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PKR-DAP front crumbles in Sarawak

 | March 24, 2011

Sarawak DAP is toying with the idea of contesting on its own in the upcoming state election after talks over seat allocations with PKR broke down.

KUCHING: The hope of a united Sarawak Pakatan Rakyat coalition going into the 10th state election has crumbled with the latest announcement that talks between DAP and PKR on over-lapping seats have broken down.

DAP wants 18 seats but PKR is insisting that DAP contest in 13 seats.

With the failed negotiations, hopes of bringing down Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud also crashed.

Speaking to reporters here today, DAP secretary Chong Chieng Jen said: “I have been entrusted to make a very sad announcement on the seat negotiation.

“You know that I have been keeping quiet on seat allocation.

“Our chairman Wong Ho Leng just met Azmin Ali (PKR deputy president) for the final round of seat negotiations and the bad news is that the talks have broken down.

“In our last attempt to keep Pakatan together, DAP conceded Padungan and Senadin to PKR.

“We have been asking for 18 seats out of 71, which are Padungan, Pending, Batu Lintang, Batu Kawa, Kota Sentosa, Simanggang, Balai Ringin, Bukit Assek, Pelawan, Dudong, Bawang Assan, Repok, Meradong, Kidurong, Senadin, Piasau, Pujut and Bukit Kota.

“These are the seats that we are asking. And during the meeting and in the spirit of Pakatan, we conceded Padungan and Senadin to PKR hoping that we can hold Pakatan together.

“After giving out the two seats, we are left with 16.

“Yet after we made the final offer, PKR demanded Batu Kawa, Dudong, and Balai Ringin as well Padungan and Senadin.

“That will leave us with 13, which is one more than we contested in 2006.”

No agreement

Sarawak Pakatan coalition comprises DAP, PKR, PAS and local party Sarawak Nasional Party (SNAP).

PKR and SNAP have also failed to reach an agreement over seat allocations.

SNAP wants to contest in 40 seats, especially in the 29 Dayak majority seats. It has already conceded two seats in deference to Sarawan PKR chairman Baru Bian.

PKR is targeting to contest in 52 seats.

Said Chong: “I think there is a limit to DAP making concessions for the sake of Pakatan. We cannot be reduced to a negligible party…

“I think that if there is such a demand, it should be reasonable. We give them an inch, but they want a foot.

“As a result of such a demand, the negotiations have broken down,” he said.

A disappointed Chong said the party has “no choice” now but to consider going it alone, adding that it would stick to its plan to contest in 18 seats.

“We have no choice. All this while, throughout the negotiations, despite the attacks by PKR on DAP at branch level, we have been keeping silent hoping that it will not affect the negotiation.

“Since the goodwill is not reciprocated, we cannot agree to PKR’s request for three more seats despite we conceding two to them,” said Chong, who is also Kota Sentosa state assemblyman.

According to Chong, Sarawak PKR had made its position very clear that it had no authority to negotiate seats as the real power lay  with the PKR central committee, which made decisions.

“I hope they can come to their senses before nomination day, otherwise we will go on our own.

On the question of a coalition with SNAP, Chong said that the two parties have yet to discuss it.

“There is a possibility,” he added.


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