In this webinar, YB Tuan Baru Bian shared his insights on politics in Sarawak, and discussed questions such as: will the ruling Sarawak GPS coalition continue to lose Dayak support in the forthcoming state election? And how will the native community rights continue to feature?
MALAYSIA STUDIES PROGRAMME WEBINAR
Thursday, 13 August 2020 – The ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute organised a webinar with Yang Berhormat (YB) Tuan Baru Bian as the guest speaker to discuss the political landscape in Sarawak ahead of the upcoming 12th Sarawak state election. YB Baru Bian is the Parliamentarian for Selangau and concurrently serves as the State Assemblyman for Ba’Kelalan. He served as a federal Minister under the Pakatan Harapan government, and has been an activist to campaign for native customary rights (NCR) in Sarawak. YB Baru Bian joined Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) in May 2020.
YB Baru Bian began his presentation with an overview of the electoral concerns among Sarawakians. Sarawak does not have a diversified economy, in contrast to the economically advanced Peninsula states. Sarawak’s infrastructure has to further develop in order to cater to its developmental needs and to generate prosperity and benefits for all Sarawakians, especially for those in rural areas. The Sarawak electorate places much emphasis on economic development issues and are no longer naïve. Many are closely watching politicians to ensure that they deliver on their election campaigns for development and infrastructure projects. In addition, the 1963 Malaysian Agreement (MA63) remains a bone of contention between Sarawakians and the federal government. Sarawakians, regardless of ethnicity, share the sentiment that Putrajaya has yet to fully implement MA63 to address their concerns. Outstanding issues include the allocation of oil royalty, citizenship application, and religious freedom. MA63 is expected to feature prominently in the upcoming state election.
The webinar attracted 90 participants from Singapore and abroad. In the question-and-answer session, participants raised questions concerning the possibility of a Dayak “tsunami”, relationship between Muafakat Nasional and the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), Native Customary Rights (NCRs), and electoral strategies for PSB, among others.