PBB veep to PDP chief: Alienating traditional seat concept may jeopardise S’wak’s political stability

Abdul Karim speaks during a press conference at Baitulmakmur 2 building on May 24, 2024.

By Shikin Louis

KUCHING, May 24: Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) vice president Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah has warned that while Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) president Dato Sri Tiong King Sing’s recent statement on alienating the concept of traditional seats in politics is reasonable, the move may jeopardise political stability of Sarawak.

He noted that the concept of traditional seats is not relevant in other parts of the world because the coalition government is usually formed only after the election.

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However, in the political landscape of Sarawak and Malaysia in general, a political coalition like the then Barisan Nasional (BN) of Sarawak or the current Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) would determine the seat allocation among its component parties prior to any elections.

“If a particular constituency is already a stronghold of a particular component party, why should we open the seat (for contest) among the component parties?

“If we open it up for contest among the component parties, there is a big possibility that we would not be able to defend the seat from being taken by other political parties.

“That is why we limit it only to one candidate (from GPS), and we will give full support to the party he or she is from. That is also democracy,” he told a press conference at Baitulmakmur 2 building in Petra Jaya here today.

He further said the agreement reached between political allies in distributing seats prior to the election had become the main reason why Sarawak was able to achieve the current political stability and allow the Sarawak government to focus on developing the region and the wellbeing of the people.

“So, why should we rock the boat? If you have more or less a good (political) equilibrium or system, just leave it that way,” he added.

Nevertheless, he did not reject the idea of a political coalition to alienate the concept of traditional seats and review the seat allocation if a certain component party entrusted to defend its seat has not been able to do its job well.

“But so far, that is not really happening. Presently, we can see that out of 82 State constituencies, 79 are under GPS, which includes areas where the majority are the Dayaks, Melayu, Melanau, and Chinese.

“Therefore, Tiong’s statement is of his personal views, which I believe if he really wants to fight for the idea (of alienating traditional seats), he should bring this matter up to the GPS Supreme Council so that it will not cause discomfort to other component parties.

“However, he must bear in mind that the moment you feel that you want to go for an open contest which includes intruding into areas of other component parties in GPS, you are also opening up your backyard and should be prepared to defend it,” he pointed out.

As of now, he revealed that there has been good discussion among GPS top leadership with regard to the controversial entry of three members of the now-dissolved Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) into PDP but refused to comment any further.

On a reporter’s query whether Tiong’s statement was a pre-emptive move to protect the latter’s Dudong seat, Abdul Karim brushed off the comment, stating that Tiong won the seat with a very good majority in the 2021 Sarawak Election.

Aside from traditional seat strategy, he said GPS would conduct a groundwork lasting a few years before any elections to determine whether the elected representative has been serving his or her people well and whether he or she deserves to be given the opportunity to defend the seat. — DayakDaily

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