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By Peter Sibon and Karen Bong
BINTULU, Jan 12: Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) must focus on the new Sarawak wherein its four component parties may one day emerged as one political entity.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg highlighted this when addressing the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) Triennial General Assembly (TGA) 2019 at the Bintulu Civic Centre today.
“The existence of GPS is to fight for Sarawak’s rights, and this is a new era for us. And we may never know that one day all the four component parties in GPS may become one (political) entity,” he said.
Currently, the local coalition comprises Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Sarawak (PBB) with 46 seats, Parti Rakyat Sarawak (11 seats), Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (six seats) and PDP (three seats).
However, GPS has a friendly partner in Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB), which has five seats. Together they have 71 seats in the 82-seat state legislature.
“We never know as we work together for the sake of everybody in Sarawak,” he added.
Earlier, even though PDP president Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing has openly requested PBB to return its three seats plus two additional seats meant for the party prior to the 2016 state election, Abang Johari, who is also PBB president, responded with a poem saying:
“Dari Miri ke Kuala Niah, pergi ke Niah naik sampan, kepada PDP kita ucapkan tahniah. Bumi Kenyalang sama kita pertahankan.”
He implied through the poem not to fight over seats but instead develop Sarawak together through GPS.
The chief minister urged Sarawakians to be confident of themselves, which he described as ‘matured’ after more than half a century.
“We have been independent for 55 years, and at this age, we can rule the country and also our state but we chose to be in the Federation. But we want more say in our own administration,” he stressed.
“This is the reason GPS was established to give us a new platform to fight for greater development for Sarawak.”
Abang Johari also urged the people to stop being a prisoner of the past but take the lessons and become the architect of the future.
Sarawak, he emphasised, has to look at the new horizons of politics in this changing political landscape and economic transformation.
“There are those who criticised GPS as ‘old wine in a new bottle’. But they (Pakatan Harapan) are led by an old leader, so what’s new?
“Sarawak has not lost because we have secured 19 out of 31 seats (in Parliament). As such, we have to protect Sarawak,” he added.
Acknowledging that there were weaknesses in the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) arrangement, he, however, was confident because GPS could run the state on its own within the Federation of Malaysia.
“Don’t keep talking about the past. We talk about the future, where will our future generation go and the direction of our state. We learned from mistakes and look forward for our future generations,” he said.
PDP deputy president Datuk Anthony Nogeh Ngumbek and secretary-general Datuk Nelson Balang were present.
Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian, Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Fatimah Abdullah, Minister of Utilities Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom as well as Parti Rakyat Sarawak deputy president Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum, Minister in the Chief Minister Department (Integrity and Ombudsman) Datuk Talib Zulpilip and GPS secretary-general Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi were present. — DayakDaily