By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Aug 18: The newly formed Gagasan political pact aims to contest in all 31 parliamentary seats and hopes to avoid multi-cornered contests in the coming 15th General Election (GE15) that would give an advantage to the ruling Gabugan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition.
Three local opposition parties namely Parti Sedar Rakyat Sarawak (Sedar), Sarawak People’s Aspiration Party (Aspirasi) and Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) have today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to form the proposed Gagasan Rakyat Sarawak (Gagasan).
Sedar president Dato Othman Abdillah said Gagasan was formed because they are disappointed not only with the ruling Sarawak government but also all the 31 MPs representing Sarawak at the Federal level.
“Nothing significant has been achieved because these people are weak. Sarawak is a major contributor of natural gas and oil in the country, the richest State in Malaysia but yet we are also the poorest State. What is happening to us and Sarawak?
“All the 31 MPs must go and be replaced with new representatives who can serve Sarawak and its people better,” he told a press conference during the MoU signing for Gagasan at a hotel here today.
Othman also mentioned that Sedar will contest in eight Malay/Melanau-majority seats in GE15 with himself eyeing either the Petra Jaya or Santubong seats following requests for him to contest in the two areas.
“But I have not decided which area yet. Hopefully people will understand our vision and what we want to do for the people.
“We (Gagasan) will start with three parties first and maybe others can join later. With this new coalition, we want to ensure a straight fight which is important. I do not want what happened in the State election to be repeated,” he added.
Echoing Othman’s words, Aspirasi president Lina Soo said Gagasan will not allow any seat to go uncontested.
“Like I said earlier, this is just the beginning and we believe more parties will come and join us so that we can go for all 31 seats.
“We come together as one Sarawak united political force with a shared aspiration, because we believe with strength in numbers, we can achieve more together than just standing alone,” she emphasised.
Soo added that Aspirasi will announce the number of seats the party intends to contest in as well as the potential candidates in due time.
PBDS president Bobby William said initially, the party is aiming at three areas but with Gagasan formed, they will review and discuss again to achieve a mutual understanding on seat allocation.
“This is a new chapter for politics in Sarawak as three local based parties have come together to form a new pact called Gagasan.
“Even though PBDS is an ethnic-based party, with Gagasan, Sarawakians will have the opportunity to choose the party they want to support. Let us Sarawakians embark on a new chapter for the future of Sarawak,” he called on.
Meanwhile, Gagasan spokesperson who is also PBDS permanent chairman Dr John Brian Anthony pointed out that work is still in progress with other local political parties to ask them to join or work together with them.
“Gagasan is not only focused on the coming election but it is something we must have an answer to in order for us to achieve our long term plan to stay for more than one election. It will not be a flash in the pan; you can expect Gagasan to be long term.
“Gagasan will submit its application for registration to the Registrar of Societies (ROS) soon,” he added. — DayakDaily