Ba’Kelalan rep: Unity govt strong because of GPS, calls for support to counter religious extremism

Baru Bian

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, April 12: The unity government is strong because Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) is part of it, asserted Ba’Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian.

Baru emphasised that “it is time we support the GPS government” to ensure the strength of the unity government, given escalating race and religion concerns in the country.

Baru, addressing queries regarding his shift in allegiance to the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP), a component of GPS following the dissolution of Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB), underscored the alignment of his decision with his political stand.

More importantly, he emphasised that Sarawak and Sabah serves as stabilising forces of check and balance within Malaysia, particularly in observing the broader national landscape currently plagued by growing extremism in Peninsular Malaysia.

“All the 3R (race, religion and royalty) issues are being politicised in Peninsular Malaysia, whereas Sabah and Sarawak is still harmonious. However, looking at the big picture, I believe I should support GPS politically to strengthen the Sarawak-based coalition.

“Otherwise it would be inconsistent with my past statements, especially after the past general election where I highlighted my wish for GPS to have a coalition with PH (Pakatan Harapan) at the national level in the form of a unity government,” he told reporters when met at Shell Malaysia Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house at a hotel here today.

With these considerations, Baru, the former Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sarawak chief, stressed the timeliness of supporting Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, and the Sarawakian leadership.

He further mentioned former PSB president Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh’s acknowledgment that the dissolved party concurred with the majority or over 80 per cent of GPS policies, with only marginal disparities in implementation or differing perspectives on certain issues.

“We cannot be so hostile for the minor differences and I think it will be more effective for us to be together in that sense. Perhaps, we resolve these differences (later).

“Even on NCR (native customary rights) issues which I am very vocal about, at least there have been amendments and recognition of Pemakai Menoa and Pulau Galau, albeit restricted to a maximum of 1,000 hectares. But it is a good indication for me,” he said, while expressing hope to see it increased to 3,000 or 12,000 hectares.

Baru reiterated his transition to PDP as a move aimed at the betterment of Sarawak and Malaysia at large.

“There is a time for everything, and now is the time we join together and give support to the Premier and Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim),” he said. — DayakDaily