KUCHING: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has announced that it will not stand in the Tanjong Datu by-election that will be held following the demise of its incumbent Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem.
Its state chairman Baru Bian said this was a unanimous decision made by the state PKR leadership council, as a gesture to let new Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg and the state government continue implementing the vision and policy Adenan made for Sarawak while he was chief minister.
“We in PKR do realise and recognise the stand made by our late Chief Minister (Adenan). We are together with him in the various stands he made, in particular he rekindled the hope of Sarawakians after assuming the post of Chief Minister.
“In fact, he even revitalised the Sarawakian dream. He stood firm against the federal government in reclaiming our rights under Malaysia Agreement 1963. He had made very clear on issues of freedom of religion, recognising English as one of the main mediums of instruction in Sarawak and others.
“We find that these are consistent with our own vision, dreams and manifesto. In particular, it is consistent with the Kuching Declaration which we prepared in 2012 as Pakatan Rakyat Manifesto before the 13th General Election (GE13). Because of all these, we feel that we should not stand in Tanjong Datu,” Baru said in a press conference after chairing a state PKR leadership council meeting here yesterday.
He said the party also recognised the fact that Adenan had wanted to meet the leaders of all communities to find solutions to native customary rights (NCR) over land, especially in view of the Federal Court’s decision on Tuai Rumah Sandah’s case recently.
“We know this is the legal precedent that affects all natives of Sarawak with the view of recognising those rights. So we really hope that Abang Johari will take all this seriously, which to us as legal persons, is nothing short of amending the state Land Code.”
Considering that the stands made by Adenan were the aspirations of all Sarawakians, Baru said his party would like to see them implemented by Abang Johari’s administration “in the coming months, year or even years to come”.
“We really hope that he (Abang Johari) is doing his very best to fulfil Adenan’s vision and policy. He (Abang Johari) has done a very good job in his first press conference when he mentioned publicly that he will pursue the vision of our late chief minister.
“That is a good starting point but what is of concern to all Sarawakians is ‘will he (Abang Johari) implement and will he be able to fulfil that in the next one or two months, or one or two years or even before 14th General Election (GE14)’. We believe that the people will judge him. We hope the new chief minister will be serious and not say it as political rhetoric.”
Apart from giving Abang Johari the opportunity to implement Adenan’s policy, the state PKR leadership council was of the view that they should focus on the 14th General Election.
“We are very aware, of course, that there are probably some views that will be against us in not standing in Tanjong Datu but we also look at it from a bigger picture. Politically, we are aware if you know of this saying in the art of war by Sun Tzu who says that by stepping back, it doesn’t mean that it is an admission of weakness because you can strike back two steps (forward) after that.”
Baru stressed that the national PKR leadership had left this decision to the state PKR leadership council and therefore, they were not subjecting themselves to the approval of the national leadership on this issue.
To a question, Baru said although PKR decided not to contest in Tanjong Datu by-election, the party could not stop or discourage anybody or any party from standing there.
“This is a democratic country, election is public and we have the freedom to stand. We will leave it to individuals or even other parties (on whether they want) to stand. I’m sure some people probably will have different view from us.”
Since PKR had decided not to stand in Tanjong Datu by-election, the party would also not be taking part in the campaign by any individuals or parties contesting in the by-election, adding that it would be contradictory to the party’s stand and principle if they participate in the election campaign, Baru said.
The Election Commission (EC) announced Feb 18 as the by-election date for Tanjong Datu. Nomination of candidates will be held on Feb 4, while early voting will take place on Feb 12.
Baru, during the press conference, also announced Abdul Jalil Bujang as the new state PKR deputy chairman as his predecessor Abang Zulkifli Abang Engkeh had decided to step down after the last state election.
~ Borneo Post