By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, June 20: Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) deputy secretary-general Rita Sarimah Insol, 59, today expressed her appointment as a senator as a “surprise Gawai gift”.
For her appointment, she thanked her party, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) top leadership and Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
“It came as a pleasant surprise during Gawai,” Rita told DayakDaily when contacted today.
She was told of her appointment prior to Gawai but she preferred to keep mum over it until she received the ‘blank and white’ much later.
When asked what would be her major tasks during her three-year tenure as senator, Rita said she would try to improve the economy of the rural populace.
“It’s very important to assist the rural economy. We have a large number of population who need help and that’s what I planned to do,” she said.
Besides that, she also planned to use her experience to assist women in Sarawak to achieve their dreams.
“Together with Susan Anding, we will strive to assist the women in the state so that their voices could be heard,” she said, adding that her other plan was to uplift the education among the rural populace, especially among the Dayak community.
Besides Rita, Susan Anding of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) and Robert Lau of Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) will take their oath of office before the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Monday (June 22).
Besides being active in politics, Rita is also an agroprenuer in oil palm industry and currently she is the vice-president of the Sarawak Dayak Oil Palm Planters Association (DOPPA).
Rita is also well educated as she possessed a law degree from University of Malaya and an MBA from Herriot Watt University, Scotland.
Prior to joining politics, she worked as a magistrate for five years before joining Bintulu Port Sdn Bhd and was there for 20 years. Her last position before taking early retirement was as head of legal advisors.
Rita is a well-known public figure in Bintulu, being the chairman of Serakup Indu Dayak Sarawak (SIDS) Bintulu for 17 years.
She stood in Selangau in the last parliamentary election but lost to Baru Bian in a straight fight.
Rita from Rh William Bansa, Jalan Ulu Sg Dijih, Selangau, is married to Timothy Gima Uji and they are blessed with three grown-up children who are now professionals in various medical fields.
Meanwhile, PRS president Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing said Rita’s appointment signified the government’s recognition of the role of Dayak women in Sarawak.
“She is very credible and very experience in terms of legal matters. So, she would make a perfect lawmaker for us.
“And now we have another Dayak lady coming in and not just an ordinary Dayak lady but a very qualified Dayak lady to fill the position. And for that I would thank the prime minister for the recognition,” Masing told reporters after chairing PRS supreme council meeting here today.
Rita is the second PRS woman leader to be appointed as a senator after Datuk Seri Doris Brodie who was made deputy president of the senate. —DayakDaily.