Call for change of GPS candidate irks community leaders in Pakan


SARIKEI: The statement by group of grassroots leaders who are members of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) component parties in Pakan calling for a new GPS candidate for the Pakan state seat in the next election published in the press on October 5 has irked other community leaders in the constituency.

A longhouse headman (Tuai Rumah) who wished to remain anonymous to avoid the issue from becoming personal, said the group’s proposal was not only inappropriate but disrespectful of the spirit of consensus practiced by GPS top leadership in choosing the candidates.

He said several other longhouse chiefs who also condemned the group’s statement requested him to issue a statement to counter the proposal.

The grassroots leaders who called for the change of candidate claimed to be party branch chairmen and several councilors from Sarawak People Party (PRS) and Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) and one from PBB.

They proposed Edwin Bandang, whom they said is not a member of any political party, to replace incumbent Tan Sri William Mawan

“If it is true that their proposed  candidate,  Edwin Bandang  is ‘party less’, then what is the rationale behind it especially when he is known to be the treasurer of PRS Pakan branch and had served as Special Assistant to the former Member of Parliament for Julau?” the Tuai Rumah asked.

He said they did not respect the sensitivity of other component parties especially the incumbent, Tan Sri William Mawan and over 6,000 GPS supporters who had followed him to join Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) the dominant party in GPS.

He noted that the PRS Pakan chairman failed to defend his Julau Parliamentary seat for Barisan Nasional (BN) in the last general election because of lack of cooperation among members of component parties.

The Tuai  Rumah pointed out GPS should take heed of the defeat and it is best to leave it to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg who is also GPS chairman to have a final say on the choice of candidate.

“What is very clear now is that the people in Pakan want a leader who is sincere and fully subscribe to GPS struggle in championing the cause of people especially ensuring a sustainable peace, harmony and prosperity,” they added.

GPS should not allow petty and factional politicking among its component parties as it could lead to disunity in the coalition.

He said there is no such term as ‘traditional seat’ as it should be left to the people to decide who deserve it after every five years.

Any political party or individual can keep the seat as long as they can serve the people satisfactorily and meet the expectations of the people who are the main stakeholders, he said.

As such, they considered it most appropriate for GPS to pick candidates based on merit or winning chance rather than blindly sticking to so-called ‘traditional seat’ formula, he added.