PKR says it will contest 49 seats in Sarawak polls


(The Malaysian Insider) – Sarawak PKR today told their partners in the opposition coalition that the 49 seats they were allocated in the last state election in 2011 “are not up for grabs” and they would contest the same seats in the forthcoming state polls.

Only the 11 new seats that the Election Commission is planning to create are negotiable, said the state PKR election committee deputy chairman Baharuddin Mokhsen.

In the distribution of the 71 seats, DAP were allocated 15, mostly in Chinese majority constituencies, while PAS were allocated only seven.

The nod to have the 49 seats non-negotiable appeared to have come from PKR deputy president Mohamad Azmin Ali who ended his three-day working visit to the state yesterday.

“The party’s deputy president has made it clear that we are now to focus on all our seats,” Baharuddin said. “PKR will focus on all the 49 seats we contested in the 10th state election in 2011.”

The 49 seats, mainly Malay majority and rural Dayak majority areas, were allocated to the PKR when PR was an entity.

The opposition bloc in the state fell apart last October, due to DAP’s insistence they could not work with Islamist PAS, which is pushing for the implementation of hudud.

“We did not shut the door on DAP. DAP shut the door on us and PAS last October, citing hudud as the reason,” said Baharuddin.

“So since DAP has stated that it has distanced itself from us and may even pull out of Pakatan Rakyat, what else is there to say?

“If DAP wants to return to the negotiation table, we more than welcome them in the spirit of Pakatan Rakyat.

“But we can only negotiate on the 11 new seats. We feel obliged to take the position that the 49 seats PKR contested in 2011 are not up for grabs and we will maintain the status quo to avoid prolonged negotiations on seats,” he said.