KUCHING, Dec 7 — Former four-term assemblyman for Marudi, Datuk Sylvester Entri Muran, has challenged incumbent Datu Dr Penguang Manggil to have a fair election by allowing other candidates to visit longhouses under the constituency throughout the campaign period.
Entri, who is making a political comeback under Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) ticket and is one of the five candidates eyeing the N76 Marudi seat, blamed Penguang for practising what he called “political suppression” by not allowing the community leaders to accept visits from opposition parties to their longhouses.
“Whether he (Penguang) understands democracy, I believe no. You know why, he tries to practice politics of suppression, tries to suppress.
“If he understands democracy, he should not advise all the community leaders not to accept other political parties to visit (their longhouses) or (give) ceramah (talks),” he said in a press conference after submitting his nomination papers at Marudi District Office earlier yesterday.
He thus challenged Penguang to have a fair fight at the same battlefield with the four candidates.
To a question, Entri said what Penguang has been doing now for Marudi is continuation of what he had done when he was the assemblyman and only refurbishing what has been built.
“How could you compare five years (Penguang’s first five years since winning the election in 2016) and 20 years (Entri’s four terms as assemblyman)?
“The waterfront (in Marudi), he is very proud of it. He destroyed it, how could he destroy it and rebuild it?
The people are not very happy with it. The size of the waterfront is still the same, except that they just refurbished it, renovated it. Is that called development in five years?” he asked.
He explained that his comeback in politics was due to the request of the people of Marudi, and pledged to serve them with the best of his ability and integrity if given the mandate.
Meanwhile, Penguang when contacted denied practising ‘political suppression’ as claimed by Entri, saying that community leaders were only stopping outsiders to stop the spread of Covid-19 to their village.
“No, no, no (if he ever stopped the community leaders from accepting opposition parties to their longhouses). I never advised them that because under the community policing, each TR (longhouse chief) is given the mandate to manage their own kampung and to reject any outsiders coming into the kampung especially during this pandemic,” Penguang explained.
Instead, he called on Entri to name the longhouses that had stopped the opposition visitors because he had advised them to not accept them.
Penguang maintained that he had never asked the community leaders to block the opposition from visiting the longhouses, and Entri was now getting the taste of his own medicine.
“He said that because he still thinks that those people who were with him before are still supporting him. I am sorry because when he was the assistant minister and with the government, he advised these people to not support the opposition because they do not bring development.
“Now he is eating his own medicine. Now when he goes to the longhouses, those people do not entertain him because he is in the opposition and he has to understand that,” said Penguang.
Nevertheless, he welcomed Entri and the other candidates to contest in Marudi.
Apart from Penguang and Entri, three other candidates vying for the seat are Elias Lipi Mat (PKR), Sawing Kedit (PBDSB) and Gilbert Young (PBK). — Borneo Post