KUCHING: State Opposition leader Baru Bian, begging to differ with Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem on the presence of peninsula-based national parties in the state, reminded him that it was not the local parties that stood up for the rights of the people, especially the Orang Asal in the country. “He should not gloat over his ‘clever’ reply on the presence of national parties in Sarawak.
“He’s conveniently letting the public belabour in the delusion that he has the power to keep out national parties from Sarawak.”
Baru, who is also Ba’Kelalan Assemblyman and a senior lawyer in private practice, added that Adenan does not have power under Malaysian laws to restrict the registration of Umno or any party in Sarawak. “Umno is not here in Sarawak because PBB has an understanding with it, [Umno is] not to come in as long as it can hold the fort together in Sarawak.
“In any case, if Umno comes in, Adenan’s influence will be diluted.”
In the case of Sabah, recalled Baru, PBS withdrew from the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition five days before the General Election in 1990 and Mahathir immediately went into Sabah because Joseph Pairin Kitingan won 14 of the 20 Parliamentary seats at stake in the state.
In the case of Sarawak, charged Baru, Umno does not have to come in as long as they are ruling the state through PBB. “I hate to burst Adenan’s bubble but necessity compels [me to].
“Is he willing to leave the BN instead of asking the national parties to stay out from Sarawak?”
Reiterating that the debate about stopping Umno from coming to Sarawak was nonsensical, Baru urged the Chief Minister to take note of the fact that Sarawakians are unhappy with Putrajaya and have many issues like NCR rights among others. “Adenan has proven to be ineffective.”
Baru trotted out a list of items where the Chief Minister had been silent including on whether Sarawak had an official religion, the demand for 20 per cent oil royalty, and the rejection of the recognition of the UEC, and the criticism over the use of the English language. “If Adenan gets five more years, it will be another five years of Sarawakians being ignored.”