PKR confident of winning more in Penang

Penang PKR has brushed aside suggestion by critics that it ‘could be a casualty’ in the next election.

Athi Shankar, FMT

GEORGE TOWN: Penang PKR is confident of adding to its current nine seat tally in the State Legislative Assembly in the next general election.

State party information head Johari Kassim said their election machinery was well-oiled and all ready to rumble with Barisan Nasional in the next election.

“We have equal fighting chances in all seats that PKR will contest in the next polls,” he told FMT.

He suggested the absence of former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in Umno-BN candidature and election campaign this time would help PKR and Pakatan Rakyat’s chances to win some Umno-held seats in Kepala Batas and Tasek Gelugor federal constituencies.

He said internal infighting among Umno local warlords in both areas could also prove to be the tonic to boost PKR chances.

With an effective strategy, credible candidate and a little luck with a vote-swing, he predicted PKR would have a fighting chance to capture state seats of Bertam and Pinang Tunggal under Kepala Batas, and Teluk Air Tawar in Tasek Gelugor.

The three seats were among seven in the state that PKR lost to Umno in Penang in 2008 general election.

The other state seats it lost were Seberang Jaya (Permatang Pauh federal constituency), Sungai Acheh (Nibong Tebal), Teluk Bahang and Pulau Betong (Balik Pulau).

Johari also believed PKR could capture these seats too.

In the last election, PKR contested four federal and 16 state seats. It won all its parliamentary duels in Permatang Pauh and Nibong Tebal in mainland, and Balik Pulau and Bayan Baru in the island.

‘PKR is not a weak link’

It won state seats of Penanti (Permatang Pauh), Machang Bubok (Bukit Mertajam), Sungai Bakap (Nibong Tebal), Bukit Tengah and Bukit Tambun (Batu Kawan); all in mainland and, Batu Uban, Batu Maung and Pantai Jerejak (Bayan Baru) and Kebun Bunga (Bukit Bendera).

In recent months, PAS, which contested two federal and five state seats in the last election, had been loudly staking a claim to contest in Sungai Acheh.

It’s also learnt that the DAP would want to contest in Bayan Baru.

However, although he declined to comment on it, Johari said Pakatan would likely retain the status quo on the coalition seat formula.