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Still no sign of a breakthrough GPS sets conditions: Zahid denies deal
Published on: Monday, November 21, 2022
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Still no sign of a breakthrough GPS sets conditions: Zahid denies deal
KUCHING: Uncertainty continued to prevail over the deadlock in forming the new Federal Government following Saturday’s GE15 which produced no clear winner that could provide a simple majority of 112 seats in the 220-seat Parliament.

Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) said it would support a coalition with Perikatan Nasional, Barisan Nasional and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) to form the new government.

Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said this decision was made in the interest of political stability and the people’s wellbeing, subject to conditions laid out by GPS.

However, Barisan Nasional Chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi denied that BN had engaged in any talks with GPS on forming a federal government with PN.

He said there have also been no negotiations with PN which had led to any understanding on forming a federal government with the coalition.

“Referring to a statement by GPS chairman and Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg, I would like to stress that BN had never once negotiated with GPS to give its agreement on forming a federal government with PN.

“I would also like to add that to date, there have been no discussions with PN on forming a federal government with them,” he said in a statement.

Zahid noted that all BN members of parliament who had won in the 15th General Election (GE15) had signed a pledge and given him the mandate as chairman to determine any political coalitions to form the federal government.

“As such, any MPs who go against party orders would see them being stripped of their membership, as well as lose their seat, in line with the anti-party hopping law as enshrined in Article 49A of the Federal Constitution,” he said.

When announcing the move earlier, Abang Joari had said GPS’ conditions included upholding the supremacy of the Federal and state constitutions and the rule of law as provided for in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) report.

“We also want freedom of religion and cultural diversity in Sarawak to be upheld as enshrined in the Federal Constitution, MA63 and IGC report.

“In addition, we want education and health autonomy as well as other matters related to Sarawak’s interests,” he told a press conference at PBB headquarters here on Sunday.

Abang Johari also said GPS backed Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to be the prime minister.

He noted, however, that it was up to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to choose as prime minister the individual who commanded the majority of support.

Abang Johari also said no agreement was signed with Muhyiddin on forming the coalition during their meeting on Sunday morning.

“This is our statement. We see what is the decision. These are our conditions,” he said.

Abang Johari said what was important now was to form a strong and stable government to protect the people’s well-being and steer the country through economic challenges.

As such, he said GPS and GRS, as a Borneo bloc, would support the coalition with the numbers to form a stable government.

Asked if Muhyiddin had made any offers to GPS, Abang Johari said this would come later.

“The country and the people come first. We have held the election and the people have given their mandate.

“Our task now is to form the government based on the mandate we have received,” he said.

Asked if Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had reached out to GPS, Abang Johari said “everybody” wanted to see him, including the Pakatan Harapan chairman.

However, he said he did not meet Anwar.

Abang Johari also said he was speaking on behalf of GPS only with regard to the coalition it was supporting.

“Our priority is the people and Sarawak’s interests.

“If others want to work with us, we can work with them, but these are the things that we want.

“And we must protect our culture,” he said.

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