KUCHING: Datuk Dr Jerip Susil can heave a sigh of relief now that he is retained in the minor Sarawak Cabinet reshuffle.
The question ‘Will Dr Jerip remain in the State Cabinet?’ has been lingering in the minds of his supporters since he quit Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) early last month.
And yesterday, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, who announced a cabinet reshuffle following the resignation of PSB president Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh from all his ministerial posts last month, retained the Mambong assemblyman as Assistant Minister of Transport.
Dr Jerip, when contacted, expressed his gratitude to the chief minister for retaining him in his cabinet.
“I would like to thank the chief minister for having trust in me. This is a very important ministry that will spearhead strategic development connecting the major towns and areas of growth in Sarawak.
“The new mode of transportation, including the riverine transportation, is expected to be introduced with the objective to leapfrog the development of the state,” he said.
Dr Jerip, however, said at the end of the day he still has to be accountable to the new Minister of Transport, Datuk Lee Kim Shin. He congratulated Lee on his appointment to a full minister, saying Lee has wide experience, having served as Assistant Minister of Transport and other ministries before, and hoped the new minister could lead the ministry in the transformation of transportation in Sarawak.
He also expressed his thanks to his former ‘boss’ Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing, whom he said had given him a lot of guidance and wisdom related to his portfolio.
Dr Jerip made headlines when he quit PSB, in which he was the deputy president, on July 11 and pledged his full support for Abang Johari’s leadership of Sarawak.
He is among a group of leaders who left Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) in 2014 to form United People’s Party (UPP) before it changed name to PSB.
PSB is not a component party of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), but was part of the state government then.
Till now, it is not clear which component party of GPS Dr Jerip will join after leaving PSB.