Gabungan Parti Sarawak’s (GPS) plan to break away from Barisan Nasional (BN) and play ball with Pakatan Harapan (PH) did not work after all. The formula that has worked miraculously well in Sarawak with United People’s Party (UPP) is just not sophisticated enough for “worldly” politicians from Malaya to take a bite.
The recent rumours that GPS might be accorded two ministerial positions in the federal cabinet seemed so surreal and yet so possible to many Sarawakians. But some didn’t believe the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government would allocate any ministerial posts to outsiders, what more a non-PH coalition member. But others cherished the idea simply because they thought PH might need MPs from GPS.
Most Sarawakian politicians have this illusion that Sarawak is a big deal. They think Sarawak has all these “special rights” and can stop Malayan political parties from capturing Sarawak.
To them, the fact that United Malays National Organisation (Umno) failed to spread its wings to Sarawak before this seems to convince them that Sarawak shall remain within the ambit of local-based parties, for eternity.
Most Sarawakian politicians have reasoned that with 19 parliamentary seats, GPS is a coalition to be reckoned with. These same politicians seem to take it for granted that Sarawakians will vote for GPS in the next state election due in 2021 because GPS is fighting for Sarawak’s eroded rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) to be returned back to the state. Little do they realise that urban Sarawakians vote differently compared to those from the rural hinterland. These politicians, with their ‘one-size-fits-all’ mentality, have conveniently put the cart before their horse, but their horse is galloping away.
DayakDaily has observed that sentiment on the ground is very different from what these politicians perceive. The political tone at the grassroots level has certainly shifted since the last state polls in 2016. Being commoners who talk to other commoners, DayakDaily has been given glimpses of what the ruling elite is not privy to. With the people’s increasing sentiment towards MA63, the spirit of Dayakism has inadvertently been fired up as well.
While our politicians are assuming that the Dayaks will support GPS because, as a coalition, it will fight for Sarawak’s long eroded rights, many professional Dayaks are questioning why the Dayak community should support this agenda.
Generally, they feel the need to be assured that their community would stand to gain if they, the Dayaks, vote for GPS again.
While the Dayaks are the majority in the state and have contributed the most constituency seats, their support for the government has resulted in their forests being cleared by timber tycoons, their native customary rights (NCR) land rights raped and their calls for basic amenities unanswered.
They are not convinced that Dayaks’ plights will be given the due attention unless there is a political will to do so. The first step in that direction would be to have a Dayak Chief Minister. The demand for this is getting louder by the day.
And ladies and gentlemen, that might be the reason why rumour mills were working overtime for the whole of last week fanning the possibility of GPS being allocated two ministerial posts. The climax of these rumours ended with huge beams of stage lights focusing on the whole of the Sarawak Cabinet paying Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad a Hari Raya visit last Sunday.
It might not be a surprise that the rumours were created just to test how GPS, as a coalition, would react and to gauge how Sarawakians across the divide feel. Even if there really ever was any intention to appoint two GPS MPs as ministers, it might have been called off last Sunday.
For whatever the reasons might be, body language indicating subservience and the over-eagerness of Sarawakian politicians to display their willingness to participate in a stampede over their peers in order to be closer to the federal government of the day might just be the trigger. With Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) announcing that they will spread their wings to Sarawak the following day, GPS’s plan of becoming PPBM’s friend has certainly bitten the dust.
While the Chinese seats are more or less in Democratic Action Party’s (DAP) pockets, it is not enough for PH to capture Sarawak. To convert Sarawak into a PH state, Malay and Dayak voters need to be enticed. With PPBM having made known its intention, the plan to split the Malay votes is taking shape.
DayakDaily is not surprised if another Dayak-based party will be formed soon based on the concept and promise that should PH win the next state polls, the next Chief Minister shall be a Dayak.
While this might make the option of joining PPBM less attractive for Sarawakian Malays, it could be corrected easily by another formula. Following what is being practised in Sabah, a rotation of the chief minister’s post between Dayaks and Malays might be a practical solution. The Malays in Sarawak also know that there will come a time when they need to recognise the Dayaks as they form the majority of the population.
Presented with a golden opportunity and with so many Dayak groups wanting to champion the cause, rounding the Dayaks could be done in a jiffy. With Dayaks taking part in the deal, the Malays might scurry along, not wanting to be left out of from the corridor of power. As for the Chinese, they might be left at where they are — nothing more, nothing less.
If the strategy of uniting the Dayaks while splitting the Malay votes works, Sarawak might just become another Sabah.
Little do these Sarawakians realise that once the Malayan political troops establish their base in Sarawak, there will be no turning back. With or without making the promise of returning our eroded rights back to Sarawak, when Sarawak became a Malayan-controlled state, all power will be centralised in Malaya’s hands.
With this, the appointed Sarawakian Chief Minister will become just another Malayan puppet with no control over Sarawak’s destiny, including its petroleum resources. — DayakDaily