KUCHING: State Barisan Nasional chairman Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud has described the admission of independent Meluan assemblyman Wong Judat into the coalition through the Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) as a unique decision.
“He is quite lucky to have been admitted as his entry into the SPDP is before the admission of the party into the Barisan Nasional,” he said.
SPDP, headed by state Environment and Public Health Minister Datuk William Mawan Ikom, replaced deregistered Sarawak National Party (SNAP) in the coalition.
Taib, who is the Chief Minister, was asked to comment on Judat’s acceptance as a SPDP member after he received a cheque for RM25,000 from Syarikat Takaful Malaysia Bhd at his office in Menara Pelita here yesterday.
The money given out under Skim Takaful Pelajar Sekolah Malaysia was to the families of the five schoolchildren of SK Iban Union in Ulu Balingian, Mukah Division, who died in a hostel fire recently.
Taib said he would have objected to Judat’s admission into any other component party because that would be like taking away the seat quota of another Barisan partner.
Judat resigned from Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) and contested against SNAP-nominated Barisan candidate Geman Itam in the last state polls, and won.
Taib said he was pleased that former SNAP senior vice-president and Limbang assemblyman Richard Wong Shoon Fook had joined the SPDP, and hoped that more ex-SNAP members would follow suit.
On the retirement of the last SNAP president Datuk Amar James Wong Kim Min, 81, from politics, Taib said Wong deserved the respect of the people as the longest serving member of the state assembly.
The SPDP now has seven assemblymen in the 62-seat state legislature.
The state coalition’s backbone, Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Persatu (PBB), has 30 assemblymen, Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) 16 and Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) eight.
DAP assemblyman for Kidurong Chiew Chu Sing is now the only opposition member.
Mawan said the two “Wongs” would be eligible to contest for the post of vice-president in the party’s inaugural general assembly here on Feb 8 and 9.
Consensus has been reached that there will be no contest for the posts of president and deputy president and two senior vice-presidents.