Baru stands by PKR’s openness to work with new parties
Posted on January 15, 2014, Wednesday
KUCHING: State PKR chairman Baru Bian yesterday defended his party’s stand to work with new political parties, including SWP, if they share Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) aim of dethroning Barisan Nasional (BN) and forming a new government.
“I recall last year we made a statement that we are not only willing to work with SWP but also with any political party because we remember then there were five new political parties that are registered in Sarawak,” he said in a press conference yesterday when responding to a question on whether the state PKR would consent to SWP becoming part of PR.
Baru said although it was still premature to talk about cooperation with SWP considering that SWP had yet to apply to join the state opposition coalition, the state PKR was prepared to work with SWP as long as it was agreeable to the stand and struggle of PR.
“When they (SWP and other political parties) come in, then of course the seats will be an issue. When we come to that stage, then of course we have to discuss seat allocations with them. That is the natural consequence of accepting new members in the coalition.”
On whether the state PKR is willing to compromise on seats in the event that SWP becomes part of PR, Baru said: “When we say that we want to work together with other parties just to dethrone BN as the government, then we should be willing to work with people in terms of seats as well.
“We have very pragmatic leaders in PKR and we want to be practical. I think it boils down to the fundamental of winning seats. That is what politics is, so I can say that we are open and we will not be very rigid. We have to examine claims (of seats) and that is the reason why there should be a process on negotiation of seats.”
Baru said the PR coalition parties had agreed for a Sarawak PR Council to be formed, with five leaders representing each party and he had proposed for
the council to have its first meeting in early February after Chinese New Year.
He maintained that the state PKR would negotiate seats starting with the 47 seats that the party contested in the last state election, adding that the party would examine its strengths and weaknesses.
“I hope PAS and DAP would also look at it in that sense. We can examine one another’s area with the main purpose to win as a coalition. That must be in the forefront of our mind.
The enemy is BN so we must have the oneness to compete with BN.”
Baru agreed that seats for the state PKR should not be confined to rural constituencies but also cover urban ones, stating that “there are certain principles to go by but there are also certain exceptions to any principle.”
From statistics presented during the party’s workshop last Saturday, he said the party’s state leaders had come to a conclusion that the state election might differ from the general election and that a lot of things needed to be considered.
“One is because there are more BN component parties in Sarawak. Because of that, that can change the political demography of the political landscape in the state. This kind of thing has to be examined and be argued in detail during the negotiation of seats and I think that is the reason we have to be open and talk this whole thing in detail.”
Commenting on PKR Women chief’s statement that the state PKR is expected to win 36 seats in the upcoming state election, Baru said the figure is not impossible to achieve and could even be higher if the party goes into the upcoming state election on a “level political field”.
“The problem and hurdle that we face in this kind of election is we are going against a very established and strong opposition. BN will be using everything they have to win.
“Again, I’m reminded that in politics, nothing is impossible. Things can change within a week or within a month and that can be due to a lot of reasons. Therefore, we must be confident; we must know our areas and capabilities.”