KUCHING: The local chapters of DAP and PKR have agreed to meet in January to discuss swapping seats for the next general election (GE14), Borneo Post (BP) reported today.
Sarawak PKR chairman Baru Bian said this yesterday when asked about speculation in a Chinese daily’s report about such a swap between both parties.
“I met (state DAP chairman) Chong Chieng Jen at my Christmas open house on Sunday, and we agreed to meet sometime in the middle of January. We will probably discuss this possibility,” he was quoted as saying by the Sarawak-based daily.
“We are always open for negotiations,” he added.
Meanwhile, BP quoted the Chinese daily’s report which stated that Miri (PKR) and Stampin (DAP) were the likely seats.
“Not only on Miri seat, but on other seats, too.
“As indicated openly by both parties before this, we agreed to begin with the status quo as per the last general election (GE13). Therefore, I do not expect any problem this time,” Baru told BP.
By standard convention in negotiations between parties, only winning seats are swapped.
With DAP setting their sights on Miri, which is categorised as an urban constituency, the party has little option but to offer one of four similar seats it won in GE13 – Bandar Kuching, Stampin, Sibu and Lanang.
With Chong unlikely to give up his Bandar Kuching stronghold, as well as Sibu and Lanang, where PKR don’t have the strength anyway, the only remaining seat that could be given up by DAP is Stampin.
For the record, DAP’s Julian Tan won the Stampin seat in GE13 winning with a 18,670-vote majority. In the same election, PKR’s only parliamentary seat, Miri, was won by Dr Michael Teo with a 1,992-vote majority.
According to BP, there is a growing call by the DAP grassroots in Miri for PKR to return Miri to DAP, with speculation rife that DAP wants to field Sarawak DAP secretary Alan Ling in Miri.
Asked about GE14, Baru believes it would not be held anytime soon based on issues affecting the support for Barisan Nasional.
“Maybe he (Prime Minister Najib Razak) will experiment in Sabah by holding a state election in situ before GE14 to gauge support for BN,” Baru was quoted as saying by BP. -FMT