When your father is an influential party leader and is also blessed with successes in business, you already have a leg up if you are keen on a political career.
Larry Sng had such an advantage in 2001 when he contested the Pelagus seat held by his father, Datuk Sng Chee Hua, then an influential PBDS vice-president and possibly one of the few Chinese businessmen who had some say in the Iban county of Kapit. It also helps when Datuk Sng speaks Iban like an Iban.
Larry won Pelagus (now renamed Bukit Goram) on his electoral debut at 22 and was soon appointed an assistant minister in the Taib Mahmud administration.
Well, Larry seemed to have started well on a solid footing and surely, he could look forward to a bright and successful political career, or so we thought. Soon, the junior Sng learned that politics was no bed of roses.
A few years later came the internal PBDS tussle in which the Sngs were caught right in the middle. This was the beginning of the downward spiral for Larry’s political career.
The PBDS strife culminated in the formation of PRS which also saw the late Tan Sri James Masing and the Sngs being involved in another bitter power struggle. Masing eventually won the acrimonious dispute and the Sng faction was left without any political vehicle.
Then came the establishment of the Sarawak Workers Party (SWP) in late 2012. I had thought then that SWP would be Larry’s permanent “home” as this was something which he could call his own.
The party held an impressive launch in Sibu in late 2012, thanks largely to the senior Sng. When you need colour and show of strength in politics, count on Datuk Sng to deliver. SWP was also a vehicle for his son’s political career and the doting father understandably gave his all for SWP.
I was also a guest at the grand launching of SWP in Sibu a decade ago. There were 4,000 people present at the 400-table dinner. No restaurant in Sibu could accommodate 400 tables, so a huge godown in the town was utilised instead to cater for the big crowd. I thought it was a successful and impressive start for Sarawak’s new kid on the block.
Unfortunately, SWP’s life span was surprisingly short. The following year, the party fielded several candidates in all PRS-held parliamentary constituencies in the 13th general election in 2013.
All its candidates were defeated, Larry and his father among the casualties. The senior Sng then announced his retirement from politics and he has not entered any political battle ever since.
Meantime, Larry managed to win the Julau parliamentary seat in the 2018 general election and had a brief courtship with PKR.
At last count, Larry has been with four parties – namely PBDS, PRS, SWP and PKR.
Today, make it five – Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM), Larry’s latest political outfit.
I have to say this though. I’m not sure Larry’s association with so many parties will reflect positively on him as a political leader. Perhaps, he has a way to deflect negative vibes during an election. Larry won Julau as an independent candidate, didn’t he?
I first heard of PBM in October last year from a party insider. At that time, I was informed that Ampang MP Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin will be the president with Larry as deputy or one of the vice-presidents. Now, it has been confirmed. Zuraida has joined PBM and was appointed president-designate.
Interestingly, PBM is actually the former Sarawak Workers’ Party. Will SWP find more success as PBM? Only time will tell. The coming GE15 will be a yard stick to measure PBM.
Let me be upfront. I have written about PBM previously in a national news portal and I don’t think much of its top leadership.
Zuraida is one of the 11 former PKR parliamentarians who betrayed the Pakatan Harapan government (and in essence, the people’s mandate) with her involvement in the Sheraton putsch. Hence, she is one of the traitors despised by Malaysians and in my view, should be voted out come GE15.
With such a tainted reputation, Zuraida has already given PBM a bad name, even before the party has started moving.
PBM has also recruited some elected representatives, primarily with defections from Bersatu. Herein lies my issue with such a party – there are too many ‘frogs’ and I’m allergic to such ‘slimy creatures’.
I’m not sure of Larry’s strategy by parking himself in a national party. It could work in his favour as he is a parliamentarian and probably sees himself more as a national player now.
However, I would think Larry deserves to be in better company than the likes of the names listed in the party’s line-up.
As it stands now, I see a tough ride ahead for Larry and PBM. Then again, politics is so fluid these days and I could be wrong.
The views expressed here are those of the columnist and do not necessarily represent the views of New Sarawak Tribune.