KUCHING: Sarawak under the leadership of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) will not fall but continue to remain strong.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg made it clear that the local-based coalition party would stand firm and continue its previous leaders’ vision to bring greater development for the state and its people.
“We won’t fall in GPS… this is because we have a long experience in politics since the year 1963 till today,” he said during the launch of GPS for Zone 4B at Balai Tayung Langui, Kampung Pichin, Serian, yesterday.
He added that the state government has learnt how to administer the state since the Alliance party era.
“Then in 1969, there was a racial crisis in Malaysia and from then on the political landscape changed from Alliance party to Barisan Nasional (BN).
“Don’t forget Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) and Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) even joined the BN coalition then,” he said.
The GPS chairman said the problem with BN was that its concept was based on consensus, and voices from Sarawak’s four parties (SUPP, PBB, Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) against 14 parties in Malaya were not heard and that was one lesson GPS had learnt.
“Then another political change is when Pakatan Harapan (PH) becomes the federal government after the 14th general election (GE14). BN had lost, but we in Sarawak won. We won two-thirds majority by winning 19 out 31 seats,” he said.
With that, Abang Johari sees Sarawak could no longer follow its federal counterparts but had to leave and form GPS.
“Some people said we would die if we leave BN because we depend on the Minor Rural Project (MRP) funds from them… But we are not ‘paloi’ (stupid) because we can make our own decision.
“Which is why GPS has taken a bold step to leave BN, and we are convinced that Sarawak can only be administered and developed by Sarawakians and our struggle is to fight for ‘Sarawak First’,” he stressed.
He added that Sarawak has its own rights as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) which the state government must continue to safeguard.
The chief minister also reminded the people not to be easily influenced by Malayan politics.
“Leaders in Malaya are quarrelling among themselves, luckily we left or else we will be in a mess, too. And that is why Malayan politics can never enter Sarawak.
“GPS has its own direction. We want to give priority to our children and to bring Sarawak to become the most developed state by 2030,” he said.
Citing the late chief minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem who said religious bigots cannot enter Sarawak, Abang Johari said the state’s unity must also continue to be protected at all costs.
“So, people defend GPS because GPS is the only platform that can protect our culture. And GPS will transform Sarawak just like Estonia to the European Union… That is my ambition and I’m sure that is your ambition, too,” he told the crowd.
Earlier, Abang Johari launched the GPS Zone 4B comprising N20 Tarat, N21 Tebedu, N22 Kedup, N23 Bukit Semuja and P199 Serian.