Masing refutes Entulu’s claim over right to contest Selangau seat

Tan Sri Dr James Masing

KUCHING, April 22: Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing reiterates that the party has its own way of identifying candidates for state and general elections.

As such, he called on all quarters not to interfere in the party’s matters and to let the party decide who should stand in constituencies allocated to the party to contest as candidates.

In a statement today, Masing who is also Deputy Chief Minister said the party made decisions on its general election candidates based on the recommendation of its state assemblymen.

“For the case of PRS deputy president Datuk Joseph Entulu, he was not recommended to be re-nominated to stand as Selangau candidate firstly because he did not have the support of the state assemblymen.

“Both Kakus assemblyman Datuk John Sikie and Tamin assemblyman Christopher Gira did not grant him the support,” said Masing.

Selangau is made up of the state constituencies of Tamin and Kakus.

He also pointed out that being a deputy president in the party did not mean that the person must be fielded as a candidate.

“When we have party elections, we elect our leaders, not candidates,” said Masing.

He further pointed out that the party decided not to field Entulu because there was evidence that he attempted to sabotage their Tamin candidate in the last state election.

“The party takes betrayal seriously and we have taken decisive steps to make sure that such a betrayal does not spread and finally split the party,” he said.

Meanwhile, Masing also rebutted the claim that Entulu had the highest majority among the six PRS-won parliamentary seats, pointing out Selangau had the second highest total of voters at 25,461.

“The popularity of a candidate is not reflected by the size of his or her majority as not all constituencies have the same number of total voters. Furthermore, some constituencies might have a higher turnout rate than others.

“It is the percentage of the popular votes that reflects the popularity of a candidate. It is calculated by getting the ratio of those supporting the candidate compared to the total actual turnout of voters.”

For example, out of the actual turnout voters of 20,725, Entulu garnered 12,040 votes. That means the percentage of votes for him was 58.1 per cent.

“In terms of percentage of popular vote, Entulu ranks only the fourth among the six PRS incumbents.”

“Datuk Wilson Ugak Kumbong of Hulu Rajang ranks the first with 61.8 per cent (9,117 votes, turnout 14,742); Datuk Aaron Ago Dagang (Kanowit) comes second with 58.4 per cent (8,046 votes, 13,743); Datuk Joseph Salang, the third with 58.3 per cent (9,891 votes, 16,957 turnout); and Entulu, the fourth with 58.1 per cent,” said Masing.

Masing issued the statement in response to an earlier statement made by Selangau incumbent Entulu.

A local daily reported Entulu as claiming he had the right to be renominated because he was elected as the party deputy president. The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department of the caretaker government also stressed that among the six incumbents of PRS, he won his seat with the highest majority. — DayakDaily