Sunday, February 21, 2010

No room in the state BN for PPP

February 21, 2010, Sunday

THE entry of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) into Sarawak has more than raised eyebrows and ruffled feathers among the state’s Barisan Nasional component parties.

What is the purpose of a Semenanjung Malaysia-based BN political party joining the already crowded ranks of Sarawak’s BN which is firmly entrenched in power despite the loss of several urban seats in the last election?

If their intention is to help the state BN wrest the lost urban seats from the opposition in the next state elections, then their mission is about as useful as bringing sand to the Sahara.

PPP cannot offer the people of Sarawak what the BN components cannot since the party, being a BN component itself, has to toe the line of the coalition.

Indeed, instead of strengthening the state BN, PPP’s entry has caused unease and raised outright opposition from all the state BN parties.

The immediate concern is seat allocation, given the fact that the state BN has already agreed on the division of seats among components and any jostling for or swapping of seats will only be confined to Sarawak-based parties.

Setting up a political party without contesting in election is an exercise in futility and PPP recently showed it had no intention of being a ‘seat-less’ party when one of its officials invited state BN assemblymen who are not happy with their parties, to join them.

The official’s tongue-in-cheek reasoning that PPP can offer a ready-made BN shelter for them must have jarred the nerves of the Sarawak BN parties even more.

If PPP thinks it could take a short cut to sharing power in the state government by fishing in troubled waters, then it is much mistaken.

It is not by accident that no Semenanjung Malaysia-based BN party has spread its wings to the Land of the Hornbills before PPP’s recent foray.

This situation exists because there is a pact among BN parties in Sarawak to share power among themselves and the federal government has unofficially agreed to that arrangement.

There is no reason to rock the boat when Sarawak is valued by the federal government as a ‘fixed deposit’ for BN, especially in the present political climate in the nation.

PPP’s ill-advised move into Sarawak has already proven to be a misadventure because so far, they are seen as an uninvited new kid in the BN block in Sarawak.

It is difficult to see how PPP could play a meaningful role in the state government and it is likely to remain an awkward unwanted partner in the state BN.

This situation was recently reflected by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who said PPP would not make an impact on the state BN equation and Sarawak-based BN parties would remain the dominant force in the state.

Now and for the foreseeable future, there is no place in the state coalition for any BN party outside Sarawak and PPP’s situation in the state is a clear indication of this.

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