KUCHING: Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), the backbone of the state Barisan Nasional (BN), has postponed its triennial delegates conference (TDC) due next month, for another one and half years.
With this latest development, the party’s TDC – usually termed as the ‘PBB Convention’, slated for this coming October – will take place only in April or May of 2018.
The postponement seems to coincide with speculations that party president Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem may take the opportunity to announce his successor at the convention when it is held. Adenan has said that he wants to lead the state as chief minister for only one term (five years).
PBB secretary-general Datuk Dr Stephen Rundi yesterday confirmed to The Borneo Post via SMS that the triennial general meeting of the party would be put off for 18 months.
“Our TDC is due this October, but we wish to postpone it for 18 months,” he disclosed.
However, the reason given by Dr Rundi, who is also Public Utilities Minister, was that PBB wanted to concentrate on fulfilling the pledges that it had made during the May 7 state election.
Currently, PBB has some 315,000 members comprising both the Pesaka and the Bumiputera wings.
This is the second time that the party had postponed its TDC since Adenan took over the helm on Feb 28, 2014.
The first was at the end of last year, when all component parties of the ruling state BN coalition were gearing up for the state election.
The latest postponement is not a surprising move.
It is consistent with Adenan’s insistence on wanting to lead the state only in his first term as chief minister; this has led to speculations that he may want to announce his successor at the eventual convening of the convention.
By mid-2018, when a successor is named, Adenan would have been in power for five years and he may or may not want to carry on until his term expires in 2021.
Regardless, this will give the next in line ample time to prepare his team and other BN component parties to face the state
election, which must be held by May 2021.
Such an arrangement is to pave the way for a smooth transition of power as what former chief minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, now the sitting Yang di-Pertua Negeri, had done to ensure stability within PBB and also the state BN.
Before being appointed PBB president, Adenan was the party’s information chief. His appointment was seen by observers as unconventional but it was in compliance with the party’s constitution, allowing the president to pick a successor from the caucus, formed by the party and made up of its elected representatives.
PBB formed in 1973 with the merger of Parti Pesaka and Parti Bumiputera by the late Tun Jugah Barieng and the late Tun Abdul Rahman Yakub.
Taib was made its first secretary-general.
The party faced a critical life-and-death situation during the Ming Court Affair in 1987 but Taib, who had been party president since 1981, decided to call for an election and managed to defeat the opposition.
Since then, the party has been thriving.
With the admission of the five partyless assemblymen and assemblywoman last month, PBB now commands 45 out of the 82 seats in the State Legislative Assembly.-BP