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Sabah DAP ‘will cooperate’ with local opposition

 | April 18, 2012

Pleading for unity, Sabah DAP said that it won't contest seats held by SAPP.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah DAP has offered an olive branch to the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) with which it has been at loggerheads for well over a year now.

Pleading for unity ahead of the 13th general election expected to be called soon, DAP said it will not contest in seats currently held by SAPP.

“We are sincere and want to cooperate with local opposition parties and as such, the party will not contest those seats held by SAPP,” state DAP publicity secretary Chan Foong Hin said.

He, however, said that DAP will not accept any single Sabah opposition party to contest most of the seats. Chong was alluding to SAPP’s expressed desire to contest in a majority of the state constituencies.

“We are willing to cooperate but we will not agree if SAPP wishes to contest two-thirds of the (State Legislative Assembly) seats.

“This has been our principle and commitment all the time and we are open to any further discussion on the details,” Chan said.

He was responding to a recent announcement by PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim that PKR is willing to give up some of its contested seats to the local-based opposition parties to avoid multi-cornered fights.

He said the opposition should learn a lesson from the last general election when it could have won an extra parliamentary seat and another eight state seats if it had cooperated and not put up its own candidates for the same seat.

“DAP Sabah wishes that history won’t repeat. Therefore, we are willing to cooperate with any Sabah local parties to seek for a one-to-one contest [against the ruling Barisan Nasional] in the forthcoming election,” he said.

‘Unity’ needed to topple BN

Chan also maintained that local opposition parties should join Pakatan Rakyat to share in the seat negotiation process.

“The one-to-one fight [formula] against BN must rely on the formation of alliance between Pakatan and most of the local parties.

“Besides SAPP, Sabah DAP is willing to cooperate with United Borneo Alliance [UBA] including State Reform Party [STAR] and Usno Baru.

In the 2008 election, SAPP, when it was still in the BN coalition, was allocated two parliamentary seats – Sepanggar (Eric Majimbun) and Tawau (Chua Soon Bui) and four state assembly seats won by Melanie Chia (Luyang), Liew Teck Chan (Likas), Raymond Tan (Tanjung Papat) and Au Kam Wah (Elopura).

Tan and Au quit the party and joined Gerakan after SAPP pulled out of BN in September 2008.

It is not known if Chan’s offer to stand down in SAPP-won constituencies includes the two seats that have been taken over by Gerakan that were granted to SAPP.

But he did reiterated that unity between the opposition parties is the key to their making an impact in the coming election.

“We must form a great unity alliance in order to topple the BN-Umno regime. The opposition pact should be based on reasonable demands.

“All the political parties that are ready to form an opposition alliance should agree on a fair, equal and rational stand,” he said.

Chan also urged all local parties to stop their attacks on DAP.

“We will respect SAPP’s Sabah autonomy principle just like the Scotland National Party’s stand in the United Kingdom,” he said, adding that DAP upholds the spirit of solidarity in line with its “Malaysian’s Malaysia” concept.

“There should be no distraction between [parties in] the Peninsula and Sabah and Sarawak. Unity is needed to establish a strong opposition political alliance to topple the BN government,” he said.

He also called on the local parties to accept Pakatan’s “Buku Jingga” manifesto as a common policy but added: “Of course, Pakatan is also ready to accept other local parties’ views and policies if it is aligned with Pakatan’s ideology.”


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