By Wilfred Pilo
KUCHING, July 16: The resignation of Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) president Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh from the Cabinet will be consequential to the state’s political landscape.
Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) vice-president Datu Dr Penguang Manggil said all eyes will be set on PSB’s next move going forward.
The Marudi assemblyman expressed worry this latest political development could trigger an all-out war between PSB and the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition.
“We have to respect his decision to resign from all his Cabinet portfolios, as he is in the best position to know when to do so, given the foregoing political climate,” he told DayakDaily when contacted.
Yesterday, Wong announced his resignation as Second Finance Minister and Minister for International Trade and eCommerce.
There have been talks that PSB might go all out to challenge GPS, which consist of PDP, Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP), in the next state election due in 2021.
Penguang brushed off such talks and hoped that PSB will not pose such a challenge on the coalition. PSB, formerly known as United People’s Party (UPP), has always declared itself as friendly to the state ruling coalition.
This had enabled Wong and former PSB deputy president Datuk Dr Jerip Susil to remain in the their respective ministerial roles. The latter, who quit PSB last Thursday (July 11), is the state Assistant Minister for Transportation.
“He (Wong) mentioned that he supports Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and his quest to defend Sarawak rights and interest under the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
“If that is the case, PSB should not challenge GPS. By doing so, it will split the ‘rakyat’ more,” he continued.
Penguang, who is also Local Government and Housing Assistant Minister, believed such move by PSB could jeopardise the unity and harmony enjoyed by many Sarawakians.
“Don’t forget, we are all in GPS and that kind of political outlook does not auger well with the GPS component parties,” he pointed out, in reference to Wong’s appointment in the state Cabinet despite not being a member of the ruling coalition.
Wong, a six-term Bawang Assan assemblyman, had been Second Finance Minister for 15 years.
PSB’s relation with the ruling GPS coalition was rocked by its exclusion from the new list of councillors for local authorities in the state last week. — DayakDaily