Sarawak govt should exit BN, say political analysts

KUCHING, May 27 (Bernama) --The rebranding of the Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN), which is now the second largest opposition coalition in the country, is imperative, says a political analyst.

Sarawak BN comprises Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Sarawak United Peoples' Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP).

"Exiting from BN and forming their own united coalition is necessary in order not to be synonymous with BN which is considered a brand that has diminished in popularity and is being rejected by the people," Prof Associate Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi told Bernama.

He said these concerns would soon spread to Sarawak, so immediate steps need to be taken...otherwise, not less than 30 per cent of the seats won in the Sarawak state election in 2016 is expected to fall into the hands of Pakatan Harapan (PH).

"BN's win in the state election in 2016 was due to the popularity factor of the then-chief minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem and Adenan's absence in Sarawak politics after his death has undoubtedly, affected the popularity of Sarawak BN component parties.

"Without Adenan's popularity factor, Sarawak BN's performance is expected to fall by at least 20 per cent of the total seats," he added.

PBB vice-president Datuk Karim Abdul Rahman Hamzah said there was a strong possibility the Sarawak coalition state government would leave BN to set up a new coalition party.

Meanwhile, another political analyst, Dr Jeniri Amir said a new coalition was the best move for the Sarawak BN.

Like it or not, he said, Sarawak BN had to take the drastic step by leaving the Federal BN and establishing a new political entity.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Pakatan Harapan has rejected any attempt to accept parties from the state BN, especially PBB.

Its chairman, Chong Chieng Jen said accepting PBB into PH would be akin to UMNO joining Pakatan.

Meanwhile in SIBU, SUPP president, Datuk Prof Dr Sim Kui Hian will hold a meeting with party members across the state to hear their views and opinions on the party's new direction.

The move was very important to get a true picture of the voice and the will of party members before making a decision, he told reporters before holding a closed-door meeting with members of five SUPP branches here today.

In the 14th General Election on May 9, SUPP, which contested seven seats, managed to retain one seat, namely the Serian parliamentary seat. It lost to DAP in Bandar Kuching, Stampin, Mas Gading, Sarikei, Sibu and Lanang.