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By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Nov 13: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing has advised Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders not to be too quick in “washing their hands” over Umno’s long-term “bad habits”.
He said following the fall of Umno, the dramatic power change at the federal level had put Sarawak in an awkward position, being government at the state level and opposition at the federal level.
He presumed Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) representatives who are Members of Parliament and are also state assemblymen are in an awkward position, too.
“When they play opposition in the state to please their political masters at the federal level, they are likely to run counter to the sentiments of their constituents in Sarawak. Such unique situation, therefore, requires different mindsets of the elected representatives from both sides of the divide,” said Masing in his winding-up speech today.
He believed many Umno lawmakers had also found themselves in alien territory.
“Umno, since GE14, has been perceived and accused by the PH government of corruption, kleptocracy, cronyism and nepotism. These accusations may be true, but I do believe that these ‘bad habits’ do not happen overnight.
“Such cultures, if indeed embedded in Umno, must have evolved over the years. Some of the current PH leaders had been with Umno for many years and had great influence over its policies and direction, including its cultures that are so embedded in the party.
“Therefore, with such record in Umno, I would suggest to the current PH leaders not to wash their hands in a hurry over Umno’s so-called ‘bad habits’,” he said.
He said politicians would always be politicians, where those on one side wanted to get the better of the other, and, in doing so, focussed on each other’s differences and highlighted the opponents’ weaknesses instead of focussing on each other’s strengths and what both sides commonly shared.
He said the common factor that both GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) and PH have was that both are governments.
“Since we are both governments, that is our strength. Let us, therefore, govern this country to the best of our ability. The people expect nothing less of us but to administer this country. Stop the blame game and finger pointing,” said Masing, citing Tun Abdul Daim Zainuddin’s recent statement calling on PH to stop pointing fingers at the previous government. Tamin assemblyman Christopher Gira had also recently asserted that there was no point keeping on putting the blame on the previous government and said it was time to sit down and tackle problems such as dilapidated schools.
He, thus, held the view that both the PH government and GPS administration should work together for the betterment of this country.
“The Pakatan Harapan government through our discussion with (Works Minister) Baru Bian recently has reacted positively to the construction of the Batang Lupar Bridge on a 50-50 basis. The Kementerian Kerja Raya Malaysia (KKR) sent to us a proposal to construct an alternative road bypassing Brunei, from Marudi–Mulu–Limbang–Lawas then straight to Sabah with subsidiary roads to the highland and Bario to be constructed later. This road will open up Ulu Limbang and Ulu Sungai Trusan.
“My ministry is agreeable to this proposal, and we will give them our full support whenever and wherever we can. These are examples of utilising our strength for the betterment of our country. It’s a win-win situation for both parties, and the beneficiaries are the people of Malaysia, particularly Sarawak,” said Masing. — DayakDaily