Following the formalisation of Penyatuan Ummah, PAS is now seeking to build a camaraderie with Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) in Sarawak.
Headlines of the supposed pact flooded local media after PAS leaders were reported to have paid a courtesy call on Sarawak’s Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg after attending the Malaysia’s Day celebration on September 16.
On September 17, PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang said his party is open to working with the ruling Sarawak coalition ahead of the next state election, if it means it would stop DAP from winning.
Additionally, he stated that GPS is much more trustworthy than PH-DAP given that the latter had failed to fulfil its promises even after a year of ruling, labelling the party as “racist” and “extremist”.
Images of Hadi Awang visiting Abang Johari at his office in Kuching were widely discussed on the media.
Subsequently, Sarawak PH chairman Chong Chieng Jen came forth to express his disappointment towards the Sarawak Chief Minister for allowing Hadi to enter the state. According to Chong, Hadi had just recently gave a hate speech against the ethnic Chinese in Bintulu.
In his speech, Hadi claimed that DAP wanted to give control of Sarawak and distribute its wealth solely to the Chinese, leaving others behind. This, according to the PAS President, is like the situation in the Peninsular, whereby the Malays and Orang Asal are side-lined.
Chong suspected that the meeting between the two leaders would lead to an alliance. He further labelled the alleged collaboration between PAS, UMNO and GPS as an “unholy alliance”.
Chong’s claims triggered Abang Jo, who had been silent on the matter since the courtesy call, to clear the air.
On September 20, the Sarawak CM clarified there were no talks of GPS cooperating with PAS, at once rubbishing Chong’s claims.
He explained the courtesy call on him was made by Terengganu Menteri Besar Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar, while Hadi Awang just happened to be there.
Earlier, Abang Jo made it clear that GPS is comfortable; preferring to move on its own instead of joining any political party from Peninsular Malaysia.
The tug of war between Abang Jo and Chong became the main issue of the topic GPS Sarawak in September.
As seen from the statistics, most issues headlined on the idea of a collaboration between GPS and PAS. This can be seen in ‘GPS Prefers to be on its own’, ‘Pas sedia berjuang dengan GPS’, ‘Unholy union’ and etc.
Meanwhile, the issue of community leaders in Sarawak only took one cluster of the top issues.
Tensions rose when there were claims of Pakatan Harapan (PH) government interfering with the appointment of community leaders in the state. However, Sarawak PKR state secretary Vernon Kedit dismissed such claims. Putrajaya would not be appointing community leaders in Sarawak.
Meanwhile, Vice President of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah made a more assertive/in-your-face statement. He said that GPS can manage itself well in looking after the state’s affairs and the welfare of Sarawakians ahead of the next state elections.
This came a day after PAS Sarawak commissioner Jofri Jaraee made a point that GPS would not be able to win the election on its own. He added both GPS and PAS have a common enemy which is to take down DAP, presenting more reasons for both parties to cooperate.
Having said that, GPS firmly declined PAS’s offer of collaboration, saying that the Islamist’s party’s struggle “does not belong in Sarawak”.