Idris Buang

KUCHING: Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) state government has some reservations on the proposal to push Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal as the opposition’s candidate for prime minister.

Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) information chief Datuk Idris Buang said this was the view shared among the state leaders.

He said while Shafie is an experienced Sabahan politician, his last run as a federal minister of Rural and Regional Development — being in charge of rural development of the East Malaysian states — still left something to be desired.

“A lot of issues were not settled well under him; issues of rural electricity, roads and development were left ‘hanging’ during his time,” he told New Sarawak Tribune in a telephone conversation yesterday.

He said while it was good that a prime minister candidate from one of the two East Malaysian states was being pushed, GPS questioned the sincerity behind Shafie’s nomination.

“If Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is sincere in pushing Sabahan and Sarawakian leaders, why not wait until the next general election before choosing a representative from Sabah and Sarawak for the top job. It doesn’t have to be Shafie,” he said.

Idris opined that the move by the former premier was nothing more than just a ploy in Pakatan Harapan (PH) jostle for power.

“I agree with the views of other people saying that he (Shafie) is just a pawn (for PH), and to us, that is just not right.

“As you know, pushing Shafie for the top post also means putting Democratic Action Party (DAP) in power, so GPS cannot work with DAP.”

Idris, a lawyer by profession, also said the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) should not be used as a commodity for political trade off in justifying Shafie’s nomination as framed by other Sarawak based opposition leaders.

“MA63 is a matter of legal rights and principle, which should be given its due respect as it is the inherent right of the people of Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.

Idris opined that with the economic downturn due to Covid-19, opposition politicians should take a step back in their quest for power.

“The people now are concentrating on reviving the economy and other situations in all walks of lives.

“The best thing now is for the people to give their support to Perikatan Nasional (PN) and GPS in Sarawak,” he said.

Idris, who is Muara Tuang state assemblyman, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had committed the funds to charting development in Sarawak.

“This is under the rural transformation programme (RTP), regional development agencies along with the state’s digital transformation programme. This will be to the benefit of the people.

“While Dr Mahathir is bent on retaking the premiership from Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Muhyiddin and GPS consented to by the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong as the rightful federal government, are busy helping the people,” he said.