KUCHING: Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has brushed off questions on the possibility of a Sarawak state Cabinet reshuffle, saying he had not thought about it.
The Chief Minister repeatedly said, “I don't know”, when asked whether there was any reason for him to reshuffle.
Questions arose following the sudden resignation of Assistant Transportation Minister Datuk Dr Jerip Susil from Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) on Thursday (July 11).
Abang Johari merely said the present Cabinet members were “still there”.
“See lah. Sometimes if you have new technology, you get the right person who knows the technology,” he said when pressed again as he spoke to reporters after opening a Mind and STEM Festival at Chung Hua Middle School No 1 here on Friday (July 12).
The speculation increased when a new list of councillors for local authorities in the state was presented to the Cabinet on Thursday, and PSB members were not on it.
Abang Johari confirmed that the councillors were now confined to Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) component parties.
PSB is not a member of GPS, although its president Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh, as well as Dr Jerip, are in the state Cabinet.
Formerly known as the United People’s Party (UPP), PSB is the splinter party of Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP).
GPS comprises Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), SUPP, Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP).
Asked whether GPS would accept Dr Jerip should he apply to join, Abang Johari said he would take things one at a time.
He said he only learned of Dr Jerip's resignation through media reports on Thursday (July 11).
As to speculation that Dr Jerip's supporters wanted him to join PBB, Abang Johari said: “We see how it goes”.
Dr Jerip has not indicated what his next move would be or which party he would apply to join.
Meanwhile, SUPP president Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian said the party was ready to take back Dr Jerip, who was a member of SUPP before joining the then-UPP in 2014.
“I have always said that we will always welcome back those who were from SUPP. The door is always open.
“For the sake of the unity of Sarawak, we need everybody to stay together. This is so important, especially as leaders are asking Sarawakians to be united.
“Politicians need to be united in the first place,” he said.
Dr Sim also said SUPP would not set conditions for its former members to rejoin the party.
He added that SUPP was open to those who believed in the party's vision to fight for Sarawak.