KUCHING – Sarawak PKR will be sitting out the upcoming Tanjong Datu by-election to focus on the next general election and to give the new state leadership a chance to fulfil the late Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s vision.
Its chairman Baru Bian said the party’s state committee unanimously decided not to contest in Tanjong Datu after considering various factors.
He said the late Adenan’s stand on issues such as reclaiming Sarawak’s rights, freedom of religion and the importance of English was consistent with PKR’s manifesto.
“To us, this reflects our aspirations as Sarawakians together. Because of this, we feel that we will not stand in Tanjong Datu as a gesture of giving the new chief minister and state government the opportunity to carry on and implement all this,” Baru told a press conference after chairing the state committee meeting at party headquarters here Wednesday.
The Feb 18 by-election was called following Adenan’s sudden passing on Jan 11, only eight months after winning a landslide mandate in the state election.
Baru said another reason for PKR’s decision was to focus on the 14th General Election.
“This is just a by-election. Politically, our strategy is to focus mainly on GE14.
“That is the bigger picture we are looking at,” he said.
He added that PKR could not stop other individuals or parties from standing, but they would not participate in any campaigning should there be a contest.
Baru also called on new Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg to finish what Adenan had started, including the recognition of native customary rights (NCR) to land.
“The late chief minister had the intention of meeting the leaders of all native communities with the view of recognising these rights. We hope Abang Johari will take this seriously and prioritise it,” he said.
In last year’s state polls, Adenan defeated PKR’s Jazolkipli Numan in a straight fight with a 5,892-vote majority.