Masing says he is open to proposed PRS-SPDP union but with conditions

KUCHING: A proposed merger between two of Sarawak’s four Barisan Nasional parties, PRS and SPDP, first talked about way back in January 2006, has resurfaced.

PRS president Tan Sri Dr James Masing said “of course” he believed a merger would strengthen the state Barisan, when asked by reporters yesterday if the merger would help settle internal conflicts in SPDP.

Masing prefaced his answer by saying the merger topic tended to surface when either one of the two parties were facing internal conflicts.

“Last time we were supposed to merge but we were in trouble,” Masing told reporters, referring to a leadership tussle between himself and ex-leaders who have gone on to form Sarawak Workers’ Party.

“Remember? That was a few years back, and SPDP said, ‘We are not interested (to merge) until you solve your problems.’ Now, we have solved ours,” he added, alluding to SPDP’s on-going internal bickering.

Asked if he was still interested to pursue merger, Masing replied: “Of course. Any form of merger among us, which can strengthen Barisan, I’m very interested.”

He insisted he had “not changed my mind on certain issues like this”.

On a more cautious note, he said: “I came from one nightmare, I don’t want to enter another nightmare.

“But as I’ve said, there is no problem that can’t be solved if there are gentlemen sitting around the table.”

Then he hastily added that “conditions” would apply, without, however, elaborating what the conditions were.

The PRS president was speaking to reporters at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly’s media room.

Initially speaking on a separate matter, Masing said he was “worried” about the current political scenario in the state.

Masing named SUPP and SPDP as parties to be worried about. “Hopefully, things that have been discussed, (proposals for solutions) by the CM to them (SUPP and SPDP leaders), they will do with all sincerity,” Masing said.

That sparked off questions on the merger issue.

In January 2006, SPDP and PRS both said in the same statement that the parties would dissolve to form a new Dayak-based political entity.

Months, then years went by without significant progress. Merger committees were formed but no major headway was ever made.

By April 2012, Masing told reporters the merger was off for good given the beginnings of strained relations within SPDP’s senior office bearers.

After the general election in May last year, merger between the two parties was briefly discussed again.

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