Best for party hopper Ali Biju to give up state seat in Sarawak polls, say analysts

Saratok MP Ali Biju quit PKR and joined PPBM following the country’s political turmoil in February. (Facebook pic)

KUCHING: A political analyst sees Krian incumbent and federal deputy minister Ali Biju, who switched parties recently, losing his state seat if he decides to defend it in the next Sarawak election.

Universiti Malaya’s Awang Azman Awang Pawi, commenting on Ali officially joining Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s PPBM recently from PKR, contended that PPBM had no strong grassroots in Sarawak.

“This is making it hard for Ali (who is deputy minister of energy and natural resources) to gain support among Sarawakians. It will also be difficult for Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) to help Ali (in the election) as the supporters at the grassroots level in Krian are still with the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP),” he told FMT.

The Krian constituency is one of PDP’s traditional seats in Sarawak. PDP is one of the component parties of the ruling GPS coalition in the state.

Awang Azman Awang Pawi

Earlier, PDP had announced its decision to contest in all its traditional state seats – Meluan, Ba’kelalan, Marudi, Baram, Tasik Biru, Batu Danau, Bekenu, Pakan and Krian.

Yesterday, PDP vice president Penguang Manggil urged Ali, a two-term state assemblyman, not to defend his seat.

Rather, Penguang hoped Ali would look at the bigger picture for a “win-win situation” by supporting PDP in Krian in the election.

In return, he said, PDP was willing to reciprocate by supporting Ali in defending his Saratok parliamentary constituency in the next general election.

Saratok was traditionally contested by PDP but its candidate lost to Ali who stood on the PKR ticket in the last general election.

Ali later quit PKR and joined PPBM following the country’s political turmoil in February.

FMT has been unable to reach Ali for comments.

However, political analyst Jeniri Amir said Ali would be able to retain the Krian seat in the state election even if PPBM was known to be “insignificant” in Sarawak.

“But it will be challenging as PDP will also want to contest. There is also a negative perception among the rakyat because PPBM had recently announced that it will not be contesting in the state election.

“Ali must also rethink (about contesting in Krian) for the sake of his parliamentary seat in Saratok in the next general election.

“The best way for Ali is to compromise with PDP by reaching a win-win situation,” he told FMT.

This would also help give a better picture of the understanding between GPS and PPBM since GPS supports the current federal government which includes PPBM, he said.

On the other hand, Universiti Malaysia Sabah’s (UMS) Lee Kuok Tiung said Ali should not defend his seat in Krian in the state election.

“Ali had won the Krian seat on PKR’s ticket in the last election and a certain portion of his supporters may still be unhappy with him (for quitting PKR and joining PPBM).

“Therefore, it’s better for him to focus on his parliamentary seat in Saratok,” he told FMT.