Hiccup at TGA, not end of SNAP

By Joseph Tawie, FMT

KUCHING:  Just out from an eight year political turmoil, Sarawak National Party is hit by yet another ‘crisis’ that forced the party’s highest decision-making body, the central executive committee (CEC), to postpone its triennial general assembly (TGA) at the last minute.

The TGA and the party’s presidential polls was scheduled to have been held yesterday morning.

Four days ago SNAP received a letter from peninsular-based  People’s Progressive Party (PPP)  saying that presidential candidate Michael Lias was a member.

SNAP’s constitution does not allow for double memberships.

Also Lias is currently a member of SNAP’s CEC, the party’s highest decision-making body.

The disclosure threatened the polls.

To preserve the intergrity of the presidential election, the CEC decided to postpone Sunday’s TGA and polls to a later date.

Explaining the situation, out-going SNAP president Edwin Dundang said: “We received a letter on Sept 22 from PPP saying that Michael Lias, who has offered himself as a contender for the post of president of SNAP is its member.

“We don’t want to deny him the right to contest, but we have to be very clear regarding his status in the party and to be fair to him and to the party, we give him a show cause letter and should come back to us within 30 days to answer and to clarify.

“While waiting for all this, the CEC gives itself 60 days to organise the TGA. I hope this will give us a good breathing space,” he said.

Dundang said that Article 3 of the party constitution clearly stated that the party will never accept anyone who is known to be a member of other political party or someone who is known to be bankrupt or someone who has been jailed.

He said: “If you are a member of SNAP and are found to be a member of other political party, you are deemed to have resigned from SNAP.

“But if you are to rejoin SNAP, you need to reapply, and this has been the precedent and the case in the past.

“Michael has been sitting as CEC member since 2009, because we did not know that he is a member of PPP,” he said.

Not a  PPP member

Lias however is insisting that he is no longer a PPP member.

On his part, Lias has submitted a statutory declaration to SNAP stating that he did join PPP on Sept 14, 2009 as an ordinary member but had ceased to be a member as his yearly membership had been duly expired and was never renewed.