KUCHING: Sarawak activists are expressing their dismay at reports of political manoeuvring at federal level and purported coalitions which seem to be forming on increasingly racial grounds.
Reports that Abang Johari is considering a coalition with UMNO and PAS is causing great concern on the ground.
And Solidariti Anak Sarawak is advising the Sarawak Chief Minister to consider carefully how this new coalition will be perceived in multi-cultural Sarawak, especially with the State election looming.
Peter John Jaban, spokesperson for SAS, said: “UMNO and PAS were defeated in the last general election in a widely acknowledged rejection of both corruption and race politics and a call for reform.
“The people put an end to decades of UMNO rule, in which race and religion were used as a political tool to divide rather than unite, and corruption had grown to epic proportions.
“These two parties lost at the ballot box and there is no other way to interpret the events. They lost, plain and simple. Now, two years later, pictures are circulating to suggest that some moderate and well-respected Malay leaders – Abang Johari and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin – are potentially conspiring to subvert this clear decision to put these parties back into power. No wonder the people are horrified.”
He went on to say: “Zahid Hamidi, the leader of UMNO, is currently facing 47 charges of corruption relating to public funds. For this alone, he should be deemed unfit to hold public office in the opposition, let alone in the government itself.
“Hadi Awang is the head of an Islamist party which blocked the ratification of ICERD (the International Convention on all forms of Racial Discrimination) and campaigned only recently for the implementation of Hudud law in Malaysia.
“Even worse, at the risk of repeating myself, they lost in the last election. How can Abang Johari consider making a coalition with these characters and then return to Sarawak to contest an election using the message of Sarawak’s great racial and religious harmony?”
Peter pointed out that Sarawakians are, indeed, different.
“We do not appreciate race politics and we live in an atmosphere of religious tolerance. We also maintain a separation between federal and regional concerns.
“While we realise that there is currently a drive for greater autonomy and the relationship with the Federal Government is central to that, we are all necessarily and rightly judged by the company we choose to keep.
“GPS underwent a significant and largely successful rebranding to distance themselves from the fallout from the widespread corruption within the BN administration.
“They have even managed to create a new face for themselves after the years of the Taib administration. Why would they undo all of that with a backdoor government?”
He added that James Masing’s appalling statement that he (James) would be happier doing business with PAS than DAP at federal level has been met with horror and consternation across Sarawak.
He said the people of Sarawak clearly do not agree with him.
Baru Bian has already been widely condemned for his association with UMNO and PAS. YBs Ali Biju and Willie Mongin are now partyless.
“The opposition in Sarawak for the state election is effectively now leaderless and decimated. But any coalition with the losers in the last federal election will be a strong message to the electorate of Sarawak that GPS is willing to subvert the democratic process and to risk our racial and religious balance.
“Our autonomy is not worth our integrity or our racial harmony. Our autonomy will come in due course because we deserve by it. Our Sarawak-based parties must show what Sarawak stands for: respect for the people, democracy and tolerance,” Peter added.