SARIKEI, June 13 (Bernama) — Julau member of parliament Datuk Joseph Salang was in high spirits after visiting more than 15 longhouses in the Meluan and Pakan state constituencies (forming the Julau seat) over the weekends.
The three-term incumbent and Deputy Minister of Information, Communications and Culture has plenty of reasons to feel so. His grip on Julau, the size of the whole state of Negeri Sembilan and currently with 20,761 registered voters, is as solid as ever and still growing.
This is despite the continuous provocations and allegations by a fellow politician that people of the two seats want him replaced.
This is because according to Wong anak Judat, the Meluan state assemblyman from a BN component party, the Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP), Salang is “from neighbouring Bintangor and not a local-born and bred and as such, has no real heart for Julau’s future”.
Salang’s visits to over 10 longhouses in the Nansang and Sungai Rusa interiors were unannounced. He wanted to personally check on the number of longhouses and families affected by the growing fresh water shortage.
KUCHING: SPDP vice president Wong Judat yesterday asserted that he was still a BN man and very much in SPDP, casting aside aspersions that that he had put himself in a position that had become an affront to the ruling coalition.
The Meluan assemblyman also denied that he was contemplating leaving BN and SPDP.
“How can I quit BN and SPDP? I am a strongman of SPDP. I am a strong BN supporter. I brought the seat of Meluan to SPDP and therefore to BN,” he told The Borneo Post yesterday.
Wong was clarifying a news report that he was ‘supporting’ the newly registered Sarawak Workers Party (SWP) as he was seen shaking hands with SWP prime mover Datuk Sng Chee Hua, who is tipped to contest under SWP ticket against BN possible candidate Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum in Julau in the coming 13th general election.
On this, he explained that the meeting with Sng at the function in Nanga Entabai, Julau on April 28 was by chance and not by design.
He said the function was a BN ‘Leader-Meet-The People’ session organised by Tuai Rumah Budul, and disclosed that he (Wong) had the letter from the longhouse chief to prove that he was invited to grace it.
“It was not an SWP function. It was my function as a BN assemblyman meeting the constituents,” he explained.
“I still keep the letter of invitation for all to see. It (the Nanga Entabai event) was a BN Leader-Meet-The People function. It was a friend’s event. It was therefore not a SWP function. And Datuk Sng just happened to be there,” said Wong, adding that he would explain the situation further on May 6 at Pakan, Julau.
“I will explain everything in Pakan,” he said. Pakan is an SPDP state seat currently held by its president Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom who is also a senior state minister.
When told that Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) secretary-general Datuk Wilfred Rata Nissom was unhappy with the latest development in Julau, Wong replied that several quarters had capitalised on the issue.
On his take on Salang, Wong said it was indeed true he had personal problems with the PRS vice-president, whom he (Wong) described as not a winnable candidate for BN in the coming polls. He, however, said he had no problems with PRS as a party.
On April 14, Mawan told the press that the personal vendetta between Wong and Salang was real and it was manifested at a particular function where both men (Salang and Wong) were jostling over a microphone to explain what had happened to the stalled RM3 million Nanga Entabai-Rantau Limau road project.
Wong initially won Meluan as an independent by beating Sarawak National Party (SNAP) candidate, the late Geman Itam, in 2001 state polls. Subsequently he joined SPDP when SNAP was deregistered in November 2002.
Wong was known to be vocal at the grassroots level, making him a popular leader with the locals in Julau.
Sng, on the other hand, is a former Julau MP (1995 to 1999) during the era of Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) before Salang, the then PBDS treasurer-general, took over from Sng. Salang is currently a federal deputy minister.
KUCHING: SPDP had formed a Special Chinese Outreach Committee.
The formation of the committee was announced by the president Tan Sri William Mawan after the party’s supreme council meeting at the party headquarters.
Mawan, who is Social Develop–ment Minister, said the role of the committee, which is headed by SPDP deputy president and Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing and treasurer general Senator Pau Chiung Ung, was to examine various ways of getting the Chinese active in the state Barisan.
He said although the majority of urban Chinese had voted for the Opposition, SPDP believed that it was not because they like the DAP.
“There are reasons why they did not vote for Barisan and the committee has been tasked to look into them and bring them back to mainstream politics.
“If we don’t play our role in this area, we will be accused of not working outside our own areas,” he said yesterday.
Mawan said the committee would look for some collaborative efforts with other component parties on the matter.
“We are not looking at Bintulu only, but also other predominantly Chinese seats,” he said.
Respond from Mawan on the alleged back-stabbing in Julau.
Wong-Salang quarrel can be settled privately, says Mawan
KUCHING: SPDP president Tan Sri William Mawan had expressed “deep regret” that the personal differences between Datuk Joseph Salang and Wong Judat had become a public affair.
He said the differences could be resolved amicably behind closed doors if there was sincerity in doing so.
Mawan, who is Social Develop–ment Minister, said he was aware of the personal differences between the two leaders, but never thought it would be a serious issue.
He said Wong, who was a close friend of Salang for more than 10 years, was unhappy with the latter over a road project.
He said at one function, both of them even tried to seize a microphone from each other to explain the issue to the audience.
He said since that incident, they were no longer in good terms, and Salang only helped him (Mawan) and not Wong in the last state polls.
Mawan said during the elections, some of Salang’s supporters were allegedly campaigning against Wong.
“Because of that, Wong was not happy and said he would campaign against Salang in the parliamentary election.
“To me, it is better to resolve this matter in private and not in the press,” he said in response to PRS’ warning to Barisan Nasional leaders against sabotaging Julau.
Mawan said some people could have stirred up the personal differences between the two for their own advantages.
He believed the Julau constituency was causing a lot of worries to PRS primarily because an old enemy was making a comeback.
He said former Julau MP Datuk Sng Chee Hua has been going to the ground to meet his own men and promoting the Sarawak Workers Party.
He believed Wong would subscribe to team work if there was sincere effort made to resolve the differences.
“I’m prepared to discuss the matter if PRS leadership wants to meet me. But I can’t come to see them and say I’m sorry because I or SPDP has done nothing wrong to PRS,” he said.