Parties in the opposition Pakatan Harapan can heave their first sigh of relief over disputed seat allocations for the next elections after cobbling together agreements over contests in Sarawak and Penang.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng today confirmed that the coalition has managed to settle negotiations in the two states, but declined to reveal other details on discussions over seats in other places.
He stressed however that the in-depth negotiations have only been held among the three Pakatan Harapan parties of DAP, PKR and Amanah. Deliberations with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) have only been “general” in nature.
PPBM which is led by former Umno strongmen, Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Muhyddin Yassin did not attend a meeting on seat negotiations between the party and Pakatan Harapan on Feb 28, resulting in a flurry of speculations over prospects for cooperation.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the DAP National Leadership Retreat 2017 at a hotel here, Lim said detailed discussions need to be held between Pakatan and PPBM in time.
The revelation comes as welcome news for Pakatan parties, especially in Sarawak where local leaders are known to have quarrelled bitterly with each other in the past.
PKR and DAP clashed in six state seats during the Sarawak state elections in May last year, with personalities from the two parties openly trading barbs in the run-up to polling.
The constituencies – Batu Kitang, Mulu, Murum, Simanggang, Ngemah and Mambong – were all eventually won by Barisan Nasional (BN).
Lim, who is also Penang chief minister, said it is important for national leaders to convince grassroots members to avoid multi-cornered fights to prevent similar failures from recurring.
He said a “comprehensive and complete picture” of agreements in other states will be revealed to the media with a joint announcement when full negotiations are completed “as soon as possible.”
“As much as we want to hurry, it can’t be hurried. We will try to speed it up,” he said.
On another matter Lim reiterated DAP’s support for the federal government’s efforts to reclaim Pedra Branca (also known as Pulau Batu Puteh), off the coast of Johor, from Singapore.
Malaysia recently filed an application to the International Court of Justice after the discovery of a new fact over the territorial dispute. This fact was unknown to both Malaysia and the ICJ when the court gave its judgement in favour of Singapore in 2008.
On May 23, 2008, the ICJ ruled that Singapore had sovereignty over Pedra Branca, while Malaysia owned the nearby islets of Middle Rocks and South Ledge.
Source : Robin Augustin @ FMT Online