PRS out to stake its claim on Bukit Goram, Murum and Samalaju

KUCHING: PRS is eyeing at least three out of the 11 newly-created state seats to be contested in the next state election.

Party president Land Development Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing listed the three as Bukit Goram in Kapit, Murum (Belaga) and Samalaju (Bintulu).

“We believe that we can deliver these three seats for BN (Barisan Nasional) as we have a strong following there,” the minister told The Borneo Post here yesterday, believing that BN’s power-sharing policy among its component parties would enable PRS to have these three seats.

He stated that as far as Bukit Goram and Murum were concerned, they should be allocated to PRS in that they were respectively carved out of Baleh and Belaga state constituencies — both belonging to the party.

For the record, Masing is Baleh assemblyman while his Belaga counterpart is Assistant Minister of Culture and Heritage, Liwan Lagang.

“Both (Bukit Goram and Murum) are split from one ‘bilik’ (unit). In Iban customs, when the ‘bilik’ is divided into two, both sub-units should be allocated to PRS because the original ‘bilik’ belongs to us,” he explained.

On Samalaju, Masing pointed out PRS as the offshoot of now defunct PBDS as the justification for its right to claim the new proposed constituency.

“Based on our records, former members of PBDS are now with PRS. So with the strong presence of our members there — the majority of whom are Ibans, who also comprise 62 per cent of total voters — it would give us a real chance of winning the seat.

“On top of that, there are 23 per cent Bumiputera voters there (Samalaju) who would be inclined to vote for the BN party,” he said, adding that the remaining 15 per cent of voters would be the Chinese, whom he believed would also back PRS in the next state polls.

For the record, Samalaju has 12,927 registered voters. On the possibility of other BN component parties, especially PBB, also eyeing the three seats, Masing hoped that his party would be given the ‘fair share of assets’ among the new 11.

“We hoped that there would be no party monopolising these ‘assets’, which should be fairly shared among the four component parties.”

Meanwhile Assistant Minister of Public Utilities (Electricity and Telecommunications) Datuk Dr Stephen Rundi, who is also state BN secretary-general, said it was normal for all BN component parties to lobby out for all 11 seats.

However, he said it was too premature for the state BN to discuss on the allocation of seats, given that they had yet to receive approval from Parliament, to be followed by endorsement from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong before gazetting.

“Still based on past experiences, all four BN component parties (PBB, PRS, SPDP and SUPP) would meet to discuss on the allocation of these seats — when the time comes,” he said when contacted.

Rundi also stressed that based on past experiences: “The bigger the party, the bigger ‘say’ they will have on the allocation of seats.”

Apart from Bukit Goram, Murum and Samalaju, the rest of the new proposed state seats are Serembu, Batu Kitang, Bukit Semuja, Gedong, Stakan, Kabong, Tellian and Mulu.-Borneo Post

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