KUCHING, Jan 19 — Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg tonight launched the state ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition in a ceremony attended by GPS leaders and about 8,000 supporters.
“Before this, we had the era of the Alliance, then followed by the era of the Barisan Nasional, but from tonight, we have a GPS era to develop Sarawak,” he said.
Abang Johari, who is also GPS chairman, said that the formation of GPS is in the best interest of Sarawak following the defeat of the Barisan Nasional in the federal election.
“After the 14th general election, I consulted the other state leaders. I asked them should we remain in the Barisan or opt out. It was a unanimous choice that we should exit Barisan,” he said.
Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) and Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) left the Barisan Nasional on June 12, 2018, and then formed GPS.
GPS was registered as a legal political entity on November 22 last year.
Abang Johari said GPS can work with any party so as long as they respect the state’s rights.
“Our rights and our future must be protected and safeguarded,” he said.
Abang Johari said the defeat of the Barisan Nasional in GE14 is a lesson for Sarawak.
“In Peninsular Malaysia, they (BN and Pakatan Harapan parties) always quarrelled over anything. That quarrel has the effects of influencing things in Sarawak. It has nothing to do with us.
“We (state Barisan Nasional) did not lose in GE14 because we won 19 out of 31 federal seats,” he said.
He said GPS will now be on its own, with no bigger party like Umno to control them.
“When we were in the Barisan, there was no freedom for us because we were being controlled by Umno. If we made noises, we would be in trouble,” he said.