Penang Pakatan to retain 2008 seat formula

By Athi Shankar, FMT

GEORGE TOWN: Pakatan Rakyat appears convinced that the next general election will see it repeating its 2008 victory in Penang if it maintains the formula for seat allocation among the three parties in the alliance.

According to Penang PKR secretary Abdul Halim Hussain, there has been no talk of changing the arrangement for the 13th general election although, in a pre-election announcement in February 2008, Pakatan leaders said the formula was strictly for the 12th general election and would change for the 13th.

Insiders said that one of the reasons for maintaining the status quo was that most of the incumbent representatives had been carrying out productive groundwork in their constituencies.

It would be “difficult, unjust and unfair to pinch those seats” from incumbent parties, said an insider.

The formula for state seats is 19 for DAP, 16 for PKR and five for PAS. For parliamentary seats, it is seven for DAP, four for PKR and two for PAS.

In the March 2008 general election, the Pakatan allies won 29 out of 40 state seats and 11 out of 13 federal seats.

DAP scored absolute success in both state and parliamentary contests. PKR won nine state seats and PAS one, but failed to capture any federal seat.

Abdul Halim did not rule out the possibility that there might be some bargaining among the three allies, but he did not foresee drastic changes in the arrangement.

“Unlike in the last election,” he said, “this time we are contesting to defend our state government.”