PBB now controls 45 of 82 Sarawak state seats

KUCHING: Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) has accepted the application of five partyless Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders, raising the number of state seats it controls from 40 to 45.

There are a total of 82 state seats in Sarawak.

Chief Minister Adenan Satem, who is also PBB President, announced today that the party had accepted the applications of Gerawat Gala, who won the Mulu state seat in the recently concluded state election, Miro Simuh (Serembu), John Ilus (Bukit Semuja), Rosey Yunus (Bekenu) and Paulus Palu Gumbang (Batu Danau).

Rosey and Paulus are former Teras leaders, while the remaining three are former PBB members, who resigned prior to contesting in the May 7 state election.

Rosey is former Teras Senior Vice-President while Paulus was former Teras Treasurer-General. Gerawat is a lawyer by profession while Miro is a former PBB Youth committee member. John is a retired civil servant and a former PBB member.

“Speaking for PBB, we have to accept in principle, either the return or the application of the five into PBB. We accept them in principle, we will work out the details later on,” Adenan told reporters at the Chief Minister’s office.

Adenan said party procedures required the leaders to apply to the nearest PBB branch within their constituencies, whereupon it would be approved by division leaders and ultimately the PBB supreme council.

“With regard to William Mawan, he has requested more time to think the matter over,” said Adenan, referring to the former Teras President. Mawan is the state assemblyman for Pakan and the Member of Parliament for Saratok.

Adenan said the party would not take advantage of its new position, although with 45 seats, it would be able to form the government on its own.

Asked to comment on earlier protests by leaders such as Deputy Chief Minister and Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) President Dr James Jemut Masing and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) President Tiong King Sing that PBB should hold onto an unwritten agreement that it would not control more than half the state seats, Adenan said the current power-sharing formula would remain.

“As I said, even though we have a majority on our own, 45 out of 82, it does not mean we are not prepared to share power. The Cabinet will remain as is, consisting of members from PRS, SPDP, SUPP and even UPP,” Adenan said.

“So even though we have an absolute majority, we are prepared to share power with the others.”

When asked to comment on the move by three former United People’s Party (UPP) leaders Dr Jerip Susil, Johnical Rayong and Ranum Mina to re-join UPP, Adenan said: “They have chosen to join UPP. That is their business. That is their business.”

“What is important is that they have all chosen to support Barisan Nasional. That is the most important thing,” Adenan said.

At the time of the press conference, Masing and Tiong were present in an adjacent room at the Chief Minister’s Office, awaiting a State Cabinet briefing along with other leaders.

They declined to comment. The five BN leaders who joined PBB also declined comment, with the exception of John who said: “It is like a homecoming.”