Open contest also means we can run in your seats, PBB leader warns Tiong King Sing

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUCHING, May 24 — Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) has the final decision on seat allocations for component parties, Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) vice president Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said today.

He said it was Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) president Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing’s opinion that any component party cannot claim to continue contesting in their traditional seats in future state and federal elections.

“If that is his view, and if he wants to champion in that way, it must be brought to the GPS supreme council so it will not cause ill-feelings among the other component parties,” Karim, who is also the state Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister, told reporters at his office.

He was asked to respond to Tiong’s speech made at a gathering in Engkilili two days ago.

He said Tiong must also bear in mind that the moment “you feel that you want to go for an open contest which includes intruding into areas of other component parties in GPS, you are also opening up your backyard. Your backyard is also open.”

“If you want to open up, then you must be sure whether you can sustain in you own area,” he said, saying that ‘your party (PDP) might even be completely wiped out, if you are not careful’.

“Probably Tiong is very much influenced by what is happening in other parts of the world. We bring that kind of politics down here for the coalition government to be formed after the election.

“We will see which party wins the most number of seats, then it has the right to form the government and appoint who should be the premier of Sarawak.

“If that is what you want, we will see. We will see about it. Whether you (PDP) can sustain or not,” Karim said.

Karim said he welcomes PDP to contest in his Asajaya state constituency or “we can contest in your areas because it is an open game.”

He explained that the GPS component parties all this while have been able to work nice with each other, to make sure that all of them win seats in the state or general elections.

“If we can maintain that, the people will be happy, so we should maintain it. That is my personal view,” he said.

Karim said Tiong’s view could be acceptable elsewhere, but not in Sarawak.

He said he has watched a video of Tiong’s remarks, including the part where he said GPS component parties should not have any traditional seats.

“It is a very strong statement and personally I feel that the only person who can answer and solve the matter is Tiong himself, but if we look at Sarawak, before every state or federal elections, we rely on the final decision made by the coalition parties, before this it was the Barisan Nasional and after 2018, by GPS,” he said.

He said the decision who to contest or which party to nominate candidates is decided before the state or general elections.

He said if a component party is strong in certain constituencies, there is no need to replace it with another component party.

Karim said GPS candidates are picked after studying reports from many sources, such as the police, civil servants, community leaders and the voters themselves.

He said the reports are compiled not two or three months before the state or general elections, but over a number of years to ensure that the candidates are winnable.

In the video, Tiong was heard saying that there were no more traditional seats for the GPS parties.

He said PDP seats had been taken by other component parties in the past, but opted not to fight back.

He said the question of traditional seats should not have arisen as the GPS leadership has the best formula to solve the problem.