There are 2 political phenomena implicit in the recently concluded Sabah State Elections. The first is that DAP is still the trusted and preferred choice of the urban voters. The second is the new norms in Malaysian politics, the “king-maker element”.
DAP contested in 7 seats and won 6. Our candidates in the urban areas successfully defended their seats with convincing huge majorities and in 3 of the seats, namely, Likas, Luyang and Kapayan, the opposing BN/PN candidates even lost their deposits. The victory has proven once again, the trust and confidence of the urban voters in DAP.
The second phenomenon is that, to be the King-maker to determine who forms the government, one needs not win 50% of the seats. In Sabah’s 2020 elections, with BN and PN having jointly won 31 seats and Warisan Plus winning 32 seats, the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), having won 7 seats, has become the king maker, the party who determines who shall form the Sabah state government.
Seven out of 73 DUN seats constitute 9.5% of the seats and yet PBS can determine who forms the government of Sabah. This is similar to the scenario in the federal politics where GPS has only 18 Members of Parliament (18 out of 222, 8.1%) and yet is in the position to determine who forms the federal government.
This is the new norm in Malaysian politics. Due to the fact that there are many different blocks of power, it is now more and more difficult for any single party or single coalition to form the government after elections. There are likely to be negotiations and compromises made between opposing blocks before a government can be formed an election. It happened in federal politics, now in Sabah and will likely to happen also in Sarawak after the Sarawak State Elections.
In the coming Sarawak State Elections, there will likely to be 3 main blocks of power, namely GPS, PH and PSB. It may happen that no single one of the 3 will be able to form the state government alone. Even amongst the GPS or the PBB within GPS, there are competing factions which may break like their counterparts in West Malaysia, the BN and UMNO.
In order that DAP and PH be in the driver seat or in a position to negotiate with the other parties should such a scenario happens, DAP must win a substantial number of seats in the coming State Elections. That will be the time when we can dictate terms and conditions for better policies for the State and for the implementation of our ideals for the betterment of the people of Sarawak.
Therefore, it is incumbent upon our members to strive hard to capture as many seats in the coming State Elections as possible. The 2 new branches formed today are both in the areas where a victory for DAP in the coming State Elections is highly possible and their addition will help the party to push past the post in the area.
Last but not least, I express my gratitude and appreciation to the new members who not only continue to support DAP but willing to join the party’s struggle despite us having lost our federal government early this year. This is the time of need for DAP and their participation is definitely an injection of strength and hope to the party and the party’s struggle for the course.
Chong Chieng Jen
DAP Sarawak Chairman