OKAY no matter how they wish to spin it, the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) in Sarawak still cannot agree over who will stand where during the next parliamentary election.
Now bear in mind that the two parties officially began negotiations way back in September 18, 2011. Yes, over six months ago!
These of course were the official negotiations which they informed the media about. Behind closed doors, negotiations probably began as soon as the State election ended.
Why? Because both parties hungered for more power. The DAP had a taste after winning 12 seats and wanted more, while PKR only managed a disappointing three seats and realised DAP was suddenly top dog in the loose coalition known as Pakatan Rakyat (PR).
Back in September, they said they would be able to settle the seat allocation problem by October 2.
Then came October 2 – no agreement. Then came December … Well it is now almost the end of March.
What is all the wrangling about? Chinese-majority seats.
Why? Because both parties know that based on the last State election results, it is in the Chinese-majority seats in urban areas that the opposition are more likely to have a chance of winning.
You didn’t have to be a top student in school to be able to work out the probability for the Chinese-majority seats.
Most of the 48 seats that PKR stood in during the State election were of course in Bumiputera-majority areas. How many did they win? Three, and one was in a Chinese-majority area.
Stampin, Lanang, and Miri are currently the main bones of contention.
PKR cannot touch Sibu or Bandar Kuching because they are currently held by DAP.
Lanang PKR branch chairman George Chen said recently that the party wants the Lanang seat.
However, DAP also wants it because its candidate Yap Hoi Liong won the Dudong state seat which, together with Bukit Assek, comes under Lanang.
In Stampin, PKR has consistently indicated that Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How had the highest majority in that state seat which comes under Stampin, so he should stand there.
He won the Batu Lintang seat with an 8,381-vote majority, while Christina Chiew only managed a majority of 543 votes in Batu Kawah and Chong Chieng Jen won by a 4,824-vote majority in Kota Sentosa.
For Miri, there also seems little chance DAP would give the seat to PKR because DAP won the Piasau seat, which comes under Miri.
Both parties are desperate for parliamentary seats because they are the key to taking over Putrajaya, which we all know is what these Malaya-based parties are all about.
So which party will prevail and get its way? Well which opposition party is the top dog in the State?
I guess the publicity stunt of making Baru Bian Chief Minister of Sarawak is a very distant memory.
The Bernama report:
Sarawak DAP, PKR still discussing seat allocation
SIBU, March 8 (Bernama) — Sarawak DAP and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) are still discussing the seat allocation for the Chinese-majority urban constituencies in the coming parliamentary election.
Lanang PKR branch chairman George Chen said these seats are Stampin, Lanang, and Miri.
Speaking to reporters here today, he said the Sibu seat was not included in the talk “because its incumbent Wong Ho Leng is the state DAP chairman.”
Similarly, the Bandar Kuching seat is excluded because state DAP secretary Chong Chieng Jen is its two-term incumbent.
PKR is said to be very keen on the Lanang seat which is currently held by Datuk Tiong Thai King of the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), a state Barisan Nasional component party.
Tiong, who is the chairman of the Sibu Municipal Council, has represented the seat since 1995, and is expected to be nominated by his party to defend it for a fifth term.
DAP is equally interested because in the state election in April last year, its candidate Yap Hoi Liong managed to win the Dudong state seat which together with Bukit Assek state, form the Lanang constituency.
“We will leave it to our leaders to make the final decision. And whatever the decision, we will abide by it,” he said.
Recently, state PKR election committee secretary Baharuddin Moksen said the party was eyeing a dozen seats and had identified almost all of the candidates.
Meanwhile in Kanowit, PKR branch chairman Thomas Laja, who is tipped to be its candidate, is gearing up for the election.
He hoped for a straight fight against two-term BN incumbent Datuk Aaron Dagang from the Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) as there are talks that a yet-to-be registered party was eyeing the seat as well.
In the 2008 election, Aaron, a former senior forestry officer, won it uncontested.
Laja claimed of good support from the ground due especially to issues related to the Native Customary Land development and dissatisfaction among the people against current Dayak Iban leaders, claiming that some of them were ineffective and arrogant.