Friday, October 29

Lo: GPS partnership with PAS may influence votes during state polls


George Lo

KUCHING: The decision by Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) to disregard the choice made by a majority of Malaysian voters in the 14th general election may well come back to haunt GPS at the polls, says Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) secretary general George Lo.

He said the decision of GPS to partner with Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) will impact Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) and especially Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP).

Lo believed that voters in Sarawak have rejected PAS at every election that PAS has contested in Sarawak previously.

Lo said SUPP was a Chinese-based party contesting mainly urban seats and it now holds seven seats in the state assembly which it won as part of a Team Adenan landslide victory in 2016.

“All SUPP seats are Chinese majority seats except for Simanggang. As one of the four founders of GPS, SUPP is now seen having agreed to join hands with PAS.

“SUPP leaders have been at pains to say that they are not formally a member of PN as it is not an entity registered with Registry of Societies. But as Ba’kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian noted wryly, it does not matter if you are in a formal marriage or not if you are seen to be in bed together,” he said in a statement.

Lo believed even PRS and PDP must be nervous to be in this partnership with PAS, knowing the feelings of Sarawak voters towards PAS.

He said that may well explain why GPS component leaders were reported to be baffled when told that GPS had entered into a PN Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

“This begs the question whether the leader of GPS (Sarawak Chief Minister and president of PBB) Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg signed the MOU with or without the knowledge of the leaders of PRS, PDP and SUPP.

“But in the end, PRS, SUPP and PDP raised no objection to the statement from Linggi that they are part of Perikatan Nasional (PN),” he said.

Lo said Abang Johari now proclaims that the government in Putrajaya is PN plus GPS, but had forgotten that GPS had only recently said that PN was not a registered entity.

He noted that in truth, it was four parties holding hands in partnership to form the government and they were PPBM, BN, PAS and GPS.

He said today GPS holds many Ministerial and Deputy Ministerial portfolios in the Federal Government because it is the kingmaker.

Lo said GPS secretary-general Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi has confirmed that the state coalition is part of Perikatan Nasional (PN), not merely supporting the newly-cobbled pact as previously reported.

He said indeed, that is obvious from the number of ministerial positions that GPS MPs hold in the federal cabinet – four full ministers, another two special envoys with rank of full ministers and four deputy ministers).

GPS, he noted, was able to get such a large number of Cabinet positions, relative to the number of MPs it controls (only 18), simply because GPS was the party who decided whether PN or Pakatan Harapan (PH) could form the Federal Government.

He believed everyone acknowledges that GPS “was and is the kingmaker between PN and PH”.

“When PPBM chose to withdraw from PH, the government collapsed. Both PH and PN lobbied GPS for support, knowing that GPS held the deciding block of votes.

“As it turned out, GPS chose to rejoin its former partners, Barisan Nasional (UMNO, MCA, MIC) and PAS to form the federal government.

“The reason given by GPS was that it could not work with DAP and it would much prefer to have PAS in government than DAP,” he said.