Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg (Left) and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin

KUCHING: The decision of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) to back Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as the prime minister has been vindicated by the positive responses of Sarawakians.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, who is also the GPS chairman, said Muhyiddin’s appointment had been well-received by Sarawakians.

“Their reaction is okay. This is because the decision was supported by all component parties in GPS. It was decided based on a consensus. Before I made the decision, I discussed it with all the GPS party heads.

“We said for the sake of the country, we needed a stable government. Muhyiddin was there. He had the experience as he was formerly deputy prime minister. We knew how he worked so we supported him,” he said in an exclusive on Monday (July 13).

Abang Johari was asked about Sarawakians’ response to    GPS’ decision to back Muhyiddin in late February, a decision which proved vital in ending a political impasse.

The chief minister said the problem was not GPS’ as the week-long political crisis stemmed from disagreements between members of Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition over the transition of the prime minister position.

“The argument was that Dr Mahathir (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) was to hand over the premiership to Anwar (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim) within two years. That was not done and as a result, there were doubts in Anwar’s camp.

“When the crisis broke, I viewed it from the national aspect as we needed a stable and a good federal government for the sake of the country,” he said.

Abang Johari recalled that GPS threw its support behind Dr Mahathir but that changed after the latter chose to resign from his position.

“I said to him (Dr Mahathir) that GPS could not work with the Democratic Action Party (DAP). He said to me, ‘I take note’ but then, he proceeded to resign.

“We needed a stable government to take care of Covid-19 at the time and the economic problems so when Dr Mahathir resigned, we asked their bloc at the time for an alternative, they mentioned Muhyiddin, so we supported him,” he said.