Monday, 12 July 2010

Sarawak general elections around the corner

New party to join Swak's political fray

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By Roselind Jarrow of

KUCHING: A new political entity, Parti Ekonomi Rakyat Sarawak Bersatu (PERSB), has announced that it will be contesting in the coming Sarawak state election. In introducing the PERSB’s pro-tem committee to the media, Native Land Owners Association Sarawak (Tahabas) chairman Michael Jok said although the party is yet to be registered it already has big plans for the future of Sarawakians.

He said PERSB will contest in 71 seats in the coming state election and 31 parliamentary seats in the general election.

“Our candidates are ready to contest as PERSB members or as United Independents,” he added.

Jok said PERSB applied to register the party on Jan 21 this year but the Registrar of Societies Sarawak returned the forms after disapproving its name.

“We resubmited the application on April 20 and we called ourselves Parti Ekonomi Rakyat Sarawak Bersatu. We urge the ROS to approve our application without further delay.

“Failure to do so will be a breach of the principles of democracy, respect and rights of the people of Sarawak to determine their own future leadership through the election process,” he said.

Economic might

PERSB is closely linked to the Project Ekonomi Rakyat Sarawak or Pers.

According to Pers website ( a shared-plantation scheme involving the cultivation of the Jatropha Curcas plant has enabled hundreds of thousands of Sarawakians to develop a sustainable income.

Jok said some 200,000 planters and workers are involved in the planting of the jatropha, and the projects were planned based on five years short-term projections and 30 years long term.

He said that financial allocations for the implementation of all programmes under the Pers would be channelled through Koperasi Ekonomi Rakyat Sarawak Berhad.

Jok said two press mill plants have been set up in Sri Aman and Sibu and nine more plants would be built to process the produce.

KERSB would also market crops, livestock, handcrafts and commodities produced by the people such as rice, cassava, coffee, pepper, fish, chicken, goats, weaving products, beads and so forth.

Jok said money from the profits and dividends would be used to raise the earning power of the people, to finance the party, as well as the candidates.

He added that elected representatives of PERSB however would not be allowed to engage in personal businesses except to carry out the Pers programmes.

Unhappy PBB members

Meanwhile, a number of PERSB protem committee members, who were former grassroots leaders of Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB), said they left their previous party due to unhappiness.

Two of them, David Mathew and Salleh Mahadi, who is the pro-tem president of PERSB, have been with PBB for more than 30 years. Mathew had been with Lawas PBB whereas Salleh was with the Dalat division.

Salleh said: “I left PBB because I am not happy with the party especially when I notice that PBB leaders are neglecting the interests of the grassroots and ordinary members. They are more concerned with business of their own family members and cronies.”