Status quo for GPS a right move

Malaysia does not need a ‘coalition of coalitions’ because everyone knows that it is a political strategy aimed at borrowing the strength of the biggest party and not to get genuine support from the people.

— Mohamed Khaled Nordin, Umno vice-president

No one, not even supporters of Perikatan Nasional (PN), took the recent proposal of a grand coalition of PN-BN-GPS seriously.

If the objective is to foster unity within the governing coalition, I doubt anyone in PN, or any political group, understands the true meaning of ‘unity’. With the unending politicking and upheavals facing us today at the federal level, unity is a big farce in my cynical mood.

There is no unity among our politicians today. This is not an understatement but a fact. I think we have seen and heard enough of the betrayals, squabbles and mistrust among all of them.

I doubt any politician in our midst today believes that “there is more power in unity than division”. Most likely, it’s a case of “power first, then unity”. Some politicians could be thinking that “I have to create division in order to attain power; along the way, harp on unity as the struggle”. Oh, are we not all too familiar with the games politicians are so adept at?

On Dec 11, Bersatu secretary-general Datuk Hamzah Zainudin mooted a “political understanding charter” to form a grand coalition between PN, BN and GPS in the 15th general election. Hamzah said PN-BN-GPS signing a pact would ensure continued cooperation between the three, as well as shore up public confidence.

As a Sarawakian, I am delighted that GPS leaders shot down the idea almost immediately.

PRS president Tan Sri Dr James Masing said that “there is no necessity for GPS to be a formal member of any grand coalition” but backed the idea of “an iron-clad understanding” between GPS and the other parties, that all of them must support each other in any election, including state elections.

“In short, PN and aspirants cannot contest in (Sarawak elections) and vice versa, Sarawak (parties) in any seat in Peninsular Malaysia,” said Masing.

In his response, PBB vice-president Datuk Abdul Karim Hamzah agreed that there was no need for GPS to be a formal member of any alliance, saying that the current arrangement was fine.

“Let the status quo remain,” said Karim.

I agree with Masing and Karim. Politics in Malaya is in one hell of a mess and it would be foolish of GPS to be dragged into it or be implicated in a fashion that does not benefit the Sarawak coalition at all.

As Masing has pointed out, come the Sarawak state polls, GPS expects its federal allies not to stake any claim on state seats.  

Seat allocation for the coming state election is expected to be a thorny issue. I do not think PN allies such as Bersatu or PAS which have chapters in Sarawak will be allocated any seat. Already a state Bersatu youth leader has been fuming that his party was considered as an opposition entity in Sarawak. PAS and Bersatu in Sarawak can continue to dream on — they will not get any seat under GPS.

Karim’s statement could be viewed as wise and practical. It would be foolhardy of PBB, as the backbone of a spirited and strong GPS, to sign any official act with its messy and unstable allies in PN.

A strong and stable coalition should not play second fiddle to one which could break up tomorrow. It does not matter if GPS support for the federal PN administration is viewed as a marriage of convenience. This is politics, after all.

It is also interesting to note that even Umno vice-president Datuk Khaled Nordin is not in favour of the grand coalition mooted by Hamzah. Khaled said the current PN-led government had failed to create political stability, and there was no guarantee the same configuration could ensure political stability after the next general election.

“Malaysia does not need a ‘coalition of coalitions’ because everyone knows that it is a political strategy aimed at borrowing the strength of the biggest party and not to get genuine support from the people,” said Khaled.

I support GPS to remain status quo — no need to join any proposed grand PN coalition. In fact, GPS is already a grand coalition of four parties — PBB, SUPP, PRS and PDP. Just stay put where you are. And do not allow the sneaky and dirty politics from Malaya to infiltrate our serene and peaceful Land of the Hornbill.

Let us, Sarawakians, take care of Sarawak. We know what to do best for our beloved homeland. 

The views expressed here are those of the columnist and do not necessarily represent the views of New Sarawak Tribune.