KUCHING, July 12 — Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) president Datuk Abang Johari Openg said Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) will study its rules to see if Datuk Dr Jerip Susil can be accepted as a direct member after he quit as deputy president of Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB).
Abang Johari who is also Sarawak chief minister demurred from making a commitment when asked to respond to calls from PBB members and supporters to take in Dr Jerip, who is also an assistant minister of transportation.
“Let’s see how it goes,” the chief minister told reporters after launching the Mind and STEM festival at Chung Hua Middle School No. 1 here.
Dr Jerip, who is also Mambong state assembly resigned from PSB yesterday, citing the interest of the Bidayuh community and unity of Sarawakians as the reasons.
On June 24, Dr Jerip and five other top party leaders, including PSB president Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh, signed a declaration not to leave the party to join another party “regardless of any offer of benefits or posts.”
PSB, though not a component party of GPS, is in the state government, courtesy of the chief minister.
Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian, who was also with the chief minister, said Dr Jerip and other PSB leaders are welcomed to return to SUPP which they left in 2014.
“I have always said that those who left us in the past are always welcomed to come back. The door is always open to them.
“I have been consistent in asking them to return. It is for the sake of Sarawak unity. We want everybody to stay together,” said Dr Sim, who is also the state local government and housing minister.
He added if political leaders want the people to be united, then they must set an example.
“So I do hope Dr Jerip and other lawmakers from PSB and its members, who are former members of SUPP, to come back and join us,” Dr Sim said, adding that other members of PSB are also welcomed to join SUPP.
Apart from Dr Jerip and Wong, the other lawmakers who had left SUPP to form PSB, are Opar state assemblyman Datuk Ranum Mina, Engkilili state assemblyman Johnical Rayong and Dudong state assemblyman Datuk Tiong Thai King.
They stood in the 2016 state election as Barisan Nasional’s indirect candidates since PSB, which was then known as United People’s Party (UPP), is not a component party of the BN.
After the state election, the then state BN chairman the late Pehin Seri Adenan Satem appointed Wong as a state minister and Dr Jerip as an assistant minister.