Former MP leads group to join DAP

The move by former PKR members to join DAP unlikely to affect unity within Sarawak Pakatan Rakyat

(Free Malaysia Today) – Twenty former PKR branch leaders and members have applied to join Sarawak DAP much to the concern of political pundits who feel that the ‘hop’ will threaten the ‘fragility’ of the unity within Sarawak Pakatan Rakyat in view of the coming general election.

Both PKR and DAP alongwith PAS form the opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat. One political observer believes Pakatan should discourage party members jumping ship from within the coalition as such an action would jeopardise the coalition’s unity and strategy.

The 20 members are being led by Jimmy Donald, a former state PKR vice-chairman. The rest include Jonas AK Reong, former chairman of PKR Serian Division, and Munan Laja, former chairman of Kapit PKR division.

Before joining PKR, they were mostly members of Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and aligned to now partyless and ‘seatless’ Larry Sng, who is also assistant minister in Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s Cabinet.

When PRS president James Masing sacked Sng in 2006, the 20 left the party and joined PKR.

No outright acceptance

State DAP secretary Chong Chieng Jen, when receiving the membership application forms,  said that any decision to accept the 20 as members would only happen after the party had discussed the matter with state PKR leaders.

“From DAP’s point of view there are two conditions before we should consider the membership applications. Firstly, those members who want to join us should not breach any discipline of PKR or have been sacked by PKR for breach of party discipline.

“The second is that members who join us should not speak badly about PKR, or criticise or attack PKR because we are in the PK coalition. We will speak to PKR leaders before accepting them to DAP. There is no outright acceptance,” said Chong, who is also the Kota Sentosa assemblyman.

Chong said DAP will stick by its ‘guiding principles’ in deciding whether or not to accept the new entries.

“DAP and PKR have a common bond and that is to topple Barisan Nasional government and to implement the policies of Pakatan when it becomes the government. hese policies are contained in our Buku Jingga as well as in our alternative budget,” he said.

‘DAP most autonomous national party’

Earlier in handing their membership applications to DAP, Donald who is the former MP for Sri Aman said: “We have chosen DAP because it is the most autonomous national party in Sarawak as its state chief is elected by the members in Sarawak as opposed to other national parties whose state chiefs are appointed from Kuala Lumpur.

“This is a very important consideration as the Barisan Nasional will fall. It is not a question of if but when. Sarawak is a very special state with many special rights. We have seen in Sabah where the state chief is appointed from Kuala Lumpur.

“Sabah now has more immigrants than the rightful people because at the behest of Kuala Lumpur the chief minster opened the state to all comers from other states in Malaysia.

“In Sarawak, we have to safeguard the 18 points agreement which was agreed upon at the formation of Malaysia,” Donald said.

Insisting that Sarawakians must join nationwide political parties, Donald said that the present set-up whereby Sarawakians are ruled by state-wide parties only means that many able Sarawakians miss out hundreds, if not thousands of federal appointments and many decision-making opportunities in the federal government ministries, government-linked company (GLC), statutory bodies, service commissions and other ad hoc bodies.

“In my 13 years as a member of parliament, I have studied nearly all their annual reports and management structures and sadly in 99.9% of the cases there are no Sarawakians. In one or two rare cases, there are Sarawakian names but unfailingly, they are always the same people and the cronies of one man.

“Only if we are in the national parties can we hope to be included in all levels and sectors of the Malaysian Federation and bring real change to the lives of Sarawakians,” Donald said.