In anticipation of September 16, a date when Anwar Ibrahim hope that his Pakatan Rakyat can overthrow Barisan Nasional, various quarters have been making statement either to show to Anwar that they too are willing to switch alliance or just to remind Abdullah Badawi that BN still need their support.
And that is exactly what James Jemut Masing did.
James Masing had asked that Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) be given greater representation in the various government-linked companies (GLCs) and the post of chairman in at least one of the GLCs.
James is either putting pressure on the top BN leaders or giving a hint to PR leaders that they are currently frustrated and need some change.
PRS wants just reward
Masing says party has done a lot for BN and should be given positions in GLCs
KUCHING: Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) feels that its contribution to the Barisan Nasional is immense and that it should be rewarded accordingly.
In a press conference held to announce the party’s and its six MPs’ loyalty to BN, PRS president Dato Sri Dr James Masing had asked that the party be given greater representation in the various government-linked companies (GLCs) and the post of chairman in at least one of the GLCs.
“The supreme council of PRS has asked me to pursue this matter wherever it is possible or wherever there are vacancies for PRS to be represented in GLCs not only in Sarawak but the whole of Malaysia.
“We will like to request for chairmanship in both state and federal GLCs, if there are one or two vacancies, to be allocated our party,” he said after the party’s supreme council meeting at its Jalan Pending headquarters yesterday.
Masing, who is also the Land Development Minister, said the party had not been allocated the chairmanship of any GLCs, unlike the other BN component parties, ever since it was admitted to the BN in 2005.
“That’s why the party’s supreme council feels uneasy because the party is not recognised in that sense. To me, this is very small request by us for what we had done. Our contribution is very big to BN,” he said.
On another matter, Masing said the three-hour meeting also had a lengthy discussion on the current political scenario especially regarding rumours of Pakatan Rakyat forming the new federal government on September 16.
Among the related issues discussed, according to Masing, were the speculations surrounding a few of the party’s MPs who were rumoured to have met opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to crossover to PR.
Responding to the speculations, Masing said all the six MPs would stick with BN and that the party was also solidly behind the coalition.
“I can assure to you that PRS MPs will remain loyal to BN and (Prime Minister) Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. We pledge we stood on BN ticket and we will stick with BN.
“Some MPs did disappear for few days, but this has nothing to do with the crossover to Pakatan Rakyat. They were visiting their constituencies,” he said.
One of those associated with the rumours, Hulu Rajang MP and PRS vice president Datuk Billy Abit Joo, was present at the meeting and press conference.
“YB Billy’s name was quite prominent when he was disappearing, and so people were enquiring about him. And so did I.
“But he was somewhere in Ulu Belaga (few days ago), and he just came back. That was why he could not be reached, and it has nothing to do with him being induced by Pakatan Rakyat or anything like that,” he said.
On the other MPs, he said Sri Aman MP Masir Kujat and Lubok Antu MP William Nyalau were present at the meeting but did not stay for the press conference afterwards due to commitments in their respective areas.
Selangau MP and Deputy Minister of Regional and Rural Development Joseph Entulu Belaun, who is also PRS deputy president, attended both the meeting and press conference.
“Julau MP Datuk Joseph Salang is away on official duty (as Deputy Minister of Energy, Water and Telecommunications), while Kanowit MP Aaron Dagang has gone to Kuala Lumpur. I don’t think this was to see Anwar. That I can assure you,” Masing said.
He also believed that it would be impossible for PR, under the country’s present parliamentary procedure, to form the next government on Sept 16.
“This is a parliamentary country, and there are parliamentary rules. There are no parliament sessions during this present Ramadan month, and the next parliament session will be after Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
“Looking at the parliament procedures, can he (Anwar) be the new PM on Sept 16 even if he claims to have a list of 40 BN MPs crossing over. That’s why I think we should not fall into this trap,” he said. He added that the opposition’s repeated claims to form the next government could be likened to “a high stake poker game without a joker card”.
“Pak Lah will still be the Prime Minister after September 17,” he said.
Masing said he had also during the supreme council meeting reminded party leaders to be racially sensitive when making statements or speeches.
“When making remarks in a multi-racial country like Malaysia, we must always be racially sensitive in our remarks. Do not make any remarks that are likely to hurt others,” he said, clearly referring to the controversies surrounding statements made by Umno Bukit Bendera division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail during the campaigning period for the recent Permatang Pauh by-election.
He also spoke on the BN Backbenchers Club (BBC) “educational” retreat overseas for MPs, which he felt was not planned at the right time.
“Under the current situation, it will be better if the MPs spend more time on the ground to talk to the people in their constituencies and face up to the claims made by Anwar and the opposition. But I will not stop any of the MPs if they choose to go for the retreat,” he said.
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