KUCHING: Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Dr James Masing (pic) warned that Sabah and Sarawak could no longer be Barisan Nasional’s fixed deposits if the turmoil plaguing the state Barisan Nasional (BN) was not settled within the next 12 months.
He said there was a possibility the BN could lose altogether the forthcoming state election in 2016 due to internal squabbling within two of the four parties in the coalition — the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) — which resulted in break-ups and the formation of two breakaways, United People’s Party (UPP) and Parti Tenaga Rakyat Sarawak (Teras).
Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem held off their applications to join the ruling coalition and gave leaders of the feuding parties a grace period to “talk to one another” and reconcile.
To date, no such reconciliation talks have taken place.
For the moment, Adenan retains the ministers and assistant ministers from UPP and Teras in his Cabinet and has accommodated the parties in his “BN Plus” coalition.
In Masing’s address marking his party’s 10th anniversary, he said unless BN leaders were willing “to take the bull by the horns”, the instability within Sarawak BN would continue to haunt the coalition.
Masing criticised Teras’ formation as well as the party’s president Tan Sri William Mawan, saying that “PRS did not agree with the manner and timing in which Teras was formed”.
He said the timing of the party’s formation on the last day of the sitting of the state legislative assembly last May appeared to be an orchestrated plot to destabilise Adenan, who had only assumed the position after succeeding long-time chief minister Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud at the end of February.
“It was most unfortunate and rather unnecessary that a new political party called Teras was used by some disgruntled state assemblymen just as Adenan assumed the mantle of leadership.
“In fact, it was done as if orchestrated on the very day Adenan delivered his first winding-up speech as the chief minister of Sarawak,” he said.
Masing said if SPDP and SUPP had handled their problems in “a manner which would have allowed the new chief minister time to adjust to his new position”, Sarawak BN would not be saddled with such a turmoil.
The state’s land development minister said he saw little hope of UPP and Teras being admitted into BN if the principle of consensus among BN component parties over the years was applied.
A key rule in this, he said, was that admission into BN must have 100% consensus.
“If one party in BN objects, admission into the BN family is impossible.
“Therefore, for the life of me, I cannot see how UPP and Teras can get admitted to BN if we follow these principles.”
SUPP and SPDP both said they would object to UPP and Teras’ application.
Masing suggested leaders of the two breakaway parties “look back to where they started and how they got to where they are now”.
He said unless UPP and Teras leaders were humble enough to trim their egos, lean on and learn from each other, the forthcoming state election expected in 2016 and the general election in 2018 “will be worse” with the BN losing all the urban seats.
The 2011 state election and last year’s general election saw nearly all urban seats in Sarawak, mostly contested by SUPP, lost to the opposition.
“The egos which have kept us apart will be dumped in the urban rubbish bins and leave us with nothing but our bruised pride.
“We will not be the administrator of this state.” — The Malaysian Insider
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on October 28, 2014.