By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Sept 15: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg today urged the Chinese community to support GPS to continue administering over Sarawak so that it will be able to assist the community especially in terms of Chinese education.
Even though he did not refer to the upcoming state election, it was obvious that he hoped for the community to support Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) when the state election is held.
“As long as GPS is ruling the state. It’s true, as long as I’m the CM, I will do it. So, you know what to do lah… But if it’s (GPS) no longer there, I don’t know,” Abang Johari said in jest during a press conference after officiating at the opening ceremony of SJK Chung Hua Bako, Outer Ring Road, Kota Samarahan today.
In the previous state election in 2016, the state Barisan Nasional (BN), which was later rebranded as GPS, won half of the 16 Chinese majority seats.
The seats won by the then state BN were Batu Kawah, Batu Kitang, Repok, Meradong, Dudong, Bawang Assan, Piasai and Senadin.
However, two of these eight seats have since become opposition-held areas. Bawang Assan and Dudong assemblymen Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh and Datuk Tiong Thai King are from Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) which turned state-based opposition party when the party departed from its previously GPS-friendly stance. Wong is the PSB president and Tiong is the party’s senior-vice president.
Meanwhile, Abang Johari, who is also GPS chairman pointed out that the state government will continue to support Chinese schools as it fosters better understanding among all the races in Sarawak.
“SJK (Chinese primary school) is a multi-racial school, whereby with a current student population of about 60,000, about 20,000 are Bumiputera. Besides that, it is also multi-directional and with that kind of interaction, they can definitely enrich their knowledge and foster understanding among the students. That is important,” he said.
The Chief Minister also highlighted that proficiency in Mandarin is crucial for the country to compete in the global arena.
“The international economy is globalised. That’s why we have to prepare our students along that line,” he said, adding that the Sarawak government will also launch its first international school soon, to cater for the globalised economy. — DayakDaily