PRS tired of being ‘flower girls’

KUCHING: Parti Rakyat Sarawak vice-president Joseph Salang said the party’s supreme council took a firm stand on the cabinet posts because they were tired of “begging” and being treated like “flower arrangements”

Said Salang: “Najib offered us only two deputy ministers…Only after the president (James Masing) protested and some begging, only then the Prime Minister agreed for (Joseph) Entulu to be made a full minister in the Prime Minister’s Department

“Is that the way to treat PRS which has six seats, while a certain party which delivered only one seat is given a full minister?

“We have to come out and make our stand for it.

“The prime minister should be smart enough and well-advised to know what the Dayaks need and where the Dayaks can fit in.

“He should have been well-advised to accommodate the Dayaks and not to see that they are part of a flower arrangement.”

Salang who was formerly Deputy Minister of Information, Communications and Culture, has held similar positions under various ministries for nine years and sees little value in the posts in relation to the Dayak community.

“I was not hoping for any position. I was hoping for the right representation of the party.

“Deputy ministers are nothing. Crudely, they are just like flower girls. They are not in the cabinet. They don’t have power and they don’t sign anything.

“They have no allocation and they are at the charity of the minister. If the minister is nice like my previous boss, I can get some allocation from him for our non-governmental organisations.

“But I have had other bosses who never gave a single sen to my constituency.

“A deputy minister is no longer a big deal for me. What is more important is that we Dayaks are given the opportunity to serve. It is not necessarily me, but other people must be able to serve.

“What I do (rejection of the post of deputy minister) is a reflection of how the Dayaks feel,” he said explaining his reason for refusing the cabinet post.

Shocked PRS

PRS supreme council yesterday rejected Najib’s offer of posts in his cabinet. Both Salang, who is Julau MP, and Entulu (Selangau) had refused the posts – a slot as a full minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and a deputy minister.

Salang said PRS and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) had six and four parliamentary seats respectively should be treated with respect.

PRS had expected two full minister posts or at least one full minister and two deputies

Instead Najib announced two deputy posts and handed a full minister to Sarawak United Peoples Party (SUPP) which lost all its seats except one in the May 5 general election. SPDP was completely excluded from the cabinet.

According to Salang, he was surprised to know that he would be appointed a deputy minister when he saw the prime minister reading the list of ministers and deputy ministers over RTM.

“The party president (Masing) was shocked. So he advised us not to attend the swearing in ceremony as he wanted to discuss the whole issue with the prime minister.

“Personally, I would be happy to be made a deputy minister considering all the facilities, privileges and the perks.

“But is that the right way for me to treat the Dayaks whom I represent?” he asked.

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Headache for Najib; PRS rejects cabinet posts