Monday, October 19, 2015

Sarawak PKR extends olive branch, wants seat talks with DAP, Amanah


PKR Sarawak Chairman Baru Bian says he would write to DAP to propose a seat-sharing meeting. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 17, 2015.

PKR Sarawak Chairman Baru Bian says he would write to DAP to propose a seat-sharing meeting. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 17, 2015.
Sarawak PKR has relented on its belligerent posture on its frosty relations with DAP and will take the initiative to thaw it by proposing a seat-sharing meeting be convened among the three parties in the new opposition group, Pakatan Harapan.
The other party in the grouping is Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah), a party formed by former PAS members.
Baru Bian, the PKR state chairman who had long declared he will not be the first to approach DAP over how the new opposition grouping should move forward in the state, said after the party's supreme council meeting today that he would write to DAP to propose the meeting should be convened before December.
He said December was out for his party as it would be a “very busy month” for their leaders and he himself would be making his yearly visits to his constituents in the rural seat of Ba Kelalan.
The new year could be too close to the state election after reading news reports today that Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem again told bumiputera entrepreneurs last night that the state election “would be held early next year”.
Relations between the two main opposition parties, never good even at the best of times, became strained when DAP took a unilateral decision to pull out of the old grouping, Pakatan Rakyat, earlier this year and accused PKR of supporting the Islamist party's push for hudud when they did not follow suit in leaving.
PKR Supreme Council member Abun Sui Anyit told reporters he believed the seat talk could be contentious as PKR's position is not to renegotiate seats that had been agreed on in the 2011 state election and to discuss only the 11 new state seats.
“For us the status quo remains. We only talk on the remaining ( the 11 new) seats,” said Abun who is PKR's proposed candidate for the new seat of Murum.
But DAP had already declared they intend to contest in 31 seats – double what they were allocated in the 2011 state election – and the presence of DAP proposed candidates working the rounds in PKR allocated seats was another source of friction between the two uneasy political allies.
In the 2001 state election, DAP were allocated 15 seats, PAS five and PKR the rest (51) of the 71 seats in the Sarawak state legislative assembly.
The formula used was the DAP would get seats where the Chinese are the majority and PKR would get seats where ethnic bumiputeras are the majority and the mixed seats would be negotiated.
Many of the mixed seats eventually were allocated to DAP.
“We are wary of DAP,” Abun said.
“We can't trust them. They just want to take things easy.
“After all the hard work and toil cultivating the seats, they would conveniently just come in and stake their claim.”
Abun's Murum seat is also claimed by DAP.
“I had worked in the area long before it became the Murum state seat.
Prior to the Election Commission's redelineation exercise, Murum, which would have over 7,000 voters, was carved out of the Belaga and Baleh state seats.
“DAP never showed any interest. Now they do because they see we have a winnable seat.”
DAP and PKR are squabbling over Murum in the belief that the mainly Dayak voters there are leaning to the opposition in protest against the government over their building of the Murum hydroelectric dam and the proposal to build another mega dam at nearby Baleh.
The Murum dam would be commissioned on October 26. – October 17, 2015.
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