KUCHING: Three top posts in the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) lineup, including the party president will see no contest in the party’s 14th general assembly at the at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here.
The party members unanimously voted for Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Abang Openg to continue leading the party in the new term, having held the ‘number one’ post, succeeding the late Tan Sri Adenan Satem, since January 2016.
Deputy Chief Ministers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan were also voted to remain as PBB deputy presidents in the assembly which started yesterday and will be held until Feb 12.
Awang Tengah said having the top posts uncontested, is not something unusual for the largest political party in Sarawak, known for its systematic organisational structure that emphasises tolerance and integrity among the party members and leaders.
This was also what ensured the smooth power transition when Abang Johari was named to take over the party top post following the death of Adenan, he said.
Established about 45 years ago, PBB, went through various ‘experiences and learning process’ that had contributed in strengthening the party and enable it remains relevant in the current development, Awang Tengah added.
Awang Tengah said the success of the party lies in the discipline, loyalty, mutual understanding and respect. “All the elements are well understood and upheld by everyone, from the grassroots level to the top leadership.”
It has become the tradition for the party that was formed with the merger of Parti Pesaka Anak Sarawak (PESAKA) and Parti Bumiputera Sarawak (BUMIPUTERA) on Jan 5 in 1973.
“We lead and teach our members that we must always respect the decision of the leaders. When we need to sacrifice our personal interest for the party, we will do it with open heart and with blessing.
“This doesn’t mean that there isn’t any democracy in PBB, however, interest of the party is more important (than personal interest). This was what made us a strong party, the backbone of Sarawak,” he said when met recently.
Despite being the largest party in Sarawak, PBB never neglect the needs of the minority as it continues to fight and struggle for everyone, regardless of their race or religion.
“In fact, PBB is more than just a political party, but a leadership institution in forming a group of credible and capable leaders. We don’t make decisions based on emotions and racial or religious sentiment. We are like a big umbrella for all Sarawakians and fight for the interest of everyone,” he said.
PBB, as a people-oriented party, has been much respected, especially in the effort to reclaim the rights and interests stated in the 1963 Malaysian Agreement (MA63) that was first raised by Adenan.
“We will never quit from Malaysia but to get back the rights that belong to us, as a partner that had formed the country. Sarawak will always remain in Malaysia,” he said.
Meanwhile, Awang Tengah is grateful that the Abang Johari had also assured that the government will do its best to resolve issues related to Native Customary Rights (NCR) lands.
The establishment of Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (PETROS) is also indicative of the Chief Minister’s strong commitment to increase the participation of locals in the upstream and downstream sectors of the oil and industry, he said.
"The establishment of PETROS demonstrates the commitment of our Chief Minister to ensure our participation in the oil and gas industry to be more significant and the set-up of the Sarawak Development Bank (DBOS) will also help strengthen the economy landscape of the state," he said.
Apart from that, the various initiatives have been carried out to digitalise the state’s economy to enable Sarawak to reach out to global business and be competitive, Awang Tengah stressed
“Digital economy is no longer a choice but a must as the whole world is moving into the digital economy, otherwise, Sar
awak will be left behind from development and technology advancement.
“Therefore, the state government had allocated RM1 billion to improve the ICT infrastructure and facilities as well as the set-up of the Sarawak Multimedia Institute (SMA) and Sarawak Pay,” he said.