Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu senior vice-president Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan recently received a barrage of criticisms from Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) for telling a Chinese daily that he welcomed any party, including Parti Tenaga Rakyat Sarawak (Teras) and United People’s Party UPP), that supports Barisan Nasional (BN).
His comment also drew the ire of Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) and Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) which together with SPDP are against the admission the two newly-formed parties into the ruling coalition.
The situation was aggravated by the angle of the report which misconstrued his views as his approval for Teras and UPP to join BN.
While the negative reaction from the three state BN component parties was expected, they should have risen above the interest of their own parties and accepted Awang Tengah’s views for the good of the state BN.
Although SPDP and SUPP would have to share their BN seats allocation in the state with UPP and Teras if the two new parties were to join the ruling coalition, they have to face the fact that rejecting them is untenable as the new parties have between them two senior ministers, three assistant ministers, three state assemblymen and one MP.
They have all pledged their loyalty to BN despite being forced out of the two BN component parties while most of the members of UPP and Teras are also former members of SPDP and SUPP.
The question of the new parties applying to join BN should never have risen in the first place as for all intents and purposes, the leaders and members are still in the coalition sharing its objectives and mission.
The crises in SPDP and SUPP might have forced them to leave the two BN component parties but they never left BN.
Awang Tengah was looking at the bigger picture and the actual situation when he said he welcomed any party pledging its support to BN.
No political entity could afford to turn away such a big group of political leaders and supporters without suffering any consequences.
It is unfortunate that the PBB senior vice-president’s desire to preserve the strength of the state BN was viewed by SPDP and SUPP as an attack on them.
SPDP reacted by questioning his authority to decide on the membership application to BN and lambasted him for forsaking the BN principle of collective agreement over admission of new members.
This put Awang Tengah in an awkward position as rebutting the attack and clarifying his statement would draw him into a quagmire of arguments and accusations which would put further strains on the relationship among BN component parties.
He wisely decided to refrain from prolonging the debate and let the state BN leadership resolve the situation.
The impasse facing the state BN is severely testing the maxim, politics is the art of the possible, as Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Adenan Satem, as head of the state BN, faces the tough balancing act of accommodating Teras and UPP in the state BN while preserving the harmony in the coalition
It is unlikely that the four state BN component parties could collectively find an answer to this deadlock as three of them have already declared their opposition to the admission of Teras and UPP into the coalition.
This leaves the ball at the feet of Adenan and with no solution in sight, he would have to put his foot down to hammer out an solution.
There has to be an end to this tussle sooner rather than later with the state election less than two years away.
If anyone could find a way out of this exasperating conundrum, then it has to be Adenan, given his track record since taking office, which speaks volumes of his leadership ability.
It seems destined that he is placed in the position to take up this herculean task.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man.