KUCHING: Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg would have to decide on the position of Puncak Borneo MP Datuk Wllie Mongin and Saratok MP Datuk Ali Biju before the 15th general election (GE15).
Universiti Malaya senior lecturer Associate Professor Dr Awang Azman said as long as Willie and Ali do not join any of the four Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) component party, their position in Puncak Borneo and Saratok respectively is uncertain in the 15th general election.
he political analyst said that Muhyiddin could use his good relationship with the Sarawak Premier, who is also Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) president and GPS chairman to ask the premier to allow Ali and Willie to contest in the name of GPS Plus as direct candidates.
“This is possible because the relationship between Muhyiddin and Abang Johari has been close since their youth days in Barisan Nasional a few decades ago and proved to be very good and friendly after Muhyiddin agreed to GPS joining Perikatan Nasional (PN) as PN plus.
“As long as there is no specific discussion between Tan Sri Muhyiddin as PN chairman and Sarawak Premier, it will be difficult for Ali and Willie to contest in the next general election,” Awang Azman told New Sarawak Tribune.
Further complicating the acceptance of Willie and Ali into any of the four GPS component party is that there must be unanimous agreement by all GPS components to accept the duo.
Meaning if one of the component party opposed then an agreement could not take place in the GPS.
“So unanimous consent is required for any decision in GPS especially in the issue of such acceptance which has long term implications on the position and future of GPS politics itself and Sarawak politics,” added Awang Azman.
He said although Ali and Willie were considered to be effective MPs in developing their respective constituency by bringing various projects to their areas, the fact is that they are not under GPS.
He said in the political context of ethno nationalism in Sarawak, the sentiment was that only GPS could bring about development.
“This political psychic and culture is reinforced by the emphasis that only local politicians better understand the local situation and provide better services to the people.
“This political myth makes it difficult for non-local parties to have a good foothold except the DAP has previously managed to break this political myth. However, DAP’s achievements in the last Sarawak election began to decline due to the trauma of the PH government for 22 months and many promises could not be fulfilled,” he said.
This has succeeded in strengthening the political ideology in Sarawak for some time.
Willie, the incumbent MP for Puncak Borneo who is federal Deputy Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities aspires to be a GPS-PBB candidate in the upcoming PRU, and is hopeful PBB will open its door to him and be nominated to defend the seat which he won in the last general election under PKR’s ticket.
Willie however left PKR during the ‘Sheraton Move’ in early 2020, and joined Bersatu not long after that and was appointed the federal Deputy Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities that same year.
During last year State election Willie gave his full support to three GPS-PBB candidates, Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn for Tarat constituency, Datuk Dr Jerip Susil (Mambong) and Miro Simuh (Serumbu) but it is obvious now that certain PBB leaders at the grassroots level are not in favour of Willie as they wanted their own choice of candidate.
Sagah, who is the State Minister of Education, Innovation and Talent Development has clearly said that PBB is not short of capable people to be fielded in Puncak Borneo as a GPS candidate for the GE15.
The PBB vice president also stressed that Puncak Borneo is PBB’s traditional seat.
According to Sagah, there are more than enough capable, dedicated and well-educated PBB members in Serumbu, Mambong and Tarat constituencies, which form the Puncak Borneo parliamentary seat.
Dr Jerip, however have a more softer stance with regards to who should be chosen as GPS-PBB candidate in Puncak Borneo.
Pointing out that the Puncak Borneo parliamentary seat belongs to PBB, Dr Jerip who is PBB Mambong chief said as such the party would hold firm on the issue.
He said it was up to party leaders to decide on who they should pick to contest the Puncak Borneo seat.
Having pledged his support for GPS’ candidates in the 12th state election last December, Willie also expressed hope for reciprocal support from the elected representatives in defending Puncak Borneo.
Willie had claimed then that his support for GPS was to ensure political stability in Sarawak and had called for GPS to provide similar cooperation when he defends the seat during the parliamentary polls.