KUCHING: The redesignation of ‘Chief Minister’ to ‘Premier’ puts another benchmark for the Sarawak government in strengthening its influence, says political analyst Dr Ammar Redza Ahmad Rizal (pic).
“Sarawak is therefore seen to be at the forefront in determining the political narrative.
“By using the new title, Sarawak is wise to organise political measures using the existing legal framework (including the constitution),” he said when asked to comment on the restyling of the state’s highest political post which came into effect yesterday (March 1).
He said the title also had identity implications for Sarawak politics and its relationship with federal politics.
However, Ammar, who is also a lecturer at the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) Faculty of Language and Communication, said the situation should be explored carefully, especially when political measures were closely accompanied by economic prosperity.
According to him, if the Sarawak government only focused on the identity game without further enhancing economic capabilities, then it would give a negative image to the current government.
“It should be noted currently that the Sarawak government has the strongest mandate with 76 state assemblymen (DUN) being representatives from the ruling party — Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).
“If with this strong mandate the state government does not perform well, it will invite great danger. Plus, the 15th general election (GE15) is approaching,” he explained.
He stressed that it was important for GPS to maintain momentum to enable them to control their Parliamentary seats.
Ammar said this would enable them to have more leverage in ensuring that they were able to bring the voice of the people to Putrajaya.
“Otherwise, I think the transition of using the term ‘Premier’ will be a political capital for opposition parties.
“During the recent DUN sitting debate, Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong had already sown the seeds by making the premier title her political capital,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ammar said for other states, the focus was likely to be on Sabah as a neighbouring state.
Still, he believed there would be no change in the status quo.
“It is very likely that the state will retain the existing titles,” he said.
In his statement earlier, State Secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion said the amendment to the title of Sarawak Chief Minister to Sarawak Premier would take effect from yesterday, after it was approved in the DUN sitting on Feb 15.
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