Sarawak parties leave Barisan Nasional to form new coalition

Sarawak parties leave Barisan Nasional to form new coalition

Sarawak coalition
Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) and Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) make up the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition. (Photo: Bernama)

KUCHING: All four component parties of the Barisan Nasional (BN) in Sarawak announced on Tuesday (Jun 12) their unanimous decision to leave the coalition and group themselves in a new Sarawak-based coalition.

They are Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) and Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP).

Sarawak BN chairman and PBB president Abang Johari Openg, in making the announcement, said the four parties would establish the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition.

“PBB, SUPP, PRS and PDP have made a unanimous decision to leave BN and to form a new coalition of Sarawak-based parties known as Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS). The decision was made after much deliberation, reflection and due consideration, taking into account the country’s current political developments after the 14th General Election," he said.

"GPS will cooperate and collaborate with the federal government in the national interest and for the state’s rights and interests based on the Federal Constitution and the Federation of Malaysia."

Abang Johari, who is the Sarawak Chief Minister, spoke at a press conference after chairing a meeting of the Sarawak BN at the PBB headquarters in Jalan Bako, Petra Jaya.

The meeting, which lasted for more than an hour, was also attended by PRS president James Jemut Masing, PDP president  Tiong King Sing, SUPP president Sim Kui Hian and Sarawak BN secretary-general Alexander Nanta Linggi.

In the 14th General Election on May 9, Sarawak BN won 19 of the 31 parliamentary seats up for contest in the state through PBB (13 seats), PRS (three), PDP (two) and SUPP (one). No state election was held in Sarawak then as it had held it in 2016.

Abang Johari said the decision to set up a new political coalition was seen as most apt in the current situation.

“We believe that it is timely and appropriate for the State of Sarawak to embark on a new political platform going forward in order to face challenges in line with the changing aspirations needs and demands of a very wide range of cross-section of the Sarawak populace. Sarawak is uniquely a multiracial, multicultural and multi-religion state,” he said.

Abang Johari said the decision of the four component parties would be conveyed to the Federal BN soon. He expressed gratitude for the BN contribution to Sarawak all this while.

“We will also inform RoS (Registry of Societies) and the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat (on GPS). As I said just now, we will cooperate with the (Pakatan Harapan) Federal Government because we are in a federal system, but we are not joining them. We are still independent and we have our own bloc,” he said.

Asked whether the Sarawak-based United People’s Party (UPP) led by Sarawak International Trade and e-Commerce Minister Wong Soon Koh would also join GPS, Abang Johari said that would be looked at after all other matters had been settled.

He also denied that he had met with Barisan Nasional acting chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi recently.

“I only met with the Prime Minister (Mahathir Mohamad) in his capacity as the Prime Minister, that’s all,” he said.

For the record, Sarawak BN formed the state government after winning 72 of the 82 seats in the state legislative assembly in the 11th state election in 2016.

Source: Bernama/ec