KUALA LUMPUR, April 26 ― After crossing swords with PKR during nominations for the Sarawak polls, DAP’s national leadership sought today to prove its claim, that it was its Pakatan Harapan (PH) ally that had failed to honour its side of the bargain.
Party national organising secretary Anthony Loke revealed that during negotiations, DAP and PKR had engaged pollster Merdeka Center to conduct a survey on six of the 11 seats that both parties had been eyeing for the elections.
According to Loke, the pollster’s findings favoured the DAP in all but one of the surveyed constituencies.
But despite this, he said DAP in a meeting with PKR’s top leadership on April 7 agreed to allow their Pakatan Harapan ally to contest five of the contentious seats, including the winnable Batu Kitang.
“So on that day, the final agreement was reached between the DAP and PKR’s top leadership. Leaders of both parties had signed a handwritten note listing down the seats allocation agreement,” Loke told reporters here.
The eight seats allocated to the DAP as listed in the deal were Senadin, Mulu, Murum, Ngemah, Mambong, Tasik Biru, Simanggang and Bukit Semuja.
PKR had then allegedly agreed to contest the Batu Kitang, Marudi, Machan, Layar and Belaga seats.
But on April 11, Loke said PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali had prior to a PH presidential council meeting asked for a swap of the Mambong and Mulu seats in replacement for Tarat and Marudi
The meeting was also attended by PKR president Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and vice president Nurul Izzah Anwar.
Loke said DAP had to reject the swap request on two grounds: that time was short and the party had already prepared the groundwork for campaigning, and the negotiations would prompt Sarawak DAP to want to open the seat talks again, this time not wanting to give away the Batu Kitang seat.
But at the close of nominations yesterday, PKR and DAP were seen pitted against one another in six seats, namely Mambong, Simanggang, Murum, Mulu, Ngemah and Batu Kitang.
“We are disappointed really. We have honoured our part of the deal but PKR did not,” Loke lamented.
The survey, suggested by PKR, cost both the parties RM100,000 the DAP revealed.
The party’s national publicity chief Tony Pua who was also a part of the seat negotiation team said the DAP was reluctant to conduct the survey but conceded later on the condition that PKR would respect the findings.
“I was firm. I said I’d rather have the money spent for campaigning..but we agreed and said they have to abide by the outcome and Sarawak PKR said they “yes, yes we would abide”.
“But they didn’t,” Pua said.
Analysts polled by Malay Mail Online believe the PKR and DAP friction in Sarawak would not augur well for PH’s image, and is likely to affect its campaign there.
PH aims to deny Barisan Nasional its two-thirds majority, but the parties would have to win at least 28 seats of the total 82 seats up for contest.
During the 2011 polls, DAP and PKR collectively bagged a total of 15 seats ― 12 won by the DAP and three by PKR.