PH Sarawak deserves more cabinet representation, opines PKR leader

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KUCHING, Sept 2: In the May 9 polls, Pakatan Harapan (PH) Sarawak contributed 12 seats overall, but in the end it was only given one full minister and one deputy minister posts. This, in the book of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice-president Rafizi Ramli, is not fair sharing of power.

“This issue is in one dimension and it has to be navigated carefully so that it does not create cracks. It is something that is worth looking into to make sure that in the future the issue of equity within the coalition is take care of, yet at the same time, we also want to give the new Pakatan Harapan federal government a chance to improve people’s lives.

“I think that is the balance that we are trying to achieve now,” he told DayakDaily in an exclusive interview at a local eatery here today.

Rafizi, who is challenging Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali for the party’s deputy president post in internal polls, believes that failure to share power fairly in terms of ministerial appointments would create disharmony within the ruling coalition.

To him, the main guiding principle is “equity”, and fairness in terms of ministerial appointment has “two to three dimensions”.

“Principally, we should observe some kind of equity in any organisation. By equity, I mean it is not just confined to political parties but it is also representation of states.

“The equity factor is important so that everyone feels they are being treated fairly. It is not just the question of between PKR, DAP (Democratic Action Party), PPBM (Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia) or Amanah (Parti Amanah Negara). It is also Pakatan (Harapan) in Sarawak,” he said.

In the case of Sarawak PH being given only one full minister and one deputy minister posts, he said, “You can’t just close one eye and deny that some quarters feel that it was disproportionate to some parties and to some states.

“It is something that we have to continuously and progressively look at and relook to make sure that eventually we can make as many quarters and as many people feel fairly treated as possible,” he added.

In the current federal cabinet line-up, in terms of states, Selangor got the lion’s share with eight full ministers. Johor followed in second place with five full ministers.

In terms of parties, Amanah only has 11 MPs but were rewarded with five full ministers and five deputy ministers. For PPBM, it has 13 MPs, but it got six full ministers and four deputy ministers. PKR, which has the highest number of MPs at 47, has seven full ministers and seven deputy ministers. DAP, which won 42 seats, has six full ministers and six deputy ministers.

On diverse views within PKR and the possibility that the tussle for the deputy president post might cause a split in the party, Rafizi opined that the ability to contain diverse views was the party’s strength.

“That is the strength of PKR. I think we are always ahead of time in the sense that we promote different opinions better and we manage the differences in opinions better.

“So far, against all odds, when other parties are very afraid of opinions because to them having different opinions will lead to a split and eventual break out of the party, it has a different effect in PKR. It has always strengthened us.

“I think it is one of the characteristics of the party that we always subject ourselves to self-criticisms and self evaluations and inevitably we always have different opinions,” he reckoned.

On his visit here, Rafizi said it was to canvass for support for his deputy presidential bid and also to visit friends for a “family reunion” of sorts.

He said he had not been able to visit Sarawak for the last seven years, but remembered playing a big role during the last state election in 2011. After that, he was banned from entering the state.

“I have a lot of friends in Sarawak, and it is also an opportunity to catch up with them as well as putting (forth) my side of the story and convincing them how Sarawak’s chapter of PKR can be better if our line-up and running mates were to win the party leadership. This is because Sabah and Sarawak are autonomous,” said Rafizi. — DayakDaily