Taib welcomes PRS, SPDP merger

KUCHING, June 21 — Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud welcomes the move by Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) to merge under a new party name.

However, he said as Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman and president of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), the backbone of the state BN, he would not interfere in any move or effort taken by both parties.

“It is good, we support (the merger of) PRS and SPDP if it is a move to further strengthen the parties,” he told reporters after the opening of the new Employees Provident Fund building yesterday.

The two parties, which had reached the merger agreement recently, have shortlisted three names for the merged new party — Bersatu Rakyat Sarawak (Beras), Demokratik Rakyat Sarawak (Deras) and Bersatu Progresif Rakyat Sarawak (BPRS).

Asked whether PBB would accept the application of the new merged party to join BN, Taib said: “PBB is a BN component party and if it is the best for us, we will accept it.”

SPDP secretary-general Sylvester Entrie Muran, who is a member of the party merger committee, said efforts were now being focused on gathering feedback from the grassroots.

The PRS merger committee is headed by party vice-president Datuk Billy Abit.

Headed by Datuk William Mawan Ikom, the SPDP, an offshoot of the Sarawak National Party (Snap), was registered on Nov 8, 2002 and joined BN on Jan 7, 2003.

On the other hand, the PRS, an offshoot of Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS), is led by Datuk Seri James Jemut Masing. It was registered on Oct 21, 2004 and joined BN on June 20, 2005.

Besides the PBB, PRS and SPDP, another Sarawak BN component party is the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP). — Bernama

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