Sarawak polls likely this year, says deputy CM James Masing

Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister James Masing hopes PAS and PPBM will not contest in the state elections since ‘we’re in the same longhouse now’.

KUCHING: Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister James Masing said the state elections could be held this year.

This year, he reasoned, would be a good time to have the polls as the opposition parties had yet to get themselves together.

He said it would be a “tough fight” between Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and the opposition parties if they were to wait longer for the state polls.

“Once they (opposition parties) are united, we’ll have a tougher fight. At the moment, they are not united,” he said after the presentation of funds for minor rural projects in the Baleh constituency at his office here today.

However, Masing said it was up to the chief minister to call for earlier elections.

He also hoped component parties of the Perikatan Nasional coalition would not contest in the forthcoming state elections.

“I hope PAS and PPBM will not contest in the state elections since we’re in the same ‘longhouse’ now.

“We shouldn’t be fighting with each other,” he said, adding that GPS was likely to fight against PKR and DAP in the coming state elections.

Last month, state assistant minister Abdul Rahman Junaidi had said he was confident the state elections would be held before the Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Gawai celebrations in late May and early June respectively.

In January, Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg had quashed talk of an early state election, saying there was no hurry to hold one in the near future.

Abang Johari, who is chairman of the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak coalition, said the 12th state general election was not due until next year.

“What is the hurry? The term ends in 2021, so it will be in 2021,” he said.

The last state election was held on May 7, 2016 and the next is due only by July next year, but going by past records, the election has always been held a year earlier than the end of the term.