Still embroiled in dispute


CENTRE OF ATTENTION: (From left) Baru, Wong, Adam and Chong at the news conference.

Latest attempt to settle bickering over seats among Pakatan Rakyat members ends in impasse

KUCHING: Pakatan Rakyat (PR) – the opposition front – remains mired in dispute over seats allocation among its three component parties despite the latest effort to resolve their squabbles at a meeting here last night.

Although Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and Democratic Action Party (DAP) managed to reach some consensus over the urban seats, Sarawak National Party (SNAP) remains the major stumbling block to any settlement on their tussle over rural seats.

During the meeting DAP agreed to let go of Batu Lintang in return for PKR withdrawing from Padungan in Kuching.

However, PR leaders insisted the agreement was not seat-swapping but just a case of fielding ‘winnable winners’.

The meeting ended with DAP agreeing to contest in 15 seats namely Padungan, Pending, Kota Sentosa, Batu Kawah, Simanggang, Repok, Meradong, Bukit Assek, Dudong, Pelawan, Bawang Assan, Kidurong, Piasau, Pujut and Bukit Kota while Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) will contest in five (Beting Maro, Sebuyau, Sadong Jaya, Muara Tuang and Tanjung Datu).

Speaking at a news conference later, PKR Sarawak liaison chief Baru Bian said his party wanted to continue negotiating with SNAP on the overlapping seats.

“We hope they will change their mind, come back to us, sit down and compare our candidates,” he said, adding that the door for discussions would be open until the April 4 deadline.

According to Baru, both PKR and SNAP could not give up on those overlapping seats because both felt that they had higher chances of winning.

“They think their candidates are better and we think ours are better. Hence, we need to sit down, go into details and decide winnable candidates,” he said.

He stressed that PR coalition parties must comply with the fundamental principle of fielding winnable candidates rather than claiming which party had the strength.

However, chances of reaching agreement with SNAP remains slim as none of the leaders or representatives of SNAP were present at the news conference.

Baru said: “The issue now is not the ball is in which court. We must sit down and get winnable candidates.”

Putting up a brave face, he added PKR was not disappointed with the outcome so far as he claimed negotiations was still on-going.

“Nothing is very late in politics. We will see what can be done in the next few days,” he added.

Wong said the party would issue letters of authorisation to candidates in Kuching tomorrow (April 2) and in Sibu (April 3).

DAP national secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, who is Chief Minister of Penang, will hand out these

PAS Sarawak commissioner Adam Ahid said the party would announce its candidates on April 4.