KUCHING, July 18: The formation of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) will allow the state government to work closely with Putrajaya, especially on development and economic programmes for the wellbeing of the people.
Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the state’s ruling coalition, with the strategic interests of Sarawak in mind, decided to position itself in a neutral and friendly way to the Pakatan Harapan-led federal government by leaving Barisan Nasional (BN) and forming GPS.
“GPS will not be the old Barisan Nasional (BN) encased in new skin. GPS is patriotic Sarawak parties regrouping and adjusting ourselves to the new paradigm that is being set by Pakatan Harapan government. GPS is about being dynamic and versatile,” Abang Johari said in his winding-up speech at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting here today.
He stressed the importance of developing a close working relationship with the new federal government under the premiership of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad while the state government continued to ensure progress of the state.
Like it or not, the chief minister admitted that the state would still be influenced by national policies because it concerned the federal budget and the allocation of funds for development, education and healthcare, order and security, interest rate and exchange rate, including bank lending policy.
Abang Johari recalled how past experiences within the context of the BN had taught the state a lesson. Sarawak parties then had no complete freedom to speak for the state as they were obliged to observe the decisions made by the BN whip.
With constant engagement, the state wanted to convince the new federal government that what it was trying to accomplish at the national level could also be achieved by the Sarawak government at the state level.
At the same time, safeguarding the interest of the state and to protect its rights as enshrined in the Federal Constitution and Malaysia Agreement 1963 remained a prime agenda.
“We are now living in a different environment and political landscape. I think these are exciting times. We shall work hard to ensure that Sarawak will continue to exert our rights and prosper.
“We shall work closely together with the new federal government, which promises to be fair and efficient,” he continued.
Abang Johari said the state government would consider providing allocation under minor rural projects (MRP) funding to individual Pakatan elected representatives as a reciprocal allocation should the federal government provide similar allocation to GPS’ Members of Parliament.
“We shall work closely together among ourselves here in Sarawak, as we develop GPS, forging new alliances in the interests of Sarawak and for the benefit of all Sarawakians,” he continued.
Abang Johari also announced that the Sarawak government would allocate a ceiling of RM1 million for each GPS state elected representatives to implement home repairs and rehabilitation programme under the Housing Project for the Hardcore Poor (PPRT) this year. — DayakDaily