Major shift expected in PBB during convention



There will be a major shifting of power in PBB at its upcoming convention slated for Feb 8-11.

This will involve two major posts in Wanita and Youth wings, two senior vice-president posts and the post of secretary-general.

According to sources, it is already an open secret that Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah will succeed outgoing Wanita chief Tan Sri Empiang Jabu and Gerard Rentab Jabu will take over from outgoing Youth chief Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof.

Currently, both Fatimah and Rentap are deputy chiefs in both wings.

“It’s a natural process in a party which is deeply rooted in discipline and tradition. And this will augur well for the BN lynchpin in the state to ensure that it will remain strong and relevant, so as to enable it to carry Sarawak to the next level of development,” sources told The Borneo Post yesterday.

However, the sources refused to divulge in detail on how the senior-vice president post left vacant by acting deputy president Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan in the Bumiputera wing will be ‘settled’.

But the two most eligible candidates are Fadillah, 55, and former Youth chief Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, 57, who is currently a supreme council member.

Both men have been seen as rising stars in their own rights. Fadillah has a strong federal connection and  a strong grassroots support in the party as outgoing Youth chief and being the younger brother of a well-known entrepreneur Tan Sri Bustari Yusof.

Abdul Karim, on the other hand, is seen as the ‘blue-eyed boy’ of Chief Minister and PBB president Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg. This can be seen after he (Karim) was elevated to full minister’s post in the last cabinet reshuffle on May 6, 2017. Abdul Karim is also deputy president of Saberkas of which Abang Johari is president.

When asked to comment on the current political scenario in PBB, Unimas Associate Professor Dr Jeniri Amir said the top posts have been somehow ‘written on the wall’ for Fatimah and Rentap.

“Dato Sri Fatimah deserves to be promoted to replace Tan Sri Empiang as she is the most senior in the Wanita wing, and having shown her capability in her job as a full minister,” he said.

Jeniri pointed out that Empiang has contributed immensely to PBB and the state BN as a whole, as women make up about half of the state’s total voters.

“Her contribution to PBB is immense to say the least. And the person who can continue her legacy in the Wanita wing will be Dato Sri Fatimah,” he said.

As for the Youth chief post, Jeniri said Rentap should be given the chance to shine.

“As a son of a prominent leader in the party, Rentap has somehow been overshadowed by his parents (Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu and Empiang). But given the chance, he should be able to rise to the occasion and lead the youth in his own way,” he stressed.

However, for the post of senior vice-president for the Bumiputera wing, Jeniri said both Fadillah and Abdul Karim have equal chance to win the third highest post in the party.

“If the party’s top leadership sanctions the contest, then it will be good for PBB to ensure democracy is still very much alive. And this will allow the party to choose a leader who would eventually have the potential to become the chief minister of Sarawak in future.”

He said Abang Johari, who is now 67, should be able to helm the state for the next 10 years and after that, Awang Tengah would take over.

“So the contest of the senior vice-president post is crucial to decide on who will be the next chief minister,” Janiri emphasised.

But Jeniri opined that the contest for the senior vice-president post for the Bumniputera Wing will not be the case where the ‘looser will lose all’, as the party can always appoint the loser as the new secretary-general to replace Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom who is slated to go up the ladder to take over the post left vacant by acting deputy president Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.

Whatever the outcome in the upcoming convention, PBB will still be the strongest party in the state as it has 45 state seats and 14 parliamentary seats, thus making it the second most powerful political party in the country after Umno.

But, undoubtedly, the two upcoming leaders and rising stars in PBB are Fadillah and Abdul Karim.
Meanwhile, at press time, both Abdul Karim and Fadilah could not be reached for comments.

Recently, Fadillah has remained quiet about his prospect to climb up the political ladder.
Borneopost

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