State PKR ramps up efforts, eye on next state elections

Sarawak PKR chairman Baru Bian

KUCHING, May 20: Sarawak Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) is now in high gear in its preparation for the coming state election scheduled to be held latest by 2021.

Its chairman Baru Bian after chairing the party’s first State Leadership Council (Majlis Pimpinan Negeri or MPN) meeting after the general election (GE14) yesterday said Sarawak PKR will be intensifying its effort all over the state concerning membership drive, reactivating more bureaus throughout the state, solving Native Customary Rights (NCR) land issues, education and scholarships for students from low income families, and welfare.

“Those are the things we felt that should help us to be on our feet again, not only now that we are the federal government, but I think looking at the next two to three years down the road towards the state election which is different from the other states in Malaysia,” he said during a press conference after the meeting.

Baru also revealed that each field has been assigned to various state PKR leaders. Membership drive and reactivation of bureaus would be headed by Puncak Borneo MP Willie Mongin, solving of NCR issues to be headed by the party’s Selangau branch chairman Joshua Jabeng, education matters to be headed by council member Dr Ricardo Baba, and welfare to be overseen by council member Nicholas Mujah.

Baru admitted that being previously in the opposition would make it challenging for its leaders to change their mindset, but now the party would have to focus on not only strengthening itself in the state but also intensify its effort for the wellbeing of Sarawakians and development of the state.

He also expected that the state government might schedule the coming state election earlier than its due date of May 2021 to not give enough time for state PKR or state Pakatan Harapan (PH) to have an impact on changes they would bring to Sarawak.

“I’m confident with the PH coming in as a federal government there would be vast difference in the way PH would govern this nation. We can see that reflected in our manifesto — very different from Barisan Nasional (BN), and look at the immediate change that we see now not even a month after PH took over Putrajaya like zero-rating the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and ensuring petrol price stability.

“These are among the 10 promises we (PH) made to be implemented within 100 days of ruling Putrajaya. I’m confident that given time people would be convinced that what we promised will be delivered. For that reason I think people might shift their allegiance and confidence towards PH,” said Baru.

He added: “(We have) a lot of work ahead of us. We need to work hard now that we have been given the mandate in the federal government. We will try our best to do what’s expected of us as representatives of the new government.”

Asked if PH would be able to take over the state government, Baru said to leave that to Sarawakian voters to decide.

As far as PKR was concerned, he said they could win at least four state seats compared to three that PKR has now which were Ba’Kelalan with himself as assemblyman, Batu Lintang with assemblyman See Chee How and Krian with assemblyman Ali Biju who is also Saratok MP.

“I think all of us would agree that the victory for PH this time around is historic and beyond expectations. Many people were shocked including the BN themselves. They didn’t believe a change would have come.

“If that is a reflection — if you can gauge that as a reflection — of the people’s mindset and support, then I think we are confident that the coming state election would be very different as well. It means that we are expecting of course to win more than three seats as far as PKR Sarawak is concerned. Because now we have three,” he said. — DayakDaily