By Puyang Baun
WHEN historians one day look back at the events leading to the appointment of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as Prime Minister, one episode that will stand out is how Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) swung its support for Perikatan Nasional at the eleventh hour.
With both Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tan Sri Muhyiddin’s respective blocs initially head-to-head in the MP headcount, GPS’ decision to back the latter sealed the deal.
GPS was the largest electoral bloc not previously aligned to either of the aspirants for the eighth Prime Minister’s post. The ruling coalition in Sarawak had 18 MPs.
In fact, when the coup d’etat was first set in motion, GPS had initially backed Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. But as the fluid political developments unfold, it made a 180 degree turn by backing Muhyiddin’s camp.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg had said that his four-party coalition was not a component of Perikatan Nasional. It had merely supported Muhyiddin “to save Malaysia from political instability without sacrificing the interests of Sarawak,”
This is political expediency at its most shameless. Is GPS’ cherished ideals of plurality and peaceful co-existence mere lip service if it can endorse a single race-dominated bloc at the Federal level, with some of its leaders known for racist and bigotry streaks?
Is Abang Johari so naive to think that if Putrajaya starts to lean more to the right, he would be able to stem the tide from flowing across the South China Sea?
Muhyiddin, with the backing of only 20 Bersatu lawmakers, would need to reward PAS, with 18 MPs, possibly with a Ministerial post, or more. Isn’t it possible that Abang Johari, in wanting to protect Sarawak rights, ironically doing the direct opposite by supporting a bloc, comprising PAS, a party known for right-wing ideas?
And what justification does he have to back a coalition which some of its lawmakers are facing graft charges and were part of a government which ex-US Attorney-General Jeff Sessions described as “kleptocracy at its worst”?
And when state DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen offered an olive branch to Abang Johari on Saturday, the latter said he was “not stupid”. It boggles the mind why the CM spurned the secular DAP for a political bloc where Islamist PAS was a crucial component of. It is the very same PAS which Abang Johari had railed against in the past.
And whatever happened to the fundamental principle of a government of the people, by the people for the people? Voters had in 2018 voted for change. In Pakatan Harapan they had pinned their hopes on.
And what did Abang Johari do? He and his coalition robbed Malaysians of this hope, this dream that took decades in the making. Abang Johari’s predecessor and mentor, the late Tan Sri Adenan Satem would be rolling in his grave if he knew the kind of political shenanigans that took place in the past week.
There are many unanswered questions for Abang Johari and GPS to confront. Unless they can come clean and provide satisfactory answers, GPS had better braced for a lashing during the upcoming state election for its complicity in deceit and treachery at the highest levels.
Puyang Baun is a reader of The New Sarawak. The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of this portal.