Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing

KUCHING: Banking on “traditional seats” alone would spell trouble for Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) in the next state election.

Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) president Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing cautioned that “political parties should not cling on to electoral seats simply because they were allocated to them in the past”.

Tiong, Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to People’s Republic of China, suggested that “seat-swapping” could be done among GPS components to ensure the coalition would nominate only the best among the list of potential candidates for the seat.

Candidates who are without strong grassroots support should not be placed in a particular seat merely because the seat was traditionally allocated to the party he represented, he told news portal DayakDaily in an interview.

Tiong, who is Bintulu MP, said a winnability factor, based on solid track record of the chosen candidate should be accorded top priority.

He said the candidate should be chosen on the premise that he or she is the most able to secure that seat.

“We should be working based on the principle of power sharing and consensus. And this means that candidates must be fielded in seats with the highest chances of winning, even if this means swapping seats with other component political parties.

“PDP’s candidates will be judged on their capabilities and I believe the GPS leadership would be able to see the good work that has been done by them. There is no need for us to paint a rosy picture for the GPS leaders in order to prove our worth,” he added.

Tiong warned that GPS would risk losing seats should component members insisted on the rigid old principles.

“Even if we swapped seats, it would not automatically lead to any party having fewer seats. At any time, we must adhere to power sharing and working via consensus to maintain harmony and unity,” he added.

According to Tiong, there was this unhealthy trend among politicians who attempted to cheat their leaders by giving pleasing sounding news to them without concrete track record.

“If you don’t have a good track of serving the people or have any kind of solid grassroots support, you might as well retire from politics and allow other more willing and competent people to take over the job,” he said.