NGO defends DAP’s dual govt-opposition role, citing parties’ right to choose “like PSB did”

Persatuan Pemangkin Daya Masyarakat (ROSE) logo
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By DayakDaily Team

KUCHING, April 23: There is no need for the Democratic Action Party (DAP) to relinquish its federal positions as it is acceptable for a political party to participate in a coalition government at the federal level while also serving as an opposition party at the state level.

Responding to newly appointed Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) senior vice president Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh’s recent remark questioning DAP’s supposed double standards, Persatuan Pemangkin Daya Masyarakat (ROSE) emphasised that political parties have the right to choose their affiliations, just as the now-dissolved Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB), led by Wong, has done.

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ROSE also cited the case of the original Parti Bangsa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS), which was a member of the federal Barisan Nasional (BN) but served as the state-level opposition for years.

“This is the scenario mainly because currently we have what is called a post-election coalition government. Both the DAP with 40 MPs and GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) component parties with 24 MPs in the Dewan Rakyat are part of the unity government formed after the 2022 general election.

“Post-election coalition government simply means that parties come together to form government after an election results in a hung parliament. They can and will contest each other in the next election when Parliament is dissolved. In some other countries this scenario, as faced by DAP, would be commonplace like in Germany,” the citizen-driven non-governmental organisation said in a statement today.

On April 12, Wong, who is also Bawang Assan assemblyman, suggested that all DAP leaders and elected representatives should resign from their positions in both the federal and Sarawak administrations, questioning how one could accept a position in the government while being critical of the same administration simultaneously.

ROSE pointed out that state and federal governments in Malaysia have distinct jurisdictions and powers as outlined in the Federal Constitution, some of which are concurrent.

Post-2018 general election, ROSE said, Malaysians, including Sarawakians, should understand that government coalitions are not always permanent, and a post-election government can legitimately form from a coalition of parties that competed against each other in the same election.

It emphasised that when political parties compete based on policies, there will be more checks on abuse of power and corruption. This competition, it added, also provide voters with better choices during elections and incentivise political parties to compete during elections as well as collaborate afterward.

However, ROSE highlighted that whether DAP or any other national party, like Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), will field candidates against GPS, their coalition partner in the federal government, in the upcoming Sarawak election in 2025/2026 remains to be seen.

“This will be on the voters’ minds. Will there be competition or less competition among political parties? And for the voters, will there be more choices or fewer choices?” ROSE questioned. — DayakDaily

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