MIRI: Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) Beluru branch yesterday slammed SPDP Piasau Youth chief James Joshua for barking up the wrong tree over issues raised by 47 longhouse chiefs and councillors on Sunday.
Branch chairman and longhouse chief (Tuai Rumah) Steward Kayong rubbished James’ sarcastic remark – that the group was bragging about their assemblyman Datuk Sylvester Entri’s big majority win in the last state election was not due to his popularity but to BN ticket.
The branch said the group in Beluru meeting on Sunday expressed their displeasure over the statement of being treated as second class citizen and being asked to show cause letter over their absence at the controversial function in Ulu Teru by SPDP president Tan Sri William Mawan on Oct 2.
“If that is the case, how does James, who is a registered voter in Krian, explain the loss of deputy president Datuk Peter Nyarok in the constituency despite standing on a BN ticket? Also, what about other losses?,” Steward asked.
His view was supported by branch secretary Nelson Nulai who said the Piasau Youth chief has missed the mark in talking about what was happening in Marudi constituency.
They said that there was no mention of anyone threatening to go against the BN in the next election as alleged by James, but lamented that the disunity arising could erode BN’s support in the stronghold.
Entri won with the biggest majority among all the SPPD candidates in the last state election, but James played it down. He said that Entri’s loyalist should remember that the majority of voters in Marudi supported BN, and challenged them to ask their assemblyman to stand on an Independent ticket in the next state election.
“Being a BN candidate is not a guarantee of winning in an election but a good track record of being on the ground and addressing needs and issues faced by the electorate are,” said Steward.
Steward and Nelson said James should stop meddling in Marudi, as the longhouse chiefs, councillors and BN supporters there had been trying hard to maintain the strength (of BN) and not weaken it as painted.
James has also accused Entri’s loyalists of continued verbal attack on Mawan as affirming suspicion that Entri masterminded a plan to topple the president.
He claimed that Mawan was trying to ‘protect’ Entri from being expelled from the party by not washing dirty linen in public since the plot was uncovered two years ago, and even promoted him to vice-president.
He was also quoted as saying that apparently Entri was not grateful and preferred to go against the former by insisting that Mawan had reneged on his promise to reinstate him as secretary-general.
Since then, Entri and four other representatives have been regarded as the Group of 5 in the aftermath of the last triennial delegates conference, but four of them – Paulus Palu Gumbang, Rosey Yunus, Datuk Peter Nansian and Entri- went on to score convincing victory in the last state election.
The war erupted when Mawan, in Sibu to celebrate the conferment of his ‘Tan Sri’ title, said that he would exercise his presidential power to act against those who went against the party. This was taken as a threat by the group.
The visit by a big entourage led by Mawan to Ulu Teru on Oct 23 was marred by controversy and verbal barbs were traded between both sides.