The Famous Five of SPDP have (finally) rolled the dice

Posted on October 13, 2011


I liked how The Borneo Post reported THE press conference yesterday.

” The conflict between Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) president Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom and the so-called SPDP 5 seemed to have crossed the Rubicon.”

According to the all-knowing, know-it-all that we all fondly know as Wikipedia, this idiom “Crossing the Rubicon” means to pass a point of no return, and refers to Julius Caesar’s army’s crossing of the river in 49 BC, which was considered an act of insurrection.

Finally!  After all this time, they’ve finally come out and said what people have long speculated, since they formed the band known as the SPDP Five.

At least now, we’ll see some positive moves being made by both camps in SPDP in the coming days and weeks.

Loyalties will be tested and newspaper reports will probably be filled by words of assurance from the top leaders and the rank-and-file of the party.

The way these things usually pan out, certain politicians will probably be party-less pretty soon.

This will soon be followed by a period of intense speculation by the media about the possibility of a new party being formed to accommodate whoever.

Or the speculation of other component parties accommodating certain soon-to-be party-less politicians.

That will swiftly be followed by media stories about component parties denying wholeheartedly that no one is taking anyone in. Period.

Hopefully, everything will be settled by the time the DUN convenes again in about a month.

Maybe, who knows, by that time we’ll find out if “Julius Caesar” will triumph once more after crossing the Rubicon.

How The Borneo Post explained it:

SPDP 5 loses faith in chief

Posted on October 13, 2011, Thursday

PROVING A POINT: Entrie (right) showing the media the status quo statement signed but was reneged by Mawan. Looking on is Nansian.

KUCHING: Group strongly feels Mawan unable to resolve the current crisis in party.

KUCHING: The conflict between Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) president Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom and the so-called SPDP 5 seemed to have crossed the Rubicon.

The group, comprising senior vice president Datuk Peter Nansian Ngusie, vice presidents Datuk Sylvester Entri Muran, Datuk Dr Tiki Lafe and Rosey Yunus, and information chief Paulus Palu Gumbang yesterday declared that they had “no confidence and have lost faith” in Mawan to resolve the current conflict.

Only four of the members attended the press conference which was held at Nansian’s office at Juara Bertuah in MJC Batu Kawah.

Dr Tiki was absent because he had a function in Bau.

Nansian, who chaired the press conference, said they had called Dr Tiki and were given the blessing to carry on (with the announcement).

“Today (yesterday) is one of the saddest and most regrettable moments of our lives to have come to a point that we have to make a decision to declare that we have lost faith and confidence in our SPDP president.

“He is now apparently no longer able to resolve the current conflict in the party amicably and peacefully to maintain party unity and stability, and to protect and safeguard BN seats vested in the party for a continuously strong BN government for the good of the rakyat,” said Nansian, who read out a prepared statement.

The group said it strongly felt that if Mawan was serious in resolving the conflict, he should have formed a reconciliation committee or unity committee and not a disciplinary committee to take action against it recently.

Nansian revealed that they had met Mawan no less than three times formally as a group and more times on informal occasions over the last two years to smoke the peace pipe.

During these meetings, he said, both sides agreed on many points on how to reconcile and work together to maintain stability and make the party stronger.

“But he (Mawan) did not implement them accordingly. On the contrary, he had made many controversial remarks that create much uneasiness and suspicions within the party as well as between BN component parties.

“While we urged him to run the party with principle, consistency, fairness, and with sincerity to maintain party
unity and stability, we were labelled as the “Rebel 5” and “Group of 5”. So, who had actually started the friction and faction in the party?” Nansian asked.

He added that while they had always been supporting the president and telling him that they wanted him to be their strong leader, Mawan instead uttered many unkind and inconsistent remarks about them and other elected representatives in recent times.

“In the early years of SPDP, when the president worked well with us, the party was very united and stable. But now the party has become weaker, and we lost two BN seats (in the last state election),” he lamented.

Nansian also revealed that while they had agreed on consensus to have status quo in the last party election, Mawan did not keep his promise in the signed statement after the party election.

He, instead, changed a few appointed posts, including that of the secretary-general’s post.

No matter what would happened from this point onwards, Nansian said that the SPDP 5 would continue to give undivided support to the BN leadership at both state and federal levels.

MEETING THE PRESS: (From left) Paulus, Rosey, Nansian and Entrie at the press conference yesterday.

“We will give our full support to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud as the national and state BN chairmen respectively. We will swim and sink with BN, under the wise leadership of these two leaders.

“At the same time, we will continue to serve the people in our respective constituencies in the name of Barisan Nasional, since we won the last state election with big majorities under the banner of BN,” he said.

Nansian stressed that they did not have any personal grudges against Mawan.

“We just couldn’t agree with his management of the party as it could undermine the strength of the BN and our ability to serve the rakyat well. We feel that these are of prime importance and must be safeguarded at all times. We put these above our own interest,” he said.

