‘GPS not likely to win all 82 seats’

KUCHING: Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) is set to do well in the coming state election, although a clean sweep is unlikely, say political analysts.

Of the four GPS component parties, only Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) is likely to win all seats it contests, according to Universiti Putra Malaysia political scientist Prof Datuk Dr Jayum Jawan.

“PBB’s Malay/Melanau seats are the safest. In these areas, PBB is not expected to hit rough patches. I expect that they will get a clean sweep of these Malay/Melanau areas,” he added.

In PBB’s Dayak seats, he said there could be some challenges but the party was likely to retain them.

Prof Jayum said the other GPS partners – Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) – would face some difficulties in the polls.

He said PRS had suffered a setback with the death of its president Tan Sri James Masing on Oct 31.

“Some internal politicking and manoeuvring will affect its solidarity as it goes against its opponents,” he added.

As for PDP, he said the party was “stirring trouble” by seeking to contest in some of SUPP’s seats.

“The word on the ground is that the PDP president (Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing), who is the Bintulu MP, is actively seeking to contest in Bawang Assan. This friction could give their opponents some relief.”

However, Prof Jayum said SUPP could rebound and gain a few Chinese seats from DAP with the latter drawing flak from the Chinese community for promising too much in the GE14 campaign and delivering very little when it was part of the Pakatan Harapan federal administration.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg predicted a clean GPS sweep in the state election if it maintained a strong team spirit.

“We are going into the election as a team to uphold Sarawak’s rights and secure the future of Sarawakians. If we go into the battlefield in one spirit, we can sweep all 82 seats,” he said when launching the GPS election machinery at PBB headquarters on Sunday night.

However, political observer Datuk Peter Minos felt GPS would win 72 out of 82 seats.

He said GPS was united, disciplined and well-led going into the polls against a fractured opposition.

“Besides the obvious unity shown in the GPS ranks at the Sunday event which saw top leaders and key supporters of the four parties coming together, there was also confidence in the air that as one solid team it will do well in the election,” he added.

The state election will take place on Dec 18, with nominations on Dec 6.

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