KUCHING: The number of branches which will be allowed to vote at Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak's (PBDS) triennial delegates conference (TDC) on July 26 and 27 here will hold the key to determining the winners of the party elections.
Whether the branches are from the strongholds of the party’s new president Datuk Daniel Tajem or former information chief Datuk Dr James Masing will be a telling sign on how the delegates are likely to vote.
Tajem and Dr James Masing are expected to meet head on in the contest for the top post.
The president’s post has never been contested since the rural-based party was formed in 1983, headed by Datuk Amar Leo Moggie.
The number of branches which are eligible to send delegates to the TDC has become a contentious issue between Tajem and Dr Masing.
The May supreme council meeting, chaired by then president Leo Moggie decided that only branches set up by Aug 24, last year, and registered by the Registrar of Societies (ROS) as at Feb 24 this year, would be eligible to send three delegates to the conference.
But their eligibility would have to be vetted by the Credentials Committee to ensure that they had functioned in accordance with the party constitution.
Dr Masing’s group has insisted that the party stick to the 206 branches which attended the TDC in 2000.
But party secretary-general Stanley Ajang pointed out that the party has 252 branches based on the ROS’ list.
Dr Masing said his group was against each branch sending three delegates because this would be against the party constitution, which stated that the number of delegates a branch could send would be determined by its membership strength.
The reconstituted Credentials Committee, headed by Datuk Dr Jawie Masing, met three times since Thursday to decide which branch could send delegates and to finalise the preparations for the polls.
It is understood that the three-man committee completed its meeting yesterday and agreed to uphold the supreme council’s decision that all eligible branches send three delegates.
In a related development in Kapit yesterday, Dr James Masing and PBDS vice-president Datuk S’ng Chee Hua jointly handed over a letter pledging undivided loyalty to Chief Minister and state Barisan Nasional chairman Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.
The letter carried the joint signatures of the party’s 172 branch leaders.
The letter was handed over to Taib at a luncheon at the Civic Centre. More than 500 PBDS grassroots leaders attended the luncheon. Also present were representatives from other Barisan Nasional component parties.