PH urged to go through ballot box to take over Sarawak

Peter John Jaban

KUCHING, May 13: Sarawak 4 Sarawakians (S4S) holds the view that should Pakatan Harapan (PH) take on the Sarawak state government, it should not be through inviting state Barisan Nasional (BN) to join but rather, seek the mandate from the people.

Its spokesperson Peter John Jaban called on all parties to stick by the principles upon which they were elected and remain faithful to the wishes of their voters.

“If Pakatan Harapan wants to take on the Sarawak state government, then they must win it on their own terms at the next state election. That is the process of democracy. This cannot be done in a backroom deal in the capital to provide sanctuary to all those who wish to escape the scrutiny of a new era in Malaysian politics.

“Pakatan Harapan at national level must put their trust in their Sarawak colleagues to win legitimately now that there is the potential of a level playing field in future elections, following promised reforms of election practice and delineation,” said Peter John in a statement today.

He made the call following conflicting reports and statements on whether Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) is seeking to leave the BN coalition to join PH following their stunning election win last week.

“More importantly, the autonomy advocacy group is demanding that all decisions affecting parties at state level are taken with full consultation of the representatives from the state and not simply discussed in Kuala Lumpur and imposed on Sarawak against its wishes.

“This is the fundamental principle of autonomy and each coalition is being given the opportunity to stand by its stated intent to provide greater autonomy and decision-making to the Borneo states,” said Peter John.

He said Sarawak voters have been very clear in their wishes. At state level, they gave the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem a landslide victory, largely for his clear stance on Sarawak’s autonomy.

However, at the federal level, they rejected corruption by switching their support in huge numbers to PH, now the ruling government, even in a number of rural seats which have previously been subject to allegations of extensive vote buying and electoral fraud.

“This is a sign of mature democratic thinking in Sarawak and must be respected at all costs. The state government has a mandate and must stand by that while the new federal representatives have their own job to do.

“Any attempt to ‘jump ship’ undermines the principles on which they were elected and is a slap in the face to voters. More importantly, Sarawak deserves to have a strong opposition at state level to stimulate debate and the development of democracy, something that will be wiped out if the BN component parties are consumed by PH,” said Peter John.

He said state PH chairman Chong Chieng Jen and state Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) chairman Baru Bian had both come out with clear statements that rejected any move to allow in BN component parties into the fold. Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu’s Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah is also on record rubbishing claims that PBB has any wish to join PH.

“These are the Sarawak elected representatives and their vision for their respective parties must be upheld. Reports that the Governor of Sarawak is seeking to broker a deal are horrifying. This is a man who holds no elected position and therefore cannot be expected to speak for the people of Sarawak.”

He said greater autonomy is now one of the key issues in Sarawak and this will be tested over the next two years.

“As the only state with an election midway through the federal term, both sides of the political divide now have the opportunity to demonstrate how responsive they are to their pre-election promises of autonomy, for both Sabah and Sarawak.

“Sarawak voters have clearly shown that this is an issue on which they can exercise precise democratic thought. Any coalition which continues to make decisions without reference to their state-level colleagues is likely to play poorly with a Sarawak electorate.

“Our representatives are part of a greater Malaysia but must also fight for the future of the state. Sarawak’s wishes can no longer be ignored,” said Peter John. — DayakDaily