It appears that Sabah Progressive Peoples Party (SAPP) have agreed to give way to Sabah DAP in Karamunting and Sandakan constituencies in the east coast.
KOTA KINABALU: A secret midnight meeting between Sabah DAP and SAPP leaders last weekend may have breathed new life into a potential election pact between the two opposition parties who have been at each others throats for months.
A source said three representatives from each group, DAP (led by its state chief) and SAPP by its president Yong Teck Lee, were seen at an upscale Penampang restaurant late Friday night.
According to an insider, who requested anonymity, the meeting was to sort out their differences and prevent a split opposition front in the impending 13th general election that Prime Minister and Barisan Nasional coalition chairman Najib Tun Razak is expected to call any time.
“It was not only on seats allocation for each party but to find out how they could work out their differences … we all know we have to work together to topple the BN,” said the source.
According to another source from SAPP, the party will give way for DAP to contest in Sandakan and Karamunting.
Such an agreement would make sense to both party leaders as a way of dividing up the state and supporting each other without looking over each others shoulders.
Political pundits in the state claim that DAP is fairly strong in the East Coast while SAPP’s strength is concentrated in the West Coast.
For months now both sides have been trading accusation that appeared to show there was little hope for a possible pact between the locally-based SAPP and the peninsula-headquartered DAP.
Leaders of both parties however know that a fight among themselves in the coming election would split the opposition vote and allow a walkover for the ruling BN coalition in marginal constituencies.
Pakatan Rakyat de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim has made it known that the opposition coalition that groups DAP, PKR and PAS together would work with Sabah-based opposition parties to prevent a free-for-all in the coming election
He told reporters here last month that PKR was in talks with several Sabah political leaders to ensure a one-to-one fight in the coming election and expressed hope that other parties in the Pakatan pact would stay open to negotiating with Sabah’s opposition parties.
Urging all Pakatan parties against issuing statements that would open up the coalition to claims of federal hegemony, he said, the the opposition parties from the peninsula and in Sabah shared similar goals.
“However, we do hope that Sabah’s opposition would also support Pakatan’s struggle and not practice state-level politics,” Anwar had reportedly said.
“I myself have observed that the political trend here is more towards Sabah-based politics.
“To Pakatan, what is important is the struggle for the people regardless of race, religion and background.”