PBB headquarters in Kuching. photo: ramidi subari

Despite the test of time, one party in Sarawak has fared better than others, solidifying its place as the backbone of the state government’s administration for the last 47 years.

That party is none other than Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), which has a strong support base and has long been credited for providing political stability in Sarawak.  

It was formed after the merger of Parti Pesaka Anak Sarawak (Pesaka) and Parti Bumiputera in 1973.

Parti Bumiputera itself was also a product of a merger between Parti Negara Sarawak (Panas) and Barisan Ra’ayat Jati Sarawak (Barjasa) on March 30, 1968.

The new Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu party was officially registered on April 30, 1973.

Until today, PBB still retains its Pesaka and Bumiputera wings.

The Bumiputera wing consists of Muslim-Malay, Melanau, Kedayan, Brunei-Malay and Jatti Mereik members while the Pesaka wing consists of Iban, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu members.

In 1974, PBB together with Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) formed Barisan Nasional (BN) Sarawak. With Alliance Party from Sabah, PBB and SUPP laer became component parties of the BN at the national-level together with Umno, MIC and MCA.

On June 12, 2018, PBB formed Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) together with Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Progressive Democratic Party (PDP).

The first Yang Di-Pertua of PBB was Kapit-born Iban paramount chief, Tun Jugah Barieng who assumed the post from April 1973 until 1975.

The position of the PBB president from then was held by the chief minister as PBB had commanded a large number of assemblymen in the State Legislative Assembly (DUN).

Other past PBB chiefs were former chief ministers Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, Tun Abdul Rahman Ya’kub and Pehin Sri Adenan Satem.

PBB president now is Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

The party today is still widely supported by a huge section of Sarawakians. It now has over 300,000 members across the state and is represented by 47 state assemblymen in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly and 13 MPs in the Dewan Rakyat.