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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sarawak MPs all for Pak Lah

The Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) parliamentarians are solidly behind Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s leadership as Prime Minister.

The 30 parliamentarians will send a letter pledging their support to Abdullah, said Sarawak BN chairman and Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud last night.

“All 30 MPs in Sarawak support the Prime Minister and wish that he continues as Prime Minister,” he said after a meeting with the parliamentarians to brief them on what went on during a BN supreme council meeting chaired by Abdullah in Kuala Lumpur on Monday.

Taib told reporters after the meeting that the letter would probably be sent today by Miri MP Datuk Peter Chin.

When asked if the State BN would lobby for stronger representation in the federal cabinet, Taib replied: “No, I don’t normally lobby for things like this. We leave it to the PM to consider. He knows the feeling in Sarawak and so I think he will take note of it.”

Among all the states in the country, the Sarawak BN delivered the most number of seats to the coalition, losing only one seat in the just-concluded polls.

The coalition managed to win five seats uncontested in Sarawak.

Many political observers believe that more seats should be allocated to Sarawak in the federal cabinet to reciprocate the state’s contribution.

The BN won 140 of the 222 parliamentary seats to form the government with a simple majority. Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) won 23, Democratic Action Party (DAP) has 28, and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) - 31. When asked for his advice for the new MPs in his position as a senior statesman, Taib said this election had shown that MPs should get closer to their constituents.

Although he agreed that this would be difficult for those holding posts in the government, he felt that they should try their best because policies now required them to understand their constituents more.

“What is more important is to communicate with them (constituents). It is not enough to help the constituency. You must get the constituents to understand why you help them, and what you expect to happen after you help them.”

He said that as the country drew closer to the year 2020, development would depend more on the personal initiatives of the people and they must recognise the greater importance of education.

“More and more we have to get involved with parent-teacher associations, and with the schools to encourage our people to make sure that education play a more central part in our future. I think there is nothing more important than education,” Taib said.

When told that the election results might seem like the end of the world for BN as it had been very comfortable all this while ruling with a two-third majority, Taib asked: “If you ask any European country or any democracy, even mature democracy, whether you regard 62 to 63 per cent seat won is comfortable, slim or disastrous? Which one would it be?”
Taib was also asked about rumours that PKR advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was trying to persuade the BN MPs in Sarawak to join them.

He retorted: “You must be dreaming. Today’s is a protest vote. Don’t imagine that this protest vote will give him (Anwar) the miraculous power of bringing everybody into one camp. The content of his struggle is yet to be seen.”

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