Wednesday, March 3

‘PRS, SPDP to discuss merger at supreme council meeting’

Masing (third right, second row), joined by Dr Sim (second right) and Dr Chan (fourth right), in a group photograph with the 36 qualifiers for the main tournament.

Masing (third right, second row), joined by Dr Sim (second right) and Dr Chan (fourth right), in a group photograph with the 36 qualifiers for the main tournament.

KUCHING: Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) leaders will discuss in detail the proposal to merge with Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) at its next supreme council meeting.

Party president Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing said he could not comment yet on the matter until PRS supreme council came up with a decision in a meeting to be chaired by him at a yet to be determined date.

“I tell you what. My Youth and my Wanita chiefs have mentioned it, and said what need to be said on the merger. For me, I have to discuss the details with my Supreme Council members. We have yet to meet on what are the details.

“Until that happens, I will not make much comment on it because what I feel may not represent what others in the Supreme Council would feel. So, I have to wait for their decision. That would have to be discussed in our next Supreme Council meeting when I talk to them,” he told reporters after officiating the 8th Sarawak Amateur Masters golf tournament at Damai Golf and Country Club (DGCC) yesterday.

The proposed merger between the two Barisan Nasional components was rekindled after a SPDP supreme council meeting chaired by president Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing on August 16 resolved that SPDP would seriously reach out to PRS to realise the joint proposal made by the two parties some years ago.

PRS Youth chief Liwan Lagang and Wanita chief Senator Datuk Doris Sophia Brodie, in responding to this, said the members would support SPDP’s merger proposal if Masing leads the merged entity.

PRS deputy president Datuk Joseph Entulu has also commented by saying that while the matter is worth exploring, the proposed merger is a matter that requires further discussions.

Meanwhile, yesterday’s event saw the presence of leaders of SPDP and Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP).

Masing said the ‘merger of minds’ as agreed to by these three BN components last year was evident yesterday, and manifested during a game of golf he shared with SUPP secretary general Datuk Sebastian Ting, SPDP supreme council member Alexander Asing and PRS vice president Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum.

“We are thinking along the same line on what needed to be done, to be able to play together and understand each other. That to me is very important, and a prelude to physical merger.

“Merger of minds comes first, like you go for dating, you got to know each other first. So, now I got to discuss with my Supreme Council members what to do next,” he said.

To another question, he said the next supreme council meeting would also discuss PRS claims on some of the 11 new seats which might see action in the coming state election.

The 11 new seats are Batu Kitang, Stakan, Serembu, Triboh (renamed Bukit Simuja), Gedong, Kabong, Tellian, Selirik, Murum (renamed Mulu), Samalaju and Long Lama.

Others present at yesterday’s event were SUPP president Senator Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian, former deputy chief minister and former SUPP president Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan, PRS Balai Ringin assemblyman Snowdan Lawan and Batang Ai assemblyman Malcolm Mussen Lamoh.

Some 180 golfers including those from as far as Taiwan took part in the competition, which offered YB Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing Challenge Trophy and RM7,500 cash as the main prize.