Saturday, March 22, 2008

Another BN MP ready to jump ship?

Another BN MP ready to jump ship?
Tony Thien | Mar 21, 08 1:12pm

BN-SPDP's Mas Gading MP Dr Tiki Lafe, dropped from his deputy minister’s post, has neither denied nor confirmed speculations that he is quitting his party to join the opposition when contacted today.

Dr. Tiki LafeAsked on the rumours over the phone this morning, the Bidayuh 'ear, nose and throat' specialist-turned-politician would only say, "I am on holiday with my family."

Pressed further on the matter, he added, "I am not saying anything."

Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP), one of four components in the Sarawak BN, has four MPs, including Tiki who was not re-appointed deputy minister on Tuesday.

Instead, the party has two new faces as deputy ministers - Jelaing Mersat, an Iban and Saratok MP, and Jacob Sagan, a Kenyah and Baram MP.

Tiki first contested Mas Gading in the 1999 general election, defeating incumbent and State Reform Party (Star) president Dr Patau Rubis.

Immediately after his victory, Tiki’s then party, Snap, nominated him to replace party veteran Peter Tinggom as deputy minister in the federal cabinet.

When SPDP was formed following the Snap crisis in 2002, Tiki joined the new party and continued as deputy minister in Kuala Lumpur after the 2004 general election.

In the May 8 polls, Tiki defeated Patau and two other independents to win Mas Gading for the third time.

Interestingly, it is learnt that there was a lot of lobbying within SPDP for Tiki to be replaced as candidate for the just-concluded election but last-minute intervention from a third party saw his name back on the candidate’s list.

Meanwhile, Tiki is said to have replied to a Sarawak journalist via SMS today that ‘I am still in KL and due to leave for overseas later."

Richard changes his mind

In another development BN-SUPP's Serian MP Richard Riot, who was reported to have quit his party yesterday, has a change of mind today - he has decided to stay.

richard riot supp bn 200308However, the denial did not come from him directly.

Supp publicity chief Alfred Yap said in a press statement after meeting Serian Supp branch leaders this afternoon that party president Dr George Chan has spoken to Richard today, adding that the MP was upset by newspaper reports about him quitting the party.

Yap said Richard pledged full support for Supp and loyalty to the BN under the leadership of the Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

He added that the MP, who is a party's vice-president, is now in Kuala Lumpur to meet Abdullah to clarify his position.

Yap did not say when Richard would be returning to Kuching or when he would issue a statement to the media.

Attempts by Malaysiakini to contact him on his mobile today were unsuccessful.