GPS playing key role to form federal government
By:M Rajah

Our main focus and responsibilities now is to ensure the stability of the country and wellbeing of the people.

Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg

Phew, what an election! The just concluded 15th general election (GE15) was like no other, because no party is anywhere near the required ‘magical’ 112 seats to form the government

The final count showed the major coalitions, namely Pakatan Harapan (PH) ending up with 82 seats – 30 seats short of 112. Perikatan Nasional (PN) managed 73 seats, and Barisan Nasional (BN) which was expected to make a strong comeback could only win 30 out of the 177 seats it contested.

In Sarawak, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) won 22 out of the 31 seats contested and is on track to retain Baram, which means the coalition has 23 – four more than the 19 seats it won in 2018.  Voting was suspended in Baram because of floods.

I am not a political analyst; so, I won’t be in a position to analyse in depth the overall GE15 results, especially in Malaya. What I can do is to give some comments on the results in Sarawak.

I predicted 25-26 seats, but I guess 23 is still a good figure. Disappointed? Maybe a little. Nevertheless, there were those who were confident of 28 seats. Many of my friends, including those in the political circle, were quite disappointed. Some even refused to say anything.  One, whom I contacted around 2 am yesterday, said, “What is there to say? The voters have decided, ask them lah.” Disappointment was clearly written on his face, I guess.

It was a close call in Lubok Antu where the GPS candidate Roy Angau Gingkoi just scraped through with a 100-vote majority against Parti Sarawak Bersatu’s (PSB) Johnichal Rayong Ngipa. It was quite a surprise as many had predicted Johnichal to win the seat.

The situation was similar in Kanowit, a coalition stronghold. GPS’ Aaron Ago Dagang, the four-term MP, could only manage a 236-vote majority in a five-way fight, garnering 7,411 votes. His nearest opponent was PH’s Mohd Fauzi who obtained 7,175 votes.

Perhaps, voters wanted a change? With Undi18 voters and several new voters who were automatically registered by the Election Commission, parties should be prepared next time to field younger candidates. Those who have been around for a while should leave voluntarily and make way for new faces. Don’t wait for the leadership to force you to step down or, even worse, get purged by the voters.

A lot of leaders at the national level were dumped by their constituents. They include Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Tengku Razaleigh, Dr Maszlee Malik, Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin, Datuk Seri Rina Harun, Tengku Adnan, Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, Datuk Seri Rizal Merican, Tan Sri Vigneswaran Sanasee and not forgetting Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh.

The message is loud and clear: don’t overstay your welcome!

Back to GPS, the 23 seats are good enough to retain our kingmaker role. PH and PN leaders have signalled their intentions to form the federal government and are courting us.

In fact Premier and GPS chairman Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg announced yesterday that Sarawak will work together with PN, BN and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) to form the next federal government. And the prime minister? Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is GPS’ preferred PM.

Certain quarters are already questioning if it’s the right move. Why not work with PH? But I say the premier couldn’t have made a better decision.

Most Sarawakians are behind Abang Johari. We want a federal government that is strong and stable to face both domestic and global economic challenges. And don’t forget that we want the people’s wellbeing to be taken care of.

Abang Johari will also fight to maintain the state’s religious freedom. He knows what he is doing and I am pretty sure he would have had the blessings of his coalition partners.

“To ensure the people’s wellbeing is guaranteed and our economy is preserved, a strong and stable and strong government must be in place without delay.

“Therefore, GPS has decided to form a coalition of PN, BN, GPS and GRS to set up a new government,” he said.

The premier has also pledged to uphold the right to freedom of religion and the practice of diverse customs and cultures in Sarawak,” allaying fears that the strong presence of PAS in PH would disrupt the religious harmony enjoyed by Sarawakians for decades.

The main concern now will be the concessions that Muhyiddin & Co will make to Sarawak. Abang Johari has assured us that the offers will be looked into after a federal government is formed. “Our country is more important,” he said.

Meanwhile, the King has directed leaders to form coalitions with parties to establish a government.

The party and coalition heads will also have to propose the name of a MP who has the majority support to be the prime minister and inform the palace before 2 pm today.

According to Article 40 (2)(a) and Article 43 (2)(a) of the Federal Constitution, the King’s decision to appoint a prime minister is final.

Malaysians are praying hard that all will turn out well after the formation of the new government. With GPS, as the kingmaker, making the right decision to work with PN, BN and GRS, rest assured of a strong and stable political climate.

The views expressed here are those of the columnist and do not necessarily represent the views of New Sarawak Tribune. 

New Sarawak Tribune e-Paper


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