‘Much at stake for BN’

Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum

KUCHING: Barisan Nasional should consider Gabungan Parti Sarawak’s (GPS) intention to contest every parliamentary seat in Sarawak in the next general election when deciding whether to accept Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM), say state party leaders.

Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum said while PBM – led by Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin – was free to apply to join any coalition, Barisan should carefully consider the party’s application in view of GPS’ resolve to field candidates in all 31 parliamentary seats.

“If PBM joins Barisan and they put up a candidate (in Sarawak), that means they will go against GPS.

“So which do they consider more important, the one seat or all 31 seats?

“I’m not saying Barisan should not accept PBM, but those are the considerations they should think about,” he said when contacted.

Salang was referring to the Julau parliamentary seat, which is currently held by PBM’s Larry Sng.

Sng won in Julau as an Independent in the last general election and joined PKR shortly afterwards, but left the party in February last year and subsequently formed PBM.

PBM’s other MP is Steven Choong, of Tebrau, Johor.

Both Sng and Choong formed PBM on Nov 19, 2021, after their departure from PKR.

Zuraida, who is Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) Minister, was among 11 PKR MPs who quit the party after the “Sheraton Move”, which brought down the Pakatan Harapan government in February 2020. She later joined Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia before defecting to head PBM.

PRS is a component party of GPS, along with Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) and the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP).

PBB vice-president Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said GPS would not compromise with any party on contesting all 31 parliamentary seats, whether they were friendly to the coalition or not.

“If Barisan accepts PBM, then Sng will have to accept the fact that he won’t be placed as a Barisan candidate in Sarawak.

“I am sure Barisan will not want its good relationship with GPS to be sacrificed just because of one person,” he said.

PBM is one of six parties whose applications to join Barisan are being considered by the coalition’s secretariat.

Barisan currently comprises Umno, MCA, MIC and Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah.

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