When asked by reporters later, Nansian said what they planned to do now was to look for “the best solution” to resolve the current situation and “we will cross the bridge when the time comes”.

On the show cause letter served on Entrie, he said it was now no longer relevant.

“Our action today (yesterday) tells everything, because when you touched one of us, you touched all of us as a group,” he said, obviously referring to the show cause letter served on Entrie.

He, however, asserted that the group would not quit the party, and reiterated that all they wanted was the “best solution to resolve the conflict”.

Meanwhile, political pundits believed that the declaration by the group of five had spelt the beginning of the end for SPDP, unless a “best solution” could be found.

How The Star reported it:

SPDP 5 say party president has failed to amicably resolve internal conflict

Thursday October 13, 2011

“This is World War III,” said Marudi assemblyman Datuk Sylvester Entri Muran, in capping off a press conference here yesterday with the five representatives dubbed the SPDP 5.

Tasik Biru assemblyman Datuk Peter Nansian, who is the SPDP senior vice-president, said earlier that they had lost faith and confidence in Mawan.

He said their president had failed to resolve the internal conflict amicably and peacefully, maintain the party’s unity and protect the Barisan Nasional’s interest.

“The straw that broke the camel’s back and forced us to make this decision is that if the president seriously wanted to resolve the current conflict, a reconciliation or unity committee should have been formed rather than the disciplinary committee to take action against us, which we feel is very unfair and done solely to chop us off,” said Nansian, who appeared to be the group’s main spokesman.

The other elected representatives invol- ved are Bekenu assemblyman Rosey Yunus, Batu Danau assemblyman Paulus Palu Gumbang and Mas Gading MP Datuk Dr Tiki Lafe, all supreme council members of the party.

Sylvester, Nansian and Rosey are also assistant ministers.

Mawan and the remaining SPDP supreme council members had on Sept 13 referred the five to the party’s disciplinary com- mittee after they failed to attend the council’s meetings since a walkout about two years ago.

The walkout happened when Mawan decided not to reappoint Sylvester as the party’s secretary-general without first consulting the council.

A show-cause letter was issued to Sylvester, which he has not replied. Although the rest of the group did not receive show-cause letters, they decided to stick together.

“Our stand today is our reply to the show-cause letter,” said Nansian. He said they no longer cared what action the committee would take against them, and that they would on their own find the “best solution” to ensure that they could continue to serve the people as well as the Barisan.

Asked if the best solution was for Mawan to step down, he retorted: “We never said that.”

He refused to divulge what their plans or options were should they be expelled from the party.

He also denied that they had informed or sought advice from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud on their move.

“We will cross the bridge when we come to it. Our interest is below that of the Barisan,” said Nansian, when pressed for an answer as to what they could do.

He pointed out that the group had met Mawan formally at least three times over the last two years to seek reconciliation.

According to him, they had agreed on many points to iron out their differences, but Mawan had not implemented them.

“While we urged him to run the party with principles, consistency, fairness and sincerity to maintain party unity and stability, we were labelled as the Rebel 5 and Group of 5. So, who started the friction and faction in the party?” he asked.

How Wikipedia explained “crossing the Rubicon”:

During the Roman republic, the river Rubicon marked the boundary between the Roman province of Cisalpine Gaul to the north and Italy proper (controlled directly by Rome and its socii allies) to the south. Governors of Roman provinces were appointed promagistrates with imperium(roughly, “right to command”) in their province(s). The governor would then serve as the general of the Roman army within the territory of his province(s). Roman law specified that only the elected magistrates (consuls and praetors) could hold imperium within Italy. Any promagistrate who entered Italy at the head of his troops forfeited his imperium and was therefore no longer legally allowed to command troops.

Exercising imperium when forbidden by the law was a capital offence, punishable by death. Furthermore, obeying the commands of a general who did not legally possess imperium was also a capital offence. If a general entered Italy whilst exercising command of an army, both the general and his soldiers became outlaws and were automatically condemned to death. Generals were thus obliged to disband their armies before entering Italy.

In 49 BC, supposedly on January 10 of the Roman calendar, G. Julius Caesar led one legion, the Legio XIII Gemina, south over the Rubicon from Cisalpine Gaul to Italy to make his way to Rome. In doing so, he (deliberately) broke the law on imperium and made armed conflict inevitable. According to the historian Suetonius, Caesar uttered the famous phrase ālea iacta est (“the die has been cast”).[1] Caesar’s decision for swift action forced Pompey, the lawful consuls (G. Claudius Marcellus and L. Cornelius Lentulus Crus), and a large part of the Roman Senate to flee Rome in fear. Caesar’s subsequent victory in Caesar’s civil war ensured that punishment for the infraction would never be rendered.

Suetonius’s account depicts Caesar as undecided as he approached the river, and attributes the crossing to a supernatural apparition. The phrase “crossing the Rubicon” has survived to refer to any individual or group committing itself irrevocably to a risky or revolutionary course of action, similar to the modern phrase “passing the point of no return”.