KUCHING, Dec 1 — The state DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen today said the party is setting a target in the state election to deny Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) a two-thirds majority in the state assembly.
He said the state DAP wants to provide a stronger check and balance in the state assembly and to pave the way for a change in the state government in future elections.
“We are a party fighting on principles and for good governance. We are also a realistic party,” he said when responding to Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) president Datuk Sri Wong Soon Koh’s statement that the state DAP was more interested in becoming an Opposition party while PSB was targeting to unseat GPS in the state election.
Chong, who is also Stampin Member of Parliament, said no political party wishes only to be in the Opposition, forever, but as a political party, one has to understand the reality and the surrounding circumstances in which it operates.
He said next month’s state election will be carried out under a very restrictive election campaign’s standard operating procedures which will work against the Opposition while GPS can on with their campaigns under the guise of the government programmes.
“Therefore, even if PSB were to be able to work with all Opposition parties, it would still be an uphill battle to defeat GPS, what more when the PSB is going into the elections fighting both the GPS and the other Opposition parties,” he said.
“As a veteran politician, Wong should know this,” he added.
Chong said in the course of negotiation between the two parties on overlapping seats, PSB insists to contest against DAP in seats like Kota Sentosa, Pujut, Meradong and Batu Kitang.
He said PSB appears more like wanting to be a spoiler than winning the election and forming the state government.
“As such, it calls into question the true agenda of PSB, whether it is genuine in wanting to bring about change in Sarawak or just wanting to win a few seats and then return to GPS to be part of the government?” he asked, adding that based on Wong’s statement, it is clear that PSB wants to be the government.
“Given such sole intent, it is likely that once elected, if they do not have the number to form the government (which is almost a certainty), there is all likelihood of hopping, switching camp and joining the GPS.
Chong also asked PSB to name its chief minister-designate if it is serious about forming the next state government.
In a statement on November 28, Wong said he was amused by Chong’s remark that Sarawak needs a strong Opposition in the State Legislative Assembly so that GPS will not have access to a blank cheque.
He asked Chong if he was still talking about wanting to be a strong Opposition.
“With due respect, he can continue to be in Opposition if he so desires but PSB is more interested in becoming a strong government.
“After all, DAP has been in Opposition for over 40 years and maybe Chong is satisfied to continue as Opposition, as usual,” Wong said, adding that PSB believes in replacing GPS as the government.