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Muhyiddin criticised for PN’s GE15 entry into Sarawak
Published on: Wednesday, November 09, 2022
By: FMT, Oliver Lee
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Muhyiddin criticised for PN’s GE15 entry into Sarawak
Muhyiddin Yassin (right) said GPS chairman Abang Johari Openg agreed to let PN vie for parliamentary seats in Sarawak if it did not contest in the state elections last December. (Bernama pic)
KUCHING: Muhyiddin Yassin’s sincerity has become a key election topic in Sarawak after he denied promising that Perikatan Nasional (PN) will stay out of the state in the Nov 19 general election.

Several Sarawak leaders told FMT he had broken a promise to Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) that his coalition would not contest in the East Malaysian state.

Abdul Karim Hamzah, a vice-president in GPS linchpin Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), acknowledged that he was not sure what transpired between premier Abang Johari Openg and Muhyiddin before the 12th Sarawak state elections late last year, but he said:

“Friendship is about being sincere. Whether it is state polls or parliamentary elections, you should not field candidates. But we cannot stop anyone from contesting, since this is democracy.

“If you want to maintain the friendship for future collaboration, then don’t field candidates in Sarawak.”

Karim said GPS would fight PN and let the voters decide.

However, he did not discount the possibility that GPS would collaborate with PN after GE15.

He noted that Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) and Sarawak Barisan Nasional were both in the federal government in the 1990s while PBDS was in the opposition at the state level.

PN’s Bersatu candidates, namely Ali Biju, Jugah Muyang and Duke Janteng, are contesting in Saratok, Lubok Antu and Bintulu. PAS, another PN component, is fielding Hamdan Sani in Batang Lupar.

Another GPS leader, Progressive Democratic Party chief Tiong King Sing, said he met Muhyiddin recently and told him that “if you treat us as brothers, respect us and don’t contest in Sarawak”.

He said Bersatu should respect Abang Johari’s decision against GPS and PN fighting each other.

“I told Muhyiddin that GPS will not disturb Semenanjung. Likewise, Semenanjung should not disturb Sarawak.”

A news report has quoted Fadillah Yusof, another PBB vice-president, as saying GPS would leave it to Abang Johari to decide on the next move regarding the coalition’s relationship with PN.

“We have given our full mandate to Abang Johari on this matter,” he said. “To my understanding, PN wants to be friends with GPS and has said it will not contest in Sarawak.”

Parti Rakyat Sarawak president Joseph Salang conceded that it was PN’s democratic right to contest in Sarawak.

“What transpired between two great gentlemen only they know,” he said. “As I am not privy to their conversation, I cannot say much.

“This is a democracy and it’s their right to contest, putting aside the gentlemen’s agreement.”

On Monday in Pendang, Kedah, Muhyiddin told reporters the promise made to Abang Johari was only with regard to Bersatu’s decision to stay out of last year’s Sarawak polls, not GE15.

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