PRS leader quits party, blames Masing for GE14 loss

Raynore Mering
Wil demanded that Masing (pic) take responsibility for the disappointing outing in the polls and step down as president. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, May 21 — Parti Rakyat Sarawak has been rocked by the resignation of a branch leader who blames the president, Tan Sri James Masing, for the party’s losses in the concluded general election.

Senadin PRS chief Richard Wil Uban said he and a group of other branch leaders were quitting because they have lost confidence in Masing, who is also a deputy chief minister.

Wil said they made the decision during a meeting on May 15 and would formalise their move soon.

They also demanded that Masing take responsibility for the disappointing outing in the polls and step down as president.

Wil told Malay Mail that the decision was not an easy one to make as he had known Masing since the latter entered politics more than 30 years ago.

When contacted, Masing said Wil and his group can leave PRS if they wanted too and he would not persuade them to stay.

“They are big enough to do what is best for them,” he said, adding that the group was entitled to their opinion about him and the party’s performance in the polls.

After winning with a clean sweep in the 2013 general election, PRS lost three of its six seats in the recent polls.

Wil also said in a statement that it was Masing’s mistakes in tackling the internal issues in the party and his “vindictive style of leadership” which led to the losses.

“Masing is a leader who decides everything in the party according to his own whims and fancies and would never listen to the voices of grassroots.

“He should admit his mistakes and tender his resignation as president,” he said.

Masing had blamed “the lack of cohesiveness” between state Barisan Nasional parties for the defeat in Lubok Antu, Selangau and Julau.

However, Masing’s decision to sack Datuk Joseph Belaun and Datuk William Nyallau Badak — the former Selangau and Lubok Antu incumbent MPs respectively — just before nomination day is seen to be a major factor for the losses.

Also sacked were three supporters of the two former parliamentarians. Entulu and Nyalau were found guilty by a special committee headed by Masing of going against the party’s wishes not to renominate theim in the polls.

PRS lost Selangau to the state PKR chief Baru Bian, and saw Lubok Antu and Julau go to Independent candidates, Jugah Muyang and Larry Sng respectively.

Jugah and Sng have since joined PKR.

Asked what his plans were after quitting PRS, Wil said he and his group were still mulling their options.

“We could join another party, or even set up a new party. Who knows? We have not decided yet,” he said.

PRS is one of four state BN parties.