Local coalition Gasak eyes 50 seats in next state election

Lina Soo

By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, Oct 1: Aspirasi will contest in at least 20 seats while its two coalition partners in Gasak will vie for another 30 seats in the upcoming state election due by July 2021.

Sarawak People’s Aspiration Party (Aspirasi) president Lina Soo, said Gabungan Anak Sarawak (Gasak) which is made up of Aspirasi, Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDSB) and Sarawak Workers’ Party (SWP) will focus on 50 rural and sub-urban seats.

“We (Gasak) hope to go for at least 50 seats. And Aspirasi will go for 20 seats which will focus on urban and sub-urban seats. Our coalition partners will take on the remaining 30 seats consisting of therural and sub-urban seats,” Soo told DayakDaily in an exclusive interview here today.

Soo, which is Gasak’s pro tem chairperson, reiterated that Gasak’s main aim was to prevent both Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and Pakatan Harapan (PH) from forming the next state government on their own.

On Aspirasi, Soo said it has been active on the ground and that the response has encouraging.

“The response has been very encouraging. We have been moving on the ground over the past two months,” she said.

On Gasak, she said, the three-member pact has applied to the Registrar of Societies (ROS) for approval and hoped the status could be used for the coming state election.

“But all three Gasak member parties have been registered with ROS and all the symbols could be used in the coming election,” she said.

Soo also hoped that the Gasak coalition could be further strengthened with other parties such as Parti Sedar Rakyat Sarawak (Sedar), Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) and Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK).

“We also invited them to join us to form an alternative force. But so far, there is no positive response from them,” she highlighted.

On the remaining 32 seats, Soo said, the Gasak coalition will leave it to Sedar as most of these seats are Malay/Melanau majority seats.

“There is no cooperation with Sedar, but we leave those seats to them. We have invited Sedar to be with us but it is said they wanted to go at it alone and they want to go for all the 82 seats,” she said.

Soo pointed out that Aspirasi and its Gasak coalition partners were focusing on the 50 seats which they deemed they have a chance to win.

“We are going for these (50) winnable seats,” she said, adding that in Sarawak’s history there has not been any single party which has formed the state government by itself.

“Even PBB (Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu), which is now the strongest party also needs partners in GPS,” she said.

On a related issue, Soo hoped that the state election would not be held this year due to the prevalence of Covid-19 as shown by the Sabah election where there was a spike in the number of Covid-19 cases.

“I think the time for the state election is as close to the deadline as possible to avoid the spike in Covid-19 cases. At the same time, I believe that there will be vaccines available by the end of the year,” she added.

Soo, who will contest the Padungan seat, explained that Gasak advocated the use of Sarawak’s former flag with the crown as its logo which she said symbolises Sarawak’s sovereignty.

“Sarawak used the flag from 1946-1974. It was our flag for about 27 years. In 1963, when we has our first government, this was our flag,” she explained.

Meanwhile, Soo was optimistic that both her party and Gasak can make a breakthrough this time around.

“In democracy, may the best man wins. Whatever is the voters’ choice, it’s their choice which is good for democracy.

“And if there is a five-cornered fight, so be it. So, it will be a level playing ground. So anybody can win,” she added. — DayakDaily