PRS says GPS govt must be fair to all races, creeds to stay relevant

Masing (seated centre) speaking to newsmen after chairing PRS’ Supreme Council meeting at the party's headquarters in Kuching this afternoon.

KUCHING, June 17: Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) is urging Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) to adopt a non-racial, non-bias policy when recruiting state civil servants. It also wants the new local alliance to be fair to all races and to resolve the long-drawn Native Customary Rights (NCR) land issues promptly.

Its president, Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing, bemoaned that the recruitment of state civil servants had been lopsided all this while.

“The state’s civil service must be restructured to cater to the social fabric of the state. Recruitment should be based on merits. It should not be based on who you know, but on what you know. There’s a difference,” he told a press conference after chairing the party’s supreme council meeting at its party headquarters here this afternoon.

Masing, who is also deputy chief minister, said the same policy should be applied when appointing the Board of Directors for government-linked companies (GLCs), too.

Asked on Barisan Nasional’s stunning loss in the May 9 general election, he attributed it to one party becoming too big and domineering that it pulled all its smaller partners down with it.

For the GPS government to be successful, Masing said “the big member party” should drop the idea of becoming a dominant party, start practising fair power sharing, and not have more than half of the state’s 82 state seats.

Masing added that GPS should also be fair to all communities and not just to those related to the dominant political party.

He argued that non-Muslims were the majority in the state, and it was only logical for GPS to focus on the majority to remain relevant.

Towards this end, the GPS government should give more funds to the non-Muslim communities through the Unit for Other Religions (Unifor). This unit should be upgraded to a department, too.

“The majority of people in Sarawak are non-Muslims. Therefore, we would like to state that we must take care of them. There must be ample annual budget for non-Muslims in Sarawak to enable them to build their places of worship.

“At the moment I do not see any. There may be an allocation for Unifor annually, but the amount is so small and not enough for everyone. There must be a budget for the non-Muslim communities to carry out their activities without hindrance,” said Masing.

According to the 2010 statistics, Christians account for about 42 per cent of the state’s population, Muslims about 32 per cent, and the rest comprise Buddhists, Hindus and others.

PRS also wanted the GPS government to resolve the long-standing NCR land issues promptly.

“This NCR land thing must be done properly. A land reform ought to be done immediately,” said Masing. — DayakDaily