Thursday, 25 June 2015

‘Sarawak For Sarawakians’ call gains momentum as polls inch closer

KUCHING, June 24 — A third political force could dawn soon in Sarawak as the Borneo state’s natives seek to close ranks to counter the might of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) and the DAP-PKR-PAS opposition, both of which are commanded by parties centred in Peninsular Malaysia.

Sarawak-based opposition parties, civil society groups as well as its activists and other individuals with local interests are in talks to set up a native force, former president of the de-registered Sarawak Association of People’s Aspirations (SAPA) Lina Soo told Malay Mail Online today.

“We are having discussions to form a Sarawak force in opposition to Barisan and peninsula-based opposition parties,” she said.

Among the local opposition parties involved are Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS Baru) and State Reform Party (Star).

Soo said there were no issues with candidates from the BN or PR contesting under their party banner, but stressed the condition was for them to subscribe wholly to the Sarawakians For Sarawak dogma.

She also said the Sarawak force would be using “Sarawak For Sarawakians” slogan to draw support among the voters.

“Therefore, the Sarawak next state election could be most interesting should the formation of the Sarawak force materialise,” said Soo, who leads a “Sarawak4Sarawakians” civil movement.

The upcoming election will likely trigger a resurgence of sentiment among Sarawakians who have been demanding greater autonomy in the state, notably on oil and gas resources found in its territorial waters.

“Even Adenan Satem is also saying that Sarawak is for Sarawakians,” Soo said, referring to the state chief minister.

It was the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) which started the slogan “Sarawak For Sarawakians” in 1962 to oppose the Malaysian Plan, Soo said, adding that the call was taken up by Sarawak National Party (SNAP) after the ouster of its president Tan Sri Stephen Kalong Ningkan from his chief minister post in 1965. 

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