Sarawak BN must listen, and listen carefully!

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg - file pic

Commentary

The Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) government is now an opposition state government.

With Parti Warisan Sabah joining Pakatan Harapan (PH), all eyes are on Sarawak to see if state BN will continue to stay as the opposition or will it decide to join PH to continue to be the government of day, on both fronts — state and federal.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg is seen to be avoiding the press. As of writing, there has yet to be an official statement from him or state BN component party leaders on the stand of state BN amidst the ongoing formation of a new government by the opposition.

It is quite certain that state BN is in shock and is still considering its options. The situation it finds itself in now was certainly not on its agenda at all yesterday as Malaysians went to the polls.


In 2013 at the height of the so-called Chinese tsunami, there were rumours that former Chief Minister Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud clearly expressed his stance that Sarawak would always choose to be the government of day by joining any political coalition that formed the federal government.

Thunderous as it was then, the 2013 tsunami did not manage to initiate major changes. And thus, nothing changed in state BN’s stand.

Last night, however, a rakyat tsunami struck unexpectedly and the effect was overwhelming. It toppled the previous government and a new government is now in the making.

PH is poised to form the new government after the majority of MPs granted their support to PH chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who is now pushing for a new government to be formed with him as the prime minister. That is taking place on the other side of South China Sea.

On our side here, state BN remains silent. No stance has been declared by Abang Johari nor any announcement made on the next course of action for state BN in dealing with the federal government.

Perhaps he is still waiting for the dust to settle before he starts considering his options.

State BN with its relatively stable politics does have options. First of all, it may join PH to continue to be the government of the day and work closely with the PH government to regain Sarawak’s lost rights and economic development.

Or state BN can choose to stay with BN, and form the opposition in Parliament but stay as the ruling government at the state level.

After all, PH would have to realise its promises, by giving back Sarawak’s rights and increasing petroleum royalties which Sarawak has been shortchanged over for the last 55 years.

Regardless of which position it takes, state BN is intact as it still wields much power with its 19 out of 31 parliamentary seats and 72 out of the total 82 state seats.

However, state BN leaders must also bear in mind that, perhaps while not as drastic as in other parts of Malaysia such as Sabah, Sarawakians especially its rural folks have spoken.

Their voice may not be as loud but nonetheless, it is a different voice that state BN should not take lightly.

State BN must listen and it must listen carefully. State BN leaders especially Abang Johari who have the power to decide the fate of Sarawak must listen carefully to what the Sarawakians were trying to say in this election, now that state BN still has the option!

State BN leaders should no longer take things for granted because Sarawakians especially the semi-rural and rural folks have awakened. And once they have awakened, no one can put them back to sleep again. — DayakDaily