THERE has been a surge in activities by opposition politicians on the ground in the semi-rural areas in Sarawak.
In what is obviously a preparation by them to face the impending state election, many opposition figureheads from Peninsular Malaysia have been frequenting Sarawak in recent months.
Their visits and ground activities have picked up pace in recent weeks.
There are now voices of concern and worries among ordinary Sarawakians over the emergence of PAS leaders who are coming in teams into Sarawak from their bases in Kelantan and Terengganu.
A local community leader in the outskirts of Miri said he was concerned that these PAS people from the peninsula states might bring radical ideological beliefs into Sarawak.
Not just political beliefs but also radical religious ideologies.
Indeed, PAS has become very active and vocal in the villages and longhouses in the semi-rural fringes of northern Satawak.
In what was a show of how serious the party is in wanting to make a breakthrough into the Sarawak political arena, PAS has already identified potential candidates for state constituencies it wants to contest in the approaching polls.
A delegation of PAS top guns came to Sarawak and spent three days talking about state election preparations last week.
PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang, deputy president Muhammad Sabu, secretary general Datuk Mustapha Ali, party national information chief Datuk Mahfuz Omar and the central leaders visited Miri and Bintulu divisions and shortlisted candidates for four state seats the party is eyeing.
Sarawak PAS deputy commissioner Jofri Jaraiee confirmed to Sarawak Metro that the party was eyeing Jepak and Samalaju in Bintulu Division and Lambir and Senadin in Miri.
He said a shortlist of two candidates for each seat had been drawn up.
The state election is due by June next year but there is talk that polling may be called towards the end of this year.
Jofri said PAS was serious in wanting to bring about a “better administration” in Sarawak.
“We have already identified highly capable and qualified persons to be the party’s candidate for the state constituencies we will be contesting in.
“Our national top leaders, including the party president and deputy prsident and secretary general, have visited Bintulu and Miri and are pleased with the progress we have made in our ground preparations to face the coming state election.
“We have shortlisted two candidates for each of the state seats we will contest,” he said in an email.
Jofri said PAS was eyeing another six seats in other parts of Sarawak.
However, these six seats were the subject of negotiation with the other Pakatan leaders, he added.
While PAS leaders have the democratic right to come to Sarawak as they want to, they must understand the sentiments of the local Sarawakians.
People in Sarawak have never encountered major issues as far as race and religion are concerned.
If PAS were to come into Sarawak and spread its brand of beliefs, for example the implementation of hudud, then its presence in Sarawak will only bring negative consequences.
That party will only serve to split Sarawakians and cause discord.
Its presence will not be of a positive kind.
The recent incident in Miri whereby two SMK Lutong teachers transferred here from Kelantan had tried to illegally convert a Form One Christian girl showed just how negative things can get.
That incident caused a major uproar among the Christian Dayak groups in Miri.
Luckily the Education Ministry quickly transferred the two teachers out of SMK Lutong and subsequently out of Sarawak.
Sarawakians are worried that the aggressive move by PAS to venture into more territories in Sarawak may cause tension and problems relating to race and religion.
These uneasy stirrings on the ground will surely increase in the coming months as the state polls get closer.