PRS to continue pushing single multiracial party idea

​Masing (seated, fourth from right) speaking to reporters after chairing the party’s supreme council meeting at PRS headquarters this afternoon.

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KUCHING, June 17: Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) will push the idea of setting up a single multiracial party during the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS)’s taskforce meeting, which is expected next week.

PRS president Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing opined that for GPS to be successful in retaining the support of Sarawakians, it must not be Barisan Nasional (BN) 2.0.

“If GPS is just mimicking Barisan Nasional (BN), then our boys will have doubt on it. They are not very keen, i.e. to have one dominant party like Umno (United Malays National Organisation). The reason BN lost (in GE14) is not because the BN coalition is bad, but because BN was too much controlled by Umno, and the smaller parties’ cries were not heard and opinions not listened to.

“My boys in PRS are not very happy with this,” he said after chairing the party’s supreme council meeting here.

Masing said GPS must allow all its component parties to have their say in whatever it does, and there should be no dominant party in the coalition.

In addition, no party in the alliance should have more than half the number of state assemblypersons.

“Now we have 82 ADUNs, and PRS is of the opinion that there should not be more than half of the ADUNs belonging to one party because that would mean they can form a government on their own — a simple majority government —and that the GPS would become not effective and relevant.

“That is one of the power-sharing conditions we (PRS) have agreed upon,” he said.

GPS comprises PRS, Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP), and Progressive Democratic Party (PDP).

Currently, PBB has 46 state seats, PRS 11, SUPP seven and PDP three.

On what had transpired during the first GPS meeting on June 12, Masing said when he raised the subject of forming a single multiracial party, several PBB leaders criticised it, while SUPP and PDP leaders kept quiet.

“To be honest, PBB is not very keen on the idea of a single multiracial party. But whatever it is, we will still engage with them,” said Masing.

He said GPS had formed a taskforce and it is chaired by PBB secretary-general Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi. The focus of this taskforce is to fine tune the coalition to meet the needs and aspirations of Sarawakians.

“Hopefully, our members in the taskforce can convince them on some of the areas that need to be looked into. GPS is still at the incubation stage, everything is not final yet. Improvements need to be done.”

PRS’s members in the taskforce are its secretary-general Datuk Joseph Salang, Women chief Datuk Seri Doris Brodie and Youth head Datuk Snowdan Lawan. — DayakDaily