Search begins for S'wak state polls candidates

MIRI: The year 2019 will see a surge in political activities in Sarawak as parties in the state from both sides of the political divide start their preparations for the next state elections.

The process of identifying candidates for the 82 state seats have started.

Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) deputy president Datuk Nelson Balang Rining and Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) information chief Adam Yii and Sarawak DAP deputy chairman Chiew Ching Sing said today that ground efforts had been set in motion to identify the best candidates.

Balang is being singled out by his party as the candidate to take on Sarawak PKR chairman Baru Bian in the Bakelalan state seat.

Balang told The Star that the process of identifying the best candidate was a statewide process.

“Yes, the selection of candidates have started, and this marks the start of preparations to face the next state elections,” he said.

Yii also said SUPP was already on the ground in its quest for winnable candidates.

“State election preparations and identifying candidates have started,” he told The Star.

Chiew also told The Star that his party was already grooming their candidates.

"We are preparing for any possibility as far as the Sarawak election is comcerned.

"In Sarawak, we in Pakatan Harapan do not call the shots since Gabungan Parti Sarawak is in power.

“It is not likely that GPS will call for such an early state polls this year but we in PH cannot be sure. We have to be ready for surprises in politics,” he said.

Chiew is State Assemblyman for Tanjung Batu.

The 12th state polls only have to be called by June 2021. However, there are talks circulating of possible early polls.

PDP, SUPP, Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) and Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) are in the Gabungan Parti Sarawak coalition. They were previously the Sarawak Bariisan Nasional.

It is learned that the Pakatan Harapan is calling for a new opposition alliance to be formed in Sarawak immediately to prepare for the coming state polls.

"Sarawak DAP, PKR Sarawak, Bersatu and Amanah must coordinate to pave the way for the setting-up of a new opposition coalition in the state to prepare for the coming elections.

"Sarawak people are keen on defending the secularism of the state in accordance with the Federal Constitution.

A source said the PH looked forward to forming a new coalition of opposition without delay and without Sarawak PAS.

The need to formally form this new opposition coalition was urgent, he said, adding that this new alliance would go a long way in preparing a strong front to face GPS.

Sarawak DAP haas seven state seats and PKR Sarawak three.

Sarawak has a colourful mix of three million people from more than 40 ethic groups.