GEORGE TOWN, May 20 — DAP is confident in defending its 19 state seats in Penang which it has defended for the last three terms since 2008, said the party secretary-general Anthony Loke today.
He said since winning over Penang in 2008 together with its coalition partners in Pakatan Harapan (PH), DAP still considers the northern state its stronghold and is confident that it will continue to retain all of its state seats here.
"Penang DAP will continue to get good results to defend the state as they have not stopped working since taking over the state in 2008,” he said during a press conference after paying a courtesy visit to Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow in Komtar today.
He said DAP, under PH, has managed to hold Penang for three terms and will be aiming to defend its position to continue for a fourth term in the next election.
"It will be the fourth term so the challenges will be different from previous terms but I am confident in the state leadership under Chow as the DAP chairman to lead and defend the state,” he said.
He said what is important for the party now is to continue to strengthen its position, especially in Penang, Selangor and Negri Sembilan.
"Our strengths are in these three states so we must defend these states and at the same time, we must also defend all of the parliamentary seats we are holding,” he said.
Loke said the central leadership of the party is ready to fully support Penang DAP so that it can continue to obtain a mandate to govern Penang and the party will work with its allies in PH to win a comfortable majority in Penang so that PH will continue to hold the reins here.
"We cannot be overconfident on how many seats we can win and what our majority will be, as long as we can get a comfortable majority to maintain mandate, it will be good,” he added.
Meanwhile, as part of the party’s ongoing rejuvenation process, he said the party is now in the process of identifying new faces to be introduced in the elections.
He said candidacy is an important issue and Penang DAP is in the process of looking for new talents including accepting proposals from grassroots and conducting interviews with eligible candidates.
"This process will take time so nothing is finalised yet and Penang DAP will be given the space and time to do this at their own pace but what is certain is that we will place strong candidates for the election,” he said.
When asked if there is a percentage of new faces among the candidates, Loke said they do not have any target on the percentage of new faces to introduce.
"Generally, we want to introduce some new faces in each election as an ongoing rejuvenation process so that the party always have new blood,” he said.
He said many of the current incumbents are still young and fresh so many of them will be retained as candidates.
"I am only 45 years old even though this is my fourth term so I can still serve,” he said.
When asked about any possible partnership with the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) for the elections, Loke said the party is a "friendly party” to PH, particularly DAP.
"They are not a component of PH but we can discuss with them, get their views and see if we can reach an understanding,” he said, referring to Muda.
As for whether there will be an alliance with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, he said there were no such discussions with the party.