State elections to be held by end of year?

Abdul Karim delivering his speech at the opening of the Sarawak Craft Council Office, Gallery and Retail Outlets at the Sarawak Steamship Building at Kuching.

By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, Sept 9: Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) vice-president Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah believes that the 12th State election will be held by the end of the year.

“Well, it’s an open secret already that it will be held soon. Personally, it will be held by the end of the year. That’s how I see it, by the end of the year because how are we going to have it next year as there are so many events coming up next year,” Abdul Karim told a news conference after officiating the opening of the Sarawak Craft Council Office, Gallery and Retail Outlets at the Sarawak Steamship Building here today.

Abdul Karim also said that it would be better for the Federal government to hold the 15th general election simultaneously with the Sarawak State election.

“Either they follow us or we follow them, if they dissolve parliament earlier than us, then we have to follow them. But then, looking at it, if they want to follow us they have to hold it simultaneously because ours is very close by,” he said.

Abdul Karim was asked to comment on Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s call on Perikatan Nasional (PN) parties yesterday to “work extremely hard as if the election is going to be held tomorrow.”

Abdul Karim, who is also the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture pointed out that the PN-led administration under Muhyiddin needs to seek a stronger mandate from the people in order to be more effective.

“Personally, I feel that the (15th) general election has to be held also in the near future. We cannot have a Parliament where the difference between the opposition and the government of the day is just one or two seats.

“It’s just too risky. If one MP passed away, then there will be a hung parliament.”

“(For us), we can’t say it’s risky because we are ready for it. Not only us, but the opposition is also ready, because they are the one moving on the ground much more than us if you look at their flags,” he said.

When asked to comment on the many local-based parties which were ready to take on the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) in the coming State election, Abdul Karim described them “like mushrooms sprouting out after the rain”.

“In Sarawak it’s common to see that near every election time, quite a number of (political) parties coming up and getting excited and those been deregistered, trying to get themselves registered just for the election.

“I don’t know for what purpose. It’s just a waste of money just (if it’s just) for that. But probably some people want to sell themselves, unfortunately.

On Pas Sarawak’s intention to contest in the upcoming Sarawak state election, Abdul Karim warned the Islamist party not to jeopardise the current working relationship at the federal level.

“We don’t want West Malaysian parties here because west Malaysian parties…any policies, you have to refer to Kuala Lumpur. Kalau Kuala Lumpur kata ini, kata itu (you have to follow every directive from KL), that’s why you have MPKKP, they don’t understand the culture down here. We already have our own JKKK which even the Brooke families respected.

“Then they came here when they who don’t even have any idea what we have and started the MPKKP just to create havoc,” he said.

As such he said, Sarawak leaders were not keen to have PN parties to contest in the coming state election.

“That’s why we don’t want those characters and those kinds of parties to even spread their wings here. Some of them might be friendly with us since they have their cawangan here like Bersatu and Pas. But when it comes to the election, you don’t contest against us. Pas, we are together in the federal government but you must respect us here, we have been managing the state very well. don’t disturb us,” he reiterated.

Meanwhile, Abdul Karim was optimistic that the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) will be able to garner at least a two-thirds of the 82-seats in the State Legislative Assembly.

“We will win handsomely. We will get more than two-thirds. We might win even more than the last State election. Some of the West Malaysian parties might even be wiped out.

“The voters are not stupid and they have more or less have made up their minds. The way I see it the voters will not failed GPS because right from the start when the party was formed, GPS, as a Sarawak-based party, a focus on Sarawak First (Sarawak Diutamakan). Those are very strong words,” he added.

In the last State election held in 2016, the then Barisan Nasional (BN) Sarawak, which GPS’ was part of managed to secure 72 seats.—DayakDaily