By Davis Bungkaru
IF Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) are able to resolve overlapping seat claims and work together in the 12th Sarawak election, then the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) would have a headache – in both urban and rural seats.
DAP is expected to continue dominating the urban Chinese-majority seats while PKR and PSB would be focusing on the Dayak-majority areas in the rural Sarawak, with a few urban and suburban seats.
Without the “Adenan Fever” this time around, DAP is likely to wrest back some seats which were won by the BN in the 2016 state polls.
PKR and PSB would definitely pose a threat to Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) led by Tan Sri James Jemut Masing, if both parties agree to join forces in Dayak areas.
PSB is led by veteran politicians who used to be part of the government, and they are resources-rich. They have successfully mobilised their machinery on the ground in rural areas and longhouses in Sarawak and assist the villagers in resolving their problems.
Realising that rural students face problems with online learning, PSB took the initiative to install satellite broadband WiFi facilities in eight schools in Baleh last month, a state constituency held by Masing.
PSB also announced that it had installed satellite broadband WiFi facilities at 1,000 locations in the rural areas. This is something Masing said his party cannot do unless they get permission from the Education Ministry.
Please cut the red tape and let the rural teachers and children have the access to teach and learn – they are already left behind even before the pandemic. If Masing cannot do it, he should let others do it.
Although there was mass resignation of grassroots leaders in PKR in the past few months, many leaders and supporters remain loyal to the party.
Larry Sng who resigned as the PKR chairman on Monday, had decided to stay a little longer until Sarawak Pakatan Harapan agrees to name a Dayak candidate to lead the charge into the next polls.
He also welcomed PSB’s invitation to discuss the opposition’s Chief Minister candidate and overlapping seats claims – the latter the weakest link in the opposition’s bid to topple GPS.
Any overlapping contests among the oppositions will only benefit the GPS. In the last state polls, all six seats which saw overlapping contests between the DAP and PKR were won by the Barisan Nasional, GPS’ predecessor.
Sng had said that it was extremely unfair for the Dayaks, the majority in Sarawak, to remain poor compared with other races in the state. Hence, it is time to give the opportunity to a Dayak to lead the state.
Whether Sng was playing a race card, the reality is that the DAP, PSB and PKR Sarawak are respectively led by a Chinese leader. This could hamper the opposition’s bid to woo Dayak voters. Hence, Sng’s rationale for a Dayak to lead.
If the opposition parties could put aside all their differences and work together in the 12th Sarawak state election, it is going to be an interesting fight.
Since GPS can join the federal government based on the “PN Plus GPS” formula to look after the interest of Sarawak, perhaps PSB can also join PH based on the “PH Plus PSB” formula?
Although the GPS-led state government has achieved some positive results within the last two years, no one should get too comfortable with their position when it comes to politics.
If the state government or a certain assemblyman are not doing good enough, voters should express their dissatisfaction through the ballot box. If they are good, they should be supported with greater majority.
Davis Bungkaru is a reader of The New Sarawak. The views here do not necessarily represent those of this portal.