FRANCIS PAUL SIAH
COMMENT Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) should be contented and happy with its cabinet representation in Muhyiddin Yassin’s Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.
The Sarawak ruling coalition was amply rewarded for supporting the new prime minister, and rightly so.
As expected, PBB got the lion’s share of cabinet posts among GPS parties as it is the backbone of GPS, led by PBB president and Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg.
PBB legislators are also a disciplined lot, unlike those in Umno. PBB Members of Parliament who were not selected as ministers did not display their displeasure or angst publicly. They remained calm and cool and kept their disappointment to themselves.
That wasn’t the case with Umno. Bung Mokhtar Radin, Azalina Othman, Ramli Mohd Nor and Tajuddin Abdul Rahman, who did not get into Muhyiddin’s already bloated cabinet, openly took the new prime minister to task. A very disappointed and angry Tajuddin, the flamboyant Pasir Salak MP, even challenged Muhyiddin to dissolve Parliament.
Why should anyone be surprised by the antics and fiery outbursts of some Umno MPs? They can never change. They will always believe that it is their God-given right to lord over others, conveniently forgetting that just 21 months ago, Malaysians clearly rejected them by voting them out of power.
On Feb 29, when it became clear that GPS was throwing its support for Muhyiddin and PN, I was very disappointed, like many Sarawakians.
It was supporting a backdoor government, which came about via a treacherous plot to seize control of a democratically-elected government. This is something which people find difficult to come to terms with, and Sarawakians are no exception.
In the first few days of the Sheraton putsch, Abang Johari (above) had declared the coalition’s support for Dr Mahathir Mohamad to continue as prime minister.
Then, Sarawakians were taken by surprise by the sudden switch to Muhyiddin on the day before he was appointed prime minister by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
It is true that the 18 MPs from GPS were the kingmakers in the recent political turmoil. The faction supported by GPS could stake its claim to the premiership and the federal government.
In defence of Abang Johari and his coalition
While I share the unhappiness and resentment with my fellow Sarawakians on the GPS move, in retrospect, however, I must also defend Abang Johari and his coalition for backing Muhyiddin and PN.
Let’s look at the political alignment objectively. We must remember that going into GE14 in 2018, the four parties in GPS were part of the BN coalition.
They were on the side of Najib Abdul Razak and Umno. Pakatan Harapan was the enemy. Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang and Mohamad Sabu were their political opponents.
In war, either you kill your enemy or be killed. It’s the same with politics.
Both GPS and Harapan parties are now preparing for a bruising state election tussle. Leaders from both sides have been on the campaign trail, lashing out at each other as expected of political opponents.
In short, GPS and Harapan were and still are enemies. Nothing has changed.
That being the case, what is so wrong about GPS declaring its support for a PN government? This is politics after all. Surely, all of us are familiar with the adage that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”.
Duty of GPS is to fight and kill off Harapan
It must be emphasised that the duty of GPS is to fight and kill off Harapan. And GPS did so by supporting PN. This is as normal a political move as it gets. GPS leaders will surely be deemed fools if they support their political enemy, Harapan.
No, I would not consider GPS leaders as traitors for backing a PN government or even agreeing, eventually, to a PN Plus GPS government.
They simply took advantage of the situation, which was within their right to do so. Many would have done the same.
GPS was not responsible for the Sheraton putsch in the first place. The traitors within Harapan, namely Bersatu and a certain PKR faction, were the ones who betrayed the coalition and caused the collapse of the Harapan government. GPS was never involved in the evil, treacherous plot at all.
The only traitors from Sarawak are the three PKR turncoats. I don’t even wish to mention their names again, never mind that one of them later returned to support Mahathir. It was too little too late.
Two of them are now deputy ministers. Yeah, let them bask in glory in their newfound positions. I’ll be watching how long and joyful their treacherous ride will be. Traitors who betrayed the people’s mandate will eventually be punished.
I urge my fellow Sarawakians to send the trio packing into the dustbin of history, come the next election. Let us not waste our sacred votes on liars, cheats, traitors and men without conscience.
Harapan leaders spent most of their 21 months in government politicking, shirking their duties and responsibilities as public servants in the process.
Don’t blame GPS for this sorry state of affairs in the previous federal government, which they had no role in. We must be very clear about this.
If we accuse GPS leaders of lacking in principle and treachery by supporting a backdoor government, then what about Sarawak Harapan’s attempted concession move to work with GPS in the state polls in exchange for their support to form the federal government again?
In this case, Sarawak Harapan leaders could also be said to be lacking the moral fibre for expressing their willingness to work with GPS in return for a favour.
We know only too well that in the quest for political power, decency, integrity and conscience are all conveniently thrown out of the window. Most politicians are guilty of the same.
My defence for GPS to tie up with PN is solely based on a matter of principle, irrespective of my inner feeling of disappointment. Harapan was and still is the enemy and never an ally of GPS.
Sarawakians unhappy or disillusioned with GPS could kick out the governing coalition in the coming state election. The power is in our hands.
Let both GPS and Harapan leaders learn their lesson and that is, at the end of it all, never forget that politicians are only servants of the people and voters are their masters.
In the meantime, we have to accept GPS’ decision, for it is the only sensible and logical one for them to make at this stage of the game.
Tell me, which politician is not interested in power, being part of the government and to be a minister?
I sense a deafening silence to my poser.
FRANCIS PAUL SIAH heads the Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS) and can be reached at email@example.com.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.