Sarawak’s ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) today reiterated its decision not to give way to candidates from Bersatu at the 15th general election (GE15), notwithstanding its friendly ties with the peninsula-based party.
GPS chairman Abang Johari Openg said the coalition would instead contest all 31 seats once GE15 is called.
“We will cross that bridge when we come to it,” he said when asked about Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin urging him to consider allowing candidates in the state to contest parliamentary seats in Sarawak.
“But GPS will definitely contest all 31 seats.”
Bersatu, led by Perikatan Nasional chairman Muhyiddin, currently holds two federal seats in Sarawak: Puncak Borneo and Saratok.
Both are held by former PKR members: Willie Mongin in Puncak Borneo and Ali Biju in Saratok.
GPS, comprising Abang Johari’s Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu, the Sarawak United Peoples’ Party, Parti Rakyat Sarawak and the Progressive Democratic Party, is widely seen as a kingmaker in federal politics.
Its support, along with that of PAS, was seen as crucial to the success of the so-called Sheraton Move which saw the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government in February 2020.
Last year, Muhyiddin said that an understanding had been reached at a meeting with Abang Johari, the Sarawak premier, several weeks before the state election in December.
He said the understanding included Bersatu giving way to GPS by not contesting the Sarawak election and GPS in turn working with Bersatu at GE15.
“We had an understanding that for the state election, we would support GPS,” he said.
“Abang Johari understands, and he said that for the general election, that’s open. That’s what he said.”