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Nothing wrong with DAP holding federal positions while being in opposition in Sarawak

Photograph: Astro Awani

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By Rose

State governments and the federal government in Malaysia have different jurisdictions and powers as spelt out in the Federal Constitution, some of which are concurrent.

Sarawak Legislative Assembly member Wong Soon Koh’s recently called for the DAP to relinquish posts held by their politicians in the federal administration.

In response, Rose believes there is nothing wrong for a political party, such as the DAP, to be part of a coalition government at the federal level while at the state level it is an opposition party.

This is the scenario mainly because currently we have what is called a post-election coalition government. (Both the DAP with 40 MPs and Gabungan Parti Sarawak component parties with 24 MPs in the House of Representatives are part of the “unity government” formed after the 2022 general election.)

A post-election coalition government simply means that parties come together to form a government after an election results in a hung parliament. They can and will contest against each other in the next election when Parliament is dissolved. In some other countries this scenario (as faced by the DAP) would be commonplace like in Germany.

Sarawakians may also remember that the original Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) was a member of the federal Barisan Nasional government but at the state level, it was in the opposition for years.

Parties also have the right to make their choice of who to affiliate with just as Parti Sarawak Bersatu has done.

When political parties compete based on policies, there will be more checks on abuse of power and corruption. Competition between political parties also offers better choices for voters when an election comes around.

READ MORE:  The DAP dilemma

This scenario can incentivise political parties to compete during an election as well as collaborate after the election.

After the 2018 general election, we should have learnt that government coalitions will not always be permanent and that a post-election government can be legitimately formed by a coalition of political parties who had competed or contested against each other in the same election.

In the coming Sarawak election due in 2025/2026, the question of whether the DAP or any other national party like PKR will send candidates to contest against GPS (their coalition government partner in the federal government) will be on voters’ minds. Will there be competition or less competition among the political parties? And for the voters, will there be more choices or fewer choices?

Whether at state, regional or general elections, voters choose the candidate whom they think will best represent them in their respective constituencies and look after their collective interests.

Whilst sincerity is an important character trait to look for in a politician or elected representative, it would be also be naïve to think that political parties act out of sincerity instead of the priority or the need to gain enough votes (even by overpromising during election campaigns) to become government or be part of government.

Therefore, it remains for voters to look for politicians who are useful and those who can offer better policies to make our lives and this place a better place for all. – Rose

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
  1. Tegakkan maruah serta kualiti kehidupan rakyat
  2. Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
  3. Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
  4. Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
  5. Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
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