‘New coalition needs to be sin­cere in its strug­gles to re­main rel­e­vant’

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KUCH­ING: Gabun­gan Parti Sarawak (GPS) needs to en­sure its strug­gles are re­ally for the peo­ple if it hopes to re­main rel­e­vant in the eyes of vot­ers, opined an aca­demi­cian.

Univer­siti Malaysia Sarawak ( Un­i­mas) So­cial Sciences and Humanities Fac­ulty lec­turer Dick Lem­bang Du­gun said lead­ers of GPS also need to change their ap­proach in serv­ing the peo­ple.

“The peo­ple of Sarawak will be more re­cep­tive if GPS’ strug­gle is for the peo­ple and not meant to save the lead­ers from the ‘po­lit­i­cal tsunami’ that took place in the re­cent 14th gen­eral elec­tion ( GE14). It is not im­pos­si­ble that such tsunami can hap­pen again in the 2021 state elec­tion.

“It should be re­mem­bered that the Barisan Na­sional ( BN) brand or name was not dis­liked by the peo­ple but that it was the bad prac­tices and poor gov­er­nance by BN lead­ers which caused vot­ers to re­ject BN in GE14,” he said here yes­ter­day.

As such, he hopes GPS will learn from what had hap­pened to BN, and prove to oth­ers that GPS is not ‘old wine in a new bot­tle’ or just a change of skin for lead­ers for­merly from BN.

Dick said that elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives, or YBs, are now ex­pected to serve their con­stituents as ‘ Yang Berkhid­mat’ (the one who serves) in­stead of ‘ Yang Ber­hor­mat’ (the hon­ourable).

This is be­cause ar­ro­gance and ego as­so­ci­ated with cer­tain YBs caused their down­fall due to their re­fusal to lis­ten to their con­stituents, he added.

On another mat­ter, Dick opined that another chal­lenge faced by GPS will be pro­mot­ing its soonto-be un­veiled logo to Sarawakian vot­ers, es­pe­cially die-hard BN sup­port­ers in the ru­ral ar­eas.

He said the re­al­ity was such that many ru­ral vot­ers are so used to BN’s ‘dac­ing’ (scale) logo af­ter decades of BN rul­ing the coun­try.

“This would be chal­lenge for GPS to con­vince the ru­ral vot­ers to fa­mil­iarise them­selves with the GPS logo be­fore the com­ing state elec­tion,” he said.

On Tues­day, Chief Min­is­ter Datuk Pat­ingggi Abang Jo­hari Tun Openg an­nounced the dis­so­lu­tion of Sarawak BN and the for­ma­tion of GPS, which has yet to be reg­is­tered with the Registrar of Societies.

Abang Jo­hari had re­futed the sug­ges­tion that the dis­as­so­ci­a­tion of the four com­po­nent par­ties – PBB, SUPP, PRS and PDP – from BN to form GPS is sim­i­lar to putting ‘old wine in a new bot­tle’.

He pointed out that al­though GPS is a re­place­ment of Sarawak BN, the two en­ti­ties are not the same be­cause their di­rec­tion would be dif­fer­ent.

Abang Jo­hari said GPS would re­main as an op­po­si­tion at fed­eral level but would col­lab­o­rate with the Pakatan Hara­pan ( PH) -led fed­eral govern­ment be­cause of the fed­eral sys­tem prac­tised in the coun­try.

Mean­while, PBB veteran Dato Peter Mi­nos said the cre­ation of GPS will see Sarawak pol­i­tics de­tached from the Kuala Lumpur­based pol­i­tics and from the past BN mis­takes and mis­deeds.

“GPS is now free and not en­cum­bered in strug­gling for Sarawak. There is no Umno and KL- based con­trol breath­ing on GPS’ neck. All GPS has to do now is to be friendly with PH and Prime Min­is­ter Tun Dr Ma­hathir Mo­hamad, and fight for Sarawak rights,” he said.

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