KOTA KINABALU, Dec 19 — Opposition parties should work together like the Avengers to win the next election in order to rebuild the nation, said Sabah Democratic Action Party (DAP) secretary Phoong Jin Zhe.
He said DAP would have performed better in the Sarawak state election and won another five seats, or up to seven, if it weren’t for split votes as the opposition parties in Sarawak were fighting each other.
Despite winning by a landslide, he said the election outcome did not mean that the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) garnered more than 50 per cent of the voters’ support.
“It is because of split votes among the opposition that allowed GPS to win certain seats with 35 per cent of 40 per cent of the votes.
“GPS could have lost over 10 seats if we add up all the opposition’s votes,” he said in a press conference here on Sunday.
He also dismissed claims that DAP has become irrelevant following Sarawak’s state election outcome, adding that the party has only lost marginally in certain seats.
DAP has only won Padungan and Pending in the 12th Sarawak election, compared to the seven state seats the party secured in 2016.
Phoong, who is also Luyang assemblyman, urged opposition parties to adopt the idea of ‘big tent’ advocated by DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and work together.
“We are all disappointed and unhappy about the current government.
“We are on the same page as Muda (Malaysian United Democratic Alliance) and Warisan (Parti Warisan Sabah).
“We should work together in the next election like the Avengers … all superheroes must work together, only then we can win the election and continue the path to rebuild the nation and make Malaysia great again.”
He said parties have to learn from their mistakes and one of them was unity among the opposition.
“When there is no unity, that means there are differences among political parties.
Phoong said one of the differences was being a local or peninsular-based party, yet he did not believe that was a difficulty faced by the nation.
He said opposition parties should unite, regardless whether they were a local or national party.
“Even now Warisan, the biggest opposition party in Sabah, has spread to Peninsular because they know to change Sabah, you have to change Malaysia. That’s the fact.”
He said Sabah’s situation was unique as the opposition, especially among Warisan, Pakatan Harapan (PH) and DAP, were able to find common grounds.
“We have to evaluate whether our differences are bigger than our common grounds. If that is the case, we will end up like Sarawak. And we do not want that outcome.”
In times of despair and difficulty, opposition parties have to find common grounds and reach consensus on how to rebuild the nation and unite the people, he said.
Furthermore, Phoong pointed out that people were losing faith and hope as opposition parties fought against each other, resulting in lower voter turnout in the Sarawak state election.
“It is not good for the country and does not reflect what the people actually want.
“It is not that DAP has become irrelevant. It is politics that has become irrelevant in people’s lives when they deal with bread and butter.”
On whether DAP is ready to discuss the distribution of seats with Warisan in Peninsular Malaysia, Phoong said it was premature to talk about seats at the moment.
Nevertheless, he viewed positively Warisan’s move to spread its wings to Peninsular Malaysia.
“We want to work with them. We want to find certain grounds we can work with. That’s the most difficult part and we have to start now.”
Meanwhile, Sabah DAP chairman Datuk Frankie Poon said the Sarawak election was something to learn from.
He said the big tent concept was important in order for the opposition to become mainstream political parties.
Also present was DAP veteran and Iskandar Puteri member of parliament (MP) Lim Kit Siang. — Borneo Post