Thursday, December 8

PBB convention closely watched

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MIRI: All eyes would be on the nominations for the posts of two senior vice presidents, four vice-presidents and members of the Supreme Council of Sarawak’s BN lynchpin Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) when nomination closes today.

It is a prelude to how the party’s central elections would shape up at the party’s Triennial General Meeting (TGM) on Feb 8-11 at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK), and grassroots party members and political observers would be deciphering the outcome when the dust settles.

The most interesting to watch would be further down the field, where the ascendency of third echelon leaders in the political hierarchy would come to the fore.

PBB, a merger of Pesaka and Bumiputera political parties in 1973, has grown from strength to strength to become the backbone party of Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN), which rules the state and is a kingmaker in the national scene.

Tomorrow will offer a glimpse of the possible line-up when the party election dust settles.

According to permanent chairman and State Legislative Assembly speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar, the nomination will close at 2pm on Feb 1, and the committee would then sort out the nomination papers and get the nomination list ready by Feb 2.

The top three posts of president and two deputy presidents would most likely be uncontested as decreed by the Supreme Council, and the Wanita chief and Youth leader would automatically be vice-presidents.

The floor is open for the contest for the posts of senior vice president (SVP) for the Pesaka and Bumiputera wings of the party, following the elevation of incumbents Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah and Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan to become deputy presidents of their own wings respectively.

Possible candidates for the SVP posts for the Bumiputera wing are Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, outgoing Youth leader and Minister of Works, and Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, Supreme Council member and close confidante of the chief minister and party president.

On paper, a withdrawal by either one of them from the race could lead to uncontested victory for the other.

Fadillah may have the edge in seniority and ministerial post but Abdul Karim is seen as a rising star having been a Supreme Council member and former deputy youth leader.

For the Pesaka side, it may be a tussle between incumbent vice-presidents Datuk Micheal Manyin Jawong and Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi and secretary-general Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom.

If seniority and consensus is anything to go by, Manyin could get the nod and it could be status quo for Nanta and Dr Rundi.

But anything is possible in politics as Uggah would have a say in the line-up.

Also attracting attention is the election for the four elected vice-president posts and Supreme Council members where zone representation, ethnicity and alignment come into play.

In the last party elections in 2013, six candidates from the Bumiputera side vied for the posts which were eventually won by Datuk Wahab Aziz, Datuk Talip Zulpilip and Datuk Julaihi Narawi.

Words from the grapevine have it that there could be even more contestants this time around.

In the Pesaka side, there could be as many as three candidates for the two available posts.

Incumbent deputy Youth leader Gerald Rentap Jabu and deputy Wanita chief Datuk Fatimah Abdullah are expected to move up to helm the respective wings for the new term after the respective incumbents decided not to seek re-election.

The results will reflect the new political re-alignment in the party.