By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Nov 2: The Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president post is still vacant, clarifies its deputy president Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum in dismissing news reports and rumours about him being power crazy.
Salang said he is currently deputising for the late party president Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing as provided by the party’s Constitution which is supported by the entire Supreme Council.
“I’m the deputy president of PRS but I’m not the acting president.
“I’m deputising for our late president, assuming the responsibility left behind by him and execute the functions but not occupying his post. The president post is still vacant,” he told a press conference held at late Masing’s private residence today.
Stressing that while it is still too early to talk about the successor, he however said it is his responsibility to hold the entire party leadership and members together.
“So it is not that I want to be leading the party as speculated by certain quarters.
“The news reports or rumours particularly circulating in social media maybe wanting to sell more papers and products.
“The rumours that I am power crazy is… you all know lah. You all know me, I’m not one of those crazy for power,” he said.
Quashing news reports and rumours about him jostling for the party’s top post following a Supreme Council meeting held just hours after Masing’s died on Sunday (Oct 31), Salang explained that the meeting had been planned two weeks in advance.
“The meeting held on Sunday was not rushed to grab the power of leadership. No, it was planned two weeks earlier. First it was scheduled on 29th but it was changed to 30th and later to 31st to accommodate btye schedule of two MPs due to tabling of Budget 2022.
“But sadly it so happened to coincide with the passing of our party president.
“Furthermore, according to Iban customs and tradition, meeting can be held and normal business can be carried out during the wake period but not after burial as it will be the mourning period.”
Even though it could have been postponed, he said the party decided to proceed with it as the election bell has been ringing. They may not be able to hold it anytime soon if they did not proceed with it on Sunday.
“Sadly, we were left by our president on the same day. It is never our plan to disrespect him or the family.”
Salang assured that PRS is still very much intact and anyone who questioned the party’s unity may seek further confirmation from any PRS Supreme Council members who attended the meeting.
“So we had our meeting that day to show our unity, to continue the legacy left behind by party president,” he added.
It is worthy to note that in 2013, Salang was offered the post of deputy minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture which he turned it down. — DayakDaily