Abang Jo’s mysterious “termites”

Termites. — DayakDaily.com file pic // Photo: Pixabay

Commentary

By Lian Cheng

Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) chairman Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg delivered a very interesting “termite” speech during the launch of Marudi Waterfront Project today.

The word “termites” was repeated at least three times while the new party Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) was never mentioned.

However, the whole speech sounded as if he was talking to PSB leaders as he explicitly made it clear that he stood by all GPS component parties comprising Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Progressive Democratic Party (PDP).

“We don’t want to have termites in GPS. If you have termites, the whole house will fall down. The moment the house falls, that means the end of us. I give priority to GPS. This is for our future.”

“We cannot say – ‘Oh, I support Abang Jo’ but at the same time, you try to be funny (‘berlaga-laga dalam’) in GPS. We cannot tolerate that. Struggle must be (based) on principle,” said Abang Johari at the Marudi Waterfront Project Launch today.

Following that, Abang Johari related his own experience in PBB where he was put in cold storage for many years, heading the lesser ministries. Despite so, he said he did not “jump ship” but rather stayed on with the party.

At least twice in his speech, he emphasised that his priority was GPS and that his struggle was with them and called for unity within GPS.

Though Abang Johari did not mention about PSB, he seemed to be addressing the recent Sarawak political development engendered by PSB.

About two weeks ago, PSB dropped a bombshell with the news that a few leaders and former leaders in PRS including Sri Aman MP Datuk Masir Kujat would join PSB. Other politicians who joined were Datuk Joseph Entulu (who joined Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) before PSB), Datuk William Nyallau Badak and former political secretary to the Chief Minister Edward Kurit.

Also joining PSB were former PDP leader Datuk Sylvester Entrie Muran and former GPS-friendly Parti Tenaga Sarawak (Teras) acting president Banyi Beriak.

Since then, the party announced a recruitment drive to be carried full force throughout Sarawak, starting with Sri Aman last week. On many occasions and via statements, PSB had reiterated its stand that it is loyal to Abang Johari.

All signs show that PSB is gearing up to force open GPS’ door to accept it as a component party by making itself out to be a strong and indispensable GPS-friendly ally.

Abang Johari however, has remained silent, resulting in the speculation that what PSB has been doing has his endorsement.

In the face of PSB’s attempts to assert itself as a strong party in Sarawak, component parties who have good reason to feel threatened such as PRS and SUPP have issued numerous statements calling for action to be taken against PSB, one of which was to expel PSB president Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh from the cabinet.

So when Abang Johari made his speech today, it is not surprising that speculations that the speech was targeted at PSB followed soon after, especially concerning the last part of the speech.

“But what is important is unity. GPS — PBB, SUPP, PDP, PRS — must be one. Let me be frank. If it is termites, I cannot tolerate because Sarawak is more important than me.

“Because of that, in our party, we have to see the pros and cons, I am taking time to evaluate. When the time is right, I will decide what we are going to do. But we monitor. We definitely don’t want termites in GPS,” said Abang Johari, just before ending his speech.

Whether the speculations are right, we will have to wait and see. We can only tell who Abang Johari has termed “termites” on the day he announces “his decision”.

Another interesting point to note in Abang Johari’s speech today was his assertion that GPS politicians must put the interest of Sarawak and the party/alliance first before his or her individual interest.

“You know my political carrier is as long as 40 years. There were people who were not in agreement with me, I did not jump. I remained in the party. I continued to struggle with the people in the party because party is more important than me.”

“That is why in the transition of chief ministership from Datuk (Pehin Sri Abdul) Taib (Mahmud) to Datuk (Pehin Sri) Adenan Satem, I supported Tok Denan 100 per cent.”

“It was also the same when I took over from Tok Nan, the party is solidly behind me, not because of me, (but) because of the party. Because the party is the platform of our future. (An) individual is not important,” he said.

No one is certain whether this part of the speech was directed towards GPS’ leaders who jumped ship or general advice for politicians within GPS.

One thing however is certain — no one including politicians themselves wants politicians who jump.

If these politicians can jump to one party today, they may jump to another tomorrow. — DayakDaily