Analyst: PSB not likely to be a big factor in next state election

Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi

KUCHING, July 16: Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) president Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh’s revelation that his party will work with like minded individuals and political parties to fight for Sarawak’s rights under Malaysia Agreement (MA63) could well be seen as another political force to consider for both Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and Pakatan Harapan (PH) as well as the smaller local-based political parties which have forged an alliance.

With his statement that PSB has a bright future, it could be interpreted that the party could be looking to forge a strong alliance, by emphasising its influence that could possibly be the deciding factor that tips the scales towards either GPS or PH in the coming state election due by 2021.

Wong has stated that he has no political enemies in GPS except for political differences, and reiterated his stance that he will continue to support Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg’s leadership.

“When I first went to the election, he was my mentor in a way as he campaigned for me in the Bumiputera areas. So we have a very close relationship. But now that we have political differences we are still friends including (Tan Sri) James Masing. In politics we have divergence.” Wong told a press conference when announcing his resignation from the State Cabinet yesterday.

When asked why he appeared to be unruffled despite the current uncertainty facing his party, Wong replied, “I believe what I’m doing is right. That’s why I appealed to all my leaders and members of PSB to remain calm. And I can only tell them that the road ahead is wide open and our future is going to be very bright. Not for me. Not for the party but for the people of Sarawak and for the state of Sarawak as a whole.”

Commenting on this latest political development in Sarawak, political analyst Associate Professor Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi opined that PSB will not be able to create a big impact as the big players will be GPS and PH.

“The party can penetrate many new areas but we can’t tell whether they will gain the support during the election. Even five seats will be tough for them to defend against both GPS and PH’s massive election machinery,” said Awang Azman, referring to the current five seats held by PSB leaders.

Meanwhile, Wong was obviously disappointed with PSB’s former deputy president Datuk Dr Jerip Susil about the latter’s abrupt decision to quit the party he helped to form.

Wong had said Dr Jerip was instrumental for United People’s Party (UPP) to change its name to PSB as it would have been seen as a more multiracial party compared to UPP which was seen as another Chinese-based party.

“To him (Dr Jerip) UPP sounds too Chinese, not multiracial enough. So transforming to PSB would attract more Bumiputera support. So it was his idea, not just working for the Bidayuh community but go work for the whole communities

“And I’m very disappointed that he left us in that manner. But this is a democratic world, one can choose to come and go. We only lose one person and in a way one leader,” said Wong. — DayakDaily