MIRI: Barely a few months after internal strife brought down the Sarawak National Party (SNAP), similar problems have flared up in northern Sarawak; this time involving two leaders of the newly-formed Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP).
SPDP pro tem vice-president Sylvester Entri Muran, the assemblyman for Marudi, has been entangled in a public verbal altercation with the party’s pro tem information chief Peter Howell over the past few days.
This is after a recent statement supposedly made by Howell that SPDP was facing problems recruiting new members in certain areas in northern Sarawak due to hindrances created by former SNAP members who are against SPDP.
Entri told a press conference yesterday that he and his group of SPDP grassroots leaders in Marudi (a town located 200km in interior Miri) were angered by Howell’s allegations.
“Peter Howell’s statement is not only misleading but grossly inaccurate. Before making such a sweeping statement, he ought to have checked his information first.
“Party records show that there has been absolutely no obstacles in recruiting new members or former SNAP members into SPDP.
“Peter Howell is advised to be cautious and not to make reckless statements which will give a wrong impression and distorted information about the SPDP,’’ said Entri.
He also chided Howell for saying that every SPDP division in northern Sarawak was in favour of the application by Meluan independent state assemblyman Wong Judat to join SPDP.
“We in the Marudi and Lambir divisions were never consulted on this issue. This lack of consultation can lead to misunderstandings,’’ he said.
SPDP pro tem secretary-general Dr Judson Tagal when approached yesterday, declined to comment on the tiff between Howell and Entri.
In a related development, former SNAP divisional leader and central executive committee member Edwin Dundang called for a press conference yesterday to declare that SPDP had failed to lure former SNAP members to join SPDP.
Dundang said the statement by Howell clearly showed that the majority of SNAP grassroots followers were still loyal to SNAP.
SNAP was deregistered three months ago by the Registrar of Societies.