Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) today announced that it had reached a consensus on its new president, ending months of speculation over who would take over following the death of long-time leader James Jemut Masing last year.
Speaking at a press conference in Kuching, PRS secretary-general Janang Bungsu said de facto number two Joseph Salang would be appointed as president, with vice-president John Sikie Tayai agreeing to accept a lower position.
Janang said both leaders had shown a great degree of personal sacrifice in coming to this agreement.
“Sikie Tayai displayed admirable statesmanship by offering to accept a lower position in the line-up despite receiving many nominations for party president,” he said.
“Salang, for his party, has agreed to be retained in the presidency to preserve balance in the party.”
Masing, the long-time leader of PRS, died on Oct 31 last year. His passing left a power vacuum within the party which analysts warned would need to be quickly filled.
Salang said then that he would only take on the responsibilities of party leader for an interim period.
Speaking today, Janang said the agreement would help preserve solidarity in the party following talk of internal strife and a tussle for power among the leaders.
“The PRS leadership is conscious of the damaging effect on Gabungan Parti Sarawak if they do not manage the conflict within the party,” he said.
“The public image of PRS is at stake, as well as the image of Dayak political leadership.”
Janang also said that the Supreme Council had agreed to do away with an election at the party’s triennial delegation conference (TDC) in Sibu this weekend.
“In the interest of PRS unity and solidarity, the leaders have agreed to a consensus line-up, which would eliminate the need for an election at the TDC,” he said.
“This consensus was only reached after a great deal of personal sacrifice on the part of both Sikie Tayai and Salang.”