The Opposition pact hoping to make more inroads in the 11th Sarawak Election seems headed for a rough patch with Sarawak PKR insisting on contesting in several seats which its ally DAP says it will contest even after Deputy President Azmin Ali had completed negotiations.
Sarawak PKR Chairman Baru Bian, in the wake of Sarawak DAP’s announcement of 29 seats yesterday, told reporters the party had been working for years in certain seats and was not ready to let go of them.
The seats both parties want to contest are Dayak-majority Mambong, Simanggang, Tasik Biru, Murum and Mulu.
Sarawak DAP Chairman Chong Chien Jen, at a press conference on Saturday with DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng, had announced DAP would be contesting these seats.
“We started negotiations with 35 seats and compromised, bringing the number down to 29. We will focus on the work as the election is coming up fast,” Chong said.
A national PKR leader told FMT that the problem cropped up because the negotiations between Azmin and Lim in Kuala Lumpur last week had not included Baru and his concern especially over the Mulu, Mambong and Simanggang seats.
A Sarawak DAP election candidate, who refused to be named, told FMT that DAP had conceded several seats, including Batu Kitang, although they had been working actively in the areas for a long time in anticipation of the election.
“I am being forced to lay the groundwork in a new area just two weeks before the election,” he said.
Sarawak PKR had wanted to contest in 40 seats.
The planned Pakatan Harapan joint press conference on April 20 to announce their candidates might not happen as PKR is set to announce theirs at another event.
In the 2011 state election, DAP won 12 out of 15 contested seats while PKR contested in 49 constituencies, winning only three.
In another development, the national PKR leader said Baru had also made an agreement not to go against PAS in this election although this decision was not endorsed by the party’s political bureau.
On Saturday, Baru told a portal that PKR would honour the said agreement by not contesting against the Islamic party in the 11 seats they are contesting.
PAS’s 11 state seats are Pantai Damai, Samariang, Muara Tuang, Sadong Jaya, Sebuyau, Beting Maro, Kakus, Jepak, Samalaju, Lambir and Pujut.
DAP, which has no such deal with the Islamist party, is expected to face PAS in Pujut and Samalaju.
The 11th State Election in Sarawak will be held on May 7. Nomination day is set for April 25.