By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Aug 18: Three homegrown political parties—Parti Sedar Rakyat Sarawak (Sedar), Sarawak People’s Aspiration Party (Aspirasi) and Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS)—have joined forces to form a new alliance called Gagasan in a bid to put up a strong fight against the ruling coalition possibly in the upcoming general election and to offer an alternative government for Sarawak in the long run.
Sedar president Dato Othman Abdillah, Aspirasi president Lina Soo and PBDS president Bobby William today signed an agreement to form the new Sarawak political pact in a ceremony at a hotel here today.
Addressing the press, Gagasan spokesperson Dr John Brian Anthony said today marked the start of a new chapter in Sarawak’s political history as for the first time, locally bred parties outside the government have decided and put intention to work together beyond electoral pact.
“We will call ourselves Gagasan in short. We have proposed three names—Gagasan Hidup Sarawak, Gagasan Anak Sarawak and Gagasan Rakyat Sarawak (preferably) but it is subjected to approval by the Registrar of Societies (ROS) upon registration.
“Each of the party presidents has referred to their Supreme Councils to deliberate on this and prior to coming here today, we have hammered out, tried out many ways and thoughts, before this happened. It is not something impromptu. It is well calculated with well intended direction and after this, we will move towards the process of moving forward as a big team,” he said.
John Brian revealed Gagasan will not only focus on the coming general election but its long-term plan to become the alternative government for Sarawak.
Putting aside their differences to focus more on their similarities, and shared visions and values for the sake of Sarawak, he said Gagasan will now present to Sarawak voters and the future generations of Sarawakians that there is a very strong and real attempt to make Sarawak a progressive State.
“Gagasan will be inclusive. We will not practise extremism of any form, but recognise meritocracy so that the best will serve, be employed and become leaders and with that, it means we have to improve the quality of our votes and therefore we will increase the quality of our government’s governance.
“We want a departure from politics that is based on polarisation of either race, religion or region and whatever that breaks us into so many groups. We have much work to do. With this, we ask the voters of Sarawak to support us as we go along with our long-term plan,” he said.
To make things work, John Brian stressed that Gagasan recognised that it is not the effort of a single party but that of a group of parties, group of politicians from different backgrounds, and group of leaders who are multiethnic and multireligious to ensure that Sarawak would be a very special place in Malaysia whereby diversity will be celebrated in a positive way.
“We have been called mosquito parties or parties of no consequence because we are just too small if we stayed alone which made some of our brilliant ideas disappear or dissipate into thin air because we do not have enough voices to bring it out to the people of Sarawak.
“Now we will tangibly present it and can only expect it to grow. This platform will be tried for we have experienced 50 years of one way of doing things. Could we do things differently or could we revolutionise the way we manage Sarawak, because why is a country that is rich has many poor people in the coastal and rural areas?
“It is not going to be normal thinking in order to bring Sarawak forward and we cannot be in the same gear all the time as we move forward,” he emphasised. — DayakDaily