Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) is on the right track. It has emerged from the just-concluded 15th party triennial general assembly (TGM) stronger and more confident in leading Sarawak and the people into the next phase of development and progress.
As the lynchpin of the Sarawak ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition, it is aware of its huge responsibility. It knows it cannot afford to let the people down.
Yes, under party president and Premier Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, PBB has come of age and is a different party altogether. He has ensured greater unity within the multi-ethnic Bumiputera members.
No one can dispute the fact that PBB is the sole party to unite and bring progress and prosperity to the Sarawak Muslim and native communities – and of course not forgetting the non-Bumiputeras; we don’t need any parties from Malaya to look after the interests of the Bumiputeras here. Abang Jo & Co. will take care of them.
The farsighted leader with extensive political experience, high integrity and commitment is able to shoulder the tasks of bringing stability and development to the state – economically, socially and politically, among others.
And rest assured that only through PBB and its coalition partners of Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) can we expect to regain our rights under MA63.
Abang Johari inherited a party that puts great emphasis on tradition, structure and continuity in the leadership transition. This is the secret behind a stable, strong, successful and united party, with a strong spirit of tolerance and solidarity.
This is the reason why the top party posts were not contested. And this is why all the 14 Pesaka wing supreme council posts were all won uncontested recently.
(A little background on PBB: Parti Negara Sarawak (PANAS), which was established in 1960 and BARJASA which was formed in 1961, merged to become Parti Bumiputera in 1968. Parti Bumiputera later merged with PESAKA in 1973 which gave birth to Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu Sarawak.)
PBB members have shown the way for other political parties to emulate. Grappling for positions is not everything. What’s important is the state and the people’s welfare and interest.
Consensus among members requires effective and strategic approach and for this to happen, we need a leader with an open mind like Abang Johari who is sincere in his struggles for the party and people, is committed, has the ability to build a strong team spirit, is honest and puts personal interest aside for the sake of Sarawak .
Let’s take a look at last Saturday’s election for the supreme council posts for the Bumiputera wing. All the 11 YBs who went for the 16 posts at stake were elected, namely Dr Hazland Abang Hipni (Demak Laut) who garnered the highest number of 867 votes, Mohammad Razi Sitam (Saribas) – 860 votes, Datuk Abdullah Saidol (Semop) – 836 votes, Aidel Lariwoo (Sadong Jaya) – 830 votes, Fazzrudin Abdul Rahman (Tupong) – 824 votes, Shafiee Ahmad (Daro) – 824 votes, Razaili Gapor (Beting Maro) – 806 votes, Awla Dris (Simunjan) –798 votes, Yusuf Abdul Wahab (Tanjung Manis MP) –789 votes, Datuk Dr Juanda Jaya (Jamoreng) – 784 votes, and Mohama Duri (Kalaka) – 779 votes.
And the five ‘ordinary’ members elected were Awangku Jinal Abedin Jawa – 766 votes, Datuk Haidar Khan Asghar Khan – 755 votes, Mohammed Kamaluddin Mohamad Effendie – 687 votes, Mohamad Sardon Zainal – 615 votes, and Syed Hamzah Wan Hamid Edruce – 529 votes.
Of the total 21 contestants, the five who missed out were Pandi Suhaili – 433 votes, Zainulabidin Ismail – 427 votes, Mahmud Ibrahim – 396 votes, Paul Druce – 288 votes and Jay Keram – 236 votes.
PBB is poised for a new era under Abang Johari. For the first time in its history, the party has the youngest supreme council member in Syed Hamzah from Sibu. He is only 37.
His entry brings the much needed youthful look to an otherwise aging supreme council. The son of prominent Sibu entrepreneur Datuk Wan Hamid Edruce – himself a senior PBB veteran – has a bachelor’s degree in Islamic Studies from Mu’tah University, Jordan.
Married with four children, Syed Hamzah was thrust into the business world to manage his dad’s hotel, the three-star Zuhra Hotel – the first Bumiputera-run hotel in Sibu in the early 80s – when he was only 23.
The non-contest earlier for the 14 supreme council posts under the PBB Pesaka wing is a clear sign that members want the party to concentrate on more pressing issues like reviving the state’s economy and developing the state following the crippling COVID-19 pandemic.
A senior PBB member sent me a WhatsApp message late Saturday night: “PBB under Abang Jo is a different party. Under all odds the party led the (GPS) coalition into the 12th state polls and helped win 76 out of the 82 seats, handing the opposition a humiliating defeat. Our party delivered all its 47 seats. We didn’t disappoint anyone.
“Also the top party posts during this TGM were not contested. Our premier Abang Jo continues as party chief, and (Datuk Amar Douglas) Uggah and (Datuk Amar Awang) Tengah remain as deputy presidents.”
The basis of PBB’s struggle is to continue to drive Sarawak’s political, social and economic development. So, the theme of “Ensuring Stability, Prosperity and Sarawak’s Glory” for the 15th TGM was appropriate. It’s an extension to the manifesto that enabled GPS to win big in the last state polls.
With renewed confidence, I am sure PBB and GPS are likely to notch another convincing success in the coming parliamentary elections expected to be called at any time.