PETALING JAYA: Gabungan Parti Sarawak’s landslide victory in the state election shows that the Chinese community is back to supporting the coalition, a political activist said.
Francis Paul Siah said Chinese voters in the state were rallying behind SUPP, a GPS component.
“It also shows that the Chinese opted for stability and experience in governance which they saw in the GPS administration, rather than the messy lot of unknown politicians in the eight opposition parties who were fighting each other,” said Siah who leads the Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS).
He urged PBB to stop “bullying” the party, alluding to the SUPP’s loss of its traditional seats, namely Mambong and Dudong, as one ugly episode before the election which should not have happened.
The two seats were given to the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) and PBB, making it very uncomfortable for the SUPP leadership.
“Now that the Chinese are behind SUPP, they have to give more respect to the SUPP president as the paramount leader for Sarawak Chinese,” he told FMT, referring to Dr Sim Kui Hian, who won re-election in Batu Kawah with an increased majority.
GPS won 76 of the 82 seats yesterday.
Pakatan Harapan, meanwhile, suffered a huge setback in Sarawak with DAP only winning two of the 24 seats it contested while PKR lost in all its 28 seats. Amanah, which contested eight seats, also failed to win a single one.
Political scientist James Chin, who had predicted GPS’ landslide win, said people had been angry with Sarawak DAP for several reasons for some time.
The main reason was that its representatives did not perform well when Pakatan Harapan was in power for 22-months.
“The fact is, a Chinese DAP leader did a bad job at a federal level and voters wanted to send a message,” he said referring to Chong Chieng Jen, who was the deputy domestic trade and consumer affairs minister.
Chin, of the University of Tasmania’s Asia Institute, also said many disliked Chong “personally”.
“People are angry at DAP,” he said, adding that prior to the polls there was an undercurrent that the party would lose its seats.
While GPS’ victory was no surprise, the results raise Abang Johari Openg’s status to that of an “undisputed King of Sarawak politics”.
“GPS will be super confident for GE15.”
Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya says that with the win, GPS could plan for the next general election without needing to join Perikatan Nasional or Barisan Nasional.
“PN and BN will need to be on good terms with GPS, especially for the next GE.”