Good ties between GPS, Dr M a threat to DAP’s survival in Sarawak, say analysts

GPS, a coalition of former BN parties, was formed in June 2018. (Bernama pic)

KUCHING: Any close relationship between the ruling Sarawak coalition and Dr Mahathir Mohamad will be seen as a threat to DAP, said a political analyst in the wake of a statement which lumped Gabungan Parti Sarawak, Umno and PAS into the same group.

Universiti Malaya’s Awang Azman Awang Pawi said as such, it was not surprising that Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen had charged that GPS was a stumbling block towards Pakatan Harapan’s efforts at reforms.

Chong had also labelled GPS, a group of former Barisan Nasional parties which quit the coalition after the 2018 general election, as the third leg of what he said was an “unholy union” between Umno and PAS.

Awang Azman said that the statement should be seen in the context of Mahathir’s close relationship with Sarawak’s ruling politicians, despite being at the forefront to bring down the BN government.

Awang Azman Awang Pawi

“Chong was hoping that Mahathir would change his perception towards GPS after he labeled the party as the third leg of the Umno-PAS ‘unholy union’,” Awang Azman told FMT.

He said a feud between Putrajaya and the Sarawak government would favour DAP in its efforts to topple GPS.

Awang Azman said the charge that GPS was working with Umno and PAS was not a big issue in Malaysia’s ever changing political landscape.

“DAP themselves were allies with PAS but GPS had never turned it into a big issue because politics is dynamic and will change anytime based on current needs and interests,” he said.

He said the focus should be on fulfilling PH’s election promises.

“What are the PH manifesto promises’ status in Sarawak? What is Sarawak PH’s role in fulfilling their election promise to return the 20% oil royalty to the state?” he asked.

His views were echoed by a Sabah-based political analyst, Lee Kuok Tiung.

Lee Kuok Tiung.

Lee said Chong should stop confusing Sarawakians by accusing GPS of being part of the Umno-PAS alliance.

“These are all political rhetoric created by DAP so that it could win in the next state elections,” said Lee of Universiti Malaysia Sabah.

Sarawak must hold state-wide elections by mid-2021. Then-ruling BN had in 2016 won by a landslide, taking 72 out of 82 state seats. DAP meanwhile won seven seats.

During a PH dinner in Kuching last week, Chong accused Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), the lynchpin of GPS, of working hand in hand with Umno and PAS, the two biggest Malay parties which have formed an alliance after the 2018 elections.

Among others, Chong claimed that GPS leaders conspired with Umno and PAS leaders to defeat a constitutional amendment bill in Parliament on restoring the status of Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners under the Malaysian federation.