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By Nigel Edgar
KUCHING, Jan 19: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing has taken a swipe at Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) critics who branded the coalition as “old wine in a new bottle”.
Although he said he was deeply annoyed with the name calling, he agreed that the analogy was correct but assured that the “new wine bottle” is “purely Sarawak brewed”.
“Our critics often accused GPS as `old wine in a new bottle’. Many of us are angry with this analogy including me. But please don’t get too angry. That analogy is correct. GPS is indeed an old wine in a new bottle.
“I have been in this profession for 35 years. The chief minister (Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg) for 37, Deputy Chief Ministers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas 30 years and Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan 32 years. Between the four of us, we have 140 years of administrative experience.
“Yes, indeed we are old wine! New bottle? Yes, we are, as far the structure is concerned. GPS is a new bottle, but filled by a coalition of four different parties all of whom are wine of purely Sarawak brewed!” he said during the official launch of GPS at Stadium Perpaduan here tonight.
He agreed that the current ruling government under Pakatan Harapan (PH) is “new wine” but criticise the “bottle being capped by an old cork”, obviously referring to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“How about PH? Is it a coalition of many parties? Yes, it is a coalition of many parties — PKR, DAP, Bersatu, Amanah plus loose association of new MPs. PH, in fact, is filled by new wine — new MPs but capped by an old cork! In short, PH is new wine, but put in an old bottle!
“As the new wine starts to brew and the fermentation process takes place, the new wine gas may burst the old bottle and the cork may pop and the bottle may break.
“Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, old wine in a new bottle is safer because fermentation no longer takes place. The wine is matured, thus, it is most unlikely for the bottle to break under pressure from the wine in the bottle!
“Thus, GPS is a matured wine inside a better and safer bottle!” said Masing.
On a different note, Masing explained why the four Sarawakian parties PBB, PRS, SUPP and PDP decided to leave the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.
He said BN was a coalition of 13 parties, and the chairman was a Malayan-based party Umno. Similarly, PH is a coalition of four parties and the chairman or leader is a Malayan-based party Bersatu.
Both BN and PH, he said, were very similar in their political structures, where both are coalition-based parties or Barisan, and both are led by Malaya-based parties.
“We, in Sarawak, however, are not happy with the structure of such coalition. Therefore, the four GPS parties quit BN immediately after the General Elections (GE14).
“We want Sarawak led by Sarawak parties and for Sarawakians. Thus, the phrase `Utamakan Sarawak’.” Masing concluded. — DayakDaily