GPS may heed King’s advice
Published on: Thursday, November 24, 2022
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GPS may heed King’s advice
Abang Johari and Fadillah
KUCHING: Discussion on who will be Malaysia’s next Prime Minister is still ongoing, said Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg.

He told this to reporters when met as he was seen leaving the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) complex.

“Everything is still in discussion. It is up to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong now (4.15pm),” he said before entering his car.

Abang Johari left the building after meeting with the four Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) MPs who were summoned by the King in a bid to break the stalemate in the formation of the new government Wednesday.

Earlier, GPS was advised by the Agong to consider the possible formation of a unity government to end the current political crisis in the country post-15th General Election (GE15).

Senior Vice-President of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, who represented the GPS for an audience with Al-Sultan Abdullah at Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur said the King’s advice had been conveyed to Abang Johari.

“I could not make any decision (during the audience) earlier, could only listen to His Majesty’s views on the matter and will convey the message to the GPS leadership. I have also briefed our Premier (Abang Johari) about this,” he said.

Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and Gabung Rakyat Sabah (GRS) have agreed to work as a bloc in deciding who to form the government with, according to a source.

It is understood that GRS’ decision to work as a bloc with GPS has ruffled feathers in PN.

GRS Chairman Hajiji also leads Bersatu’s Sabah chapter.  Muhyiddin is the Bersatu President.

The caretaker Works Minister said, as of now,  GPS still sticks to its stance to form a federal government with Perikatan Nasional (PN), Barisan Nasional (BN) and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS), but would heed the decision made by the Al-Sultan Abdullah.

Parti Rakyat Sarawak said GPS would heed the King’s wish for a unity government.  PRS President Joseph Salang Gandum maintained that PRS MPs would follow GPS’ decision.

“GPS as a group is taking heed of the King’s desire for a unity government. If a unity government is what the King wants, I think we should follow that,” Salang said.

However, when asked if GPS would be willing to back Pakatan Harapan Chairman Anwar Ibrahim as Prime Minister, he parried the question, saying he was not talking about who would helm the top post.

“We are talking about the ‘titah’ (royal decree) for a unity government. So we will leave it to the top leaders to decide who will be the Prime Minister.”

Salang was responding to claims that PRS MPs had withdrawn their support for Muhyiddin Yassin as Prime Minister.

Previously, GPS had voiced its intention to form the government with PN, BN and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah. However, the Sarawak coalition said  it would let the King decide what was best for the people.

Sarawakians also piled pressure on GPS not to enter a pact with Perikatan Nasional (PN), of which Islamist party PAS is a member.

The Anglican Bishop of Kuching Datuk Danald Jute said he was adding his voice to that of other Sarawakians opposed to GPS teaming up with PN to form a new government.

“The majority of Sarawakians on the ground are opposed to this move.

“My position is, extremists cannot be allowed – let alone be encouraged and supported – to normalise their hatred of other races and people of other faiths,” Danald said.

“We cannot allow politicians to further divide us because harmony does not come naturally. Everyone needs to take an effort to build trust and acceptance between different ethnic and religious groups,” added the prelate.

Catholic Archbishop of Kuching Simon Poh, said Sarawak must protect the harmony and mutual respect among ethnic groups in the state.

“Religious extremism and fundamentalism do not have a place here in Sarawak as well as in Malaysia,” he said.

In recent days, GPS had come under fire from Sarawakians for declaring its willingness to support PN due to PAS being a part of the coalition.

This led to GPS Chairman Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg saying that the coalition would leave the choice of Prime Minister to the Agong.

If PN ends up forming the government with GPS’ support, Sarawakian activist Peter John Jaban said he would call for a silent protest among the Christian community.

Jaban, who founded the civil society group Saya Anak Sarawak, said church members will be asked to wear white on Friday and red on Sundays when they attend church and go out in public. 

In the GE15, GPS won 23 out of the 23 parliamentary seats in Sarawak to emerge as the fourth biggest coalition after Pakatan Harapan (PH) which secured 82 seats, followed by PN (73) and BN (30).

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