‘Decision to set up GPS a new dawn for Sarawak’ 0 6009

KUCHING: The move by the four Sarawak-based governing parties to leave the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition and set up Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) was indeed the right thing to do.

Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) information chief Dato Idris Buang says the decision marked a new dawn for GPS and indeed Sarawak and her people as the new coalition could ‘unleash’ its best potential to serve Sarawak without being unnecessarily controlled by the federal administration.

“It is good to break free from the ‘shackles’ that limited Sarawakians’ rights, power and resources and to serve the people in the way it should be.

“The shackles were the things which the majority of Sarawakians never really knew and didn’t realise until lately when issues and controversies surrounding the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) surfaced after the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem became chief minister,” said the Muara Tuang assemblyman.

According to Idris, the present GPS-led government is able to see the ‘shackles’ but that Pakatan Harapan (PH) Sarawak – the opposition in the state – will not be able to see them in their present excitement of being in the new government at federal level.

He said during the days of BN, Sarawak’s four governing parties – PBB, Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) – were ‘controlled’ by their peninsula counterparts Umno, MIC and MCA.

He pointed out that Sarawakians were subjugated in many ways because the state was dependent for many years on Peninsular Malaysia on matters such as security protection against the Indonesian Confrontation and communist insurgency.

“Our (then) leaders were grateful for that which made them respect the ‘big boys’. I believe they lost the power of bargaining when financial aid and development were decided at a time when the whole nation’s economy was to be first priority over the state’s needs.

“They could have also been overwhelmed by the massive capital outlay needed to start the oil and gas (O&G) business of Petronas vis-a-vis the lack of confidence and imagination on how O&G could be so determinant in shaping the ‘New World Order’ and power play among world players in the post-Cold War era.

“None of our leaders nationwide at the onset could imagine how much Sarawak’s O&G could be so huge and significant as we have come to know now,” he said.

Idris recalled that Sarawak leaders continued to be softly subjugated because the structure of BN itself encrypted an unwritten internal rule of not questioning the prime minister, something which saw current premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad largely enjoy ‘un-interfered’ rule of 22 years when he was the country’s fourth prime minister.

“Whatever sins done by BN need not be subscribed to or agreed by PBB or any Sarawak parties. To say ‘do not repeat BN mistakes’ could no longer be right to say, because GPS now is free from all kinds of control by Peninsular Malaysia.”

In hindsight, he said Sarawak leaders have done ‘remarkably well’ in bringing much-needed development to the state on a scale worthy of praise, despite the indirect subjugation.

“What we want for GPS is to truly show our dedication to serve the people of Sarawak with integrity, good governance, transparency, passion, perseverance and accountability.

“With newfound revenues from our petroleum export sales tax, increased royalty, share in PITA (Petroleum Income Tax Act), and perhaps retention of our own stamp duties from land transaction and many more, the GPS government can create more and more people-centric projects with professionally-analysed planning that resonates well with the people’s aspiration, thus creating more jobs and business opportunities especially in O&G, and bringing enormous rural connectivity and development,” he added.

Idris reminded that what Sarawakians need to do now is to remain united behind Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and the GPS leadership in order to bring the people closer in the spirit of multiracial solidarity. -BorneoPost Online

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