The withdrawal of an election petition-the sole petition after the 10th Sarawak state elections, means that the people won’t be able to hear from court proceedings the ways money politics worked in the elections.The people -especially those from Pelagus, will live with a suspicion that may be their representative is not really the rightfully elected rep!
Defeated Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) candidate Stanley Nyitar last Friday applied to the Sibu High Court to withdraw his application to nullify the election of an independent candidate George Lagong (photo) in the Pelagus seat.On May 20, he had applied to the court to declare Lagong’s election null and void as his victory was allegedly influenced by money politics.
Meanwhile, Lagong had also applied to strike out the petition. High Court Judge Rahman Sebli has fixed Aug 12 to hear both applications.
Lagong defeated Nyitar by a 2,837-vote majority when he secured 5,740 votes to Nyitar’s 2,903. But PRS president James Masing had alleged that Lagong’s victory was due to the influence of money politics.
It is believed that the petition is to be withdrawn on the advice of the top Barisan Nasional (BN) leadership in the “interest” of the state BN.
When contacted, Masing refused to comment on this, but party’s secretary-general Wilfred Nissom has more or less confirmed it.
“It seems that Masing was asked to do so by the BN leadership and he in turn asked Nyitar to withdraw the petition,” Nissom said.
But many unhappy PRS members and supporters feel the party should proceed with the petition if there is “sufficient” evidence that money was allegedly used by Lagong to defeat Nyitar.
They feel that the withdrawal gave the impression that the party is at the mercy of the BN.
However, it is believed that one of the reasons for withdrawing the petition is that the party is uncertain of winning even though it may have “sufficient” proof.
There are others who suggest that the move has something to do with the September state Cabinet reshuffle where Masing is tipped to be appointed as one of the deputy chief ministers.
The vacant post arose following the defeat of former deputy chief minister Dr George Chan of Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) together with 11 others in the last election.
Some PRS members also said that it is best for the party and Masing not to displease Chief Minister Taib Mahmud, especially with regard to Lagong and Larry Sng, who is Taib’s “blue-eyed boy”. Lagong is Larry’s uncle.
The withdrawal is also seen as a sign of a peace-making effort between the party and the family of Sng.