PETALING JAYA: A PBB leader has dismissed Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown’s prediction of a change of power in Sarawak as coming from someone who is out of touch with current realities in the state.
“The Sarawak she knew 20 years ago is very much different from the Sarawak of today, which has changed for the better,” said Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, a PBB vice-president.
He also said Barisan Nasional’s (BN) defeat at the federal level would have no effect on Sarawak BN because of the state’s partial autonomy.
Rewcastle-Brown, who was born in Sarawak, recently said Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) victory in the May 9 polls would embolden the people of the state to change their government as well.
Speaking to FMT, Karim said Rewcastle-Brown could predict whatever she liked but he added that she had no way of knowing whether the “winds of change” that swept BN out of federal power would blow through Sarawak as well.
“Sarawak is the only state in Malaysia without Umno and the issues here are different,” he said, adding that BN’s defeat in the polls was due to, among other things, issues concerning the Umno leadership and former prime minister Najib Razak.
Referring to PH’s capture of some rural parliamentary seats in Sarawak, he said this could be due to mistakes BN had made in the choice of candidates and infighting within the coalition.
“We respect the decision of Malaysian voters and though we are part of BN, we will cooperate with the federal government wherever necessary as this is how a federal system should work.”
Karim also said Rewcastle-Brown was welcome to write about Sarawak. “I believe Sarawak deserves respect from everyone and we welcome any criticism to help us improve.”
In the 2016 Sarawak state election, BN won 72 out of 82 state seats.