In Sarawak, Pakatan seat row still simmers

By Shannon Teoh, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 — Less than 10 days before nomination for the state’s election, PKR has yet to resolve its dispute with the Sarawak National Party (SNAP) over seats in Sarawak.

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced today that DAP would contest 15 seats in the April 16 Sarawak elections, three short of the 18 it demanded as of last Friday when its Sarawak state leadership said negotiations had broken down.

PAS will contest five seats while PKR deputy president Azmin Ali said it has 24 confirmed and SNAP, four.

But the Gombak MP said that the remaining 23 will only be finalised at the end of the month between PKR and SNAP.

“The negotiations with SNAP have only just begun and they are still ongoing,” said Anwar, who is PKR de facto leader.

The opposition leader said Azmin had been in discussion with SNAP this morning and vice president Chua Tian Chang was still locked in negotiations this afternoon.

SNAP and PKR have been at odds over seat allocation for months, with Azmin first stating that PKR would begin negotiations at nothing more than three seats for the Sarawak-based opposition party.

It was also reported that PKR was seeking to contest in 52 of the 71 seats in the assembly.

SNAP then responded by naming 16 candidates and demanding 40 seats, following up with another 11 last week.

Anwar also told a press conference today that the national leadership of PKR, PAS and DAP has only rubber-stamped the decision of their Sarawak leaders.

“It is not true that the national leaders have interfered. We only formalised what was decided by the state leaders,” he said.