Sarawak BN parties quit coalition, form new alliance

12 Jun 2018 / 14:30 H.

PETALING JAYA: All four Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties have pulled out of the coalition with immediate effect, ending BN's decades of rule in the state.
Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB), Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) made the unanimous decision at the state BN supreme council meeting today, chaired by the state Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
Speaking to the press after the meeting in Kuching, Abang Johari said all four parties have also agreed to form a new coalition of Sarawak-based parties known as the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).
The pact will cooperate and collaborate with the new Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government for the national interest as well as the state's rights and interests, he said.
"The decision was made after much deliberation, reflection and due consideration, taking into account the country's current political developments post the 14th General Election (GE14)," he said today.
"We believe it is timely and appropriate for Sarawak to embark on a new political platform going forward, in order to face any challenges, in line with the changing aspirations, needs, and demands of the Sarawak populace.
"The decision was made in the interest of the people and the state, above all else," he added.
The decision to pull out of BN came after weeks of speculation that PBB, which won 13 parliamentary seats in the last general election, would lead other state BN parties into the exodus.
It was reported previously that Abang Johari, who is also PBB's president, had met with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on May 31 about the decision to leave BN.
BN has won all previous Sarawak state elections since the coalition's inception in 1973, with the state also being considered a fixed deposit for BN at the federal level, contributing huge number of seats in parliament in each general election.
However, in the last polls in May, although BN won the majority of the Dewan Rakyat seats, it lost 10 of them to PH, its worst showing in an election in the state.
Abang Johari said the new GPS coalition will enable the parties to focus on the state rights and interests according to the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
"We strongly believe that this formation will enable and empower us to serve the people better and fulfill the desires of the people of Sarawak.
"We are confident that this is the most pragmatic and appropriate decision to bring Sarawak into the new era desired by the people," he said.

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