New Sarawak-based political coalition formed to contest seats in state

(Seated from left) Aspirasi president Lina Soo, Sedar president Datuk Othman Abdillah and PBDS Baru president Bobby William signing the MOU to form a new political coalition in Sarawak. — ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE / The Star

KUCHING: Three local Opposition parties in Sarawak have come together to form a new political coalition for the coming general election.

The Sarawak People's Aspiration Party (Aspirasi), Parti Sedar Rakyat Sarawak (Sedar) and Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDS Baru) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Thursday (Aug 18) for the proposed Gagasan Rakyat Sarawak (Gagasan).

Aspirasi president Lina Soo said the three parties are an alternative political force to serve Sarawakians.

She said they also aimed to avoid multi-cornered fights against the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition in the impending 15th general election (GE15).

"We expect other parties to join us and we want to contest all 31 parliamentary seats in Sarawak.

"For Aspirasi, we will announce our number of seats and candidates in due course," she told a press conference during the MOU signing ceremony here.

Sedar president Datuk Othman Abdillah said with the new coalition, the local Opposition parties would not end up contesting against each other.

He also said Sedar would field candidates in the eight Malay/Melanau-majority seats in GE15.

The MOU was facilitated by civil society organisation Sarawak Interest Group, which acted as a bridge to bring the parties together.

Its spokesman John Brian Anthony said Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) and Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) had also been invited to join the new coalition but needed more time to think it over.

He added that Gagasan would apply to the Registrar of Societies (ROS) to be registered as a political coalition.

Meanwhile, a joint statement issued by Soo, Othman and PBDS Baru president Bobby William said their parties unanimously agreed to form the coalition with the intention of using one party logo for GE15.

"We are three political parties with shared values and principles that envision a better future for all Sarawakians.

"We are open to other local political parties who subscribe to the same principles and values," the statement said.

The component parties of the new coalition failed to win any seats at the most recent Sarawak state elections.

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