Nay to one-party BN


Masing says concept will see small racial groups become mute politically

KUCHING: The much-talked about proposal to turn Barisan Nasional (BN) into a single party has received the thumbs down from Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Dr James Masing.

Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing

He feared that its implementation would see small ethnic groups losing their political voice.

The current BN structure, he opined, suited a multi-society nation like Malaysia because it allowed for smaller groups to have their say.

“One single party for BN will mean possible assimilation of smaller ethnic groups like Iban, Kadazan and others into a big entity, and this could result in the loss of political voice within the organisation.

“Personally, I don’t agree (to the proposal),” he said when contacted yesterday.

The proposal came from Gerakan acting president Datuk Chang Ko Youn, who urged BN to be turned into a single party to win back the people’s support and avoid racial problems.

A Bernama report published on Saturday quoted Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as saying that the proposal was rational but needed to be studied in detail to ensure continuous support from the people in the future.

Muhyiddin, who is also Umno deputy president, said the proposal must be considered immediately by every component party and given a response as soon as possible.

Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said in Kuching on Saturday that the State BN was open to any discussion at the federal level regarding this proposal.

“If there is any discussion about the matter, let me attend the discussion first before giving further comments,” said Taib, who is also state BN chief.

PBB deputy information chief Datuk Peter Minos disagreed with proposals to have a new name for BN, although he liked the single BN party idea.

He argued that it would not be easy to sell the name because BN’s name has long been entrenched in the mind of Malaysians.

“Just BN or Barisan Nasional will do. In politics, a name matters,” he said when commenting on talks that BN is mulling a name change, and among the new
names mentioned was Parti 1Malaysia.

He also hoped that BN, if it remained a coalition of 14 components or eventually turned into a single party, would continue to focus on rural development to assist the rural folks who have been supporting BN to the hilt since day one, and again in the May 5 general election.

Minos cited Thailand as the best example of this strategy, where the ruling party headed by Yingluck Shinawatra is enjoying massive popular support because of massive rural development it had been focusing on.