Wednesday, October 16

GPS champions ‘Sarawak First’

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Abang Johari reiterates ruling coalition’s commitment to fight for Sarawak’s rights, development

Abang Johari (standing front, sixth left) joins other GPS leaders in a photo-call after the launching ceremony. Also seen are deputy chief ministers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing (standing front, fourth left and fifth right, respectively). Snowdan is at Abang Johari’s right. — Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi

KUCHING: Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) remains the right platform to defend and fight for the best interest of Sarawak as it champions the ‘Sarawak First’ cause, says Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

“We, at GPS, emphasise the importance on the rights of Sarawak, and matters relating to the interests of Sarawak must be prioritise,” he said in launching of the GPS Zone 6 Roadshow at Lachau town near Sri Aman yesterday.

GPS Zone 6 covers the state constituencies of Balai Ringin, Bukit Begunan, Simanggang, Engkilili and Batang Ai.

According to Abang Johari, the GPS government aspires to bring development to Sarawak in line with the wishes and the needs of the people, especially when the previously-approved projects had been withdrawn or cancelled by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government, following its victory in the last general election.

“As your chief minister, I mean what I said but of course, it would take time (to implement the projects),” he said.

Abang Johari added that the formation of a consultative committee in the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly (DUN) was a way to update Sarawakians on the progress made by the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) Steering Committee.

The chief minister said while issues related to oil and gas in Sarawak would be ‘discussed exclusively’ between himself and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, he assured all that he would ‘consult the views of the people Sarawak first before making any decision’.

“My position is to represent the people of Sarawak, and I will report back to the people of Sarawak first. This is how we negotiate.”

Abang Johari said apart from the ongoing big-scale coastal road and second trunk road projects, the Sarawak government would consider constructing ‘spur routes’ to connect the remote pockets with the main roads.

In this respect, he proposed for such project – valued at about RM500 million – to be included in the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP).

Later, Abang Jobari announced the allocation of RM30 million meant to facilitate the preliminary studies on building these spur routes. An administrative centre would also be set up by the Sarawak government at Balai Ringin.

Meanwhile Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Snowdan Lawan, who will head GPS Zone 6, said the coalition of Sarawak based political parties would be able chart the way towards digital economy.

“After the general election, we chose our own platform (GPS) and exited the Barisan National (BN).

“Now we have our own boat, captain and crew members to move forward,” said Snowdan, who is Balai Ringin assemblyman, at the event.

He also called upon GPS members to defend their seats under Zone 6 come the next state election.

Like Snowdan, the assemblymen for Bukit Begunan, Simanggang and Batang Ai – Datuk Mong Dagang, Datuk Francis Harden Hollis and Malcolm Mussen Lamoh, respectively – are all under GPS.

Engkilili, however, is not represented by GPS. The assemblyman, Dr Johnichal Rayong Ngipa, won the seat in 2016 as a direct BN candidate.

“Every effort should be made to win the seat (Engkilili) for GPS,” said Snowdan.