Malaysia GE15: Parties may look to Sarawak, Sabah for support to form government after polls
Sarawak’s Gabungan Parti Sarawak is one coalition seen as a potential kingmaker, said analysts. It aims to make a clean sweep of all 31 parliamentary seats at the Nov 19 polls.
KUCHING: Political parties in Peninsular Malaysia are likely to look East for support to form a federal government after the upcoming general election.
Sarawak’s Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) is one such coalition seen as a potential kingmaker, said analysts. It aims to make a clean sweep of all 31 parliamentary seats at the Nov 19 polls.
GPS, after a landslide state election last year, has established itself as a force to be reckoned with.
Experts said Sarawak's influence matters, especially in the event of a hung parliament, where support is split evenly between the incumbent and opposition.
SARAWAK, SABAH CAN BE KINGMAKERS
Currently, both Sarawak and Sabah in East Malaysia account for 56 seats in parliament, or 25 per cent of the total 222 seats.
"Whoever comes into power, they would need strong support from East Malaysia. And GPS being a single block, they have good bargaining power,” said Prof Wong Chin Huat, a political scientist from Sunway University in Malaysia.
“So in turn, they use this dominance to extract resources to expand their support in the state."
For now, their strategy will be to stick with what has worked in previous elections.
Santubong MP Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar of the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), which comes under the GPS coalition, said: "I'm certain for GPS and also my party PBB, our campaigning machinery is still there. We can still use our winning strategy, not just for state elections but also for parliamentary seats as well."
Support for the coalition can be found in both rural and urban areas.
"Parties with large majorities usually have done their groundwork and we know their history,” said one resident.
Another resident said: "At our kampung level, the GPS will still have the advantage."
A CLEAN SWEEP OF SEATS “TOO FAR-FETCHED”
However, GPS's ambition to win all the seats in Sarawak could well be a bridge too far, according to some observers.
Bandar Kuching MP Kelvin Yii of the Democratic Action Party (DAP) said: "It is basically political posturing. Every party will show some confidence, but we will leave it to the voters to decide."
Dr Arnold Puyok, a senior lecturer at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, believes winning all the 31 seats is probably “a bit too far-fetched”.
“Because in areas where the Chinese are in the majority, (their thinking) is that they still need to have an opposition,” he added. “They still need the DAP to represent the voice of Sarawakians who are not necessarily in support of GPS' policies."
Meanwhile, analysts do not see the likelihood of any single party holding a simple majority in parliament after this election.
Instead, a grand coalition will likely be created after fierce negotiations.