Bian strengthens his position

Joseph Tawie | August 15, 2011

Sarawak PKR ousts dissenting voices from new leadership lineup.

KUCHING: Sarawak PKR, in a bid to consolidate its strength and direction, has announced a new 41-member state leadership council (Majlis Pimpinan Negri).

The new lineup is seen as strenghthening current state chief Baru Bian’s position within the party following continued attempts to undermine his leadership and topple him.

The dissenting group which was dislodged yesterday included former PKR adviser Hafsah Harun, former chairman Wan Zainal Wan Sanusi, former MP for Sri Aman Jimmy Donald, and former vice-chairman Granda Aing.

The group, which also included former chairman Dominique Ng, had met at Hafsah’s house and allegedly discussed their common stand to bring Bian down.

Together they had submitted their complaint to the de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim and PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and advised them not to reappoint Bian as he had ‘failed’ to lead the multi-racial party.

But the Kuala Lumpur leadership however ignored their complaint.

While Ng was sacked after he went against the party and contested as an independent candidate in Padungan during the recent state election, Hafsah, Jimmy and Wan Zainal and Granda were left out from the new leadership list.

Instead the current list is made up of Bian’s supporters who come from varied racial, religious and educational backgrounds.

After Bian won the Ba’Kelalan seat, party members came in droves to express their support and loyalty to him.

Bian’s popularity

According to Bian’s aides, Kuala Lumpur could no longer deny or ignore Bian’s popularity.

“Now they give him the full authority to decide who should be members of the state leadership council.

“They also ask him to pick up members of the state political bureau, a very important body that will decide and liaise with DAP and PAS regarding the seat allocation for the parliamentary election,” said his aides.

Appointed as deputy chairman of the council is Zulrusdi Hol, an accountant, while three posts of vice-chairmen go to the two PKR assemblymen - Ali Biju (Krian) and See Chee How (Batu Lintang) and Peter Ato, an engineer.

A former police officer Stanny Embat is the secretary of the council and Dr Michael Teo Yu Keng, a medical practitioner, is the new treasurer.

A lawyer and special aide to Bian, Vernon Kedit has been assigned to the post of information chief.

The others who have been appointed to various posts include Hanim Mokshen (head of state women’s wing), lawyer Ahmad Naji (head of youth wing), Abang Zulkifli Abang Engkeh (director of state election), Ali Hossen (director of strategy), Joshua Jabeng (director of training), Dr Christopher Kiyui (director of health).

Bian himself took over as the chairman of the political bureau.

Speaking at a press conference after chairing the first meeting of the council, Bian said that the meeting also discussed the party’s preparation and its divisions’ structures for the coming parliamentary election.

“I am giving the divisions in the 31 parliamentary constituencies two weeks to set up their election committees and to come up with reports including the names of the potential candidates to the state headquarters.

“Election preparations are our top priority now,” Bian said.

Polls soon

Meanwhile, PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution who was present at the press conference said that the party must from now concentrate on election preparation which will be held very soon based on a number of indicators.

“Firstly, the budget 2012 will be presented to parliament by Finance Minister Najib Tun Razak on Oct 7, 2011.

“This is two weeks early compared to with the normal or usual budgets,” he said.

“The second indicator is that the Election Commission has confirmed their visits to election premises such as the schools and halls before Aug 20.

“I come from Kelantan where the election officials have been told to see the premises and must be completed by Aug 20,” he said, adding that in previous elections, the polling would be held very soon after such visits.

“And the most recent indicator is that the state Barisan Nasional have been told to get ready for the election,” he said.

He said that from the previous 12 elections, seven were held in either in March, April or May.

“These are popular months for the elections. So watch out one of these months,” he said, pointing out that the state PKR is ready with the coming parliamentary election, except one or two things that need to be discussed further, and this includes the seat allocation.

“Nevertheless, we have a formula on how to solve the seat allocation with our partners, DAP and PAS,” Saifuddin said.