Is the bid to re-introduce Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) a reflection of rising concerns over the opposition's inroads into Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu's rural powerbase?
KUCHING: The opposition here is of the view that any approvals of new political parties in Sarawak is a Barisan Nasional “strategy” ahead of the next state election scheduled for anytime before 2016.
Unlike previous state elections, the 2011 polls was a jolt for slumbering Sarawak BN when opposition Pakatan Rakyat swept away 15 seats. DAP took away 12 seats while PKR won three.
Post 2011 polls, analysts noted an upward swing favouring the opposition in mixed and rural seats.
In the recent parliamentary polls, the loss of seven seats and near-misses in at least three other seats underscored this fact, much to Chief Minister Taib Mahmud-led Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu’s discomfort.
In which case is the rumoured approval of an applictaion to register a new Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) a reflection of rising concerns over the opposition’s inroads into Sarawak BN’s rural powerbase and Taib’s turf?
Said Sarawak PKR deputy chief See Chee How: “I don’t doubt that this party is linked to a BN strategy before the next state election.”
“Why did the authorities approve the application PBDS Baru when much earlier the application of Malaysian Dayak Congress (MDC) was not approved?
“Why did the authorities approve it just before the state election, if it is not to weaken the opposition.
“It is obvious that Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud is behind it.” ‘Tool to politically divide Dayaks’
See alleged there was nothing new in the BN strategy.
“Over the last 30 years many Dayak-based political parties were formed. These political parties were formed to make sure the Dayak communities were as divided as possible with Dayak leaders in all the component parties of Barisan Nasional.
“In BN, once they were split, another Dayak-based party would be formed.
“Once elected, they will return to BN fold,” said See.
PBDS Baru is among the five parties rumoured to have been approved by the Registrar of Societies.
The other four are said to be Parti Ekonomi Rakyat Sarawak Bersatu, Parti Tenaga Rakyat Sarawak (TERAS), Parti Bumi Kenyalang and United People’s Party.
His collegue and state party chairman Baru Bian meanwhile hoped that the Dayak community will “think nationally not inwardly”.
“I hope our people know better what is politically right for them. This is a clear and blatant device to further politically divide the Dayaks in Sarawak.
“Too bad some Dayaks are prepared to be a tool to make this a reality for our political mastermind and enemies,” said Bian.
Bian, who was a former PBDS supreme council member, has since joined PKR. In the 2011 state election he wrested the Ba Kelalan state seat from Sarawak Progressive Development Party.
The application to register PBDS Baru was made by a group of former PBDS members after their party (PBDS) was deregistered on Oct 24, 2004 due to an unsolvable leadership crisis.