KUCHING: Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) is a strong contender for all six parliamentary seats allocated to the party in the previous general election.
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) Faculty of Language and Communication academician Dr Ammar Redza Ahmad Rizal however stressed that the party should not be complacent.
He said the real challenge for PRS would be candidates from Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) and possibly independent candidates as well.
“The last election really showed how close PSB was able to challenge candidates from PRS in some seats.
“If their elected representative is not performing in the next couple of years prior to the 15th general election (GE-15), PRS will have an intense battle in four of the six parliamentary seats, namely Selangau, Kanowit, Julau, and also Lubok Antu,” he said.
He was asked for his views on PRS secretary-general Datuk Janang Bungsu’s recent assertion that the six parliamentary seats allocated to PRS to contest in the previous general election were not up for negotiation.
Ammar said PRS should be pragmatic.
“There is a reason why YB Larry (Julau MP Larry Sng) and YB Jugah (Lubok Antu MP Jugah Muyang) were elected in the past election. It should be a sign from the voters in those constituencies.
“However, if they are confident that the recent state election could be a litmus test for their future performance in GE-15, then PRS should be firm in their decision,” he said.
He pointed out that the political fate of Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM) was on the edge, while hoping for Barisan Nasional (BN) to accept them.
On another note, he said a true challenge for PRS was to show that they could champion issues related to the Iban community.
“As a product from Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) and earlier from Sarawak National Party (SNAP), most issues associated with PRS are related to ethno-nationalism amongst the Iban community,” he said.
He said another vital issue was related to leadership either within PRS or in terms of the positioning of PRS among other component parties in Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).
“However, I believe that if PRS is able to resolve some very crucial issues such as the economic circumstances of the Ibans, employability, as well as education, this will sway voters’ attention from the ethno-nationalism issue towards economic and livelihood issues.
“If PRS could tackle this, it will put the party at a greater advantage compared to its contenders,” said Ammar.