Saturday, July 11

A glimpse into possible merger scenario

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Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing

KUCHING: It is possible to merge the ‘prodigal sons’ of Sarawak National Party (SNAP) into a single political entity provided negative elements are excluded from the exercise, said Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing.

By ‘prodigal sons’, he was referring to PRS and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) as both are offshoots of the once mighty SNAP.

SPDP was established in 2002 after SNAP was deregistered by the Registrar of Societies (ROS) due to a prolonged internal crisis while PRS was an offshoot of the deregistered Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PDBS), which is a direct offshoot of SNAP.

“The merger could be done in stages. For a start, maybe the SPDP 5 could be part of the merger. Then later on we can include others. But the whole idea is to consolidate Barisan Nasional (BN) especially in the rural areas in the coming general election,” Masing told The Borneo Post at his office at Bangunan Baitul Makmur here yesterday.

Among the so-called SPDP 5, former vice-president Datuk Sylvester Entrie had been sacked from the party for insubordination.

And although the remaining four, namely former senior vice-president Datuk Peter Nansian Nguse, vice-presidents Datuk Dr Tiki Lafe and Rosey Yunus and former information chief Paulus Palu Gumbang, have not been sacked, they had declared openly that they no longer had any trust in the party leadership.

They had also been smacked with show-cause letters.

Masing, who is also senior minister and minister of land development, stressed that for the second stage, the four Bumiputera assemblymen in Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) could also make a similar move.

“PRS is willing to assist any troubled parties in BN if the net result is to strengthen the overall BN administration in the country,” he stressed.

He pointed out that PRS should not be accused of fishing in troubled waters as it would only be willing to take up the
challenge of accommodating partyless BN elected representatives provided top BN leadership at the state and federal levels agreed to the move.

“However, the new political entity is possible only insofar as it strengthens the BN.

“For instance, Datuk Sylvester Entrie should not be left alone too long without a BN party as a platform as there are many opposition elements lurking around. This is very dangerous for BN’s overall administration,” he warned.

Masing added that if the other four were sacked or no longer had any trust in their party’s leadership, they too could join Entrie.

For the second stage, PRS is willing to assist in strengthening BN’s rural base by taking in the four Bumiputera assemblymen from SUPP, which is facing an internal crisis.

The four assemblymen are Datuk Francis Harden (Simanggang), Dr Jerip Susil (Bengoh), Ranum Mina (Opar) and Dr Johnical Rayong (Engkilili).

On another issue, Masing expressed confidence that PRS would be able to deliver its six parliamentary seats to BN in the coming general election.

“PRS can deliver all these six seats provided there is no element of sabotage among the component parties. Instead if we all work as a team, PRS can deliver all those six seats,” he said without elaborating.

When asked whether his party had identified its candidates, Masing said philosophically: “That I can’t answer you, the only persons who have the privilege to answer that question are the chief minister as the state BN chairman and the prime minister as BN chairman at the national level.”

PRS’ six parliamentary seats are Sri Aman, Lubok Antu, Julau, Kanowit, Hulu Rajang and Selangau.