KUCHING, Jan 2 ― Sarawak PKR chairman Baru Bian today urged Sarawakians to not regard Pakatan Harapan (PH) partners PKR and DAP as outside parties just because they originated from the Peninsular.
He said the people in the state should look at PKR and DAP’s political struggle and not where they are from.
“They should look at whether PKR and DAP are fighting for the people and whether they are sincere,” he said in an interview with Sayed Munawar Sayed Mustar on RTM1.
Baru, who is also the Works Minister, said PKR has gradually been accepted by the Sarawakians over the last 10 years.
“The acceptance is encouraging since I won in the 2011 state election in Ba’Kelalan, together with See Chee How (Batu Lintang) and Ali Biju (Krian),” he said.
Baru said Sarawak DAP has also won seats in the 2011 state election.
“In the 2016 state election, we and our colleagues from the DAP managed to retain our state seats,” he said, adding that this shows that the struggles of the two PH parties have been accepted by Sarawakians.
He said the struggles of PKR and DAP were again accepted by Sarawakians when they won 10 parliamentary seats in the last general elections.
Baru said two Independents who won in GE14 also joined PKR, boosting the total number of seats for PH in Sarawak to 12.
He said the core issue which PKR has been fighting for over the years is the Native Customary Rights (NCR) lands.
He said this issue is close to the hearts of not just the Dayaks, but also the Malays and Kedayans.
“As a lawyer, I have been fighting many NCR land cases in court and won a number of them.”
Baru, who is also the Selangau federal lawmaker, believes that PKR won four rural seats in GE14 because of the NCR land issue.
He slammed the ruling Gabungan Party Sarawak (GPS) for its half-hearted effort to amend the Sarawak Land Code relating to NCR lands last year.
He said the amendment did not take into account the decisions of the Federal Court relating to the definitions of territorial domain and communal forest reserves which the natives claimed as their NCR land.
He said the GPS government needs to be changed and the best opportunity would be during the 2021 state election.