SIBU: Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) is not in any negotiation with Pakatan Harapan (PH), whether at state or federal level.
In this regard, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah describes PBB as a ‘well-cultured party that has overcome many challenges in its last 50 years or so’.
He adds that PBB and its state partners – Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), and Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) – are still ‘the government of the day’ in Sarawak.
Therefore, he stresses that the case of the state’s governing coalition joining PH is ‘just a rumour’.
“PH Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen and state Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) chairman Baru Bian should not be jumpy and panicky. I’m amused by their sudden outburst in rejecting any attempt to accept parties under BN (Barisan Nasional) Sarawak coalition, especially PBB, into PH.
“Chong had even stated that accepting parties like PBB was ‘akin to Umno joining PH’. Let me remind Chong and Baru Bian – PBB is not in any negotiation with PH whether at state or federal (level). PBB and its state coalition partners SUPP, PRS and PDP are the government of the day in Sarawak.
“PBB is a well-cultured party, having survived many turbulence and obstacles in its 50-plus years and is able to withstand any new challenge. On the other hand, PBB respects the democratic rights of Malaysians, especially those in Peninsular Malaysia, in wanting a change of the government of the day,” Abdul Karim told thesundaypost.
In a statement made on Friday, Chong had affirmed PH Sarawak’s stand that it would not accept any of the BN Sarawak parties, including PBB, into its fold.
Baru, in his remarks also made on Friday, stressed that the leaders of PH Sarawak were united in their objection to PBB or any BN Sarawak component party joining PH.
Baru said he had on Friday afternoon written to PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and the PH secretary Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah to put on record their strong position against the acceptance of any BN party into PH.
Baru, who won Selangau seat in the parliamentary polls on Wednesday, referred to PBB as ‘the proxy of Umno in Sarawak’, whose leaders ‘had been allowed to abuse their power to gain excessive wealth, depriving people of what was rightfully theirs’.
Adding on, Abdul Karim said being in a parliamentary democracy system, it was not uncommon for the federal and state governments being held by different governing parties.
This could be seen even before the 14th general election (GE14) where the states of Selangor, Penang and Kelantan were held by parties that were not under the federal ruling coalition, he said.
This aside, he viewed that it was ‘perfectly normal’ for the federal and state governments to have some level of cooperation in many fields.
According to Abdul Karim – also a PBB vice-president – both governments are voted and given mandate by the people and as such, both governments must not lose sight of their responsibility to the people.
“It is not for Chong and Baru to tell the people that PH should not cooperate with the state government as this will only reflect their immature political foresight and struggle.”
Abdul Karim reiterated that the case of political parties under Sarawak governing coalition joining PH were ‘just rumours’ and assured PH that the ‘state BN would not want to spoil their winning euphoria’.
“Enjoy it to the utmost, but remember – both of you (Chong and Baru) are elected people’s representatives. Do what is best for those who elected you in.
“The ‘rakyat’ (people) who voted you in are also the same ‘rakyat’ who voted in the state coalition government. They want responsible representatives, transparency, justice and equality, as well as rule of law.
“This has always been the state government BN coalition partners’ agenda and if that’s also the agenda of the federal PH, some level of cooperation could still be worked out.
“Chong and Baru must remember that their struggles and involvement in politics are not for personal agenda, but for the state and the nation,” stressed Abdul Karim.