KUCHING: Sri Aman MP Datuk Masir Kujat has quit Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) to join Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB).
Former MPs Datuk Joseph Entulu and Datuk William Nyallau, former Marudi assemblyman Datuk Sylvester Entri and Parti Tenaga Rakyat Sarawak (Teras) acting president Banyi Beriak have also joined PSB, along with a number of local PRS leaders.
Masir said he decided to join PSB because he believed it was a "truly multiracial party" that could unite all the races in Sarawak.
"PSB is an independent local-based party that can speak up for all Sarawakians, irrespective of race or religious belief.
"As a Dayak leader and MP, I believe PSB will be the party best placed to champion Dayak rights," he said in a statement on Thursday (March 7).
Masir added that he agreed with the stand of PSB leaders to pledge their full support to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
Formerly known as UPP, PSB is the splinter party of Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP).
It is part of the state government but has not been formally accepted into the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition, which comprises Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), SUPP, PRS and Progressive Democratic Party (PDP).
In an immediate response, PRS president Tan Sri James Masing said people were free to move from one party to another.
"This is democracy. All political parties are subject to this freedom of movement," he said.
Masing also hinted at a lack of gratitude among the PRS members who had joined PSB.
"During my time as leader of PRS, I have helped many of my 'boys' to their respective positions of importance and advised them what needs to be done as leaders.
"One thing of paramount importance is to be grateful to the institution or person who has helped them.
"I can tell them the meaning of service to the community, but I can't guide them to be grateful," he said.