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By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, January 5: Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), as the backbone of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), must win all its 46 seats in the next state election in order to form a formidable government with its political allies in Sarawak.
This would also enable GPS to continue fighting for Sarawak’s autonomy under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), said Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) deputy president Datuk Dr Jerip Susil.
“As far as we are concerned, we look up to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg as the leader who will lead Sarawak. And as he has been very accommodating to us, we, in turn, will stand solidly behind him and to deliver all our five seats come the next state election,” Dr Jerip told DayakDaily today.
He added that even though PSB was not a component of GPS, its five elected representatives had been enjoying all the perks and privileges similar to those of GPS elected representatives.
“On this matter, I would like to concur with what PBB vice-president Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah have said two days ago that PSB is part of GPS, especially with the two of us, Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh and I, being part of the Sarawak Cabinet. So, in a way, it has been seen as a GPS Plus state government,” opined the Mambong assemblyman.
However, he acknowledged that the challenge posed by PH this time would be a daunting task as it now had the backing of the federal government.
“So, with this current political scenario, every seat is crucial for GPS to retain and to fight for in the coming state election,” he said.
When asked to comment on Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) deputy president Dato Sri Richard Riot Jaem’s statement that his party was keen to take back the three Bumiputera seats currently held by PSB, namely Opar, Mambong and Engkilili, Dr Jerip said he would leave the matter to the chief minister.
“He (chief minister) has been very accommodating to us and, because of that, we have the full confidence in him to make a wise decision on seat allocation among GPS Plus members,” he stressed.
On a related issue, Dr Jerip said he was confident that his party could deliver the five seats to GPS as the five seats were entrenched with the elected representatives and his party.
“We have to learn from the bitter experience in Puncak Borneo, where we lost to PH in the last general election. So, in the coming state election, let us hear the voices from the ground and act accordingly to ensure we can retain what we have now and win as many other seats that we have lost,” he said.
In the last general election, BN’s candidate in Puncak Borneo, Jenannoth Senil, lost to PKR’s Willie Mongin. Puncak Borneo covers three state constituencies: Serembu, Mambong and Tarat.
Currently, the so-called GPS Plus state government controls 72 of the 82-seat State Legislative Assembly.
Besides PBB and SUPP, other GPS component parties are Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Progressive Democratic Party (PDP). — DayakDaily