Anwar in Sabah to bolster PKR’s hopes of more seats

(FMT) – PKR president Anwar Ibrahim is scheduled to be in Sabah today to launch the party’s election machinery ahead of the 16th state election.

The launch is expected to be a grand one, involving other senior party leaders as well, and is set to underscore its intention of going all out for this election.

Political analyst Tony Paridi Bagang said PKR is sending a clear signal that it is fully ready.

“I think this is on his (Anwar’s) agenda. By going down to the ground, he’s showing full support to his party and its Pakatan Harapan partner (DAP), and also to Warisan and Upko,” he told FMT.

Bagang also said that this launch will push the other parties to have a grand show of their own soon.

“The Warisan Plus (the alliance of Warisan, PH and Upko) is not a formalised coalition. Having a big launching of its election machinery is another way to pressure Warisan and Upko to do the same thing as soon as possible.”

But political observers said besides shoring up support for PKR and the Warisan Plus parties, Anwar’s presence is also expected to bolster the party’s hopes of securing more seats in the coming polls.

With seat negotiations among the parties yet to be finalised, PKR is hoping Anwar will help its aspirations of contesting more than the nine state seats it vied for in the last general election.

There will be 73 seats up for grabs in this election compared with 60 in GE14.

Bagang said there were several seats that PKR had wanted at the last general election, but had to let go in a compromise with Warisan.

“So, there is a high possibility that PKR wants to reclaim these seats,” he said.

Party insiders told FMT that they are hoping that the PKR president will make seat allocations one of his priorities in discussions with other Warisan Plus parties.

Party sources said among the seats PKR wanted are the Inanam and Moyog seats, which were won by former PKR vice-chairman Kenny Chua and Jenifer Lasimbang respectively.

Chua has since left to link up with the opposition.

The seat was won by PKR in two consecutive general elections (2013 and 2018).

Warisan wanted the seat in 2018 but compromised by letting PKR defend Inanam. It is said that Warisan now wanted to take the seat back due to Chua’s defection.

PKR also contested in Api-Api, Kadamaian, Tempasuk, Karanaan, Matunggong, Tamparuli and Kuala Penyu in the May 2018 general election.