‘Better for PH to finalise seat allocations soon’

KUCHING: Ba Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian, who is state PKR chairman, hopes that the overlapping claims on seats among state Pakatan Harapan (PH) partners would be resolved by the middle of next month.

He said he had a hunch that the message on the social media about the dissolution of the State Legislative Assembly to be on Feb 25, nomination date on March 6 and polling day on March 19, might be true.

The message, which had gone viral on social media, also mentioned that postal voting would be on March 13, while early voting would be on March 16.

Many Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders such as state BN secretary-general Datuk Dr Stephen Rundi Utom and PRS president Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing had dismissed the message as ‘mere speculations’ and ‘inaccurate’, but many who received it believed it to be ‘authentic’ as it contained specific details.

Baru said seat negotiations among the three state PH partners could be held this month. However, he said it was not necessary for the three parties to meet at the same time as most of the overlapping claims were between PKR and DAP, and PKR and Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah).

“We have met DAP unofficially. We are aware of the areas they are interested in and they are also aware of the areas that we are interested in. So that is also a good beginning and when we meet again, it will be more on sorting out all these overlapping areas. We will make an announcement once we have finalised,” he told reporters here yesterday.

Commenting on PH’s new code of conduct that was agreed by their national leaders on Saturday, Baru believed that it was good as it would make it clear that no coalition partner would have the arbitrary right to dissolve the coalition, as what happened in Pakatan Rakyat.

He also believed that the code of conduct would help the coalition to come up with a united decision — be it on policies or seats.

“I think that will have an implication for the whole of the nation, because there is no alternative but for us to be united for the coming general election. That is more important because the people are looking up to us to be the alternative to BN.”

The agreement outlines seven main points that will govern how the coalition comes up with common policies, how they conduct themselves and deal with differences of opinion between the three ideologically distinct parties — PKR, DAP and Amanah.

Baru said although he had yet to receive the details of the agreement, he was confident that the agreement would help state PH to be more cohesive.

“For PKR, that is being welcomed because our intention from the very beginning is a united front of Pakatan Harapan — formerly Pakatan Rakyat — plus other opposition parties in the state to go against BN.

“In that sense, it will help to consolidate the opposition in the state and for the national leaders to toe the line of Malaysia Agreement and not to be different, because we need to be consistent. I don’t think it is right that we say we are different from Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak is different and Sabah is different.”

Baru agreed to a suggestion that all the three parties were equal partners in PH although historically, they had different fundamentals and setting, as they had a common aim of achieving equality for all races and religions.

Asked to comment on a suggestion that both state PKR and DAP appeared to be ‘suspicious’ of each other, Baru said: “I think the word suspicious is not right. To me, this is a very natural thing that happens before election. This is not the first time (that we had worked with DAP). In the 13th general election, there was always that kind of interest in certain seats.

“Of course, when you have some interests, there must be some reasons for it. Other parties who defended that seat or objected to them from getting it, there were also reasons to it.

“That’s the reason why I think the negotiation of seats is very crucial to allay any fears or ‘suspicion’ as you call it.”

“What is more important is at the end of the day, there is an agreement between the coalition partners that they will fight BN one-to-one.”-Borneo Post

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