Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Prove you’re multiracial, Sarawak PKR tells partners

Baru wants the DAP to counter accusations that it is a Chinese chauvinist party. — File pic
PETALING JAYA, May 3 — Sarawak PKR wants its Pakatan Rakyat (PR) partners to contest in “black seats” in the next general election and dismiss the notion that they cannot cross the racial divide.

State chief Baru Bian told reporters here today that PKR could not continue shouldering the burden of contesting in Barisan Nasional (BN) strongholds and invited the DAP and PAS to share in about 14 Dayak- and Malay-Melanau-majority parliamentary seats that PR struggled in during the April 16 state election.

“We want to invite DAP and PAS to take over some of these seats and balance it out if they are prepared to be seen as multiracial,” the Ba’Kelalan assemblyman said.

He said this was a way for the DAP to counter accusations that it is a Chinese chauvinist party that used racial politics to win nearly all Chinese-majority seats in contested, doubling its representation in the Sarawak assembly to 12.

PAS has also spent the past few years widening its appeal to non-Muslims and campaigns under the slogan “PAS for all.”

PKR has been defending itself against accusations of greed after it contested in 49 of the 71 seats for the Sarawak polls but winning only three.

It said last week that 24 of the seats were “impossible to win” but that it could not give BN a free ride if it was serious about wanting to form government.

“PAS and DAP were only fighting in places that they can win,” Baru said today.

He said that PKR had identified 17 winnable parliamentary seats for the general election that is expected to be held within the year and would be aiming to contest in 10 of these.

Baru said that based on the April 16 vote, DAP looked set to win five to six seats while PKR would have to make some improvement and penetrate into the remainder.

He told The Malaysian Insider later that PKR will ask to swop native-majority seats for two of the DAP’s Chinese-majority seats — Stampin and Miri.

He also said that if the DAP and PAS refused to take up some of the 14 tough seats, “then what can we do? We too need to concentrate on winnable seats. We will hope independents will take the fight to BN.”

By Shannon Teoh TMI

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