Be realistic with seat demands, Anwar urges SAPP

Ida Lim, The Malaysian Insider

Hard-nosed Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) negotiators may jeopardise Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) bid to make inroads into the east Malaysian state considered a key Barisan Nasional (BN) vote bank, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has said.

With the 13th general election fast approaching, Anwar urged SAPP leaders to cut down on their demands for seats, saying that it would be hard to continue talks otherwise, the Sin Chew Daily reported today.

The opposition front in Sabah currently includes DAP, PAS, PKR and two newly-formed PR-friendly parties – Angkatan Perubahan Sabah (APS), Pakatan Perubahan Sabah (PPS) – working together with SAPP and the State Reform Party (STAR) against BN.

“Besides Sabah Pakatan Rakyat’s five member parties, we still want to negotiate with SAPP; if SAPP continues making demands that are too high, it’ll be hard for us to continue negotiations,” Anwar was quoted as saying by Sin Chew Daily today.

But Anwar reportedly denied that PR was issuing an ultimatum to SAPP, saying that he only wanted to let the party know that the pact was in its final stages of seat negotiations.

The Borneo Post yesterday reported Anwar as saying that SAPP has to be a strong party to justify its desire for half the seats up for grabs in the coming election.

“As far as the three parties are concerned, it is very good, but then there is very little progress with SAPP; (that) is the report I have. We have to convey this to SAPP because we must have some formula of compromise.

“Each party should not demand too much… we have to be realistic as to the strength of each party. If SAPP for example wants half of the seats, it has to be a formidable party.

“For now we will not stop discussions but we will have to convey our position on behalf of the three parties which include APS and PPPS,” the PKR de facto leader said.

According to the Borneo Post, Anwar said that the parties involved in seat negotiations should not carry out attacks during talks.

“We are negotiating and therefore it is not wise to go on attacking, like this spat between SAPP and DAP,” he said, likely referring to reported tension between the two parties.

SAPP had in September declared that the party was eyeing the parliamentary seats of Sepanggar, Penampang and Kota Kinabalu in Sabah – the same seats that DAP wishes to contest.

On December 20, Anwar reportedly rejected claims that PR’s seat negotiations with SAPP were faltering.