Monday, March 18

S4S urges state government not to join PH


S4S supporters gather at Kuching Waterfront for the peaceful rally.

KUCHING: The Sarawak for Sarawakians (S4S) movement is urging the state government to stand by its principles and not join the Pakatan Harapan (PH)-led federal government.

“Sarawak 4 Sarawakians are calling on all parties to stick by the principles on which they were elected and remain faithful to the wishes of their voters. This follows conflicting reports and statements on whether Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) is seeking to leave the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition to join Pakatan Harapan (PH) following their (PH) stunning election win last week,” said S4S spokesman Peter John Jaban.

“More importantly, the autonomy advocacy group is demanding that all decisions affecting parties at state level are taken with full consultation of the representatives from the state and not simply discussed in Kuala Lumpur and imposed on Sarawak against its wishes. This is the fundamental principle of autonomy and each coalition is given the opportunity to stand by its stated intent to provide greater autonomy and decision-making to the Borneo states,” he said yesterday.

Peter John said Sarawak voters had been very clear in their wishes.

At state level, they gave former chief minister – the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem – a landslide victory, largely for his clear stance on Sarawak autonomy, he said, stressing that it was Adenan who started the ball rolling in asking for the return of state’s rights from federal government.

“However at the federal level, they rejected corruption by switching their support in huge numbers to PH, now the ruling government, even in a number of rural seats.

“This is a sign of mature democratic thinking in Sarawak and must be respected at all costs. The state government has a mandate and must stand by that mandate while the new federal representatives have their own job to do.”

Peter John said any attempt to ‘jump ship’ would undermine the principles on which they (candidates) were elected for and would be a slap in the face to the voters.

“More importantly, Sarawak deserves to have a strong opposition at state level to stimulate debates and the development of democracy – something that will be wiped out if the BN component parties are consumed by PH.”

Peter John added that state Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen and state Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) chairman Baru Bian had both come out with clear statements about rejecting any move to bring BN component parties into their (PH) fold.

PBB vice-president Datuk Karim Abdul Rahman Hamzah had been on record rubbishing claims about PBB having any wish to join PH.

“(Conflicting) reports about the Governor of Sarawak (Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud) seeking to broker a deal is horrifying. This is a man who holds no elected position and therefore, cannot be expected to speak for the people of Sarawak.

“If PH wants to take the Sarawak government, then they must win it on their own terms at the next state election. That is the process of democracy. This cannot be done in a backroom deal in the (nation’s) capital to provide sanctuary to all those who wish to escape the scrutiny of a new era in Malaysian politics. The PH, at national level, must put their trust in their Sarawak colleagues to win legitimately now that there is a potential level-playing field in future elections, following promised reforms of election practices and delineation,” Peter John said.

Greater autonomy is now one of the key issues in Sarawak and this will be tested over the next two years, he pointed out.

As the only state with an election midway through the federal term, both sides of the political divide now have the opportunity to demonstrate how responsive they are to their pre-election promises of autonomy, for both Sabah and Sarawak, said Peter John.

“Sarawak voters have clearly shown that this is an issue on which they can exercise precise democratic thought. Any coalition that continues to make decisions without reference to their state-level colleagues is likely to play poorly with the Sarawak electorate. Our representatives are part of a greater Malaysia but must also fight for the future of the state. Sarawak’s wishes can no longer be ignored.”

PBB and Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) will be meeting separately this Wednesday (May 16) on their future direction in Malaysian politics.

Yesterday morning, S4S members held a peaceful gathering here with the intention of asking parties in the current BN Sarawak to not jump ship to the PH fold, but to run the state independently.