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Monday, January 30, 2012

PKR confident of good run in Kedah

With the 13th general election looming, Kedah PKR hopes to settle its dispute with the DAP over seat allocations.
ALOR STAR: Kedah PKR hopes to resolve its lingering dispute with DAP over the allocation of electoral seats within the next few days when both parties are likely to agree to swap seats.
The move may upset a few local warlords but it aims to enhance Pakatan Rakyat’s chances of retaining the state.
PKR had earlier reached an agreement with PAS, the dominant party in Kedah, for a status quo on their seat allocations. But with the DAP, it is a headache because of the presence of warlords.
Besides, the DAP does not trust the local PKR leaders.
Sensing that the 13th general election is looming near, Kedah PKR liaison committee chairman Wan Salleh Wan Isa said he would seek a confirmation and a mandate from PKR supreme leader Anwar Ibrahim to resolve the seat allocation issue now.
“We hope to discuss it at our national-level PKR meeting. We will make an announcement later.”
Wan Salleh, a former senior immigration officer, alleged that certain quarters have blown out of context the dispute between DAP and PKR over the seat allocations here.
Kedah DAP has asked for two parliamentary and six states seats for the coming election, its state chairman Lee Guan Aik, who is also the Kota Darulaman assemblyman, was reported as saying.
It is seeking the federal seats of Padang Serai and Alor Star as well as six state seats – Kota Darulaman and Bakar Bata (Alor Star), Lunas (Padang Serai), Gurun (Jerai), Bakar Arang (Sungai Petani) and Derga (Pokok Sena).
Most of the seats mentioned have substantial Chinese voters and DAP is confident of delivering their votes and would then count on PKR and PAS to produce a sizeable number of Malay and Indian support.
Of the seats DAP wants, only two are currently held by Barisan Nasional (BN) incumbents, and they are Bakar Bata and Gurun.
There are 36 state seats in Kedah of which BN has 14 while 20 are held by Pakatan Rakyat while another two (Bakar Arang and Lunas) are held by Independents.
The KUIN issue
There is also the controversy surrounding Menteri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak (PAS) over his handling of the suspension of undergraduates from a state-owned religious institution of higher learning (KUIN).
To this, Wan Salleh said certain PKR leaders or academicians may have their own views, but Kedah PKR enjoys an excellent relationship with Azizan despite the latter’s insistence to uphold the suspension of four KUIN students.
PKR suffered a political setback when its assemblymen for Bakar Arang, Tan Wei Shu, and Lunas’ Mohd Razhi Salleh as well as parliamentarians N Gobalakrishnan of Padang Serai and Zulkifli Nordin of Kulim-Bandar Baharu left the party to become Independents.
Political observer Jason Wong says that Kedah is poised to become a battleground in the next election largely because Pakatan does not enjoy a two-thirds majority in the State Legislative Assembly.
He said that Azizan has to tread carefully, as he does not want to antagonise the influential Kedah Malay customs civil service, the Malay royalty, as well as former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Mahathir’s legacy to Kedah, particularly in Jitra and Langkawi, cannot be simply overlooked despite Pakatan portraying him in a bad light, Wong said.
Wan Salleh said that Kedah Pakatan is stronger than ever and has often held discussions to resolve disputes over the state government’s administrative style or its policies.
However, it is learnt that some in PKR support a proposal for Azizan to rest now since he is suffering from cronic ailments.
“They feel that Azizan needs to rebound fast and be sharp enough to take on BN in the next election. To do it, he has to either recover fast, or make way for other PAS leaders,” an insider said.

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