Chong (sixth left, front row) chairing a press conference last night at DAP Sarawak headquarters in Kuching.

KUCHING: Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak is staking claim on 29 seats out of the total 82 seats in the next state election which may be called latest in the first quarter of 2021.

Its state chairman Chong Chieng Jen said the DAP is also prepared to let its State Pakatan Harapan (PH) partner Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) to contest in 40 other seats while Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) to take on the rest or 13 seats.

Chong, who is also state Pakatan Harapan chairman, said he could not see another PH component Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) to derail the DAP suggested equation of seats because Bersatu would be in the state only to open up branches and help them win the next state election.

What is important for DAP Sarawak is that they will not let former State Barisan Nasional (BN), now called Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) to win any seat by walkover.

In the last state election both DAP and PKR let BN win Bukit Kota and Bukit Sari uncontested because back then they could not find suitable candidates.

But this time around, it is going to be different because the DAP will field candidate in Bukit Kota while PKR in Bukit Sari.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan holds Bukit Sari while Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail is the assemblyman for Bukit Kota.

Chong said DAP and PKR will not to pit against each other like previously at six seats namely Mambong, Batu Kitang, Simanggang, Ngemah, Mulu and Murum as they now had to work together.

DAP will now claim Mambong, Batu Kitang and Simanggang because the DAP performed better at these three seats compated to PKR did in the last state election, said Chong.

Chong, the Kota Sentosa assemblyman said if PKR and Amanah agree to the equation set, voters would see DAP contesting in 29 seats, PKR (40) and Amanah (13).

The 29 seats that the State DAP claimed are Tasik Biru, Padungan, Pending, Kota Sentosa, Batu Kawah, Batu Kitang, Stakan, Mambong, Kedup, Bukit Semuja, Simanggang, Repok, Meradong, Pakan, Bukit Assek, Dudong, Bawang Assan, Pelawan, Pelagus, Katibas ,Bukit Goram,Tanjong Batu, Kemena, Samalaju, Piasau, Pujut, Senadin, Bukit Kota and Baleh

“As we need the winning power, DAP PKR and Amanah would have to work out on seat arrangement,” said Chong who is also Stampin MP and deputy minister for Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs.

He pointed out that only the election committee could finalise the seat arrangement and that even he himself could not say if he would be contesting at Kota Sentosa again.

He said it would be imperative for State Pakatan Harapan to finalise on seat allocation early to prevent the adverse effects of members jostling for seats at the very last minute.

“We have conveyed  this (DAP 29 seats) to PKR but they said they need to discuss on it. But I hope they will accept the (DAP) arrangement,” he said.

Chong said for anyone to be a candidate of the DAP, he or she must have commitment, calibre and team player spirit.

On another matter, the State DAP described it as historic for a personality from either Sarawak or Sabah (East Malaysia) like Tan Sri Richard Malanjum to be appointed as the Chief Justice of Malaysia and Datuk David Wong Dak Wah as Chief Judge of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak.

These appointments show that the PH government subscribes to the principle of meritoctacy and serious in reforming Malaysia.

With these unprecedented appointment of Malanjum and Wong, Chong said he hoped they will bring along with them, judicial independence and intergrity.