KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Raymond Tan has hit out at state DAP chairman Stephen Wong over seat distribution ahead of the 14th general election (GE14), saying Wong’s attitude could hinder the opposition’s negotiations on the matter.
Speaking to FMT, Tan said it was difficult to understand how Sabah DAP leaders worked.
He said Wong had given a clear signal to other opposition parties that DAP would not be giving up the urban seats.
“He announced it, not the Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman. In short, DAP is telling Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) that as far as urban seats are concerned, don’t disturb DAP.
“DAP is telling Warisan to go to the rural areas,” he said, adding that while the Sabah party was more suited to such areas, whether it would listen to Wong was another matter.
Tan said the question now was what Warisan would do about it as it believed it had the right to all Sabah state seats.
He also chided Wong, who is the Sandakan MP for announcing that Warisan had been given 60% of the state seats and then saying the national-based opposition alliance was open to negotiations.
“What is he going to negotiate? He has already made up his mind.
“I think he does not even understand the meaning of negotiations. Even PH is worried,” Tan added.
He said he sympathised with Sabah PH chairman Christina Liew, as DAP making decisions in such a manner showed no respect for her.
“But then again, that’s how Stephen works,” he said.
Sabah DAP had announced that it would contest in 12 state seats and eight parliamentary seats in the coming polls. This includes two rural seats in the interior: Bingkor in the Keningau constituency, and Melalap in the Tenom constituency.
Wong said in January that Sabah PH would let Warisan lead the opposition at the state level, and was even willing to let the local party contest in 36 out of 60 state seats.
The next day, however, Liew denied Wong’s announcement, saying negotiations on seat distribution had not yet begun.
Tan said with Wong on board, it would be difficult for Warisan to have its way. The only hope was that the Sabah PH deputy chairman would change his mind, he added.
“Other than that, I don’t think there is any hope for the opposition to negotiate. Maybe we will see some seats where Warisan will go against PH, that is going to happen.
“But more importantly, I hope the people will not vote for frustrated people like Stephen. This election is to elect a government which can perform.”