Sarawak ruling parties quit BN

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg speaks at the press conference after chairing the state Barisan Nasional's last supreme council meeting June 12, 2018. — Picture by Sulok Tawie
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg speaks at the press conference after chairing the state Barisan Nasional's last supreme council meeting June 12, 2018. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, June 12 — The four component parties of Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) have pulled out of the coalition with immediate effect and formed Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg announced today.

He said the decision was unanimously made by Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) and Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) at the state BN supreme council meeting today.

“The decision to leave was made after much deliberation, reflection and due consideration, taking into account the country’s political development post 14th general election,” Abang Johari, who is also PBB president, told reporters after the chairing the  council meeting.

Abang Johari said GPS will cooperate and collaborate with the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government on national interest and on the state’s rights and interests based on the Federal Constitution and the Federation of Malaysia agreement.

“We believe that it is timely and appropriate for Sarawak to embark on a new political platform, going forward, in order to face challenges, in line with the changing aspirations, needs and demands of a very wide range of cross-section of Sarawak’s populace, being a multi-racial, multi-culture and multi-religious state.

“Our new coalition will enable us to focus on Sarawak’s interests and rights based on the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

“We strongly believe that the formation of this new coalition will enable and empower us to serve the people better in line with the aspirations and fulfilling the desires of the people of Sarawak,” he said.

Abang Johari said the four parties are confident that the formation of GPS is the most pragmatic and appropriate decision to bring Sarawak into a new era desired by Sarawakians.

He declined to comment if scandals involving 1Malaysia Development Berhad and allegations of corruption implicating former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak are the reasons for the four Sarawak ruling parties’ departure from BN.

He also denied meeting acting Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamid ahead of their withdrawal.

“I don’t know how the media could come up with that story. It was fake news,” he said, adding that he only met Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir after GE14.

On the position of United People’s Party (UPP), he said it will be decided later.

UPP, a breakaway of SUPP, is part of the state administration with its president Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh being appointed the Second Minister of Finance and Minister of International Trade and e-Commerce.

The four Sarawak parties won 19 of the 31 parliamentary seats in Sarawak in the May 9 general election.

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