Premier: PDP, SUPP seat clashes over PSB absorption not a concern for GPS

Abang Johari (centre) and Juma'ani (seated) in a photo with the PDP entourage led by Tiong (fourth left), including Wong (third left) during the Premier's Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house in BCCK on April 10, 2024.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, April 10: Seats clashes between Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) and Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP), arising from the absorption of former Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) members into PDP, pose no immediate problem to Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) as Sarawak is united as one rather than being preoccupied with “socks and shoes” issues.

Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg emphasised this when questioned about the fate of seats won by PSB, which traditionally were contested by SUPP.

“It is ok and we will discuss when approaching the election, which is definitely not (going to happen) tomorrow.

“After all, it affects only two seats with Ba’Kelalan (currently held by Baru Bian, a former PSB member) originally belonging to PDP, so the remaining seats are Bawang Assan and Engkilili. It is up to the (respective) parties to discuss and negotiate,” he told reporters during the Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house hosted by him and his wife Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tuanku Bujang at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here today.

On April 6, former PSB leaders and members officially joined PDP, including Bawang Assan assemblyman Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh, Engkilili assemblyman Johnichal Rayong Ngipa and Ba’Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian.

PSB was officially dissolved and its members accepted en bloc into PDP following the Registrar of Societies’ approval of the party’s dissolution. Former PSB president Wong was named as senior vice-president of PDP, with Johnichal and Baru appointed as vice-presidents.

PDP president and Federal Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Dato Sri Tiong King Sing led an entourage from the party which included the party’s newly accepted members in extending their festive greetings during their visit to the Premier’s Hari Raya open house today.

Abang Johari acknowledged that the absorption of former PSB members into PDP has further bolstered the strength and representation of GPS, with an increase in number of State seats.

As to whether GPS leadership had given its blessings for former PSB members joining PDP, Abang Johari instead stressed that it signified PSB’s recognition of GPS government policies, as they have questioned the coalition’s policies in the last elections.

“They have acknowledged the fact that GPS has delivered and we have a clear direction for Sarawak.

“The key members (of PSB), particularly the honourable members of the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) have decided along with their supporters to join PDP. Let it be,” he said.

Expressing respect for the decisions of leaders from both parties, with PDP being a component of GPS, Abang Johari added: “We must look from the other perspective, that PSB has been dissolved, meaning the political entity under the name PSB no longer exists.” — DayakDaily