KUCHING: The newly-formed Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) has made an early decision on the next Barisan Nasional candidate for the Saratok parliamentary seat, now held by veteran politician Datuk Peter Tinggom.
The party has named vice-president Jelaing Mersat to fill the place of the 78-year-old former deputy minister for National Unity and Community Development. He was the senior private secretary to Tinggom when he was deputy minister.
SPDP president Datuk William Mawan Ikom said, however, Jelaing’s candidacy would first have to be endorsed by the ruling Barisan coalition.
Tinggom, the deputy president of the Sarawak National Party (SNAP) before it was deregistered last November, recently announced that he was retiring from politics and would not seek re-election.
At the SPDP’s inaugural general assembly here last week, the party made him their “permanent president.”
Jelaing was one of the four political secretaries to the Chief Minister aligned to the group, headed by Mawan, which was embroiled in a six-month power struggle with SNAP president Datuk Amar James Wong before it was deregistered.
At the height of the SNAP crisis, Jelaing chaired a special national council meeting of the party to censure Wong and four other key party officials.
He said he has travelled widely and met constituents in Saratok as part of his political work.