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Sunday, January 30, 2011

PRS strongman quits BN, slams ‘bully’ Taib

Parti Rakyat Sarawak strongman Tedwin Ngumbang's move out of Barisan Nasional's fold is a boost to resurging Sarawak National Party (SNAP).

KUCHING: In a shocking move Parti Rakyat Sarawak’s (PRS) strongman Tedwin Ngumbang has quit the party he founded, slamming Chief Minister Taib Mahmud for ‘bullying and ignoring’ PRS.

Ngumbang, who is ‘special adviser’ to party president James Masing, said Taib ‘consistenty ignored’ Masing’s requests and demands which were in the interest of the Dayak community and this compelled him to resign.

“I am uncomfortable to see PRS being bullied and ignored by Taib.

“What the PRS president asks in the name and interest of Dayaks in letters to Taib, the chief minister does not reply. He just ignores them,” he said, pointing out that Masing tried his best.

Ngumbang’s resignation has shaken the political community in PRS as he is seen as someone who has ‘everything’ going for him, both in business and politics.

His move from his ‘comfort zone’ has thrown-up speculations of a possible exodus to revive Sarawak National Party (SNAP).

Ngumbang, who announced his decison to SNAP president Edwin Dundang after a SNAP symposium here yesterday, said: “I cannot stand it anymore. I cannot stand to see how Taib treats PRS and Masing.”

Citing the case of controversial assemblyman Larry Sng and the Pelagus seat, Ngumbang said Taib had added insult-to-injury when he ignored Masing’s call to replace Sng from his ministerial post.

“It was a slap for PRS. Larry (Sng) was sacked from PRS and Masing wanted him to be replaced as an assistant minister with another PRS elected representative.

“But Taib not only ignores Masing, but gives two more assistant ministerial posts to Sng. This is an insult not only to PRS, but to the Dayak community.

“I cannot stand this anymore,” he said.

Founding member

Ngumbang was one of those responsible for the formation of PRS during the leadership crisis of Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) which led to its deregistration on Oct 21, 2004.

At the same time PRS was registered, claiming to replace PBDS.

And in the crisis of the newly formed PRS, Tedewin also played a leading role which led to the expulsion of Larry Sng from the party in April in 2009.

Commenting on Ngumbang’s resignation, PRS secretary general Wilfred Nissom said that he expected to receive the former’s resignation letter this Monday.

“Tedewin (Ngumbang) has a cause for which he has a strong feeling. We respect his decision to want to leave PRS in order to pursue his cause,” Nissom said.

Challenging Jabu?

Meanwhile Ngumbang’s resignation has prompted speculation that he may take on incumbent Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu Numpang in the Layar constituency in the coming state election. Jabu has been representing the area for more than 36 years.

Ngumbang, who is related to Jabu, is very popular among the people of Layar.

Ngumbang is believed to ‘know the insides’ about Jabu and may want to use such information in the coming election.

“For the time being, I am assessing my chances in Layar,” said Ngumbang when asked of his plans.

“I want to talk to my supporters first … I want to know whether they prefer me or Joe Unggang,” he added, saying that he believed that a three-cornered fight was likely in Layar as PKR was also keen on the seat.

SNAP, which has its birthplace in Betong, is certain to contest the seat. In fact, it has identified a number of candidates for the seat.

SNAP secretary general Stanley Jugol welcomed Tedewin to join the party, but could not promise him anything.

“SNAP welcomes anyone who shares its struggle to join the party,” he said.

He agreed that Ngumbang’s move to SNAP will likely compell many more disillusioned members of the BN to join the party in the next few weeks. - FMT

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