Sng scion next Sarawak PKR torchbearer?

Larry (left) and Anwar. – Star picture

AFTER nearly a week of political chaos in Malaysia following the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan federal government, the nation waits anxiously for the appointment of the next prime minister.

However, there is another issue that PKR needs to resolve urgently – to appoint a new chairman to lead Sarawak after Baru Bian, who is also the Selangau MP and Ba’kelalan state assemblyman, abandoned ship.

The grassroots leaders and members voiced their concern over the need for a new captain to avoid a further split among supporters.

This is also for them to prepare better for the next state polls; otherwise, it could further weaken the party.

Sarawak PKR is now left with three MPs and one state assemblyman – after three leaders left the party with the pro-Datuk Seri Azmin Ali faction.

Although Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How did not clearly state if he would quit the party, he told Borneo Post that they are looking forward to a new political vehicle.

He will have a meeting with the others to decide the next course of action.

Apart from Baru, Saratok MP and Krian assemblyman Ali Biju and Puncak Borneo MP Willie Mongin also followed suit.

Meanwhile, three MPs remaining in the party are Julau MP Larry Sng, Dr Michael Teo (Miri) and Jugah Muyang (Lubok Antu), who are strongly behind their party president, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Sng, who is also a member of the party’s central leadership, is most likely to stand a higher chance among the three, due to his experience in politics.

He won in the 14th General Election (GE14) as an independent candidate and later joined PKR.

Even before the May 9 polls, Baru had reportedly said the party would not be contesting the Julau parliamentary seat as there was a strong independent candidate, referring to Sng and also welcoming him to join Pakatan Harapan.

The 40-year old from Kapit, who is a Chinese can speak Iban fluently and even do the “Ngajat” (an Iban traditional welcome dance) while also being well known among Sarawakians.

He entered politics at a young age and replaced his father as the BN candidate for Pelagus (Kapit) in the 2001 state polls. He won and held the seat for two terms.

Sng comes from an illustrious family. His father, Datuk Sng Chee Hua was a long-time state legislator and tycoon, and known for his philanthropic deeds. The younger Sng is married to daughter of another Sarawak tycoon, Tan Sri Ting Pek Khiing.

In 2004, he became the youngest assistant minister in Sarawak when he was appointed by then Sarawak chief minister Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud at the age of 25.

He had held leadership positions in three Sarawak-based political parties.

He was in the past supreme council member of Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) which was de-registered, a deputy secretary-general in PBDS offshoot Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), and had subsequently founded PRS splinter party, Sarawak Workers Party (SWP) which he later quit as president after four years.

While PKR has been fighting for the Native Customary Rights (NCR) lands over the years as one of the party’s core issues, Sng is known to prioritise education for rural children.

Believing that only education would allow village kids to compete with those in the urban areas and enjoy better living standards, the Larry Sng Education Fund was established in 2001, to assist students in the rural areas and ease their financial burdens.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Pakatan Harapan Chairman Chong Chieng Jen said he expected a re-alignment of the Sarawak PKR leadership but believed the coalition will be more united and resolute to face the state election due next year.

In the last state election, there were six overlapping seats where both DAP and PKR contested.

This was despite an agreement which had been signed by the then PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng with regards to seat allocations in the state polls in 2016.

The overlapping seats were Mulu, Mambong, Murum, Simanggang, Ngemah and Bukit Kitang.

With the departure of Azmin and Baru from PKR, it may allow Sarawak PH to have better seat negotiations and avoid recurrences of overlapping seats, which will only benefit the third-party.