SIBU, July 18 (Bernama) -- Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) is confident of
delivering all its six parliamentary seats to the Barisan Nasional (BN) in the
These include Hulu Rajang, an Iban/Orang Ulu-majority seat, where the party
is expected to field a new face, Wilson Ugak Kumbong to replace five-term
incumbent, Datuk Billy Abit Joo.
PRS president Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing told reporters, here, today that
he had held talks with the heads and grassroot leaders of the Sri Aman, Lubok
Antu, Selangau, Kanowit, Julau and Hulu Rajang divisions to gather feedback
and their assessment.
"So far, they are very upbeat of the party''s chances in retaining the six
"We have also identified the problems on the ground as well as our strengths
"We know the problems but they are not insurmountable. There is no problem
within PRS itself and we are as solid as ever.
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"Our nominations must be respected by the BN top leaders," he said.
Masing said that in Selangau, the challenge posed by the opposition Sarawak
Workers Party (SWP) to PRS deputy president Datuk Joseph Entulu, the deputy
rural and regional development minister, was nothing to worry about although SWP
leaders had moved on the ground a lot.
"In Julau, we hope the Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP), also
a state BN component, can settle the problem with its assemblyman Wong anak
Judat who wants to contest against incumbent Datuk Joseph Salang, the deputy
information, communications and culture minister.
"Wong is not our party member, so we can''t do much. It is his prerogative to
contest but we will deem him to have left BN the moment he fills in the
nomination papers. The BN as a group will then bring the fight to him," he said.
Masing noted that for Hulu Rajang, Wilson Ugak was not quite a political
greenhorn and had in fact moved around the Hulu Rajang area for the past 20
"He has been political secretary to the Chief Minister for 15 years, and his
wife is from the Orang Ulu community.
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"He has served as my director of operations in the state elections for seven
years and another five for Datuk Billy in the parliamentary elections," he said.
"We wish to thank Billy for his contributions and services to the party. But
like anything else, the time has come for him to go."
Masing said between SWP and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) which both wanted to
contest against PRS candidates, he regarded PKR as the greater devil.
"PKR is more organised, while SWP''s strength lies with its prime mover
and veteran politician Datuk Sng Chee Hua.
"Sng is a colourful character and well known to Sarawakians. If he is well
regarded, then SWP will be strong. If not, it will be to BN''s advantage," he
Meanwhile, Masing wants all incumbents to engage old party members and
"They are the individuals who have been with us through thick and thin
and should be respected. There must be this marriage of the old and new
guards," he said.
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