(The Star) - Pakatan Rakyat and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) have ended their recent months of courtship with two top Parti Keadilan Rakyat leaders saying that “we will go separate ways.”
PKR deputy-president Azmin Ali and vice-president Tian Chua made it clear yesterday that there will be no more negotiations with SAPP president Datuk Yong Teck Lee for a seat-sharing pact to confront Barisan Nasional in a one-to-one fight in the general election.
Tian Chua described SAPP's continued demands for a large share of state seats during negotiations as “unreasonable and reflects their insincerity and commitment towards an Opposition pact to oust Barisan in Sabah.
“If SAPP maintains that they must be given a large share of the seats which makes it impossible for an agreement to be reached, we can only interpret it as their not being interested in the cooperation.
“This means we have to go separate ways,” he told a press conference here yesterday.
Tian Chua dismissed the possibility of the opposition losing the support of Sabah voters if local-based SAPP was excluded from the Pakatan pact as he believed it would have minimal impact on them.
“In the coming polls, the people will choose between Barisan and Pakatan.
“Any other force will not have any substantial impact on the choice of the voters,” he said.
He said that Pakatan was willing to work with any party in Sabah to remove Barisan from Putrajaya.
“Pakatan parties are willing to cooperate with all forces if they are genuinely committed to our common struggle to topple Barisan,” he added.
Tian Chua's public stand on SAPP was in tangent with Azmin's statement to an online news portal which quoted him as saying that SAPP was “completely out of the list and out of our formula” as far as seat negotiations were involved because of the party's unreasonable demands.
Azmin stated that Pakatan was close to concluding a seat-sharing deal with its new Sabah allies Angkatan Perubahan Sabah (APS) and Pertubuhan Pakatan Perubahan Sabah (PPPS).
APS is led by Tuaran MP Datuk Seri Wilfred Bumburing, the former deputy president of Upko while PPPS is led by Datuk Lajim Ukin, the Beaufort MP and former Umno supreme council member.
Pakatan party leaders including Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had previously agreed in principle to work out a seat-sharing agreement with SAPP for the 60 state and 25 parliament seats in Sabah.
Besides having problems with SAPP, the Pakatan parties also face problems in working out a seat deal with Sabah STAR, led by Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan who is pushing for a Sabah for Sabahans agenda.
Both SAPP and Sabah STAR believed that state-based parties should be allowed to contest the bulk of the state seats while Pakatan parties should focus on parliament seats.