KUCHING: It is mostly multi-cornered contests in Sarawak as 92 candidates battle it out across the 31 parliamentary seats.
The most crowded field will be in Kanowit where incumbent Datuk Aaron Ago Dagang from Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) is in a five-cornered fight with Pakatan Harapan’s Mohd Fauzi Abdullah @ Joseph Nyambong and independents Dr Elli Luhat, Chen Nyuk Fa and Michael Lias.
More than half the seats – 17 – will feature three-cornered fights while five seats have four candidates each. The remaining eight seats will see a straight fight between GPS and Pakatan candidates.GPS, contesting on its own in parliamentary polls for the first time, is fielding candidates in all seats.
The GPS component parties – Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) pulled out of Barisan Nasional after GE14 in 2018 to form the state-based coalition.
Pakatan is contesting 30 seats while Perikatan Nasional is fielding four candidates, including incumbents Datuk Ali Biju in Saratok and Jugah Muyang in Lubok Antu.
Datuk Larry Sng, Parti Bangsa Malaysia’s (PBM) sole candidate in Sarawak, is in a four-way contest to defend his Julau seat.
Among local Opposition parties, Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) is fielding the most candidates with 10, followed by Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) with three and Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) and Parti Sedar Rakyat Sarawak (Sedar) with one each.
However, three of PSB’s candidates are PBK members contesting under the former’s logo, as both parties have sealed a pact, along with PBDS, not to clash in the polls.
There are also 11 independents in the fray, including Sri Aman incumbent Datuk Masir Kujat who is facing a four-way tussle for the seat.
Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said GPS hoped to see the formation of a stable Federal Government after GE15.
“We have wasted time with uncertain politics when we should have been providing service to the people. It is important to have a strong government to face global uncertainties,” he said at the Petra Jaya, where he came to support GPS candidate Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof.
Abang Johari urged all candidates to ensure a smooth campaign.
“The democratic process will allow the people of Sarawak to choose candidates who will fight for our rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963,” he said.