COMMENTARY, Jan 23 — There is a saying which goes: Strike while the iron is hot.
Similarly, the political situation now calls for Sarawak to hold state elections as soon as possible while the people — including Sarawakians — are fed up with Pakatan Harapan's (PH) federal leadership.
The just-concluded Kimanis parliamentary by-election in Sabah reflects the extent of the dissatisfaction.
After the Tanjung Piai parliamentary by-election in Johor where the opposition Barisan Nasional (BN) thrashed PH, not many people thought the sentiments would be similar in Sabah and to a certain extent probably Sarawak.
The Warisan-led Sabah government realised too late that Sabahans too understand national politics and their needs are the same as those in the Peninsula.
Then there is the issue of autonomy, of course; some matters which they want to handle on their own minus the interference of federal powers or leaders.
Sabahans have shown their feelings but the state leaders and Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal may take it as irrelevant since Kimanis is just one out of 25 parliamentary seats. The Sarawak state government, however, should take advantage of the situation.
Sarawak state elections is scheduled for May next year which is a little more than a year from now and PH is aiming to wrest the state from Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).
At present GPS has 72 of the 82 state seats and PH's — in particular DAP — plans to control the state seems impossible at present but the federal government can make the state leadership miserable with its control from the centre.
Moreover, the state government led by Chief Minister Datuk Abang Johari Openg has been making demands on several issues which the Federal government seems to not like at all.
Datuk Johari should take advantage of the situation now where PH seems to be in disarray and not united after experiencing five parliamentary and one state by-election defeats.
PH leaders seem to be at each other’s throats while the prime minister-in-waiting’s men are frantically strategising on how to end Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s term as fast as possible.
The impression is that Dr Mahathir is losing control of his ministers as well as the parties in the coalition.
The infighting in the coalition has diverted focus on developing the nation and most importantly fulfilling the general election pledges contained in the manifesto.
The people’s resentment is due to the rising cost of living and the flip-flop decisions on several matters which give the impression that PH Cabinet ministers are not on the same page with each other.
While the feeling on the ground is against the ruling PH, Datuk Johari should call for a state election now and not wait till next year as GPS can be assured of a resounding victory.