State legislative members’ seating arrangement remains the same despite PSB-PDP intended merger

State legislative members’ seating arrangement remains the same despite PSB-PDP intended merger

KUCHING, Sept 19 ― The seating arrangement of members of the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) during the upcoming sitting in November remains the same despite the intended merger between Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) component party Progressive Democratic Party (PDP), said Speaker Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar.

“Under Standing Order 2, it is the discretion of the Speaker to arrange who sits where (in the DUN). Now, this is governed by whether that merger is recognised and sanctioned by the ruling GPS. If is not sanctioned, then the status quo remains.

“If it is sanction and they (the PSB assemblymen) are all taken in and embraced as fellow GPS members, then I will have to review the seating arrangement,” he said during a press conference at DUN media room here today.

He was answering questions from reporters regarding the status of three PSB assemblymen namely Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh (Bawang Assan), Dr Johnical Rayong Ngipa (Engkilili) and Baru Bian (Ba Kelalan) who now sit in the opposition in the DUN.

On July 13 in Kuala Lumpur, PDP and PSB had inked a Memorandum of Understanding for the purpose of collaboration.

This was followed by PDP president Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing announcing at the PDP-PSB Unity Dinner in Sibu on Aug 19 that his party and PSB aim to finalise their merger this December.

Premier and GPS chairman Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg on September 1 had said anything could happen between now and December as far as the potential merger between PDP and PSB is concerned.

To another question, Asfia said as of now, there are 76 members on the government’s side, five in the Opposition, and one independent.

“According to one leader of the parties in the merger, it takes some time for the engagement and sometime for the ‘marriage’. It is difficult for me to predict what their ‘child’ looks like. How do you predict, strong personalities are involved.

“The engagement takes time, the negotiations till December, and then the merger takes time,” he said.

As such, he said opposition members in the DUN remains five, comprising three from PSB and two from Democratic Action Party (DAP).

“Of course, the most senior of them is (PSB president and Bawang Assan assemblyman) Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh. He had been state minister of finance for 15 years, that’s a record. So he commands three seats. Then DAP two seats,” he said.

He pointed out that Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How, who left PSB not long after the 2021 State Election, is the sole independent member in the DUN.

“He may want to decide which side he wants to join. That is up to him,” he added.