KOTA KINABALU: Sarawak DAP has voiced unequivocal support to the proposition that Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal be the opposition candidate for the nation’s top job.
Its state chief Chong Chieng Jen said the Shafie deserves a shot at the premiership.
“While Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is the first option of Pakatan Harapan, which has 91 out of 109 MPs, there must be a dateline set for him to obtain the support of additional number of MPs to cross the 112-majority mark,” he said, in a statement today.
“Beyond that dateline, Shafie should be given that chance to prove himself.
“On the choice of prime minister candidate for the opposition, we are on the same page as our counterparts in Sabah.”
Chong said the main issue now was who among the two is able to get the support of additional MPs to topple the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.
“This is important as the country cannot afford to have the PAS and Umno-led PN continue governing and wreaking havoc on the country.”
Chong said while they respected the PH presidential council’s reaffirmation of PKR president to be prime minister, they however strongly believe that Shafie remains an important factor and integral part of national politics.
He said after the council backed Anwar on July 13, the total MPs supporting the latter to helm the seat, was only 109 , even with the support of former Bersatu MPs and Warisan, adding this was short of the 112 required to form the government.
“As it stands now, PH, ex-Bersatu, Warisan and Parti Sarawak Bersatu, all added up to only 109 MPs but with a choice of two candidates for the one prime minister position.”
Towards this end, Chong said Shafie becoming prime minister would mean breaking the toxicity of racial and religious politics that has entrapped national politics for too long
“This will also result in better inclusivity that the Borneon people might not have felt before especially in terms of federal-state relations.
“More importantly, Shafie has demonstrated his consistent stand in the fight against corruption and kleptocracy and chosen to remain faithful to the mandate given by the people even when offered an easier path to be part of the current PN government or the previous BN government,” he said.
“Having a prime minister from East Malaysia will help us move beyond the old politics and help shape a new nation of racial harmony and regional inclusivity in development.
“We believe it is time an East Malaysian be at the forefront to transform Malaysia into a more progressive country, building a ‘New Malaysia for all’ that we all have been striving to achieve.”
Towards this end, Chong said the writing was on the wall for the last four months that Malaysia is now reverting to the old kleptocratic government of the BN days.
In such a short time, he said the country has seen the release of those involved in multi-million ringgit corruption and money-laundering cases from prosecution; the indiscreet spending of public funds and the destruction of parliamentary independence.
Other than that, he said there was also the suppression of press freedom and freedom of speech as well as the abuse of government positions and agencies for political gains.
“As East Malaysians, there is no reason that we do not support a fellow East Malaysian in Shafie as the prime minister of Malaysia.
“The Gabungan Parti Sarawak will be doing Sarawak a great disfavour by choosing to cohort with PAS and Umno over supporting a fellow East Malaysian as prime minister.
“By remaining with PAS and Umno while rejecting the East Malaysianprime ministerial candidate, GPS now risks rejection by the people of Sarawak in the coming state polls,” Chong said.