BINTULU, May 27 — Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) president Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing yesterday explained that his recent remarks on ‘legacy seats’ were based on the fundamental changes in the modern political landscape.

In a statement, he said his remarks made at a recent Gawai gathering had been misinterpreted by the media and political leaders, resulting in unnecessary controversy.

“The reactions to my recent statements at the Engkilili Gawai celebration should not be blown out of proportion. My intention and words were based on fundamental changes in the modern political landscape, where traditional notions of electoral seats are outdated.

“Between winning and losing, being accepted by local voters is the decisive factor,” said the federal minister, who is Bintulu MP and Dudong assemblyman.


He added that despite media queries, there was no need for him to respond to counter-remarks made by Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) vice president Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

Abdul Karim had told a press conference in Kuching on Friday that if Tiong no longer believed in legacy seats, PDP would have to be prepared to face off against its Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition partners in future elections.

“If you (PDP) want it that way, then this means that you can contest in my area, and we can also contest in your area. Because it’s an open game,” the Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister told reporters.


On Saturday, Datuk Sebastian Ting, the secretary-general of GPS component Sarawak United People’s Party, said it would be ‘foolish’ to change the coalition’s winning formula in the allocation of seats during elections.

Ting had agreed with Abdul Karim that it was paramount to maintain stability and avoid making controversial or drastic changes that could disrupt the current order in GPS.

Explaining further, Tiong said the political notion of traditional or legacy seats no longer serves as a standard because it was crucial for the people to choose the individual representatives they know and trust.

“Our party has relinquished the claim to so-called traditional seats in the past, understanding that decisions are made for the greater good. As politicians, we should grasp the importance of grassroots opinion and focus on economic growth and local development.”

He said this should not be a contentious issue as the priority now is to promote economic growth and local development, and to meet the expectations of the people in regard to the performance of their elected representatives and the government.

“For instance, in my portfolio of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, the ministry is actively seeking rural attractions to develop the local tourism scene and spread the economic benefits to rural areas. Improving people’s lives and livelihoods will stimulate local economic development, which will truly benefit the people.

“On the contrary, political distractions only hinder societal progress and fail to address the current challenges faced by people. With national and Sarawak elections concluded, we should refrain from unnecessary debates on these issues,” he said. — The Borneo Post