By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, July 11: No one from Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) is in the councillor appointment list which is about 98 per cent finalised.
According to a reliable source, the appointment of the new batch of local councillors was discussed in the state cabinet meeting this morning.
“The list is almost finalised, about 98 per cent. Some names were added in at the last minute or it would have been finalised. No councillors from PSB have been appointed,” said the source.
Except for the mayorship of Kuching South City Hall (MBKS) and Kuching North City Hall (DBKU), the terms of chairpersons and councillors of all 24 councils in Sarawak expired on June 30.
It has been thus prominent that a new batch of about 700 councillors and their chairpersons would be soon appointed to ensure the smooth running of the daily operations of the local government.
The matter has been catching much attention primarily due to two reasons.
Firstly, there bas been intense lobbying for the chairmanship of some of the more prominent urban councils which has in turn sparked more speculations on who will be the ones leading these urban councils such as Padawan Municipal Council (MPP), Kota Samarahan Municipal Council (MPKS) and Sibu Municipal Council (SMC).
Secondly, the councillors’ list is seen as an indicator as to whether there will be a cabinet reshuffle.
It is thought that if PSB leaders and members were included in the councillors’ list, then there is a high likelihood that PSB is still considered to be a friendly party to the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition, even though it is not part of the coalition officially.
In the previous term of appointment, leaders and members of PSB which used to be known as United People’s Party (UPP) held posts as councillors and even council chairman such as PSB vice-president Datuk Tiong Thai King who was SMC chairman.
PSB president Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh who is Deputy Finance Minister and PSB deputy president Datuk Dr Jerip Susil, who is Transport Assistant Minister are both part of the Sarawak Cabinet, despite PSB not being a component party of GPS.
However, rumours have been circulating that as PSB has been moving aggressively on the ground and may have intruded into the various areas of the component parties of GPS — Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and PDP (Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) and Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) — there is a high possibility that the PSB minister and assistant minister may be dropped from the cabinet.
The names on the new councillor appointment list, though is usually not as politically significant, is now of utmost importance at this time, as it is seen as an indicator as to whether there is going to be a cabinet reshuffle, with PSB leaders ousted and new back-benchers appointed as minister and assistant minister. — DayakDaily