Masing: GPS must learn from BN’s downfall, or risk suffering same fate

By Karen Bong

SIBU, Oct 20: Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) needs to get rid of a dominating leadership style and think about a new kind of political leadership, or the ruling coalition could sink in the next state election due in 2021.

Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Dr James Masing cautioned that GPS could suffer the same fate as the Barisan Nasional (BN) if Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) was too dominant and refused to listen to inputs from its smaller coalition partners.

“Our inputs and our criticisms are for the betterment of GPS and are put forward in all sincerity for the good of our organisation,” he said at PRS’ Extraordinary Delegates Conference (EDC), held in conjunction with PRS’ 14th anniversary, at a leading hotel here today.

Refreshing the memory of delegates on the political development in Sarawak from the time the BN crumbled until the formation of GPS, Masing pointed out that it was the “implementation” and not the BN concept or its principle to blame.

“When PRS, PBB, SUPP and PDP, the four Sarawak parties which won 19 out of 31 parliament seats, quit BN, I was doubtful of its wisdom and wondered whether it was a good political decision. But after some thinking, the PRS Supreme Council thought it was the right decision.”

Masing (second left) holding a discussion with (from left) Doris, Salang and Snowdan, after delivering his presidential address.

As to why, he elaborated that the BN concept was a good one as all members had equal say in its administration, regardless of the size of its coalition partners, and all decisions on policies must obtain 100 per cent consensus.

“The principles were correct, but the implementation was faulty. It was too dominated by Umno, the big brother! The smaller parties felt that they were being made use of by Umno. Their voices were ignored over some decisions, especially prior to the general election.

“The chairman of Umno decided on who were the candidates for other BN parties. This wasn’t correct. Who knows better than the party themselves; and moreover, the decision on BN parties’ candidate was decided in the eleventh hour by the BN chairman.”

Hence, for GPS to successfully fight Pakatan Harapan (PH) comes the next state polls, Masing stressed that GPS must first be seen by all Sarawakians as having meaningful power sharing, including in the civil service sector, political positions as well as in the board of directors in government-linked companies (GLCs).

“Secondly, be good listeners. GPS, especially PBB, doesn’t take too kindly to its partners’ suggestions to better GPS as a political organisation. This was what happened to Umno, prior to GE14. I suggest we learn from history.

“Thirdly, GPS must be a coalition of pure Sarawakian-based parties, because this is our strength as compared to PKR, DAP and pre-Bumi parties. All these are peninsula-based and they listen only to their Malayan-based bosses when making decisions for Sarawak, while GPS decisions are made by Sarawakians for Sarawakians.”

Giving further warning that Malayans cannot be trusted, Masing said this was demonstrated in the forming of a Steering Committee to look into the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63). The majority of its members are from Malaya, while Sarawak and Sabah only make up a small number.

“PRS don’t agree with this arrangement.”

He further pressed that it was ridiculous for Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the very person who broke the rules of MA63, to become the chairman or the referee of the Steering Committee.

“So, from the beginning, Sarawak and Sabah are being bullied by Malaya. To me, enough is enough. Equal status means equal representation. Follow the Intergovernmental Committee Report (IGC)’s composition.”

Party secretary-general Datuk Joseph Salang, Women chief Dato Sri Doris Brodie, Youth chief Datuk Snowdan Lawan as well as vice presidents Datuk Liwan Lagang, Datuk Masir Kujat, Datuk Mong Dagang, Datuk John Sikie, Majang Renggi were among those present. — DayakDaily