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Guan Eng wants Harapan to close ranks, address voter disappointment
Published:  May 8, 2016 3:51 PM
Updated: 10:06 PM

Despite tensions over the past weeks, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said his party will continue to work with its Pakatan Harapan allies PKR and Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah).

His statement comes after the opposition coalition faced a crushing defeat at the Sarawak election, winning only 10 out of 82 seats up for grabs.

Lim said the coalition partners need to address the disappointment of their supporters as Pakatan Harapan as a whole, and not just as individual parties.

“There is a need to strengthen the internal mechanisms within Pakatan Harapan so that agreements made must be respected and upheld.

“Pakatan must work hard to restore public confidence of our ability to work together in concert against BN,” he said in a statement today.

DAP and PKR had faced each other in multi-cornered tussles in six state seats, leading many to believe the two parties’ losses in the seats were punishment from the voters.

Adenan held to promises

Meanwhile, commenting on DAP’s loss of five seats from its previous 12 seats, Lim said this was due to Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem’s popularity and "money politics".

“Adenan’s personal popularity overcame whatever unease at the barring of opposition leaders from the peninsula into Sarawak and the extensive use of money politics.

“Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak should be thankful that Adenan’s popularity allowed the Sarawak electorate to overlook BN’s abuses of power, financial scandals of RM4.2 billon donation or the RM50 billion 1MDB (debt), and even ignore the suffering of higher prices caused by the Goods and Services Tax (GST),” he said.

Lim congratulated Adenan on his big win and expressed hope that the second-term chief minister would fulfill his promises of a Sarawak that is prosperous and fair to all, of restoring the state's economic rights and its political autonomy.

“Adenan has been able to reinvent himself and shown a new political path or model to reverse BN’s slide in popularity and support since the 2008 general election.

"The big challenge of Pakatan Harapan is whether Najib dares to adopt the Adenan model by rejecting extremist and racist policies.

“Should Najib dare to do so, then Pakatan Harapan may face a fight for survival in the next general election,” admitted Lim.

Thanking DAP’s supporters, Lim said the party accepts the results of the state poll.

“The party will conduct a post-mortem and await a full report from our Sarawak DAP chief Chong Chien Jen on our losses, including our failure to make any headway when we contested in rural Dayak seats,” he said.

Lim however said he sees a glimmer of hope in several Dayak constituencies where the DAP candidate had obtained some support.

“As politics is a long-term struggle, our leaders must continue their work in these areas under the Impian Sarawak programme, as well as to regain our lost seats,” he said.

Wan Azizah: Toughest contest yet

Meanwhile, PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail also took the opportunity to congratulate Adenan over BN’s win but nevertheless also awaits the chief minister’s promises of reforms.

Thanking Sarawakians for retaining the party’s three incumbents from Ba'Kelalan, Krian and Batu Lintang, Wan Azizah also thanked the voters for keeping the party’s vision alive.

The opposition leader promised that her party will continue serving the interests of Sarawakians and added that they are determined for the voice of Sarawakians to be heard.

“At the same time we will examine ourselves, increase and improve our coalition’s abilities in presenting our common vision for social and economic justice.

“It is also important to note that this state election has been the toughest for us, with many hurdles reminding us to reaffirm and reassert our rights to demand for electoral reforms for free and fair elections in the next general election,” she said.

In the state election yesterday, BN won 72 of the 82 seats it contested, taking 87.8 percent of the state legislative assembly.

The latest results were a marked improvement from the 2011 state election where the BN only managed to secure 78.6 percent of the seats.

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