Change of Sarawak government inevitable — Chong

By Nigel Edgar

KUCHING, Nov 25: Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) has formulated a strategy to take on Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) in the next state election, which is due in 2021.

Its chairman, Chong Chieng Jen, said a weakness of the GPS government is using scare and oppression tactics against Sarawakians and community leaders.

“One thing is for certain, Sarawak cannot remain as an opposition state for a long time. That will hamper the development and channelling of welfare and benefits of the federal government to the people of Sarawak.

“This is evident and has been proven in the past couple of months, given the very antagonist stand the GPS government has been taking, for example stopping all ‘Ketua Kaum’ (community leaders) from attending federal government events and even to the extent that some of JKKK (Village Development and Security Committee) were directed to return federal grants.

“Such a very antagonistic stance taken by the state government is not good for the common people of Sarawak,” he told a press conference after chairing the state DAP committee meeting here this afternoon.

Chong (seated centre) speaking to reporters after chairing the state DAP committee meeting today, as other DAP elected representatives look on.

With that, Chong, who is also Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, said the state government lacked good governance and transparency.

For Sarawak to progress, he argued that a change of state government would be inevitable, and for the new state government under Pakatan Harapan (PH) to carry out institutional reforms, much like at the national level.

“As for PH, we have put in all the institutional reforms at the national level of the government, like the institutionalised check and balance to the system, getting independent commissions to be set up and independent institutions to be set up to oversee the administration of things like the independent IPCMC (Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission), PAC (Public Accounts Committee) to be headed by opposition members and more independent judiciary.

“All these reforms are there towards a more transparent and good governance.

“These are not practised in Sarawak. The GPS is continuing the old way of administration under the BN (Barisan Nasional), even to the extent that what Abang Jo (Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg) is adopting now as his strategy to win the state election is similar to what Najib (former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak) has been doing,” he said.

Chong Chieng Jen

Chong said among the things Abang Johari had been doing similar to Najib was splashing cash around and using scare and oppression tactics.

“These are applying the tactics of scare and oppression, just like Najib before he was overthrown in the last general elections (GE14) with the use of the police and the AG (Attorney-General) chambers. All these not only to cover up their scandals but also to charge and prosecute all the opposition leaders.

“That was done by Najib. Of course, Abang Jo does not have these prosecuting powers but what he is doing to the state apparatus or state government machinery is tantamount to adopting this tactic of scare and oppression.

“He has proven himself again to be old wine in a new bottle under the guise of GPS, adopting similar tactics of Najib — splashing cash and oppressing,” said Chong. — DayakDaily