ONE VOICE.... Laju (centre) shows the letter that they will be sending to Najib in support for Mawan’s recommendation calling for the party to be given cabinet posts. Seated right is deputy secretary-general Paul Igai and Bukit Assek division chairman Tiong Yong Hing.
By : PETER BOON
SIBU: At least 40 Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) branches will send a joint petition to the Prime Minister for consideration to give the party a full minister and a deputy minister post in the federal cabinet.
Yesterday, 12 SPDP branches in the central region revealed their intention while voicing deep disappointment over the exclusion of the party in the new cabinet.
The divisions were Bukit Assek, Bawang Assan, Pelawan, Dudong, Meluan, Nangka, Ngemah, Pakan, Tamin, Repok, Pelagus and Machan.
Believing that this could be a case of an honest oversight, the spokesman for the group and Supreme Council member James Laju Ambok told a press conference here yesterday that they would forward a letter to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Monday.
“We hope it is an honest oversight as we cannot really imagine it to be any other reasons,” Laju said.
He added that they were looking at nothing less than what they previously had, where they were given the deputy minister of International Trade and Industry and deputy transport minister posts.
The letter, he elaborated, was in support of the recommendation letter sent by the party president Tan Sri William Mawan earlier.
“We are getting signatures from all our 40 divisions before sending it to the PM. We strongly support our president’s recommendations to PM for the three (MPs) to be appointed to the cabinet post given SPDP’s fine run in the just concluded 13th General Election where we won all the four seats contested.
“Therefore, it is our fervent hope that the senior MP could be appointed to a full minister post while the other two a deputy minister. That is our first priority which is no less than what we had in the previous cabinet,” he said, adding that Mawan had made it known that he would stick to the state cabinet post.
Laju, who is also SPDP Bawang Assan division chairman, assured that they were not preparing anything drastic.
“We have never thought of getting away from BN. This is far off the mark but we do hope that PM will announce something favourable for the party soon. We have contributed rather well in the last general election.
“We are not asking for more nor pressing our demand here. We just hope to be given what is fitting and justifiable to SPDP.”
Towards this end, he stated that there was no question on the ability of their MPs as far appointment to the federal cabinet was concerned.
Citing Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing, he said Tiong had received over 7,000 majority votes and had been the chairman of federal BN backbencher club.
On Mas Gading MP Anthony Nogeh Gumbek, he was trained as a lawyer and was the deputy general manager of Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra).
On Baram MP Anyi Ngau, he said was a former district officer.
Regarding their members’ sentiment, he said they were keeping a cool head as they believed it was an honest oversight.
Asked if there was no response to their request, Laju said: “We are very hopeful and hoping for the best in the light of our success in the just concluded general election. We expect good news from PM.”
Earlier, the chairmen from the 12 divisions, gathered here for a celebration of their victory in the election.
Najib announced the new cabinet line-up on Wednesday, where PBB got four full ministers and three deputy ministers’ posts.
PRS has one full minister and a deputy minister while SUPP has one full minister. (BP)