Tuesday, December 7

Pelagus is PRS’ for keeps, says Masing

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In a broad hint that incumbent must go, party president said successors have been identified

SRI AMAN: There are no two ways to it. Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) is staking its claim over Pelagus and has identified several names to win it come the next state election.

Speaking to reporters after officiating at a public function at Rumah Anyie Rangie, Entulang Entawa, here yesterday, president Dato Sri Dr James Masing said PRS has short-listed “a few  possible  candidates” for the Iban-majority seat.

“We have several good nominees to choose from, who are highly qualified local Dayaks and the most appropriate to continue the Barisan Nasional (BN) struggle in Pelagus,” he said, clearly hinting that Pelagus incumbent Larry Sng will have to go.

And if that was not enough, Masing further said: “Pelagus is PRS’ for keeps … we will defend it come election.”

Asked to name names, Masing said not only is the time not right but that PRS prefers to let the potential successors to work hard on the ground until such time as when  the  party  will weigh who is the best of the lot.

“What I can tell you now is the potential names are highly qualified Ibans who are born in Pelagus and capable of carrying the BN flag high,” Masing reiterated.

Masing, who is also Land Development Minister, was earlier asked of PRS’ stand regarding Pelagus whose assemblyman he had expelled.

Sng, an assistant minister with three portfolios, is now partyless after he was sacked by PRS in 2008.

But since he was retained in last December’s cabinet reshuffle, many political observers until now believe that  Sng  will  defend  Pelagus under a seat-swapping arrangement between PRS and another BN component.

In response, Masing said yesterday that he does not see any seat-swapping coming simply because whoever is supposed to be the other party in the arrangement has not been showing any interest.

“I think  they (the other BN component) are not interested in swapping seats. Because of that, PRS will be defending Pelagus because the seat has always been ours,” he said.

Meanwhile, yesterday’s function was a thanksgiving ceremony in conjunction with PRS youth chief and Bukit Begunan assembly-man Mong Dagang’s appoint-ment as assistant minister.

Mong and PRS vice-president John Sikie Tayai (Kakus  assemblyman) were the two new faces introduced by the party during the cabinet reshuffle.

They now fill up the two vacant posts allocated to the party.

In his speech, Masing urged the people in the area not to be swayed by the vote-fishing tactics of the opposition.

He said rural seats in Sarawak still need BN for continuity of development and that now is their best chance to see projects implemented in their midst as the next Malaysia Plan will address shortcomings in rural areas.

Masing later pledged a RM7,000 grant for the Entulang Entawa village development and security commitee (JKKK).

In return, he was presented with 152 new PRS membership applications.

Among those present at the function were Mong and Sikie, PRS secretary general Datuk Wilfred Nissom, Sri Aman MP and PRS supreme council member Masir Kujat, Lubok Antu MP and also PRS supreme council member William Nyalau Badak, and BN-friendly independent Engkilili assemblyman Dr Johnnical Rayong Ngipa.