Wednesday, July 24, 2013

PKR tells Pakatan partners to be ‘very sensitive’ in outskirts

by Jonathan Chia, Posted on July 24, 2013, Wednesday

KUCHING: State PKR has reminded its Pakatan Rakyat (PR) partners – DAP and PAS – to be “very sensitive” when setting up their branches or operation centres in rural areas to avoid confusion or creating friction.

“We of course welcome DAP or even PAS if they want to set up branches or operation centres in rural areas if the purpose of it is to strengthen PR, just like we are also setting up branches and service centres in urban constituencies.

“However, they must be very sensitive because we don’t want to confuse or mislead or even cause friction at the end of the day,” said state PKR chairman Baru Bian in a press conference here yesterday.

Baru, who is also Ba Kelalan assemblyman, was asked to comment on state DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen’s statement that the party aims to set up branches in 21 rural constituencies within the next two months to strengthen its rural reach.

Chong said once these branches are up and running, DAP plans to contest in over 30 seats in the 11th state election, including in Padungan, Pending, Kota Sentosa, Batu Kawah, Repok, Meradong, Bukit Asek, Dudong, Pelawan, Kidurong, Piasau and Pujut.

Baru said he was very aware that DAP is starting to make claims and statements that they are interested in certain constituencies.

“I hope that it is just (their) interests which must be subject to the discussions, in particular with PKR because some of these areas are the areas where PKR has been very strong and we have been there for many years.

“This is also the thing that we would like them to be very sensitive about so that we will not be seen as fighting for the same areas at the end of the day.”

To ensure that the seat allocation for the 11th state election is sorted out before the upcoming State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting in November, Baru said he had proposed to Chong to have their first meeting on it at the beginning of August.

On how firm PKR will be in the event that there are overlapping claims between PKR and DAP, Baru said: “I think at the end of the day, we will have to look at many factors before agreeing to certain areas. As far as I’m concerned, we have been to most of the areas for the past years so I think they (DAP) must recognise that first.

“On the other hand, we will have to be prepared and open to talk through it. The selection of suitable candidates will be subjected to a lot of factors such as winnability of the candidates, structure on the ground, reception of the people towards the party on the ground.”

When asked if the allocation of seats would be more complicated if SWP is accepted as a partner in PR, he said: “In the event that is being considered, the discussion of seats has to include SWP. It is still a little premature now to discuss it and that is not being decided at the moment.

“What we are concerned is that our position must be solid. If the inclusion of other parties could strengthen the position of PR, we must be open to it. It could even be a new party that will be formed in the next one or two years’ time. We welcome anybody who is consistent with the struggle of PR.”

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