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Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum speaks to reporters outside Masing’s residence. — Borneo Post pic
Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum speaks to reporters outside Masing’s residence. — Borneo Post pic

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KUCHING, Nov 2 — Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) deputy president Datuk Joseph Salang today dismissed claims of a power struggle over the party president’s post left vacant after the death of Tan Sri James Masing two days ago.

He said the party’s supreme council members are united and there is no truth to such talk.

“If there is anyone who thinks we are not, you can ask any of the supreme council members,” Salang told a press conference this evening in response to a report by an online news portal.

Salang said he is not the acting party president, but merely taking on the responsibilities of the role in the interim period.

“You all know me; I am not the one who is crazy for power. Yes, I am the deputy president, but I am not the acting president,” he said.

“I am, as the deputy president as provided for by the party constitution and supported by the whole supreme council, assuming the responsibilities of the president.”

He also said it is premature for PRS supreme council members to talk about Masing’s successor at this juncture.

“To us, he is still our leader. His spirit is still with us,” he added.

He said the post remains vacant, but he, as the deputy president, called for unity among both party leadership and membership.

“It is not that I want to lead the party, as many have speculated, but because of my position, it is my responsibility to do it,” he added

He said the meeting on Sunday was not rushed as claimed by the news portal but planned more than two weeks earlier.

“But sadly, it coincided with the death of our president. It was not because of our rush to hold onto power or to grab power during this difficult time.

“As it was already planned, and according to Iban customs or traditions, we can hold our meeting or carry on with normal business during the wake.

“But after the burial, then that will become our mourning period, during which we cannot do anything,” Salang said.

Salang added that apart from state election preparations, the meeting was held to discuss how the party can assist the Masing family during this difficult time.

“But as you all know, the state election bell is ringing so we can’t wait; otherwise, we may not have the opportunity to hold our supreme council meeting if we are to delay it due to the death of our president,” he said.

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