Following an embarrassing defeat in the April 16 state election, SNAP may overhaul its leadership in preparation for the 13th general election.
KUCHING: Sarawak National Party (SNAP), which dropped out of the political radar screen following its embarrassing performance in April 16 state election, may see changes in its leadership ahead of the 13th general election.
The party is scheduled to have its triennial general assembly and elections on Sept 24 and 25.
Already word is that the presidency is being contested.
Beleagured SNAP president Edwin Dundang, who was blamed for the party’s poor performance during the polls, had in June indicated that he would step down to give way to “fresh young blood”.
“We have many capable young leaders who can take SNAP back to its former glory,” he had told FMT.
But few took Dundang’s words seriously.
Yesterday, party secretary-general Stanley Jugol confirmed that Dundang had reiterated his stand.
“It is most likely that the party will have a new president…
“The president (Dundang) has said that he wants young blood to take over,” Jugol said, adding that three contenders had already picked up the nomination forms.
Nomination for the president’s post closes on Sept 17.
When asked if he was one of the contenders, Jugol said: “Many (party members) have asked me to vie for the post…” Polls performance
Meanwhile, the general assembly is expected to be a heated affair.
The SNAP leaders have a lot of explaining to do in relation to the state election and its credibility following various allegations.
In the April 16 polls, SNAP contested in 26 constituencies and lost all its deposits except one.
In the runup to the polls, SNAP was deeply embroiled in a seat tussle with Pakatan Rakyat coalition partner PKR.
It also had to contend with allegations that it was a Barisan Nasional stooge.
SNAP has, however, denied allegations that it was a BN ally and accused Umno spinmasters of destroying the party’s credibility.
Many observers, however, felt that it was a wrong move for the party to have even considered contesting in the April 16 polls especially since it had been in political slumber since November 2002.
That year SNAP was de-registered after it failed to resolve a protracted leadership crisis.
However in June last year, the party finally succeeded in getting the Court of Appeal to set aside its de-registration.
Any plans for a slow comeback, however, was thwarted when speculations of a possible state election began surfacing and SNAP, with its impressive pedigree, became a target for an ambitious Pakatan Rakyat.
Early this year, Pakatan declared it was forging an alliance with SNAP, hoping to cash in on its past glory.
But “poor treatment” and a “lack of respect” over seat allocations with PKR put off SNAP.
It was around this time that inconspicuous power-broker Sallehuddin Hashim allegedly came into the picture.
Sallehuddin is the former PKR secretary-general.
He is best remembered as the man who allegedly brokered the defection of parlimentarians Zuklifili Nordin (Kulim), Tan Tee Beng (Nibong Tebal) and Zahrain Hashim (Bayan Baru) along with ex-Penanti assemblyman and former Penang deputy minister Mohd Fairus Khairuddin.
Sallehuddin was seen as a link to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, who was allegedly wooing “individuals and groups” in Sarawak as a backup in the event BN fell short of of winning a two-thirds majority.
But BN went on to win 55 seats in the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly and SNAP was left to lick its wound.
According to Jugol, there were still many party matters that have not been unresolved.
He is expecting the general assembly and the new team to look into these issues.
“All I can say now is that the new set of office-bearers will sit down to discuss all these matters after the general assembly,” he said.