Monday, December 6, 2021

Sarawak DAP chief rules out more seats for PKR

Chong Chieng Jen says PH finalised the distribution of seats early this year.

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Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) has ruled out any additional seats for PKR in the state election to come, after the coalition’s chairman Anwar Ibrahim indicated that discussions are still ongoing.

Chong Chieng Jen, who also heads the state DAP, said talks on the allocation of seats were finalised in early January, with PKR agreeing to contest 47 of the 82 seats.

He said this agreement is still valid although it was signed by then Sarawak PKR chairman Larry Sng, who later left the party.

“Under that agreement, PKR would contest in 47 seats, but now the party wants more – 48, 49, even 50 seats.

“But an agreement on the allocation of seats for component parties PKR and Amanah in Sarawak was reached on Jan 2. Even after Sng left the party, the agreement is still valid and it is binding,” Chong said.

Anwar, the PKR president, recently said PH would continue negotiating the distribution of seats, including for Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB), a splinter party of SUPP, one of the parties in the ruling coalition.

But Chong said DAP had made a firm decision that component parties had reached a consensus to settle the allocation of seats for the Sarawak election.

“That’s why Anwar said the other day that there are negotiations underway. But we have a fallback plan, that is the agreement that was signed early this year,” he said.

“As far as I am concerned, within Sarawak PH, an agreement has been reached.”

Asked if Sarawak PH is still open to talks on cooperation with PSB, Chong said an assessment must be made of whether the party is sincere about forming an alliance, adding that PSB has a track record of being a “frog party”.

But Chong, the assemblyman for Kota Sentosa, did not rule out the possibility of working with PSB and other opposition parties in the state election.

“DAP wants to cooperate with genuine opposition parties,” he said. “So we have to consider all factors. For example, we know that PSB candidates go ‘frogging’ from one party to another.

“But sometimes in politics we need flexibility. So we need to assess if they will remain as the opposition after the election.”

Adding that this would need people who are willing to engage in hard negotiations, he said it would have been better if the process had been done earlier.

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