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Thursday, March 4, 2021

PM's 'commitment to justice' and affability prompted Julau MP to defect

 


Muhyiddin Yassin's performance as prime minister and his composure were among the reasons which convinced Larry Sng to abandon PKR and support the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.

After the Pakatan Harapan government collapsed in February last year and was replaced by the PN government, Sng, who is the Julau MP and former Sarawak PKR chief, has been closely observing Muhyiddin as he steers the country amid the pandemic and economic downturn.

"I have seen Muhyiddin's performance. He doesn't talk very much and he goes to the ground (to meet the people).

"Those who had (court) cases were also brought to justice. These are the values that we can resonate with," he said in an interview with Malaysiakini yesterday (March 3).

Asked about his experience and thoughts on PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, the soft-spoken Sng revealed that there was no animosity.

"He is a very charismatic man. From what we can see, he is very diligent in trying to reach his goal," he said.

However, Sng appeared critical of Anwar's refusal to cooperate with the rest of the opposition.

"We have heard on numerous occasions that he has the numbers, but Pakatan Harapan is still in the opposition. I think the issue that Harapan should resolve in particular is with respect to opposition (figures such as) Mohd Shafie Apdal and Dr Mahathir Mohamad ... whether they can work together with Anwar to form a formidable coalition. At this time, things look clear (that they cannot)," he said.

Young maverick

Sng, 41, is the scion of Kapit-based business family with strong political connections.

His political career began at the age of 22, then a student at the London School of Economics, when he won the Pelagus seat as a BN "direct candidate".

Following this, he had stints in Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Sarawak Workers Party (SWP).

In the 2018 general election, he stood as an independent candidate for the Julau parliamentary seat and scored an upset when he won against BN heavyweight Joseph Salang Gandum.

Sng and another PKR defector Steven Choong with Muhyiddin.

A few days later, he joined PKR and in a few months was elected to PKR's central leadership council.

On Feb 28, he left PKR to side with Muhyiddin's PN.

'Julau deserves better'

Moving forward, Sng said his focus now was the welfare of his voters in Julau - a rural constituency which he said had a land mass the size of Perlis and Malacca combined.

Being part of PN now meant that he would have access to up to RM4 million in federal funds a year, which he said was necessary to help his constituents who are mostly impoverished bumiputera people.

Therefore, Sng said he was not bothered about being labelled a "frog" as long as his constituents receive help.

"The people in my constituency are happy (for the defection) ... to see that I have become PN- friendly.

"Now I am able to help them and develop the constituency. Political ideology is also in the same direction (as the government)," he said.

Sng said he had also noticed the development in the Lubuk Antu constituency after its incumbent MP Jugah Muyang left PKR to become PN-friendly.

"When Jugah left PKR a few months ago, he declared himself PN-friendly. We can see that he was able to bring development to the constituency and I think this is what my supporters would like to see happen in Julau.

"It's crucial for the development from the government to continue in our constituency," he said.

'Urban folks don't understand'

However, Sng apologised to Harapan supporters who were hoping the opposition can reclaim the government from PN.

"I know now there is anger and disappointment. For that, I apologise but I have to take care of my people first because they are poor.

"As their representative, I am responsible for their welfare," he said.

He stressed that not many people understand the situation in Julau, especially those in the city.

"It's unfair for those in the urban area to criticise my move. They have to have compassion and empathy.

"They have to understand that the people in Julau are very poor. Although I'm a Chinese and 95 percent of the people I represent are Dayak, I want to see them prosper.

"I don't feel shame and I don't feel guilty. My people expect change and I did it," he said. - Mkini

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