Sarawak PR set to tussle for seats

By Shannon Teoh, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 14 — Sarawak Pakatan Rakyat (PR) will enter into stiff negotiations over seat allocations for Sarawak state polls that sources say will be called in early April.

The state assembly has 71 members and PKR has targeted 40 seats; DAP, 20; and Sarawak National Party (SNAP) looks to maintain the 28 seats it contested in the 2006 polls. PAS is also hoping to make its presence felt with two to four candidates.

However, PKR deputy president Azmin Ali said today that SNAP must contest fewer seats and negotiations will begin with “nothing more than three seats” for the local party.

Following DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang’s visit to Sarawak last weekend, the state DAP chief Wong Ho Leng told The Malaysian Insider that the party was looking at 20 seats but added that the allocations have not been finalised.

It is likely that SNAP will clash with PKR as both are eyeing constituencies with Dayak and Iban majorities, while DAP will move in on Chinese-majority urban centres.

However, the situation is developing quickly as sources in the state palace say that Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud will meet the Sarawak governor on Friday to discuss a dissolution of the state assembly.

SNAP has scheduled a press conference with Sabah-based United Borneo Front (UBF) and the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) for Wednesday.

It was rumoured that SNAP has agreed to a pact with UBF, led by former Sabah PKR chief Datuk Jeffrey Kitingan, after a meeting had taken place in December last year.