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PKR defectors seen as likely to defend seats in Sarawak

KUCHING: Two political analysts predict that protests from Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) will do nothing to stop four PKR defectors from contesting in the next general election as candidates for the areas they currently serve as MPs.

James Chin of the University of Tasmania's Asia Institute and Awang Azman Awang Pawi of Universiti Malaya said the four were seen as likely to be re-elected to the benefit of Perikatan Nasional (PN).

Some GPS leaders are against PN's participation in Sarawak, but Chin said things could change quickly in politics.

Two of the defectors – Julau MP Larry Sng and Lubok Antu MP Jugah Muyang – won as independents in the last general election before joining PKR. They have both declared they are now PN-friendly independents.

Puncak Borneo MP Willie Mongin and Saratok MP Ali Biju won in 2018 on PKR tickets but quit to join PPBM.

"Those saying that these four can't contest in Sarawak are irrelevant when it comes to a parliamentary election, especially when they still can win," Chin said. "There is no way GPS can stop them.

"It is likely that they will be contesting using the PN logo or even the GPS logo."

Referring to the president of GPS member Parti Rakyat Sarawak, Chin said: "Just because James Masing is making noises, it doesn't mean other GPS component parties will not take them in. But of course, it will involve some negotiations."

Awang Azman said he expected Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to persuade Sarawak chief minister Abang Johari Openg to accept PPBM into a "GPS Plus" coalition.

"It is not impossible for Abang Johari to accept PPBM," he said. "However, he has to be very careful in making the decision. He has to consider the sentiments of the GPS grassroots."


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