DAP-SAPP spat over seats rages

Nancy Lai, The Borneo Post

KOTA KINABALU: Trouble seems to be brewing in the opposition front as DAP Sabah and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) take potshots at each other on several issues, including the seats they are eyeing.

With the 13th general election expected to be held anytime soon and no end in sight to the acrimony between the two opposition parties, the chances of Pakatan Rakyat pulling off a strong alliance against Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) appear increasingly remote.

Continuing the war of words yesterday, DAP Sabah assistant secretary cum National DAPSY Central Committee member Junz Wong issued a strongly worded statement in which he accused SAPP of harbouring “evil intentions” to split the opposition votes in Sabah.

Junz claimed that DAP Sabah has been under attack by SAPP ever since DAP announced that it would be contesting the Sandakan parliamentary seat and the Elopura, Tanjung Papat and Karamunting state seats.

He said SAPP has even claimed that DAP was secretly assisting UMNO to win in the coming election.

“Firstly, DAP demands that (Datuk) Wong Yi Ming apologize for accusing DAP of helping UMNO! DAP has worked for a free and democratic Malaysia for as long as DAP has existed, led by credible leaders such as Lim Kit Siang and Karpal Singh.

“DAP had gone through difficult times when BN was much stronger, fighting BN head-to-head (while SAPP was colluding with BN),” Junz said.

“Even then, DAP did not join BN when invited to join the coalition. There was even one time in Malaysia’s history where there was only a lone national opposition representation in Parliament, and that was DAP.

“We strongly reject such intentional, irresponsible and baseless accusations against DAP. SAPP wants Malaysians to be misled so that votes would be split in the coming PRU13. These attempts were made with most evil intentions!,” he said.

“Secondly, to contest the Sandakan seats has always been made known within Pakatan component parties. SAPP is NOT part of Pakatan. SAPP has clarified that they will work with Datuk Seri Anwar (Ibrahim) for possible seat negotiation, which means they will negotiate for seats agreed upon for PKR only, not PAS, and certainly NOT DAP.

“If SAPP thinks (Datuk) Yong Teck Lee can deal with Pakatan the way SAPP used to deal with BN, then Yong is so WRONG! Pakatan is NOT BN! BN decisions would be made by (Tun) Dr Mahathir or Pak Lah or Najib, so SAPP just have to deal with the Prime Minister,” he asserted.

Junz said that in the spirit of Pakatan Rakyat, consensus among the three parties’ top leadership will make the decision, not one single leader.

“SAPP’s Yong thinks he can by-pass DAP or PAS by going straight to Anwar to negotiate for DAP seats? By continuously slandering DAP and throwing baseless accusations against DAP has worsened the good faith,” he claimed, adding that by not negotiating with DAP on seat allocations, SAPP can only get seats which have been agreed for PKR. (That is if PKR is willing to let go).

Junz said SAPP likes to play the role of ‘Mr Know Everything’.

“Its publicity chief Chong Pit Fah has claimed that PKR would stand in Sandakan. SAPP is not part of Pakatan and neither has SAPP ever sat in on any of Pakatan seat negotiation meetings. How would he (Chong) know and make an announcement for PKR-Pakatan? He is giving a price for a car that doesn’t belong to him,” he claimed.

“Thirdly, SAPP’s intentions are obvious and evil. On the one hand SAPP is slandering Pakatan, citing Pakatan is a Malaya party while on the other hand, it keeps fishing for opposition votes by claiming they are working with Pakatan.

“This has caused much confusion as to where SAPP actually stands. Even STAR and PKR has openly asked SAPP to make a clear stand on whether SAPP is joining PR or not!

“Observing the movements of SAPP throughout the years has helped us come to one conclusion.

“SAPP’s uncertain position as a ‘spoiler’ is so apparent. We hope that if SAPP is really sincere in wanting to work together for the sake of the people of Sabah and Malaysia, then SAPP must join Pakatan Rakyat now! Then we can immediately sit down on seats negotiation seriously once and for all. DAP door is always open waiting for SAPP to come knocking.”

“Fourthly, Why does SAPP has to ‘hentam’ (criticize) DAP for wanting to contest in the four Sandakan seats? Hasn’t SAPP already shown their arrogance in their continuous call to contest 40 seats?

“DAP has three principles to ensure a straight fight against BN, and DAP reiterates its stand that for a 1-to-1 fight against BN, it must work on the basis of the principles that no party must be larger than the other component parties to ensure a form of check and balance because power corrupts politicians, and this is also against the spirit of social democracy; secondly, to show its sincerity to Malaysians by joining Pakatan Rakyat Sabah secretariat because there is no point of only talking about working with PR as this will only be perceived as attempts to confuse voters, especially Pakatan voters,” Junz said.

“The third principle is that there must be respect for Pakatan component parties as a national coalition. Stop slandering PR and misleading voters by branding PR a Malayan coalition,” he said.

“DAP has made its stand clear from the very beginning that we want to achieve a one-to-one fight based on these principles. This stand will not be moved. We would also like to remind SAPP that PKR has never promised to let go of all PKR seats, PKR only agrees to give some seats to SAPP. Likewise for DAP.

“DAP will embrace SAPP with open arms and negotiate when SAPP joins PR in agreement to those principles stated above. For now, we would think that the chance is slim as SAPP appears to focus on geographical and demographical politics rather than working for the good of all Malaysians,” he said.

“For DAP, we think the damage is done, it’s time to do repairs and rectify the situation before it is too late. We hope SAPP can come to its sense that what it has been doing won’t help get them anywhere nor would SAPP be doing Malaysian voters any favour ahead of this crucial GE13. In fact, SAPP is indirectly helping BN as their actions would seemingly cause votes to be split.

“We hope in the next 100 days, SAPP will make the right decision to join PR otherwise  a three cornered fight becomes inevitable,” he said.