KUALA LUMPUR,. The move by four Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) parties to quit the former coalition reflected the weakness within it and signals its impending doom following its loss in the May 9 polls, several Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders said.
PKR’s strategic director Sim Tze Tzin said while the coalition would remain cautious over the recent development, this showed BN to be virtually “dead” as its component parties had chosen to walk away for its own political survival.
“PH seems to be the more viable bloc in the new political scenario. Sarawak BN left the party as they are afraid they will lose out in the next general election, just like Umno did.
“But now that they have broken off from BN, they also need to address the problems of corruption in BN parties. If these issues are not addressed, then it will be the same-old-same-old,” he told Malay Mail when contacted.
Parti Amanah Negara said the turn of events in the state reflected the depreciating strength of BN, with the coalition keeping itself intact merely due to the force of circumstance, particularly for Sabah and Sarawak.
Its communication director Khalid Samad said the lack of good governance and positive leadership left little for the party to be proud of in Peninsular Malaysia.
“This is the beginning of the end of BN… BN no longer exists in Sarawak, and in a year or two it will also collapse in Sabah,” the Shah Alam MP said.
“They will build a closer alliance with PH and we might see in the next election, there will be no more BN. There will be an Opposition, but not in the form of BN.
“I don’t believe it will go back to the situation as where BN was… it will instead become a constructive Opposition where the opposition and ruling parties don’t have to be at loggerheads all the time. We can work together on many issues and build a healthy political culture,” he added.
Yesterday, Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Abang Johari Openg earlier announced that Sarawak BN, consisting of Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) and Progressive Democratic Party (PDP), was leaving the BN coalition to cooperate and collaborate with the PH federal government.
The four state parties won 19 of 31 parliamentary seats in Sarawak under the BN banner in the May 9 general election.
PH Youth chief Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said the move resulted in a role reversal, with BN now seen as “fragile” and powerless, a perception previously reserved for then opposition PH.
He said the strong local sentiment of the Sarawak state played a role in the parties distancing themselves as Umno and BN have become less popular in Sarawak.
“Back then people used to say PH was fragile, now the reverse is happening to BN, despite it being a more established party than PH.
“Sarawak has a strong pressure to wing it because Umno is not there, so it makes it easier for them,” he said.
Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said Umno’s domination in the party as well as the Borneo states being sidelined by the former ruling government had raised many grouses amongst the Sabah and Sarawak BN component parties.
“Even before GE14, there had been attempts by several parties in Sabah and Sarawak, including PBB, to form a small coalition within BN but to remain in BN,” he said, in reference to Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu.
“Therefore, the formation of GPS was not surprising to me,” said the PH chief secretary, who used to be a deputy minister with Umno.