14 Oct 2011
KUCHING: As the two-year old crisis in Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party deepens, the five rebels popularly known as the ‘SPDP 5’ challenge the party to expel them by refusing to reply to the show-cause letter given to them.
“It is up to them to expel us. That is their business. We are not going to reply to the show-cause letter,” said Peter Nansian, Senior vice-president of the party.
“Our statement today is good enough in response to the show-cause letter,” he added at a Press conference.
The other four are the MP for Mas Gading Dr. Tiki Lafe, vice-president; Sylvester Entri, vice President and Marudi assemblyman; Rosey Yunus, Supreme Council member and Bekenu assemblywomen, and Paulus Gumbang, supreme council member and Batu Danau assemblyman.
So far only Entri has received a show-cause letter as to why action could not be taken against him after he failed to attend the party’s supreme council meetings and other functions organised by the party.
“If the party takes action against one of us, it means you take action against all of us, and we will act as a group,” Nansian said.
“We have pledged to sink and swim together,” he added.
Asked if they are going to form a new party in the event they are expelled, he said: “We will tell you when we cross the bridge.
“For the time being, we are looking for the best solution to resolve the conflict in the party,” said Nansian, who is also the Tasik Biru assemblyman.
It is understood that the ‘rebels’ have formed a committee to study the possibility of forming a new party as well as to look into a temporary parking with one of the parties in the state Barisan Nasional.
Or they may remain partyless, but for Nansian, Entri and Rosey, their positions as assistant ministers are at the pleasure of the Chief Minister.
There was a precedent in the person of Larry Sng, who was partyless, but the Chief Minister still retained him as assistant minister.
Earlier reading a statement, Nansian said: “Today is one of the saddest and most regrettable moments of our lives to have come to a point that we have to make a decision to declare that we have lost faith and confidence in our President.
“He has now apparently no longer can resolve the current conflict in the party amicably and peacefully to maintain party unity and stability and to protect and safeguard BN seats vested in the party for a continuously strong BN government for the good of the rakyat.
“The last straw on the camel’s back that forced us to make this decision is that if the president seriously wants to resolve the current conflict in the party a ‘reconciliation or unity committee’ should have been formed rather than the ‘disciplinary committee’ to take action against us, which we feel very unfair and done solely chop us off,” he said.
Nansian said: “While we have extended our hands in reconciliation over the last two years by meeting him no less than three times formally as a group and more times on informal occasions, and agreed on many points on how to reconcile and work together to maintain stability and make the party stronger, has he implemented accordingly?
“Or is it not in the contrary whereby he has made many controversial remarks that create much uneasiness and suspicion within the party as well as between BN component parties?” he asked.
Nansian blamed the president for labelling them as the ‘rebels 5’ and the ‘group of 5’ and thus started the friction and faction in the party.
He also said the group is not happy when the president branded them as nominees of a BN component party and at the same time accused other BN component leaders of meddling in the party’s internal affairs.
Nansian said: “Our group pledges our undivided support to the leadership of Barisan Nasional at federal and state level.
“We will serve our people in our constituencies in the name of Barisan Nasional. We won the last state election with big majorities under the banner of Barisan Nasional.
“We will sink and swim with BN under the wise leadership of Prime Minister and Chief Minister of
Nansian did not specifically mention that Mawan should step down, but by saying that they have lost faith and confidence in his leadership, they are indirectly calling on him to step down.
To the group, that will be the ‘best solution’ to solve the conflict.
Except for Tiki, who had to attend to an official business, the rest were present at the press conference.
Meanwhile, Mawan when contacted refused to comment on the statement that the group has no faith and confidence on his leadership.
However, he is expected to issue a statement later.
The conflict within the party started after the December 2009 party election during which Mawan did not want any challenge to the top leadership after he heard some grumblings within the party.
One of the things that made members unhappy was the idea to extend its wing to Peninsula
Among those who strongly opposed the idea was none other than Sylvester Entri, then the Secretary General. Tiong was heard by reporters of hurling unpleasant words against Entri and those present during one of the supreme council meetings.
From there on, rumours of ‘Team B’ preparing to challenge the leadership were circulated. But Mawan did not want any challenge to the president’s team by insisting on a status quo.
A pledge to that effect was signed by Mawan himself and distributed to all party leaders.
The ‘Team B’ agreed if their men like Entri retained as Secretary General. But in January 2010 in a supreme council meeting, Mawan replaced Entri with Nelson Balang Rining.
This triggered the conflict when the group walked out together with three other members from the meeting.
Since that January, the group had not attended any of the supreme council meetings or functions organised by the party.