KUCHING, March 21: Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) has responded to fierce criticisms from Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) leaders over the party’s recent political manoeuvres by emphasising that ‘it is democracy’.
PSB Secretariat, in a press statement issued late yesterday, highlighted that both Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing and Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) president Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian had stated that ‘in a democracy, any member can leave any time he wishes’.
PSB also advised the lower echelon leaders of GPS who complained incessantly in the press lately to heed what their presidents had said.
With reference to SUPP, PSB admitted they had been at loggerheads with SUPP since the formation of United People’s Party (UPP), which PSB was formerly known.
“So, we are not at all surprised that they have chosen to jump on the bandwagon to attack PSB now that the opportunity to do so has arisen.”
However, PSB pointed out that to date, no leader of SUPP had joined PSB although a newspaper report had speculated that Serian MP Dato Sri Richard Riot Jaem might be considering such a move. But SUPP secretary-general Datuk Sebastian Ting dismissed that report the following day.
“But even if Dato Sri Riot does leave SUPP, we need only refer to a statement by SUPP president Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian, ‘On the possibility of Riot leaving the party due to dissatisfaction, Dr Sim said Sarawak practises democracy and any member can leave any party when they chose to’.”
PSB Secretariat said it must be noted that in his statement, Dr Sim never denied dissatisfaction on the part of Riot and even went on record to say Riot was free to leave if he chose to as this is a democracy.
SUPP’s war with UPP is public knowledge when they openly fielded candidates bearing SUPP and Barisan Nasional (BN) banners in the last state election against BN direct candidates from UPP, the statement claimed.
“We have plenty of photographic and video evidence that was given to then Chief Minister, the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem, to show that a component party, SUPP, openly campaigned against BN candidates, but his advice then was ‘the election is over, let’s just move on’.”
The SUPP campaign against BN candidates, PSB pointed out, spoke volumes of purported ‘loyalty’ of SUPP to a coalition that SUPP was a component of at that time and questioned if loyalty was something that came to the fore only when it is convenient.
Turning to Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), in which former leaders Datuk Joseph Entulu and his supporters, Sri Aman MP Dato Masir Kujat and other Dayak leaders like Datuk Sylvester Entrie and Banyi Beriak have joined PSB, PSB stated that the latter two were independent and were surely free to join any party they wished.
“As for Entulu and his followers, it is well-known that they were sacked by a special committee of PRS on the eve of nomination day in the last Parliamentary General Election. PRS clearly no longer wanted Entulu and his supporters.
“For PRS to complain about Entulu and his group joining PSB, it smacks of the classic ‘dog in the manger’ attitude, defined by the dictionary as ‘a person who spitefully refuses to let someone else benefit from something which he or she has no personal use for’.
“Let us consider the interests of Sarawak and the need for Sarawak-based parties to fight for Sarawak rights. The fundamental question is this — is it not in the interests of Sarawak that Entulu and his supporters come together in PSB rather than to join Pakatan Harapan (PH), which is controlled by head offices in West Malaysia?”
If Entulu and his group were parties of substance, PSB said then Sarawak must surely benefit from their support for PSB, but if Entulu’s group was of no substance, then no one should care where they go since they were partyless.
Addressing the issue of Masir, PSB added that it cannot be gainsaid that Masir was not happy in PRS as those within PRS were fully acquainted with that fact.
“They know why he wanted to leave. The only issue is this — is it better for Sarawak and the present government that Dato Masir joins PSB or joins PH?
“We accepted Dato Masir because we believe that the interests of Sarawak would be best served by him joining us rather than for him to join PH. In effect, we kept Dato Masir from PH. Is that a disservice to Sarawak?”
PSB slammed those who complained stridently about Masir leaving to look at the management of their own party.
“What has happened to cause disillusionment amongst its leaders or members? Loyalty must be earned and should never be taken for granted.”
As for Progressive Democratic Party (PDP), PSB said no leader from the party has joined PSB.
“As stated in a previous press release, PDP’s state assemblymen left PDP and eventually joined Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB). PDP grievances are not with us,” said the statement. — DayakDaily