Sunday, July 5

Baru pooh-poohs shadow cabinet

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Baru Bian

KUCHING: State PKR leader claims he was not consulted on move and no proper discussion held.

State PKR chief Baru Bian yesterday rejected outright the shadow cabinet lineup announced by state DAP chairman Wong Ho Leng on May 1.

“The state Pakatan Rakyat’s spirit of consensus and consultation prior to the formation of the shadow cabinet was not invoked by members of the opposition alliance,” Baru told a press conference at PKR state media office in Satok.

He said he had decided not to accept the shadow cabinet because the committee meeting, chaired by state DAP chairman Wong Ho Leng to finalise the lineup on May 1, had failed to include his opinion as state PKR liaison chief.

Baru who is also Ba Kelalan assemblyman, was in Kota Kinabalu when the state PR convened to deliberate the matter.

He called the press conference after Wong clarified on May 4 the lineup of the shadow cabinet was announced after consultation with the PR components.

Wong’s clarification followed PKR de facto
leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s comment in Kuala Lumpur that the lineup was not final.

Baru said he was compelled to make a stand because the issue of the finalisation of the shadow cabinet had been debated in the media.

He said he agreed with Anwar that the lineup had not been finalised.

“I wish to set the record straight and reiterate our position that no proper discussion and prior consultation had been held by Pakatan before the announcement of the proposed shadow cabinet lineup on May 1,” Baru stressed.

Baru clarified the PKR representatives at the meeting had no authority to agree or disagree with the lineup. But he conceded he had no qualms about Wong, the Bukit Assek assemblyman and Sibu MP, being appointed opposition leader in the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) because “it is only right based on the democratic principle of majority.”

“The bigger picture is that we must keep the spirit of equal partnership and consensus within a coalition as our guiding principle both at the state and national levels. The public expect nothing less from us.”

He said it would be better for the state PR to sit down and discuss the lineup — with some readjustment to be made.

“If I may humbly say, from our (PKR) perspective, the proposed lineup does not reflect the proportionate representation of the Muslim and non-Muslim Bumiputera majority in Sarawak pertaining to the portfolios proposed by DAP.” PKR should also be reflected in the lineup as the party representing Bumiputeras in DUN, he explained.

“As such, it is expedient to redress this imbalance and review the matter (shadow cabinet) at the next PR state council meeting,” Baru said.

Sarawak DAP secretary Chong Chieng Jen said on Wednesday the state PR should have the autonomy to decide on the shadow cabinet without interference from a peninsula partner.

He pointed out that since the shadow cabinet was set up for Sarawak, the state PR should be free to decide on the portfolios independently. “I don’t know whether Anwar has been fully briefed on the matter and I don’t think a matter such as the setting of a shadow cabinet needs approval from the peninsula,” he said.