Opposition seat negotiation hits brick wall

Political Science Professor Datuk Dr. Jayum Anak Jawan (Photo Credit: Universiti Putra Malaysia)

KUCHING: There is nothing much that Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) has to offer to DAP yet wanting the latter to give way in certain traditional seats in the 15th General Election (GE15).

This has resulted in the negotiations between the two opposition parties in Sarawak having reached a stalemate.

Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) political scientist Professor Datuk Dr Jayum Jawan said any other political parties that wanted to negotiate seats by asking for seats won by DAP, should instead go take a hike.

“DAP-held seats or traditional areas are not up for negotiation any time and every time. Besides, PSB has nothing to offer DAP. Yet they ask for so much in return …,” he said.

According to Jayum, DAP has been consistent (refuse to give up their seats) and it would be quite disappointing if they had conceded anything to PSB or for that matter any political parties that want to partner it in the coming general election.

“I would say that the same argument would explain why DAP and PKR negotiation in Sarawak did not go smoothly then. PKR, like PSB now, has nothing to offer in return. Furthermore, it is a Malayan based party that is not in tune with local sentiment,” he told New Sarawak Tribune.

“Working together means strengthening each other and making greater chances for each other to potentially win seats. It is not about fighting over already potentially winnable seats by each member,” he explained.

Jayum, who is also a Fellow of Academy of Sciences (FASc), was commenting on PSB president Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh, who recently confirmed that talks between PSB and DAP on seats allocation for GE15 have reached a stalemate, after DAP was unwilling to give up on any of their incumbent’s seat.

Wong said that there would be no more negotiations since DAP were so stubborn that they were not even willing to give up one single seat in the urban areas, thus, there was no point negotiating.

However, Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen had described PSB’s demand as ‘unreasonable’, wanting DAP to give up on its incumbents and to be replaced by new faces from PSB.

Jayum said DAP has always been a solo party, hence, there would be nothing to hold it back from moving forward.

“DAP stands to gain not much by collaborating with PSB as the latter does not have grassroots support compared to DAP that has been established over a long period,” he said.

“Besides, PSB does not have any selling point that it could bring to the negotiating table, but merely hopes to pull a rabbit out of thin air,” he added.

In the up-coming general election, Jayum said, DAP would perhaps fear that it might lose its appeal based on its poor performance in the last state election. But this has nothing to do with any other political parties, PSB or PKR.

He said it was just that Chinese urban voters are revolting against DAP for its failure to meet its commitment when it was in and part of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.

“Another reason which contributed to the reduced popularity of DAP among urban Chinese was that SUPP and its president Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian seem to be making ground in enticing urban Chinese to its side through Dr Sim’s practical political approach. SUPP is slowly gaining back the support from the Chinese,” he added.

Sarawak has a total of 31 parliamentary seats with only eight presently held by the opposition – six DAP while PSB has one and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), one.

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