KUCHING: High-ranking SWP members have been offered by a Pakatan Rakyat party to cross over, says its president Larry Sng (pic), adding that has put a damper on the party’s intention to join the Opposition bloc.
Sng told a press conference here yesterday SWP would “cool down the momentum” it had built in joining Pakatan.
“Over the past two months, there have been some unfortunate developments with respect to ourselves and a member (party) of the Pakatan,” Sng began by saying.
Without detailing specifics, Sng said one of SWP’s two elected representatives and at least one supreme council member was enticed by Pakatan to become Independents.
“They have been approached (urging them) to resign from SWP to cross over to one of the parties in Pakatan. With this development, the party feels this has damaged working relationships and the road map to work together. It is felt we should have a cooling-down period as a result,” Sng said.
The party president, who used to be in the Sarawak Cabinet and was locked in a leadership tussle with PRS president Tan Sri Dr James Masing, insisted SWP was “sincere” with Pakatan. “This has not been reciprocated,” he said, adding SWP would “relook” the intention to join Pakatan.
SWP currently has two assemblyman in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly: George Lagong, the party’s deputy president, who represents Pelagus, and Wong Judat, a vice-president,who represents Meluan.
Sng would not name names, but when a reporter singled out Wong, Sng quickly denied it. Sng said Wong remained politically active as an SWP member, pointing out Wong had attended the Sarawak Legislative Assembly, which is in session, at least twice this week.
“They have declined the offers. Their allegiance is with us,” Sng said. Asked which Pakatan party had tried to poach its members, Sng was similarly circumspect.
SWP was established in April 2012 and described itself as a party for the lower and middle classes, which is politically a Barisan-friendly entity. It gained its first elected representative when the then Independent George joined SWP.
George had fought and won Pelagus against Barisan Nasional’s PRS candidate in the Sarawak polls.
In the 13th General Election, SWP contested in six constituencies but lost all.
Following that dismal performance, in mid last year, SWP abruptly announced it was mulling joining Pakatan. By early this year, Sng issued a statement saying the party would “soon” apply to join Pakatan.
Pakatan parties, including PKR and DAP, both said the door was open to SWP.
Yesterday, Sng concluded the press conference by saying the party’s direction would be made clearer after its next annual general meeting scheduled for July 19.