Datuk Sylvester Entri’s sacking as member of the Sarawak Progressive Democratic party (SPDP) has minimal impact on the overall Barisan Nasional (BN) performance in the state.
Political analysts believe the decision would not have much impact on BN, particularly in rural areas, due to BN’s popularity among voters there.
“BN will still win. I don’t see any impact. The fact is that, in the rural areas, as long as you are BN, the voters will tend to vote for you. It’s still the dacing party logo, instead of the popular face,” said Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) political analyst Stanley Bye Kadam Kiai.
Moreover, he said, SPDP was regarded as a small party and it was unlikely to make any negative impact as it would be difficult for those being sacked to form a new party outside BN.
“I am not sure whether they will eventually form a new party but it would be very difficult for them to do so. The BN arrangement is that they will not allow any new member without any agreement from SPDP,” he added.
However, Stanley Bye believes the latest development in SPDP is “not good for Dayak Politics” but it is not something new in the state.
“Since 1987, we have seen this. From SNAP (Sarawak National Party) to PBDS (now defunct Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak), to PRS (Parti Rakyat Sarawak) and SPDP,” he said.
Another analyst at Unimas’ Institute of East Asian Studies, Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi, said even if Entri was popular with the people in the constituency, at the end of the day, they would still vote for BN, regardless of the candidate.
“It has been proven in the case of the Ming Court affair in 1987. When the state assembly was dissolved after that, the people still voted BN in the election,” he said.
The Ming Court affair is referred to the effort of a group of politicians headed by former Sarawak governor Tun Abdul Rahman Yaakub in March 1987, planning to topple the state government under the leadership of his nephew, Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.
This prompted Abdul Taib to call for a snap state election where subsequently, the state BN under his charge still won most of the seats against the politicans who supported Abdul Rahman.
However, Awang Azman believes SPDP president Tan Sri William Mawan’s image will be affected as some members may query why only Entri was sacked but not the other four leaders who supported him (Entri).
The other four leaders are senior vice-president Datuk Peter Nansian, vice-presidents Datuk Dr Tiki Lafe, Rosey Yunus and information chief Paulus Palu Gumbang.
“Looking at the various press reports, you will find that Nansian was similarly vocal but was not sacked. This will raise some questions whether the decision (to sack Entri) was personal,” he said.
Therefore, he said, there might be some protests in the party but he believed Mawan would have consulted or explained the party’s decision with the state and national BN leadership.
Sarawak Chief Minister and state BN chairman Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, in an immediate reaction on Friday, said he wanted things to “cool down first” and would meet the party leaders over the matter.
On Friday night, Taib held a closed-door meeting with state BN leaders at his residence. The meeting’s agenda was not immediately known.
Nevertheless, party sources said BN leaders were concerned over Entri’s sacking as he was not an ordinary state assemblyman and was handpicked by the top state leadership to contest in Marudi in the 1996 state election under the SPDP banner. — BERNAMA