KUCHING, May 16: Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) will review its position in the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition after consulting with other state BN component parties.
PBB president Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, who is also the Chief Minister, was asked if that could mean PBB would leave BN along with other state-based component parties to form a United Coalition of Sarawak (UCS).
He did not refute nor confirm, saying that he would have to call for a meeting with other component parties first.
“It’s (UCS) just a name. What I said was we will work together with the federal government. We are not joining Pakatan Harapan (PH).
“We will work with the federal government within the context of the constitution, because Sarawak itself is a government and the interest is for the people and Sarawak first,” said Abang Johari.
This statement may be related to what was purportedly discussed between him and Tun Daim Zainuddin over the phone on May 14.
Daim who heads the PH government’s newly formed Team of Eminent Persons was yesterday reported as saying: “Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg called the Prime Minister and also spoke to me. I said, ‘Stay where you are… Take care of the state. In Parliament, you want to support, support, don’t want to support, it doesn’t matter — we have enough (majority)’.”
He was reported by The Star as making the comment in an interview with the Straits Times on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, when asked on the deadline to meet with other state BN coalition members, Abang Johari said it should not be done in haste as the PH government was also still in the midst of settling its cabinet line-up.
Earlier when reading a prepared text at a press conference, Abang Johari said PBB would be committed to moving forward on a strong united front in the full interests of the people of Sarawak.
He said Sarawak has always been unique — rich in diversity, culture, and tolerance, and PBB would continue to treasure and celebrate that uniqueness for its future generations.
“It has become the hallmark of our people’s daily existence and disposition that the country and the government should protect, promote and emulate in this dawn of a new Malaysia. PBB, being strategically and uniquely independent, continues to champion our cause for protecting Sarawak’s interests as a united coalition of Sarawak-based parties, which holds the hopes and dreams of our people to see a greater Sarawak.
“It is that greater purpose for Sarawak that shall continue to fuel our passion and drive to bring benefits to all Sarawakians. We will resolutely continue to enhance our efforts to fulfil all our obligations and commitments to the people of Sarawak with special attention and focus to address all the basic needs of our people in the rural areas as our priority.”
Abang Johari also gave assurance that the state BN would steadfastly consolidate all its strengths and resources as a responsible state government, to ensure that the concerns of the people of Sarawak and their voices would be deservedly represented.
“Our 19 elected Members of Parliament, of which 13 are from PBB, will be our effective voice fighting for Sarawak’s interests in Parliament and they too, are committed to ensuring that the needs of the people of Sarawak will be supported by the present ruling government, in the interests of Malaysia as a whole.
“We will unwaveringly and relentlessly, without fear or favour, be a rational and responsible voice for Sarawak, providing efficient check and balance and as a body of trust for the people of Sarawak, based on the mandate given by the people in the 2016 state election. We believe the current government will welcome fresh, fair and balanced intellectual discourses in Parliament in the interests of a new Malaysia,” he said.
He also gave assurance that the state government would be determined to pursue and ensure that its quest for devolution of powers from the federal government be pursued further even more strongly.
“We will passionately continue to fight for Sarawak interests first, at all costs and we will enhance all efforts to take back our infringed rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), the federal constitution and all relevant laws.
“We will, with full dedication, integrity and sincerity, continue to serve the people of Sarawak wholeheartedly to fulfil our promises in our 2016 State Election Manifesto,” Abang Johari said. — DayakDaily