Possible PKR, PSB cooperation for state polls?

By Emma Victoria

With the departure of Julau MP Larry Sng as the PKR chairman, many are wondering if the party will reconsider working with Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB), to go against the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) state government in the next state polls.

Previously, Sng had given an ultimatum that a deal with PSB over the seat allocation for the next state election must be secured by the end of February. However, he quit the party in the same month to back Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. He also claimed that PSB wanted the lion’s share of seats, some of which were PKR seats.

PKR secretary-general Joshua Jobeng when contacted said the party will only consider resuming seat negotiations with PSB if it was agreed by the Council of Elders and other partners in the Pakatan Harapan.

He said there were talks earlier on the possibility of cooperating with PSB; but it fell out even before Sng left the party.

“As for now, we will need to reach a consensus among our party leaders as well as other PH partners,” he said.

He was asked to comment if there was a chance for PKR and PSB to resume discussions or to work together in the next state polls following the departure of Sng.

Meanwhile, PSB secretary-general George Lo said he was unsure if PSB will discuss further regarding seat allocations or any other cooperation with PKR.

“I really don’t know much now…. as there has been no discussion with the new leaders in PKR yet,” he said.

Universiti Putra Malaysia political scientist Prof Jayum Jawan, however, said the two parties do not have strong bases and lack wide-spread grassroots across Sarawak.

“Thus, the two political parties would not do much to galvanise what they do not have – even if they decide to come together,” he said.

He said PKR has not been well received in Sarawak and by the multi-ethic population as its national leadership is not in tune with the pulse of Sarawak politics.

“PSB on the other hand is a new kid that is struggling to establish its fort. Their claim of wide-spread support is based on memberships of some “retired” politicians joining the party,” he added.