SHAH ALAM, April 25 ― PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali confirmed today that his party would be clashing with ally DAP in six state seats in the Sarawak election, moments after nominations were closed.
“It is is very unfortunate. Until yesterday night, we were all in discussion (with DAP leaders) and expressed our concern that some seat disputes were not resolved at the 11th hour,” Azmin told reporters after officiating a “Jom Membaca” programme at the Shah Alam public library today.
Azmin said that the central PKR and DAP leaders eventually agreed that the matter was something which should be decided the parties’ respective state leaders.
“End of the day, we have to respect their autonomy,” Azmin said.
Azmin also insisted that he had not gone beyond his authority in allowing Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian to give authorise contests by his party in seats the DAP was also contesting.
The PKR leader said party president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail had given him the green light to do so.
“I was given a mandate in writing by the party president to resolve all the contentious issues in Sarawak, so I discussed with the state PKR leadership,” he said.
He also claimed that the previous agreement signed with DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng to ensure no clashes between PKR and DAP had not been “conclusive”.
“We did sign an understanding, but I did not see it as conclusive as negotiations continued even after the document was signed,” he said.
“There was no mention of candidates or specific seats when we signed the understanding,” he added.
PKR and DAP will reportedly be fighting each other in at least two constituencies for the Sarawak polls, which kicked off with nominations this morning, after the two Pakatan Harapan allies failed reach an agreement on seat distribution.
Early this morning, DAP’s Isa Aziz Marido filed his nomination papers for the Batu Kitang seat, although the constituency was previously allocated to PKR in an agreement struck between the two party’s national leaderships earlier this month.
Isa Aziz is expected to be fighting PKR’s Voon Shiak Ni and BN’s Lo Khere Chiang, as well as two independents for the new seat.
Both DAP and PKR have also fielded candidates in what will now become a four-cornered tussle for Mulu, another newly-carved out seat in the recent redelineation exercise by the Election Commission (EC).
The candidates for Mulu are Paul Baya (PKR), Paul Raja (DAP), Datuk Gerawat Gala (BN) and Dr Roland Dom Mattu, who had quit the Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) as its senior vice president to contest as an independent candidate after the party failed to secure him a nomination.
The EC will be holding a press conference soon to announce the final tally of candidates for the May 7 polls.