By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Oct 24: Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) has engaged its machinery in high gear to ensure victory in the coming state election which is only due by 2021.
PBB president Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg emphasised that the party will strengthen its machinery as well as network of cooperation in PBB throughout Sarawak as there was an increase in party members.
“In addition, we will also enhance our ties with component parties within GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak),” he told a press conference after chairing the PBB Supreme Council meeting at PBB headquarters at Jalan Bako here today.
“We have also launched various zones of GPS and this will continue to be done in 2020 to cover all GPS areas in Sarawak,” he said.
When asked if these efforts were part of the preparation gearing towards an early election, the Chief Minister brushed aside the presumption, saying that the state election is still far off and only due in 2021.
“You just calculate how many more months until 2021. We haven’t discussed about election (matters) but we discussed about election reform,” he emphasised.
To strengthen the state machinery, Abang Johari is calling for a GPS convention to be held on Nov 16 at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) and expects it to be attended by 5,000 people.
On the National Budget 2020 and the State Budget 2020 to be announced in the forthcoming State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting starting on Nov 4, Abang Johari pointed out that many matters under the federal list, particularly regarding dilapidated schools, were not properly addressed.
“Sarawak has extended assistance through an advanced payment of state loan amounting to RM350 million and the balance of RM650 million is for next year, (all in all) totalling RM1 billion. But this was not addressed properly in this particular budget,” he added.
“Meaning, we need to have a more detailed implementation framework for dilapidated schools using allocations provided by the state government via advanced payment to federal government,” he explained.
The dilapidated schools issue, he emphasised, was very important to rural communities and thus the need for stronger collaboration through a joint committee chaired by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and Works Minister Baru Bian.
On election reform where PBB has sent representatives to get involved in the discussion with the federal election reform committee, Abang Johari said Sarawak must be kept informed.
“However, there are things we agreed (with) and things being discussed early so that it will not conflict with our laws,” he said.
Whatever reforms to be introduced, he emphasised, must be discussed and deliberated further up until DUN.
“But of course we are also pro-reform. For instance, on lowering the eligibility age to 18-years-old for voting and becoming a candidate, that we agree (with).
“Maybe there are other matters that need to follow existing laws in Sarawak so everything should be discussed in detail,” he added.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong, DUN Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar, DUN deputy speaker Dato Gerawat Gala, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, and other senior ministers as well as PBB Supreme Council members were present. — DayakDaily