KUCHING: With campaigning for GE15 in its final day, Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg says a big win for Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) would give the state strong bargaining power to safeguard its interests.
The Sarawak Premier said this included the restoration of state autonomy under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), as well as a deputy prime minister's post with power.
"We will bargain for Sarawak. Now all the coalitions are offering the deputy prime minister's post.
"If the post has no power, it's meaningless for us to be deputy prime minister. What's the use of a DPM who is just a puppet?
"That's not what Sarawak wants. Sarawak wants all the powers back under MA63," he said at the Sarawakku Sayang programme in Saratok town, about 300km from here, on Friday (Nov 18).
Abang Johari urged the people to support GPS in GE15, including in the Saratok parliamentary constituency where GPS newcomer Giendam Jonathan Tait is facing incumbent Datuk Ali Biju from Perikatan Nasional.
"If the seat goes to Perikatan, it will be with the other side (Peninsular Malaysia). But if it goes to GPS, it will add to our bargaining power," he said.
Abang Johari also said GPS was willing to work with peninsula-based parties for a stable government, but not at the expense of Sarawak's harmony or interests.
"Don't let divisive politics set foot in Sarawak because our political culture is different.
"Here the Ibans, Malays, Orang Ulu, Chinese and Bidayuh all live together as one family.
"This is our culture which we must safeguard. We don't want the peninsula's political culture to come here," he said.