KUCHING: Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) can win 25 seats of the 31 parliamentary seats, thanks to strong "Sarawak First" sentiments in the state, says analysts and a veteran politician.
Universiti Malaya Assoc Prof Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi said Sarawak could also bag an extra few seats, pushing the number up to 27-28 seats if GPS continues to match the energy they have been putting out in the last two weeks.
“Sarawakians' sentiments towards GPS is high because they are currently one of the parties that have been fighting for the rights and needs of Sarawakians under their slogan ‘Sarawak First’.
“This, from my observations, has certainly been well received,” he said.
He added that initiatives carried out by Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg have also been proven successful.
“We have been able to see a good sense of acceptance towards GPS in areas such as Stampin and Sarikei. This also shows the voting trends among Chinese voters have started to change.
“I believe it is because GPS’ economic and educational policies are well received by the Chinese voters,” he said.
However, Awang Azman said GPS’ trajectory also depends on the acceptance of voters under the age of 39, who represent 51% of voters.
“If more than 75% of them turn out to vote, they can give an advantage to Pakatan Harapan and GPS to compete more competitively,” he said.
Meanwhile, Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) veteran Datuk Peter Minos said GPS could achieve its target of winning 26 of the 31 parliamentary seats in the state, thanks to the strong "Sarawak First" sentiment among voters.
"This is the current mood of Sarawakians. They feel safer with GPS, which has the advantage of incumbency and a ruling team that is actively doing things for the people, as well as safeguarding Sarawak's rights and interests.
"There is little that the Opposition has to offer besides finding fault and playing up rhetoric," he said.
Minos added that a good performance in GE15 would give GPS a stronger voice in Parliament and federal politics.
He said GPS would play a key role in determining which peninsular coalition would form the next Federal Government.
"I see Barisan Nasional, Pakatan Harapan and Perikatan Nasional each not getting the minimum 112 seats (for a simple majority).
"Here is where GPS will exert itself to do heavy bargaining for Sarawak and make terms to its advantage," he said.
On the other hand, political analyst Dick Lembang Dugun believes the battle between the parties have panned out well enough over the last 14 days.
“A general election is not the same as a state election, as the sentiments of the voters may be different. However, at the moment, things look like they are going as predicted,” he said.
As for GPS, he said they have a chance of repeating their performance as they did in the Sarawak state elections that took place less than a year ago.
However, he cautioned that voter sentiments should also be taken note of if they would like to retain their winning in GE15.
“As I have always said, anything can happen when it comes to an election as big as GE15. I guess we'll just have to wait and see,” he said.