KUCHING: Engkilili assemblyman Dr Johnical Rayong Ngipa is now officially a BN man, after more than four years as an independent.
Yesterday, he attended his first BN pre-Council meeting, which is usually held a day before the State Legislative Assembly sitting, at the PBB headquarters here.
Dr Rayong has been knocking on BN’s door after he won Engkilili in 2006.
Reached for his comments, Dr Rayong said he was very happy to finally become a BN backbencher.
“The Chief Minister (Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud) declared that I am a BN member during the meeting… now that I am accepted into the BN, I can do my work smoothly as people will no longer have doubts over my position,” he said.
Dr Rayong added that his application to join SUPP was approved by the party’s Central Working Committee (CWC) last Sept 20.
“From my understanding, there were no objections against me to join SUPP,” he said.
Dr Rayong was formerly the pro tem deputy president of the proposed Malaysian Dayak Congress (MDC) which had its application turned down by the Registrar of Societies.
In 2006, he stood under the Sarawak National Party (SNAP) ticket and he defeated Jonathan Krai Pilo (BN-SUPP) by a slim 426-vote majority in a straight fight.
After his win, he declared his intention to join the BN and was often seen mingling around with BN leaders. He was also accorded privileges such as presenting minor rural project (MRP) grants in his constituency.
He had previously submitted his membership application to join SUPP but the move was opposed by several SUPP leaders in Engkilili, including former assemblyman Toh Heng San who represented the area from 1991 to 2006.
Suggestions then started to surface over possible seat-swapping arrangement with other BN component parties to resolve the problem, but this was also opposed by SUPP leaders in Engkilili.
Last Oct 17, Utusan Borneo reported that Dr Rayong’s SUPP membership application had been accepted and approved.
It quoted SUPP Engkilili secretary Nyambong Maweng as saying that he had received a letter from SUPP headquarters to inform the branch of Dr Rayong’s membership status.
Nyambong claimed that the letter also mentioned that Dr Rayong is the best candidate for BN and SUPP in Engkilili for the state election which is due in nine months time.