GABUNGAN Party Sarawak (GPS) picked the “lesser of the two evils” when it supported the idea of a coalition making up of Perikatan Nasional (PN), Barisan Nasional (BN), Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) and the four-party Sarawak coalition, to form the new federal government, a key GPS leader told The Malaysian Insight.
The two evils he was referring to were DAP in Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Islamist PAS in PN as Sarawak folk engage in a heated debate on social media questioning why GPS chairman Abang Johari Openg would want to work with the overtly religious bigots in PAS.
“I am a Christian and I don’t subscribe to racism nor believe in religious extremism. Neither does the party,” the GPS leader said.
“But we have a choice to make to break the deadlock.”
“If GPS were to opt for PH, then we would be working with people who have wanted to destroy us. If we opt for PN, PAS is there and the people of Sarawak, the majority of whom are non-Muslims, will question why we are working with religious extremists and fanatics.
He said the difference between PAS and DAP was that PAS only talked and could not do anything about it even when they were in power.
“Yes, they talk, talk, talk. They are still talking.”
“DAP don’t talk. When they came to power after the 2018 general election, they immediately embarked on a campaign to make Sarawak pay.”
“To them, it was ‘yeah, payback time’. They tried to stunt our growth, kill the state’s development when they started cancelling contracts for major infrastructure projects worth millions of ringgit,” the GPS leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said in reference to the actions of the then PH finance minister Lim Guan Eng.
Sarawak PH chief Chong Chieng Jen has also been often accused of colluding with Lim on the drive to “victimise Sarawak”.
“Yes PAS made a lot of noise on race and religion during the recent campaign but the silent DAP has proven to be the more dangerous party of the two to GPS.”
He said to be rational about it, GPS picked the lesser of the two evils.
“We can remain neutral and be in the opposition. But that’s not what we want.”
Joshua Jabeng, the former secretary of state PKR leadership council, waded into the debate with a posting on his Facebook account, saying, “Sarawak will be more and more oppressed by the racist and religious policies of PAS if GPS gives PAS the ticket to be in power.
“Sarawak, as a secular state, will have to demand that politics and religion are always separated.”
Jabeng said PAS with its 49 seats in the PN coalition is in the position to oust its prime minister designate Muhyiddin Yassin at any time to advance PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang.
He said if Hadi were to become prime minister, there could be more upheaval as the Dayaks, whom Hadi had disparaged in the past, would certainly reject him branding him and his party as big threats “to the cultural diversity and heritage of the people of Sarawak”.
Jabeng then appealed to all the GPS lawmakers “to make a bold decision” to reject any intention to cooperate with PN and PAS.
Muhyddin was also accused of being a religious bigot when he disparaged the Christian community, accusing them and the Jews of planning to Christianise Malaysia if PH wins in the campaign of the just concluded election.
Paul Raja, president of the Dayak National Congress (DNC), said for GPS to put PAS in power will nullify all of the coalition’s slogans.
“Sarawak for Sarawakians means keeping the status quo of Sarawak as a secular state where all races live in harmony and respect each other.”
“We would expect GPS to be more honourable and sensible. A PAS led federal government is a no go for GPS, if they treasure the status and harmony in Malaysia as whole,” Raja said.
“PAS is the most dominant party now, not just in PN but overall with 49 members of parliament. It is not a secret that PAS is a religious extremist party vowing to introduce Hudud law in Malaysia when they come to power.”
“Being the largest single party in Malaysia now, who is GPS, with a mere 22 MPs, to say “No” to PAS when it comes to implementing laws and policies in Malaysia?”
A Facebook user, who goes by the name ‘Dylla Fudillah’, in reply to Jabeng’s posting, said the biggest Buddha statue in the country is in Kelantan.
She said if PAS is an extremist party as what non-Muslims are claiming, then that statue would have been long gone.
“Don’t tie this issue (of who should be prime minister) with religion. It’s sensitive.”
“Let’s just confine our discussions to who is eligible to be the prime minister.”
The decision on who will be prime minister is expected to be made by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong today when he meets representatives of PN and PH and their candidate for prime minister.
On Sunday GPS chairman Abang Johari announced forming a coalition with PN, BN and GRS.
BN chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, however, denied this, saying he had not discussed this issue with either PN nor GPS. Without BN, a combination of PN, GPS and GRS would only have 101 seats in parliament, 11 seats short of a simple majority.
Zahid instead met with PH leaders in a hotel in Kuala Lumpur yesterday following which Anwar said PH is working to form a unity government with BN for the country’s stability.
The PH chairman also said he is still the prime minister candidate for the coalition. – November 22, 2022.