Jumaat, 25 Mac 2011

Pakatan national leadership meets on Monday to finalize S'wak seats

Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

Pakatan national leadership meets on Monday to finalize S'wak seatsThe Pakatan Rakyat national leadership will meet on Monday to help finalize seat allocations in Sarawak, where temperatures are rising and wild allegations hurled around as component parties try their best to swing the most “winnable” seats, egged on by arch rival BN which is only too happy to stir the flames higher.
But time is running out and the Pakatan is already a step behind. BN will be announcing their candidates on Saturday. Nomination day is on April 6 and balloting on April 16.
So what exactly is going on in the Land of the Hornbills?
Beware the swollen-headed syndrome
According to Pakatan insiders, the problem is two-prong. First, Snap is widely expected to pull out from the coalition but while PKR can expect to be hit with the full brunt of negtive publicity when this happens, Snap is unlikely to prove much of a votes-spoiler.
Second, Sarawak DAP is at the same stage that its peninsula counterparts were at in 2008 after newly sweeping into power with never-before-seen electoral gains.
“Remember the constant bickering and gamesmanship between DAP and PAS in Selangor and Kedah and even Penang. Remember that guy Thomas Su who stunned everyone by pulling Kedah DAP out from the Pakatan? Even Guan Eng used to take weekly pot shots at PAS and PKR,” the Pakatan insider told Malaysia Chronicle.
“They were actually quite unbearable because they were swollen-headed, but in the end, all three parties realized their mistake and formed a Pakatan secretariat to thrash things out and come to a common stand. So far, it has worked and this is a lesson that Guan Eng and Kit Siang must share with Sarawak on Monday.”
According to the insider, Guan Eng amongst all  the Pakatan leaders should realize the need for mutual respect and true co-operation the most.
His Penang administration has been under ceaseless attack by the BN since day one, but both PKR and PAS have supported him unswervingly, helping the DAP to boost its hold on the state government despite the BN onslaught.
“If PKR and PAS were to pull out of Penang Pakatan, Guan Eng would straightaway find himself the head of the opposition. If DAP retaliated by pulling out from Selangor, Kelantan and Kedah, PKR and PAS would still retain control of the states,” the insider continued.
“As they say pride comes before a fall and the uninitiated are often blind. So it behoves elders like Kit Siang and Guan Eng to counsel their Sarawak leaders to work towards the same sort of co-operation that PAS, PKR and DAP share in the peninsula. That is no fake or accident. Trust can only be built by sheer hard work and effort.”
Numbers that deceive and the SUPP-19
It is understood that an 11th hour quarrel has broken out between Sarawak DAP and PKR. DAP only wants to contest in 18 seats out of the 71 that are open for contest. It has made full use of this number to attack PKR, which has agreed to contest in 52, as being greedy.
But from day one, the 18 seats demanded by DAP are the choicest and most winnable of the crop. Furthermore, 3 of these plus another in Padungan were allocated to PKR in the 2006 election.
In 2006, PKR contested 4 Chinese-dominated constituencies and won one through Dominique Ng Kim Ho. It wanted to retain this status quo but later agreed to swap with the DAP on the condition that at end of it all, it must still have access to contest in 4 Chinese areas.
“Sarawak DAP is using the numbers to gain public sympathy. When Azmin Ali came down, they were quick to blame him for everything. They portray him as the devil and Baru as the saint but the fact is Baru and Azmin are on the same wavelength. Azmin takes advice from whom else but Baru in Sarawak, remember that,” the insider said.
Indeed, not only DAP but Snap has accused PKR of being territorial and of insisting on contesting 52 seats. Yet PKR says it is ready to come down to 20 seats any time.
“The fact is PKR has the worst deal. No doubt, Baru has made a lot of headway but the rural and Muslim areas are Taib’s stronghold. It is the 19 SUPP seats that are the most vulnerable. But if PKR doesn’t contest, then Taib gets a walkover in all the rural seats. Don’t Sarawakians deserve better?” said the insider.
Pakatan must stay multiracial and reject prima donnas
A check with Sarawak PKR leaders confirmed that they willing to relinquish more Dayak-dominated and other non-Chinese seats to DAP and even Snap but neither party wished to accept.
DAP wants only the Chinese constituencies, while Snap is believed to have already brokered a deal with BN. Former PKR secretary-general Salehuddin Hashim is actively helping Snap to shift out of Pakatan.
“We will cross the Snap bridge when it comes. It is actually not a problem. As for DAP, it only wants the Chinese-dominated seats. That’s fine if their decision is to focus but they cannot take away the Chinese seats that originally belonged to the other parties. Even PAS wants to contest in Chinese areas now. Who doesn’t know Pakatan has the best chances of winning these constituencies,” the insider said.
“But PKR and PAS must hold firm to their stand or Pakatan will become just another BN – a race-denominated coalition. DAP, Chinese, PKR, Dayak, PAS, Muslim. Pakatan is multi-racial and it must ensure that it is so throughout all the states.
On Monday, all eyes will be on Anwar Ibrahim, Guan Eng, Kit Siang and Hadi to make it clear that the coalition has no place for prima donnas.

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