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Malaysia election: Potential kingmaker GPS wins big in Sarawak, awaiting call to form govt

Malaysia election: Potential kingmaker GPS wins big in Sarawak, awaiting call to form govt

KUCHING – Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) has won big in the state and is now waiting for the dust in the peninsula to settle and calls to come in on possible pacts to form the next federal government, said coalition chief Abang Johari Openg.

The Sarawak premier said on Sunday that it was too early to make any decisions, pending the final outcome of Malaysia’s 15th General Election.

“The question of who GPS will support will be decided later. Wait until they contact me. So far, no one has. They are still counting over there, so we just wait,” he added, when asked how soon the decision would be made.

The leaders of two main coalitions – Pakatan Harapan (82 seats) and Perikatan Nasional (73) – have signalled their intentions to form the federal government. Negotiations with other parties to gain a simple parliamentary majority of 112 are set to begin on Sunday.

Mr Johari was speaking during a press conference at GPS’ election results watch party at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching late on Saturday night.

On GPS’ performance, he said the state coalition had won 21 seats and was on track to retain Baram and Limbang as well.

Voting was suspended at 11 polling stations in Baram, while several ballot boxes from Limbang could not be transported to the tallying centre due to bad weather.

“Based on the votes counted so far, it looks like GPS will win both seats, subject to the Election Commission’s confirmation. We managed to increase our seats from 19 (in 2018) to 23, so it is quite a satisfactory performance.

“We thank Sarawakians for giving confidence to GPS to voice out what we want in Parliament,” he said, adding that all five of its women candidates also won.

They include GPS newcomer Rodiyah Sapiee in Batang Sadong and former senator Doris Sophia Brodi in Sri Aman, who became the first Iban woman to be elected to Parliament.

Among GPS component parties, Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu unofficially won all 14 seats it contested (including Limbang), while the Sarawak United People’s Party and Progressive Democratic Party won two each.

Parti Rakyat Sarawak won five seats but its president, Datuk Joseph Salang, lost in Julau to Parti Bangsa Malaysia’s incumbent, Datuk Larry Sng.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Action Party (DAP) retained five of the six seats it won at the last election, while Parti Keadilan Rakyat retained Miri. Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen thanked voters for their support.

“This is only part of the journey to reform. We still have a long way to go on the road to full reform at the national level,” he said.

As at Sunday, GPS has secured 22 seats, while Gabungan Rakyat Sabah, an ally of Perikatan Nasional, won six seats. THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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