By Nigel Edgar
KUCHING, Oct 22: Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) Youth chief Datuk Snowdan Lawan today clarified that his party president, Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing, was not questioning the leadership of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) when he recently called on Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) leaders to be good listeners.
Holding 46 of the 82 state seats in the state legislature, PBB certainly has the right to lead the state, said Snowdan.
As a younger party, Snowdan said PRS does subscribe to and remains committed to this concept too and was willing to listen and vice-versa for the benefit of the rakyat and for the state to prosper.
What Masing cautioned was how a leader should listen to the smaller parties and take heed of their “felt needs”, for these needs would be expressed by the people through the ballot box later.
“The ‘cries’ that we hear from the Dayak community out there and the real issue is that the people demand equal employment in the civil service for every race (dictated by their qualifications), equal business opportunities, fair and well spread distribution of development allocations, equitable representation in the local government and in government-linked companies (GLCs), re-delineation boundaries in both state and parliamentary seats and business opportunities across all sectors in the state.
“PRS, being a Dayak-based party, is obliged to get this message across to the ruling government or else we are seen as a ‘sleeping partner’. That to us would be a more meaningful power-sharing right to the ground, which we should not only preach but teach. We have to voice it out, lest it becomes an issue for a party like ours,” explained Snowdan.
He said there was no issue for PBB leading GPS since the numbers spoke volumes, but the ‘cries’ out there are real issues.
He added that the state government should not be deaf to the ‘rakyat’s’ plights, for ignorance would fail it.
Being dominant does not mean “unsplittable”, said Snowdan, but numbers could be broken down.
“Lesson learned is listen, even if it is just whispering, because that person chooses not to shout,” he said.
“Our president must have thought through this, and his conscience is clear when he said that the GPS structure must be right ab initio (from the beginning), else it backfires on us again. This is the second time he echoed a friendly advice. Probably, the fact that this happened a second time is because the first one had not been taken heed of. He must have felt and realised that over time.
“Perhaps, he sees these weaknesses threatening GPS, and he’d rather sound the salvo (sic) much earlier, hoping that there are opportunities to turn around for strengths.”
On a brighter note, Snowdan said that “it could be good food for thought”.
He said the state election was not too far away; and for GPS, as a team and as a family, perhaps true consolidation may begin now. — DayakDaily