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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Sarawak parties to decide position in BN on June 12

KUCHING - Sarawak Barisan Nasional component parties will meet on June 12 to decide whether to leave the coalition.

This comes after news reports that Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) president Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, also the Chief Minister, had told Barisan acting chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi that PBB would be destroyed if it did not distance itself from the coalition.

The other parties are Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), and the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP).

Sources said on Thursday (June 7) that the parties had little interest in staying in Barisan after GE14 and would prefer to form their own Sarawak-based coalition to focus on the state's interests and prepare for the next state election in 2021.

“(The parties) have more or less discussed the matter and are waiting for the correct time to announce it. I think PBB has come to the conclusion that the best thing is to quit Barisan for their own survival,” one source told The Star.

Another source said the four parties' grassroots members had “no interest” in remaining in Barisan as the coalition's logo was no longer “sellable” in politics.

“People think this is a chance for Sarawak’s four parties to form our own coalition rather than stay in Barisan for the interest of Sarawak,” he said.

The source also said most SUPP members were in favour of leaving Barisan.

The party reportedly decided to pull out from the coalition at its central working committee meeting last month but will only make the decision public with its component party partners.

In GE14, Sarawak Barisan won only 19 of 31 parliamentary seats, an unexpected outcome as the state had long been considered the coalition’s “fixed deposit”.

PBB won 13 seats, PRS three, PDP two and SUPP won one.

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