There are conflicting statements in the media on the subject of Sarawak’s Barisan National Parties (BN) in particular Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) wanting to join the Pakatan Harapan (PH). We, a coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) in Sarawak, are joining other Sarawak voters in the recently completed general election to strongly object such a move.
Rumours started circulating that PBB wished to join PH after a widely reported visit by Taib Mahmud, Sarawak’s current Governor and the former Chief Minister of Sarawak, who was once the chairman of the state’s BN, who met Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the newly elected PH Prime Minister of Malaysia, in Kuala Lumpur.
As the visit was timed after BN had suffered a drastic loss in the election, the speculation was that Taib was trying to negotiate for his party and/or the BN coalition in Sarawak to join PH.
BN lost generally because of the voters’ unhappiness or dissatisfaction with BN, and they were hoping for a beneficial change. But if the state BN component parties are admitted into the PH coalition, what change can civil society expect? All the struggles of the civil society organsations against BN’s oppressive policies would be brought to nought.
PH opening the door to BN component parties would be unacceptable for the voters who voted for PH. And we can also safely assume that those voters who had voted for the state BN parties would not want it either. Such an arrangement, at all levels, undermines and subverts the will of Sarawak’s voters at large.
Accepting the BN component parties into their coalition must be avoided at all costs. For the last 60 years, Malaysia has never had a formidable opposition party. Since the BN has lost the federal government to PH in the recent general election, BN should play their role as an opposition to provide good system of checks and balances.
Malaysia – Sarawak in particular – needs a competent, honest, transparent, people-friendly and people-centred government. Just as important, and at the same time, there is a necessity for an equally qualified opposition to safeguard our democracy. Malaysia needs to work towards a two-party multi-racial system, just like in other developed nations. The result of the just concluded general election is a natural progression towards such a system.
- Save Sarawak Rivers Network (Save Rivers)
- Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS)
- Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia)
- Persatuan Dayak Sarawak (Pedas)
- Jaringan Tanah Hak Adat Bangsa Asal Sarawak (Tahabas)
- Borneo Resources Institute Malaysia (Brimas)
- Gerakan Anak Sarawak (Gasak)
- Sarawak Indigenous Lawyers Alliance (Sila)
- Persatuan Masyarakat Tering Miri (PMTM)
- Building Indigenous Initiatives and Heritage (BIIH)
- Rise of Sarawak Efforts (Rose)