KUCHING: Wong Soon Koh, Sarawak’s minister for international trade and e-commerce and second finance minister, today announced his resignation from the state cabinet.
Wong, 77, who is Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) president and six-term Bawan Assan assemblyman, said he would be meeting Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg to formally tender his resignation letter.
He did not say when the meeting will take place.
PSB, which is not part of the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), was rocked by its exclusion from the new list of councillors for local authorities in the state last week.
Wong said that since he has been second finance minister for 15 years, he still has some financial matters to discuss with the chief minister before tendering his resignation.
“I can’t just walk away like that,” he said.
He said he has no “moral locus standi” to remain in the cabinet and is leaving as “a matter of political integrity”.
Yesterday, Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president James Masing said Wong should have read the warning signs “a long time ago” when funds for minor rural projects and the minor rural transformation programme were cut off from PSB.
He said it was ridiculous for Wong to ask the chief minister to decide whether he should quit the cabinet.
However, Wong said it was not about him leaving or not but a matter of courtesy.
Besides, he said it was Abang Johari who launched the United Peoples’ Party (UPP) in January 2015 and again when it was rebranded as PSB in December last year.
Asked about the future of the party, he said: “The road ahead is wide and our future is bright,” adding that PSB will be a “free independent party”.
In May, it was reported that Masing had wanted both Wong and PSB deputy president Dr Jerip Susil to be dropped from the state administration.
On Saturday, Susil announced his resignation from PSB with immediate effect. He will remain an independent assemblyman for Mambong.