Sarawak DCM says OK to any new federal alliance, even with PAS, but minus ‘arrogant’ DAP

John Bunyan
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing said GPS will support any new coalition under the leadership of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to take Putrajaya except DAP. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

IPOH, Feb 24 — Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) will support any new coalition under the leadership of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to take Putrajaya, Parti Rakyat Sarawalk president Tan Sri James Masing said today.

However, Masing, who is also Sarawak deputy chief minister, added a caveat — the new federal coalition if formed, must exclude DAP, even as he said GPS will not be a part of such an alliance.

“We have agreed to be friendly to Pakatan Nasional or whatever name you call it, but we are not part of the administration,” he was quoted saying by Malaysiakini.

He said GPS has set conditional support for the new ruling coalition to not include the “arrogant” DAP in the administration.

Masing also reportedly said GPS is comfortable working with the PAS, despite the Sarawak government’s past denouncements of the Islamist party leaders for their purported racial and religious remarks.

He was reported saying that GPS-ruled Sarawak can exercise its immigration autonomy to stop religious extremism within its borders.

“We can control religious [extremism] but we cannot stop administrative arrogance,” Masing was quoted saying in what appeared to be an allusion to DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.

Lim, who was appointed finance minister in the Mahathir administration, was reported saying in June 2019 that Sarawak might go bankrupt in three years.

“Isn’t that arrogant? To me, this is pure arrogance of a finance minister,” Masing was quoted saying by Malaysiakini.

Previously, Lim had said Sarawak’s reserves of RM30 billion would be exhausted in three years on the state’s annual budget of RM11 billion.

Meanwhile, PAS is not widely accepted in the Borneo state as it is seen as a political party that harped on radical racial and religious ideology.

In September last year, Johari said the Sarawak state government was prepared to help PAS-controlled states like Terengganu and Kelantan for socioeconomic projects.

PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang visited Sarawak during the Malaysia Day celebration last year.

Malaysiakini also reported GPS leaders had met the Yang di-Pertuan Agong together with Datuk Seri Azmin Ali’s faction in PKR, Barisan Nasional (BN), PAS, Warisan and Bersatu.

Despite speculation on the formation of a new federal government following the resignation of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as prime minister and his party Bersatu’s withdrawal from Pakatan Harapan, no official announcement had been made yet.

GPS is a coalition of four Sarawak native parties — Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Masing’s Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) and Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) — and has a combined total of 18 MPs.

Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Abang Johari Openg was reported to have convened a meeting of GPS leaders in Petaling Jaya, Selangor yesterday.

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