Can PKR win 18 seats in Sarawak polls? Just wishful thinking, says PBB vice president

Sulok Tawie
Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah speaks during a press conference at St Regis in Kuala Lumpur August 7, 2018. — Picture by Azneal Ishak

KUCHING, Sept 3 — Sarawak politicians are sceptical of Pakatan Harapan (PH) capturing the state government with Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) winning just 18 out of 82 seats in the state election due in 2021.

“It is just wishful thinking,” Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) vice president Datuk Karim Rahman Hamzah said today.

He was responding to a statement by former Pandan Member of Parliament Rafizi Ramli for PKR to win at least 18 seats in the next state election to help PH take over the Sarawak government.

Gabungan Parti Sarawak, the new state coalition made up of former Barisan Nasional members, currently has 67 seats in the state legislative assembly, while PKR has only 3.

Rafizi, who was here to campaign for support among party members in his bid to be deputy president, had said that PKR must aim to be the main party that would form the Sarawak government.

He had said if the state government came under PH, then negotiations with the PH federal government for the return of state’s rights would be more direct.

But Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Youth leader Michael Tiang dismissed Rafizi’s statement, saying that there is no point for Rafizi to talk about winning state seats in Sarawak.

“They have won and become the federal government last May. He should be talking about when the PH federal government is going to give back Sarawak 20 per cent oil royalty and equal status with Malaya in the Federation of Malaysia as they have promised their election manifesto,” he said.

He said Sarawakians are demanding that the PH federal government delivers what it has promised to them.

“They want to see action, not politics,” Tiang said.

Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS Baru) Youth chief Rapelson Hamit warned that voting PH to power in the state election would not lead to Sarawak getting back its rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), which were eroded over the years.

He said if PH is sincere, then there is no need to wait after it gain control of the state administration to start negotiating for the return of the state’s rights.

“They (PH Federal Government) have to do it now to restore the rights of Sarawak under MA63,” he said, adding that PH does not need to wait until 2021 to leverage on it as bait to win more seats in Sarawak.

Rapelson expressed doubt that PH would be able to topple the ruling Parti Gabungan Sarawak (GPS) from power considering that it has failed to fulfil its promises, including giving 20 per cent oil royalty, to Sarawak.

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