KUCHING: Buoyed by its recent electoral success, Sarawak DAP has begun work on its parliamentary seats.
DAP is eyeing at least six seats. The seats are Bandar Kuching, Stampin, Sibu, Lanang, Sarikei and Miri where Chinese form the majority of the voters.
“Our huge success in the recent state election is a clear message that the Chinese community wants us to represent them in the state assembly as well as in Parliament.
“They do not want Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) which has now become irrelevant,” said party secretary Chong Chieng Jen.
At present DAP has two parliamentary seats in Sarawak – Chong’s Bandar Kuching and Wong Ho Leng’s Sibu.
Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is expected to call for snap polls by next year eventhough legally the next general election is not due until 2013.
The opposition parties feel that their road to federal government in Putrajaya will be made easier if they could eat into Barisan Nasional’s hold in Sarawak and Sabah.
In the Sarawak state polls on Saturday, the opposition pact Pakatan Rakyat won 15 seats, almost doubling their tally from 2006. However it was not enough to stop BN from retaining the state.
Chong, who retained his Kota Sentosa seat in the April 16 state polls, also touched on suggestions that the state constitution be amended to allow the appointment of non-elected Chinese representatives to be become ministers in the state cabinet.
Chong described the suggestions as a ‘tactic to scare’ the Chinese community.
“I see this as a scare tactic to threaten the Chinese community that the Chinese no longer have Chinese ministers.
“It shows two things. One, SUPP leaders are racists, and the other is that the Chinese community must need Chinese ministers.
“But with the calibre and quality of Chinese ministers from SUPP in the cabinet, it is of little relevance. With or without them, it is the same.
‘Many issues troubling the Chinese for the past 30 years are yet to be solved,” he said.
Chong said the people of Sarawak had on April 16 made it very clear they did not want ministers from the SUPP.
Chong was alluding to Senator Idris Buang’s suggestion that non-elected Chinese be nominated to be ministers.
Describing it as “silly” he said: “The August house is for those who have been elected by the people.”
Buang had on Monday suggested the state constitution be amended to allow non-elected Chinese be nominated to the cabinet after SUPP lost 13 seats to the opposition.
SUPP was left with two Chinese elected representatives – Wong Soon Koh (Bawang Asan) and Lee Kim Shin (Senadin) - and four Dayak representatives.
Accusing SUPP leaders of not being sincere, Chong said: “On one hand they recommended their Bumiputera elected representatives as ministers and on the other hand, Wong Soon Koh (SUPP deputy secretary general) went to the Astana to be sworn as a minister.”
Touching on the Bumiputera support for DAP, Chong said that it had increased tremendously especially in his constituency of Kota Sentosa resulting in him getting bigger majority.
He called on young educated Dayaks to join DAP so that together they could help change the mindset of the rural Dayaks who are still supportive of the Barisan Nasional.
“Together we can win more parliamentary seats in the coming general election,” he added, pointing out that the road to Putrajaya will be ‘wide open’ for Pakatan Rakyat in two years.
Meanwhile, Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president James Masing has also decried Idris’ suggestion.
He said PRS was against the idea of amending the state constitution to provide for the nomination of non-elected representatives to sit in the assembly.
“We are appointed as members of the cabinet because the rakyat elected us to be there,” he said, adding that the government cannot amend it just to accommodate a few who could not make it.
“The decision of the rakyat is of paramount importance in a democracy,” he said.