KUCHING: The new Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition has been urged to reform its governance of the state and be an effective Opposition bloc at the Federal level.
The Sarawak Malaysian Trades Union Congress’ (MTUC) secretary Andrew Lo said the priority for GPS must be to improve integrity, reduce corruption and ensure equitable wealth-sharing for Sarawakians.
“The four parties (in GPS) can do that as part of the Opposition. Otherwise, it is old wine in a new bottle,” he said.
GPS came into being on Tuesday when the previous Sarawak Barisan Nasional component parties of PBB, SUPP, PRS and PDP quit to form a state-based coalition.
The new coalition is not joining Pakatan Harapan but will cooperate with the Federal Government in the national interest and the interests of Sarawak.
Lo said Sarawak MTUC was disappointed by the move as it would reduce the effectiveness of the Federal Opposition and might encourage dictatorship.
He said Barisan was needed to play its crucial role as an effective Opposition to provide checks and balances on the new government.
“The greatest gift of the election result is not that Pakatan won, it is the people who have won and any party that fails in its duties and responsibilities to the country will be removed in the next election.
“So too Barisan are not losers in the election; they are winners having inherited the sacred duty of being an effective Opposition.
“Now it has been confirmed that all Sarawak Barisan parties have jumped ship to form GPS and pledged cooperation with Pakatan. This amounts to abandoning its duty to be an effective Opposition,” he said.
On GPS’ claims to focus on Sarawak’s rights and interests, Lo pointed out that greater autonomy for the state must mean greater responsibility and accountability.
“The track record of the state government in matters where we already have autonomy — land, labour and immigration — does not inspire confidence.
“The state Barisan hit a jackpot riding on the autonomy tide in the last state election. By leaving Barisan, they want more of the same.
“They are glossing over the structural and governance issues plaguing our state for so many decades,” he said.