The merger will accelerate the Iban-Dayak political awakening and help Pakatan topple BN in Sarawak
PETALING JAYA: DAP parliamentary leader and MP for Ipoh Timor Lim Kit Siang today proposed that DAP and the Sarawak National Party (SNAP) merge in time for the next general election in order to better serve the Iban-Dayak community.
He said that such a merger would accelerate the Iban-Dayak political awakening following the recently concluded Sarawak general election.
“Sarawak DAP cannot rest on its laurels having won 12 seats in the Sarawak state election, but must prepare immediately for the next general election which is not far off.
“From now till the next general election, DAP leaders, members and supporters must work with Pakatan Rakyat partners to reach out to all Sarawakians including Ibans-Dayaks and Malay-Melanaus,” he said in a statement today.
He added that in the next general election, Pakatan parties must avoid multi-cornered contests which can only benefit the Barisan Nasional (BN).
“For this reason, I would even suggest that DAP and SNAP should seriously consider a merger of the two political parties to accelerate Iban-Dayak political awakening,” he said.
In the run-up to the Sarawak polls, DAP’s Pakatan ally PKR and SNAP failed to solve seat arrangements, resulting in the two parties contesting in 24 seats together with BN.
SNAP which contested in 27 seats lost all, with all but one of its candidates losing their deposit. PKR contested in 49 seats and won only two. The party blamed SNAP for being the spoiler.
DAP emerged as the biggest winner from Pakatan by winning 12 of the 15 seats it contested, all of which were in the urban and Chinese-majority areas.
SNAP to study the matter
In an immediate reaction, SNAP’s secretary-general Stanley Jugol said he was surprised by Lim’s proposal of the merger.
“This is a big surprise, to be invited to merge with a big and national party like DAP. It is indeed an honour,” he told FMT.
However he said that the party needed to study the matter in depth before making any decision.
Earlier today, SNAP president Edwin Dundang told reporters that the party was looking at the possibility of “having electoral pacts” with parties outside Sarawak.
Dundang also revealed that he was going to step down from his post to take responsibility for the party’s dismal showing in the state polls.
Inroads in rurals seats too
Lim also brushed aside talks that DAP was only interested in the interest of urban Chinese.
“Thanks to enemy propaganda in the controlled mass media in the past decades, DAP is projected and perceived by some as a Chinese party.
“This is a perception that the DAP must eliminate so that all Malaysians can accept and support us as a political movement committed to the betterment of the welfare of all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region,” he said.
He also pointed out that Pakatan also won rural (Ba’Kelalan and Krian) and semi-rural (Batu Kawah, Dudong and Piasau) seats in Sarawak.
These victories, he said, smashed the myth that the opposition received support only in urban areas.
He quoted political scientist Bridget Welsh’s analysis that Pakatan’s gains in semi-rural seats were more than in the other areas: 19.7% compared with 14.8% in the rural areas and 13.4% in the urban communities.
He added that the Bidayuh seats were most impressive – for although Pakatan failed to win a single one of the Bidayuh seats, there was a 17.9% swing in the Bidayuh votes in favour of the opposition.
Lim said that there were encouraging statistics and inspiring pointers for Pakatan in the next general election in Sarawak.