Analysts see PH gearing up for Sarawak polls

The Sarawak state election must be held by May 2021.

KUCHING: Two political analysts see the federal government’s recent attacks on the Sarawak administration as a sign that Pakatan Harapan (PH) is making early preparations for the state election, which must be held by May 2021.

Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya and Lee Kuok Tiung of Universiti Malaysia Sabah said the latest attacks appeared to be more aggressive than what would be considered normal in the Malaysian practice of disparaging one’s political opponents.

They were referring to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s warning that the state was heading for bankruptcy and Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin’s claim that Sarawak was the only state that had not provided land for her ministry to build affordable houses.

Lim has been denounced by several members of the Sarawak administration for allegedly assuming the state had not planned to generate income, and Zuraida’s statement has been rebutted by Sarawak Local Government and Housing Minister Sim Kui Hian, who said the state had presented 10 parcels of land to her ministry, enough to build about 12,000 houses.

Azman told FMT the attacks could even be considered reckless, adding that PH could be trying to distract the people’s attention from several sex videos that allegedly feature a federal minister, or attempting to cover up its own failures in managing the economy.

“The unpromising outlook for our country’s economy and the falling price of palm oil and rubber must be covered up by the federal government,” he said.

He also mentioned the high cost of living, a lack of job opportunities and an increased outflow of money from the country.

Lee described Gabungan Parti Sarawak, the coalition that rules the state, as a strong administration, but he said Sarawak PH was nevertheless confident of winning the state election.

To PH, he added, winning the Sarawak election would be like hitting the jackpot as the state’s reserve stands at RM30 billion.