Nearly 3,000 Ba’Kelalan constituents join PDP, surpassing PKR and ex-PSB applications

Baru when met at Shell Malaysia Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house on April 12, 2024.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, April 12: Almost 3,000 constituents of Ba’Kelalan, previously under the former Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB), have signed up to become Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) members, surpassing applications in both Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and PSB.

Ba’Kalalan assemblyman Baru Bian revealed this in response to queries regarding his constituency’s reaction following PSB’s recent dissolution, which was followed by all former PSB leaders and members joining PDP en bloc.

“As far as Ba’Kelalan is concerned, I think they are very supportive of it (the transition), evident in the applications to be members (which were encouraging). It is very interesting.

“Within just two weeks of distributing membership forms to be PDP members, we have received almost 3,000 applications, far outstripping those received by PKR and PSB, and more are coming,” he told reporters when met at tbe Shell Malaysia Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house at a hotel here today.

Baru described this overwhelming response as a positive indicator of his constituents’ endorsement of the ex-PSB members’ move.

He further stated that constituents perceive this shift as timely and appropriate for Ba’Kelalan’s interests. “I’m glad by the level of support, particularly from those who are eager to become members,” he added.

Regarding their status in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN), which is expected to convene next month, Baru acknowledged that the former PSB assemblymen, including Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh (Bawang Assan) and Johnichal Rayong Ngipa (Engkilili), could now be considered as elected representatives of PDP.

He mentioned that PDP president Dato Sri Tiong King Sing and its leadership have notified DUN Speaker Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar and Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg about the ex-PSB members joining PDP.

“We leave it to the Premier and the Speaker as it is under their authority to determine our seat positions in the upcoming session,” he said.

Formerly the PKR Sarawak chief, Baru joined the now-dissolved PSB in 2020.

On April 6, PSB officially announced its dissolution, which had been approved by the Registrar of Societies (ROS), and claimed that over 80,000 of its members had been accepted en bloc into PDP.

This included three of its assemblymen, namely Wong Soon Koh (Bawang Assan), Baru Bian (Ba’kelalan), and Johnichal Rayong (Engkilili), with Wong appointed as PDP’s senior vice president, and Baru and Rayong as vice presidents.

PSB, formerly known as United People’s Party (UPP) was a splinter party of Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP). Before the 2021 Sarawak Election, PSB changed its political stance to become an opposition party and contested against Sarawak’s ruling coalition GPS.

However, on July 13, 2023, PSB announced its support for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg and finally dissolved to join PDP en bloc early this April. — DayakDaily