Political pundits have rubbished Julau MP Larry Sng’s official reasons for switching sides.
Sng left PKR to become a Perikatan Nasional-friendly independent, citing the lack of development funds for his constituency he received as an opposition lawmaker.
Observers said the real reason for the defection was due to his failure to get the support of the natives, and Sng grabbing at a political opportunity.
University of Tasmania’s Asia Institute director James Chin said information from sources and his own research showed Sng left due his failure to win the support of Dayaks in the party.
“There is a group of Dayaks who are really against him in PKR,” Chin told The Malaysian Insight.
Sng was appointed the state chairman by PKR president Anwar Ibrahim after then state chairman Baru Bian and all those who are aligned to then deputy president Mohd Azmin Ali were sacked in February last year.
On Sunday, Sng gave the lack of funds he needed as an opposition lawmaker to serve the people in his “poor” rural Dayak constituency as the main reason that had forced him to leave and be a government-friendly independent.
“I have been unable to serve Julau effectively through lack of much-needed development funds. With this move today, I am confident that I will be able to deliver my election promises to my electorate,” Sng had stated in a posting on his Facebook.
Chin, however, dismissed that funding reason.
He said Sng could not overcome the opposition to the sentiment of a Chinese leading Sarawak PKR that is largely made up of Dayaks and Malays.
To compound the problem, Chin said many of these Dayak leaders also despised him because of his links to Governor Taib Mahmud.
Sng was a member of Taib’s state Barisan Nasional administration when he was the chief minister.
From 2004 to 2011, Taib appointed him, then only 25, the assistant minister in the Chief Minister’s Office and the assistant minister of industrial development.
Sng, reportedly Taib’s blue-eyed boy, had also never masked his desire to return to the fold of the state ruling coalition.
“He really didn’t have a choice. I think he knew he could not get a united PKR heading into the state election,” Chin said.
Chin also thinks Sng dumping PKR was a smart move.
He said if PKR failed to pick themselves from the shambles they were in for the last one year, then they are in for a drubbing in the state election to be held later this year.
“At least Sng will not be around to be blamed (for the poor showing). Better jump now.”
Universiti Malaya’s Awang Azman Awang Pawi said the reasons Sng gave for his defection only reinforced his reputation as a political opportunist.
He said Sng was aware that Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and the Perikatan Nasional Plus coalition he led needed more support.
“Larry saw the opportunity that is opened before him and what his support could do to the embattled prime minister in a parliament that has to reconvene soon.”
Moreover, rumours of the defection have been swirling for months.
Azman said apart from the development fund, he would not be surprised if Sng was also rewarded for his support.
A former key Sarawak PKR leader, who did not want to be named, agreed Sng was an opportunist.
“Very simple. (Since) Anwar has no chance of becoming prime minister, jump (ship) lah. “There’s no economic opportunities to be had.” – TMI