“Mother of all elections” brewing in Sarawak

Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi

By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, Sept 28: The coming Sarawak’s state election due by 2021, dubbed as the ‘mother of Sarawak elections’ by political pundits will undeniably see a multi-cornered fight between Pakatan Harapan (PH), Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), local-based parties such as Parti Rakyat Bersatu (PSB), Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) and Sarawak Baru, which consists of Star and Sarawak Workers Party (SWP).

This will most probably be the case in all the 82 seats up for grabs.

By analysing these political parties, one could not help but to conclude that it will be a fierce contest between the PH-led federal government versus the GPS-led Sarawak government.

Among the remaining parties, only PBK has an ultimate agenda with its slogan to secede from the federation of Malaysia that could upset both PH and GPS.

However, the remaining parties such as PSB, Sarawak Baru and independent candidates could not be ruled out to cause upset to both PH and GPS as proven in past elections.

According to political analyst Associate Professor Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi of University Malaya, the inevitable clash between these parties will benefit GPS which is seen as a middle way between PH, which is Malaya-based parties, and the pro-independent PBK.

“In the event of a multi-cornered fight, PH and GPS will benefit. But in GPS strongholds, a multi-cornered fight could cause major split in PH and this will be an advantage to GPS,” he told DayakDaily today.

Awang Azman stressed that should the state election be held now, GPS will have the upper hand as there is a major crack in PH due to succession issue and its many u-turn policies.

“And with GPS fighting for greater autonomy for Sarawak under Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), it would be a daunting task for PH to fulfill its promises to Sarawak, especially with the 20 per cent oil royalty,” he said.

“If PH can deliver this particular promise and other promises they have made to Sarawak, then voters may get spoiled for choice,” he added, referring to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s remarks in New York yesterday (Sept 27) that it would be impossible for Petronas to give the 20 per cent oil royalty to Sarawak and Sabah.

“So, the coming Sarawak state election would be very interesting as it is seen as another ‘Mother of all Sarawak elections’ as it will pit Sarawak versus the federal government for the first time,” he highlighted.

As for the other parties and independent candidates, even though they could cause upsets in certain areas, the Kuching-born associate professor observed that they could be best described in Malay proverb, “Seperti cendawan tumbuh selepas hujan” (literally means “mushrooms that sprout after it rains”.

Up for grabs would be 36 Dayak-majority seats, 30 Malay/Melanau-majority seats and 16 Chinese-majority seats.

Among the 36 Dayak-majority seats, the Ibans have 22 seats; the Bidayuhs (eight) and the Orang Ulus (six). As for the Malay/Melanau majority seats, the Malays have 22 seats and the Melanaus have eight.

Currently, GPS commands 68 seats, out of which, GPS linchpin, PBB controls 46 seats; PRS (11), SUPP (7), PDP (3) and one partyless; Datuk Dr Jerip Susil of Mambong, who has remained coy over which party he will join.

For the remaining 14 seats; PH has 10 and the remaining four belongs to PSB.— DayakDaily