Sarawak DAP Chairman Chong Chieng Jen says previous state elections have proven that Sarawakians have rejected such regionalist sentiments.
PETALING JAYA: At the end of the day, the people’s trust and confidence in a political party is earned through hard work and the party’s principles, Sarawak DAP Chairman Chong Chieng Jen said.
Chong was responding to recently formed Opposition coalition Gabungan Rakyat Saksama (Saksama) spokesperson Lina Soo who had stated that the seven-member coalition would only work with Pakatan Harapan if the peninsula-based coalition stayed out of Sabah and Sarawak.
Speaking to FMT, Chong said DAP was established in Sarawak four decades ago and he added “our track record has proven that DAP is a trustworthy Opposition party with principles”.
He reminded Soo, who is also the president of Sarawak Reform Party (STAR), that her party did badly in the previous state polls and all its candidates lost their deposits.
“It (STAR) played with regionalist sentiments in the recent polls as well in the past few elections and this was rejected by Sarawakians.
“In any party, you have to earn the people’s confidence over time. There is no overnight success party.”
Saksama’s component parties are Sarawak Reform Party (STAR), Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDS Baru), Parti Sejahtera Angkatan Perpaduan Sabah (Sapu), Pertubuhan Perpaduan Rakyat Kebangsaan Sabah (Perpaduan), Sabah-based Malaysia United People’s Party (MUPP), Parti Kebangsaan Sabah (PKS), and the People’s Alternative Party (PAP), from the peninsula.
Sarawak Amanah Chairman Fidzuan Zaidi echoed similar sentiments, saying that it was completely unnecessary to promote regionalism in politics.
“The pact (Pakatan Harapan) in no way limits peninsula-based parties from being active in Sabah and Sarawak.”
Fidzuan also said if Sarawakians and Sabahans find peninsula-based parties to be appealing, they should have no qualms about supporting them.
“Why do we need to build such barriers? Do we not trust the people to make the right choice?”
PKR Vice-President Darrell Leiking also disagreed with Soo’s notion, noting that members of any party from Sabah were in fact Sabahans themselves.
“I personally disagree when politics is parochialised this way, that a party is restricted to contest based on the reason that parties from Sabah are the only ones which know better about Sabah.”
Leiking also pointed out that PKR had given autonomy to its Sabah chapter to run the party in the state.
He noted that Article 5.8 of the party’s constitution states that the party is committed to fight for equal partnership between Sabah, Sarawak and the peninsula, as contained in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
“Hence, PKR in Sabah is made up of Sabahans who are as passionate as any other Sabahans in any political party here.”
Previously, Soo had said Saksama was set up to address the failure of current Opposition parties to pose a stiff challenge to Barisan Nasional, adding that the Pakatan Harapan alliance was now fragmented and falling apart.
With more parties expected to join Saksama, Soo said the coalition had applied to the Registrar of Societies to formally register as a political pact.
Freemalaysiatoday july 13, 2016