KUCHING (Aug 9): Parti Sarawak Bersatu’s (PSB) insistence to field their candidates in parliamentary seats currently held by incumbents from Democratic Action Party (DAP) is like giving the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) ruling coalition a helping hand in the coming 15th general election, said Chong Chieng Jen.
The DAP Sarawak chairman said PSB president Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh’s unreasonable demands that DAP give up on its incumbents and to be replaced by new faces from PSB would only increase the winnability of GPS candidates.
“The demands from Wong, in reality, is seemingly trying to help increase the winnability of GPS candidates in those particular parliamentary seats being contested,” said Chong in a statement issued in Mandarin.
Chong indicated DAP will be answerable to its members and the local constituents should the party accommodate such demands from PSB.
He also explained the purpose of holding negotiations between opposition parties was to field the most winnable candidates in constituencies that are not yet won by the opposition, and not to squabble over parliamentary seats already being held by opposition incumbents.
“In the past two rounds of negotiations (with PSB), Wong insisted that DAP incumbents withdraw themselves from defending their seats (in the next general election) and have PSB candidates to be fielded instead.
“Otherwise, it would be an open fight between PSB and DAP. DAP state central committee is not agreeable to such unreasonable demands from Wong,” said Chong.
From the negotiations conducted with opposition parties in the past elections, Chong said all parties had always respected one principle – that is allowing the incumbents from the respective opposition parties to defend their seats in the next election.
“The logic behind such principle is simple. Since that particular political party had won the parliamentary seat before, the incumbent will enjoy certain advantage more or less when going into the next election.”
Chong reminded there were a total of 31 parliamentary seats in Sarawak, with only eight being held by the opposition. DAP currently holds six seats; PSB, one; and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), one.
“GPS, on the other hand, holds 20 parliamentary seats while three more are held by incumbents who support the ruling coalition,” he said.