KUCHING, Nov 27 — Sarawak DAP today hit back at its Pakatan Harapan (PH) partner PKR and said it should focus on its 47 seats that it will be contesting and win as many as possible in the December 18 state election, instead of grabbing seats.
State DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen said the state PKR should not waste valuable time and energy grabbing seats and losing the general goal to win the war against Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) in the state election.
He reminded the state PKR that the three partners – DAP, PKR and Amanah – have signed an agreement on seat allocation on January 2 this year after many rounds of negotiations.
“Involving not only the then state PKR chairman Larry Sng, but also a few other state leaders including state PKR secretary Joshua Jabeng and state PKR deputy chairman Abang Zulkilfy Abang Engkeh as regular attendees in the negotiations,” Chong said when responding to state PKR leadership council’s accusation against the state DAP.
He said Sng signed the allocation of seat agreement on behalf of the PKR leadership council in the presence of other state PKR council members.
“That was the decision of the state PKR leadership council as a whole, not that of Sng’s alone,” Chong said, adding that the decision is still valid even though Sng has left the party.
“Agreement doesn’t work that way. It is an agreement entered into between party to party, the change of one office bearer does not affect the validity of the agreement.
“We, on our part, have also given up some seats in order to reach that agreement on January 2 this year,” he said.
In a statement last night, the state PKR leadership council accused the Sarawak DAP of being difficult during seat negotiations for the upcoming state elections.
It accused Sarawak DAP of refusing to negotiate in an open and transparent manner over certain seats, and for not responding to requests to hold discussions.
In particular, the state PKR mentioned negotiations for Kemena seat and Senadin and Piasau state seats under the Miri parliamentary constituency.
The state PKR asserted how Kemena was originally a PKR seat that was “loaned” to DAP for the 2016 state polls, which DAP eventually lost, and that a new more suitable Dayak candidate for the seat has since been identified by them.
“We presented our candidate’s KPI and dossier to the Sarawak PH chairman but he refused to even read or acknowledge it. What was even more puzzling was that the PH chairman refused to tell us who he had in mind as a DAP candidate in Kemena.
“To the best of our knowledge, there has been no DAP-led grassroots outreach in Kemena for over three years,” the state PKR council said, referring to state PH and state DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen.
The Council explained how the Senadin and Piasau seats were similarly lost by DAP after being defeated in the 2016 polls, before asserting that PKR has the stronger grassroots backing in these predominantly Chinese and Dayak constituencies.
The Council then questioned Sarawak DAP’s sense of camaraderie and consensus building, saying the only way that it can be done is transparently, openly, and in a respectful manner.