KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 22 ― Larry Sng Wei Shien, who has experienced a meteoric rise to power within PKR after joining it for only about six months, has revealed that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Azmin Ali had invited him to join Pakatan Harapan and that Rafizi Ramli had also sought him out, a report has said.
Sng, who won the Julau parliamentary seat in Sarawak as an independent candidate, reportedly said he was told in a phone call on the night of May 9 to join in Pakatan Harapan's celebration at the Sheraton Hotel in Petaling Jaya over their surprise victory. Sng was then in Kuala Lumpur.
“Tun (Mahathir’s) exact words were 'you are welcome to join us here',” the 39-year-old was quoted saying by Malaysiakini in his interview with the news portal.
Even before the May 9 polls, Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian had on April 25 reportedly said the party would not be contesting the Julau parliamentary seat as there was a strong independent candidate, referring to Sng and also welcoming him to join Pakatan Harapan.
On May 12, Sng was announced as joining PKR along with fellow independent candidate Jugah Muyang who won the Lubok Antu parliamentary seat.
According to Malaysiakini, Sng decided to join PKR as his supporters in Julau supported his move to be part of the ruling government, and also partly due to PKR deputy president Azmin being the first to give him an offer.
Sng said he filled up the form to be a PKR member using Rafizi's phone before PKR's then de facto leader and now president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital. Anwar was then still serving his jail term in hospital, before he was granted a royal pardon and released on May 16.
Sng said he was unaware of the the Azmin-Rafizi rivalry then, noting that everyone worked together after the May 9 elections and that he did not sense that there were “differences” or rivalries.
Just three months after joining PKR, Sng on August 5 joined party elections to be one of the 20 members of PKR central leadership council (MPP).
In the interview with Malaysiakini, Sng said he was “reluctant” at first to join the party polls, but had done so after being persuaded by Rafizi who was eyeing the deputy president position to be on the latter's “cai dan” or camp.
Sng defeated senior party members for a spot in the MPP despite being new to the party, which he believes was due to a bit of luck with his selection of number 11 as his candidate number.
Commenting on being the sole successful MPP candidate to receive boos at the PKR party congress recently, Sng said he is a very optimistic person and believed things will change for the better in three years' time at the next PKR internal polls.
“I knew I had the support, or else I would not be elected as an MPP. I did not take it (the boos) to heart,” he said.
The PKR party polls was marred by allegations of irregularities, including Julau PKR division's particularly controversial 2,147 per cent jump from 603 to 13,549 members in a single day and alleged malware in the tablets used for e-voting.
Sng declined to respond to the Julau membership controversy as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission was probing the case, also seemingly unfazed by the controversy's effect as he said: “Personally, I have already settled the issue. It is a non-issue.”
Sng, who is better known within his home state of Sarawak rather than nationally, had held leadership positions in three Sarawak-based political parties.
He was in the past supreme council member of Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) which was deregistered, a deputy secretary-general in PBDS offshoot Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), and had subsequently founded PRS splinter party Sarawak Workers Party (SWP) which he later quit as president after four years.
Malaysiakini said Sng is actually the third generation in his family to be a politician, and was asked to be the Pelagus state seat's candidate during the 2001 Sarawak state elections at the age of 22 then when he was a London School of Economics student.
Sng held the Pelagus seat (which was formerly held by his father) for two terms, and later served as assistant minister in the Chief Minister's Department from 2004 and 2011 under then Sarawak chief minister Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud.
Sng said he believes his current position in PKR is a positive change that would give him bigger exposure and allow him to play a bigger role on a national stage.