KUCHING: Following its big win at the state polls today, Gabungan Parti Sarawak is expected to continue being a kingmaker when it comes to forming the next federal government after the next general election.
GPS won 76 out of 82 seats according to unofficial results, guaranteeing the ruling coalition another five-year tenure.
The results also confirm observers’ predictions that GPS was getting stronger in Sarawak and could win more parliamentary seats in GE15.
While there were doubts as to whether the coalition could match the 72 state seats it won in 2016, especially with the emergence of newcomer Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB), the final results show that voters in the state were by and large backing GPS.
PSB fielded 70 candidates but won only four seats according to results.
Party president Wong Soon Koh retained his Bawang Assan seat while Baru Bian successfully defended Ba’Kelalan. See Chee How won Batu Lintang and Johnical Rayong Ngipa retained Engkilili.
The opposition parties took a thrashing. In 2016, DAP had won seven seats while PKR won three. But official results show that DAP had only won two of 24 seats contested, Padungan and Pending, while PKR lost in all its 28 contests, a repeat of its disastrous outing at the Melaka elections. Amanah also lost in all its eight contests.
The poor performance of DAP and PKR followed reports of tense relations between the two parties, which could also be observed at the national level.
The heavy defeats of the Pakatan Harapan partners will no doubt once again bring Anwar Ibrahim’s leadership into question as the coalition’s chairman.
Local parties PSB and Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) failed to threaten GPS despite contesting in at least 70 seats each. The results show that Sarawak has yet to raise an opposition bloc strong enough to challenge the ruling coalition.
PBK’s message of independence, which it claimed was gathering traction in rural areas, failed to win voters overall. However, the small party did manage to garner more votes than PH components in some seats.