A case of split political personality

Robert Kenneth

KUCHING: The behaviour of Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) is like a son saying that he loves his father while doing something bad to his siblings.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing, who is Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president, said such was the conduct of PSB all this while.

“You cannot say you support your father, but at same time you harass his children (your siblings),” he said alluding to the modus operandi of PSB and its president Datuk Sri Wong Soon Koh who in the end claimed inability to understand why they were sidelined.

Wong, who is Second Finance Minister and International Trade and E-Commerce Minister, acknowledged that PSB was sidelined in the appointment of its members to local councils and state statutory bodies, and their elected representatives’ minor rural project (MRP) and rural transformation project (RTP) grants were discontinued.

Masing, who is Infrastructure Development and Transportation Minister, said whether PSB is in or outside Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), it is in opposition to at least three GSP component members, namely, Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) and Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS).

“That was why in the last few months their focus has been on the strongholds of the three parties. They have identified their candidates for the next state election in all Dayak constituencies,” Masing told the New Sarawak Tribune.

As to whether PSB is a rich party backed by big tycoons, Masing said he could not dispute the characterisation, but added that if claims to that effect are true, he wondered if the party would practice money politics come the next state election.

Meanwhile, political analyst Datuk Peter Minos, said as Wong had said that he still supports the chief minister, he hoped that PSB would not get in the way of GPS in the 2021 state election.

“Still, if PSB fights GPS, I think GPS will not be in danger because Sarawakians are behind the coalition in its efforts to prevent Malaya-based parties and their leaders from taking power in Sarawak,” said Minos.

Minos does not believe that PSB is as solid and strong as it often portrays itself to be.

“It has internal problems. Its vice president Datuk Dr Jerip Susil has left, and there are rumors that its Bumiputera assemblymen are unsettled. They are probably rethinking and reviewing their positions as they still want to be in the government,” he said.

Minos maintains that as the “Sarawak First” mood gathers momentum it gets harder for PSB and even Pakatan Harapan (PH) to create trouble for GPS.

JPeter Minos

“I am sure GPS will keep pushing its “Sarawak First” agenda and take advantage of the mood,” he said.

Minos argued that although many had said that PSB has solid financial backing from some tycoons, big businessmen especially those doing timber and land-based businesses are typically cautious about being associated with those in power.

Thus, he said, it is not necessarily true that these tycoons will go in full force for PSB.

As for SUPP, Minos said it needs to plan and work harder in all Chinese-majority areas because PSB on the “outside” could make things difficult for it.

“They will split Chinese votes but if SUPP can garner Chinese support, it should be safe,” he said, adding that SUPP should take full advantage of the help from PBB, PRS and PDP.

“I am not being overconfident, but I can say that GPS will still emerge victorious. Just having PBB winning all its 46 DUN seats, is victory enough. The winnings of SUPP, PRS and PDP will be like big bonuses.

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