Problems with Putrajaya can be overcome, says Sarawak CM

Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg says GPS was formed so Sarawak can better negotiate for return of its rights.

KUCHING: Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg said there is still a “grey area” in terms of understanding between the federal and state governments, but the obstacles faced by Sarawak in realising its visions are not huge.

“You must remember that I have served under Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad before,” he said at a press conference in conjunction with his third year in office yesterday.

Abang Johari said it was “difficult” for the state government to pursue its rights while it was part of the federal government. That was why Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) was formed.

He said Sarawak could not get what it wanted when it was part of the previous Barisan Nasional government.

Every decision had to be done based on the consensus of all coalition parties, he said.

“We are small in terms of number and so it was quite hard to get what we wanted, especially in seeking decentralisation.

“Now, we can govern ourselves based on Sarawak’s needs. That is why we formed GPS,” he said.

Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) left BN to form GPS following the 2018 general election.

GPS has declared that it would support the Pakatan Harapan government as long as its policies benefit the state.

Abang Johari said disagreements between Putrajaya and Sarawak should be thrashed out for the “betterment of the state and people”.

Although there were challenges ahead, he was confident GPS would continue to lead Sarawak as its policies were people-centric.

“What is important is our policies are in tune with what the people want,” he said, adding that he was satisfied with the state government’s achievements to date.

He said Sarawak would continue to enjoy political stability, and its growth would benefit from the good relations between the state and its Borneo neighbours.