KUCHING: The crisis in Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) has worsened with the two rival factions opting to go for a “head-on collision.”
The group led by president Daniel Tajem has called for a supreme council meeting today to endorse former party head Datuk Amar Leo Moggie’s appointment of Tajem and seven new supreme council members.
The faction led by Datuk Dr James Masing, who was removed together with nine others by Moggie, was unlikely to attend the meeting as the members were on a roadshow to meet grassroots members.
The group is said to be planning to convene an extraordinary delegates conference to settle the leadership tussle.
Dr James, who was dropped as PBDS information chief four days ago, promised to “right the wrong” allegedly carried out by Moggie and Tajem.
“Since we (Dr Masing and the seven supreme council members aligned to him) were dropped in a high-handed manner, we will fight back and call for the extraordinary delegates conference,” he said.
He said no date had been fixed and the faction would first convene its own supreme council meeting.
Dr Masing, the party’s sole state minister (Social Development and Urbanisation), said what his group had done and would do was similar to what had happened in the Sarawak National Party (SNAP) in its recent leadership tussle.
The leadership struggle in SNAP split the party into two groups, with one led by then president Datuk Amar James Wong Kim Min and the other by then vice-president Datuk William Mawan Ikom.
Dr Masing said: “We will leave it to the authorities concerned to decide who has the legitimate claim to PBDS.”
He said there was no justice in removing him and his supporters from the supreme council just because “I am a threat to them (the Moggie-Tajem group).”
Moggie withdrew the appointments of Dr Masing, secretary-general Stanley Ajang, treasurer-general Joseph Sallang and seven ordinary supreme council members when he stepped down as party president on Wednesday.
However, Ajang and Joseph were immediately reappointed by Tajem after he took over as the new party president.
Tajem also appointed Paul Kadang to replace Dr Masing besides appointing six other new supreme council members.
Dr Masing said his group was now on a state-wide roadshow to explain to grassroots leaders the latest developments.
He said they were unhappy the developments had caused tensions in the party.
However, he said the grassroots support for his group was intact.
Party vice-president Datuk S’ng Chee Hua confirmed he would be with Dr Masing’s group in the roadshow to meet grassroots leaders in Bintulu and Miri today.
“We will meet them over lunch in Bintulu and then proceed to Miri,” he said.
S’ng, the party’s highest ranking non-Dayak leader, earlier announced he would be the running mate for Dr Masing in the coming party election.
They declared their candidacy for the top two posts last month.
S’ng said he had not seen the notice of the supreme council meeting.
Dr Masing failed to unseat Tajem as deputy president in the last polls and all his supporters also lost to Tajem’s men in the contest for various key posts.
Dr Masing said Tajem’s group should be happy to let the same delegates who had then voted against him (Dr Masing) to decide again who should lead the party.
“I see this as the only solution to get the party out of the impasse. Otherwise the party will face a possible split,” he added.