The Sarawak State Election: What Lies Ahead?
MALAYSIA STUDIES PROGRAMME WEBINAR
About the Webinar
Sarawak is traditionally the only state that holds its state election separately from its parliamentary polls. The prerogative lies with each state to decide when to hold these elections. There is speculation that the Sarawak state election will take place soon. The announcement on 30 May 2020 that Baru Bian, former Sarawak Chief of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Member of Parliament, and State Assemblyman, has joined the opposition Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) represents a noteworthy development. The PSB could dent the stronghold of the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition, especially now with more prominent native individuals also having joined PSB.
Drawing from the 14th Malaysian General Election held in May 2018, a Dayak storm was already brewing in Sarawak’s political landscape. Will the ruling Sarawak GPS coalition continue to lose Dayak support in the forthcoming state election? How will the native community rights (NCR) continue to feature? Will development issues also affect voter support, especially in a recent report that rural Sarawakians struggle to earn RM 1000 per month? How has the ruling GPS protected Sarawakian interests in terms of the Malaysia Agreement of 1963? Will Abang Johari, the current Chief Minister, enjoy the same support as the popular and much respected Adenan Satem, Sarawak’s former Chief Minister, who suddenly passed away in January 2017?
About the Speaker
Yang Berhormat Tuan Baru Bian’s involvement in politics dates back to 1987. Currently, he is Member of Parliament for Selangau and State Assemblyman for Ba’ Kelalan in Sarawak. On 2 July 2018, Y.B. Baru Bian was sworn-in as the Minister of Works of Malaysia until Perikatan Nasional (PN) took over in March 2020. Y.B. Baru Bian is from the Lun Bawang native community and is a lawyer by training. He has been actively campaigning for the protection of native customary rights in Sarawak for many decades. He was also a legal advisor for Sahabat Alam Malaysia (Friends of the Earth Malaysia). He formed Messrs Baru Bian Advocates and Solicitors in Kuching in 1992. Y.B. Baru Bian joined PKR in 2008 and has recently joined PSB in May 2020.
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