Dr Awang Azman Pawi

KUCHING: A political analyst views there is a gentleman’s agreement that United Malay National Organisation (Umno) will not set foot in Sarawak.

Universiti Malaya (UM) Associate Professor Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi said the Malaya-based party had not contested in Sarawak since when Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud was the chief minister.

“I think there is already an agreement, not in writing, for Umno to not be established in Sarawak, and this agreement continues to be respected during the era of the former chief minister Pehin Sri Adenan Satem and current Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg,” he told New Sarawak Tribune.

He said the Sarawak government had strong relationship with Umno since Barisan Nasional (BN) was in power even under the leadership of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad then.

“When Tun Abdullah Badawi and then Datuk Seri Najib Razak became the prime minister, at the same time being the Umno president, the relationship between Sarawak and Umno leaders was very good and also there was no effort by Umno to set foot in Sarawak,” he added.

“Therefore, the recent statement by Abang Johari on Umno is more towards a sentiment of not wanting the party to set foot in Sarawak,” he said.

He noted that the relationship between Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and Umno was still good, but GPS was uncomfortable in certain matters such as Umno’s left-right policy.

“Similarly, with Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS), GPS does not want to work with PAS at the state level because it does not want GPS seats affected,” he said.