PSB president Wong Soon Koh to quit state Cabinet (updated)

KUCHING: Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) president Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh says he will resign from the state Cabinet, after meeting Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

Wong, who is Second Finance Minister, as well as International Trade and E-Commerce Minister, said he would make an appointment to meet Abang Johari as soon as possible to convey his intention.

"My resignation from the state Cabinet is definite, because I have obtained endorsement from my party's annual delegate conference in Sibu two days ago.

"As to when it will take effect, I will have to discuss it with the Chief Minister," he told a press conference here on Monday (July 15).

Wong clarified that what he meant by "seeking the Chief Minister’s advice" in his speech on Saturday (July 13) was not whether he should resign, but a matter of courtesy. 

This was because he was appointed by the Chief Minister, he said.

"To me, it is a matter of courtesy that I should call on the Chief Minister before I resign. This is a basic Asian value," he said.

Wong also said there were various financial matters he needed to discuss with Abang Johari before he resigned, as he had been Second Finance Minister for 15 years. 

"I can't just walk away like that. But I'm sure the Chief Minister will have the wisdom to handle the financial affairs of the state," he said.

Formerly known as United People's Party (UPP), PSB is a splinter party of Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP).

The party, which is not part of the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition, was rocked by its exclusion from the new list of councillors for local authorities in the state last week.

This was followed by the sudden resignation of deputy president Datuk Dr Jerip Susil, who is also Assistant Transportation Minister, on Thursday (July 11).

Wong reiterated that he had no "moral locus standi" to remain in the state Cabinet after PSB was sidelined from having representatives in local authorities and statutory bodies, while their elected representatives' minor rural project and rural transformation project grants were also frozen by the state government.

"It's a matter of political integrity to resign," he said.

Asked what direction PSB would take after this, Wong was circumspect.

"As soon as I resign, we are a free independent party. As I said in my speech, the road ahead for PSB is very wide and the future is bright."

However, he also said PSB remained firmly behind Abang Johari in his fight to restore state rights and interests under the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

"We are prepared to work with all like-minded persons or parties in our struggle for the state and the people of Sarawak," he said.

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