessary)to the intended and clear direction which is seldom straight and not without obstacles in reality.
Leadership - Indeed the suggestion that SNAP needs young leaders was sound. It would be very helpful if the concerned commentators could suggest the much sought types of young leaders (e.g age group/profession/education/experiences/financial independence ...) who were willing enough to sacrifices the comfort of their personal and family lives and NOT just for the glamour of leadership position.