MIRI: Sarawak DAP says that the independent Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) political bloc has become a powerful political force that could impact the outcome of the 12th Sarawak state election, says Tanjung Batu assemblyman Chiew Ching Sing.
The state's longest-serving DAP veteran assemblyman said Sarawak DAP's pre-election observation was that PSB was already making headway in numerous urban and sub-urban state constituencies controlled by the ruling state government.
"PSB is already making a powerful impact against the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) in numerous constituencies in northern Sarawak and the central region.
"This is making GPS leaders very nervous.We in Sarawak DAP are watching this interesting development very closely," he said.
The seven-term state assemblyman said the manner in which GPS leaders were attacking PSB leaders showed that PSB was a threat in this run-up to the polls, adding that the political bloc has a powerful president in Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh.
"Wong was with the state government for almost four decades, holding many high posts such as the second finance minister's portfolio.
"He was with the Sarawak United People Party in Barisan Nasional for decades;He quit and formed his own party (United Peoples Party and then changed the name to PSB). He knows the state government inside out," said Chiew.
Asked if DAP would work with PSB, Chiew said only the highest level of DAP leaders could comment on this.
Even the Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB), the backbone of ruling state government Gabungan Parti Sarawak, views their former colleagues in PSB as real threats this 12th state elections.
In closed-door meetings at the PBB northern Sarawak assembly in Miri last weekend, PSB was mentioned numerous times as credible threats to PBB.
Even PBB president Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said PBB's ground election machinery must keep a close watch on PSB.
PSB is largely made up of former GPS colleagues during the Sarawak Barisan Nasional era. The party has in its ranks former ministers and assistant ministers as well as grassroot chiefs who were once with Sarawak Barisan.
There are talks of snap polls this November, and barring any serious setbacks the election could take place in the second half of November.
Sarawak is the only state that holds its state election separately from the parliamentary polls and the current state assembly term ends in June next year.
Of the 82 state seats, GPS, which comprises PBB, Parti Rakyat Sarawak, Progressive Democratic Party and Sarawak United Peoples Party, controls 68, while PSB, an independent political grouping, has six seats.