Sarawak Pakatan in stalemate over seats ahead of state poll


(Malay Mail Online) – Despite the clock ticking away, Sarawak’s opposition parties are in a deadlock over the distribution of state seats in Malaysia’s largest state that could also jeopardise their future partnership.

Talk among all three Pakatan Rakyat (PR) parties appears to have broken down in the run-up to the state election, widely speculated to be called by year end, even though the current Barisan Nasional (BN) government’s mandate expires only in June next year.

“Since DAP has clearly stated that it has distanced itself from us and may even pull out of Pakatan Rakyat over the hudud issue, what else is there to negotiate?” Baharuddin Mokhsen, who is deputy chief of the state PKR’s election committee, said today.

He alluded to Sarawak DAP’s previous announcement that it was withdrawing from talks with its state coalition partners, pending an explanation on their ambiguous stand over PAS’ hudud push in Kelantan.

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

Baharuddin refused to say if the state PR parties were breaking up when asked, but added that his party would continue talks with its Islamist partner.

He also said his party will field candidates in the 49 seats it contested in the 2011 state election and urged DAP to keep to its 15 seats.

PAS ran in five state seats and lost.

Baharuddin later said his party was still open to talking to DAP, but only on the 11 new state seats the Election Committee has proposed following its recent boundary redrawing exercise.

“All I can say for now is that we have no choice but to maintain the status quo.

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

The yet-to-be-approved redelineation exercise would increase the number of seats in the Sarawak legislative assembly from 71 currently, to 82.