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SAPP to join Pakatan today?

Report from The Star:

KOTA KINABALU: Barisan Nasional’s rebellious Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) showed its defiance by openly backing Pakatan Rakyat yesterday.

Standing shoulder to shoulder with DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang and Parti Keadilan Rakyat vice-president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, SAPP president Datuk Yong Teck Lee gave the clearest indication of what his stand would be at the party’s supreme council meeting today.

Seeing red:(From left) DAP's Kota Kinabalu MP Hiew Khing Chew, Lim, Yong, Jeffrey and DAP vice-president Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim holdinga candlelight vigil in protest against the recent ISA arrests.

Yong was one of a panel of four speakers at Sabah DAP’s forum on Malaysia Towards a New Era.

“My presence here is to give a talk,” said Yong, who was at the forum with SAPP’s deputy president Datuk Eric Enchin Majimbun, the MP for Sepangar, Wanita Chief Melanie Chia, and assistant state Finance minister and deputy state speaker Datuk Frankie Chong.

When asked after the forum if his presence was a sign that he was throwing his lot with Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who has claimed that he has 31 Barisan MPs in his bag, Yong said: “We (supreme council) are meeting tomorrow (Wednesday).”

Yong told reporters that it was difficult to topple a government in power for 51 years as the Barisan had the will to hang on to power despite their internal and external problems.

“It is not as straightforward and do not underestimate the resources of the Barisan despite the coalition being seen as in disarray, making mistakes and doing bad things. They have the will to remain in power,” said Yong.

Lim, who described Yong’s presence at the forum as part of the “Pakatan Rakyat Plus” team, said the 9/16 date was an important message that there was a general consensus among the people that they want to see change and an end to an inept Barisan government led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

“It does not matter if it (change of government) does not occur on 9/16 or tomorrow or 10/16 or 11/16 or 12/16 as people are ready for change and it can take place any time,” he added.

On Abdullah’s refusal to meet Anwar, Lim said the Prime Minister should do the honourable thing and accept that he has lost the majority members in Parliament and allow for a graceful and peaceful change in a democratic process.

“Abdullah can then at least leave something honourable for his term,” he said, adding that the Prime Minister should not be using draconian laws like Internal Security Act to stifle the democratic process of change.

Lim declined to comment if any Barisan MPs would be crossing over to DAP.

Asked if he believed that Anwar had the 31 Barisan MPs, he replied; “That, you better ask Anwar.”

That picture with Yong standing together with PKR leader Kittingan and DAP leader Kit Siang tells the whole story.

And the Malaysiakini report (from a few days ago):

Sabah Progressive Party (Sapp) supreme council - the party's top decision-making body - is to meet next Wednesday to discuss its status within the ruling Barisan Nasional.

after permatang pauh 916 an oppotunity to change forum 100908 richard yongConfirming this today, Sapp secretary-general Richard Yong (left) told Malaysiakini that all 35 members of the supreme council are expected to be present and decide on the rebel party’s membership in BN.

According to Yong, the right-hand man of party president and former chief minister Yong Teck Lee, the party has been excluded from BN’s supreme council meetings for six successive times over the past few months.

“If no decision is made (by BN supreme council), then we will make the decision ourselves,” he said, referring to the show-cause letter the coalition had issued to Sapp.

BN did not discussed the thorny Sapp issue after sending a show-cause letter to the rebel party for vowing to move a motion of no confidence against the ruling coalition chief, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The party’s Sept 17 meeting coincidentally comes a day after the deadline set by opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition to take over the federal government through defections from BN parties.

Sapp's top leaders have hinted in recent weeks that since the party had not been invited to BN meetings, it has come to see itself as no longer part of the ruling coalition.

The party has two members of parliament and four state assemblypersons, including Raymond Tan, who is Sabah’s deputy chief minister in charge of industrial development.

Political observers nearly all agreed that Sapp is likely to opt out of BN and is expected to swing its support to the opposition Pakatan.

Multiracial Sapp stands a better chance of not only defending its present seats but increasing its haul by pulling out of BN.

If it was to remain in BN, Sapp will be in danger of making the party irrelevant, especially given the mood among voters in urban and suburban areas in Sabah.

“The top Sapp leaders can see what's happening to other BN component parties as they continue backing the increasingly unpopular policies of the ruling coalition,” said a political pundit.

BBC leaders sold out Sabah, Sarawak

sapp remove bn logo 200808 yong teck leeMeanwhile, at a press conference in Kota Kinabalu, party leader Yong Teck Lee (photo, centre) said the infamous Taiwan trip organised by the Barisan Backbenchers Club had turned the participating MPs into a subject of much ridicule and had cast Parliament in bad light.

He said BBC chief Tiong King Sing from Sarawak and Bung Moktar from Sabah should apologise to Malaysians, especially Sarawakians and Sabahans, for what they had done, since they were denying the two states the opportunity to take advantage of the 'little window of opportunity' to address the apparent imbalances in terms of development so obvious to these two states.

Although vehemently denied by the organisers, the trip involving nearly 50 BN MPs from Sarawak, Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia, had been perceived to be an attempt to stave off attempts by Pakatan to get them to defect in order to take over power from BN.

Well, well. The SAPP are meeting today. However, I expect that there will be some divisions in the party just like during the Sandakan rebellion (split between Yong and SAPP deputy president and Sabah deputy CM Raymond Tan).

SAPP the first of many to crossover? Or will it just remain a non aligned third party?

Updated report from The Star:

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Progressive Party is expected to make a crucial decision Wednesday afternoon on its position in Barisan Nasional two months after declaring no confidence in the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

All indications are that the party chief Datuk Yong Teck Lee will steer his 36-member supreme council meeting beginning at 2pm to decide on pulling out of the coalition which the party joined in 1994.

If SAPP pulls out to throw its support behind Pakatan Rakyat, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Raymond Tan, the Tanjong Papat assemblyman and Elopura assemblyman Au Kam Wah are expected to resign.

Tan, the state Infrastructure Development Minister, is one of the three SAPP deputy presidents while Au, the Sabah Energy Corporation chairman, is the party Youth Chief.

Both Tan and Au are expected to attend the meeting which the party secretary general Datuk Richard Yong said Wednesday morning was to discuss party matters.

On whether the meeting will decide to pull out from Barisan, Richard said: “Our position within Barisan is always discussed at our meetings.”

While a decision on the pull out appears to be on the cards, several party members cautioned that the meeting might end up with only deciding on sending a letter to Barisan headquarters asking to make a stand on its position as SAPP had not been invited for six recent Barisan meetings in Kuala Lumpur.

Richard said that one or two supreme councillors have written in stating they were unable to attend Wednesday’s meeting. He said that SAPP’s two MPs - Datuk Eric Enchin Majimbun and Datuk Dr Chua Soon Bui - have indicated they will be at the meeting.

SAPP has two MPs and four assemblymen in the coalition. The other two SAPP assemblymen are assistant state Finance Minister Melanie Chia (Luyang) and Datuk Liew Teck Chan (Likas).