Festive ‘niceties’ over

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  • Thursday, 25 Feb 2016

good support. Three thousand people turned up to greet Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem during the Miri SUPP Chinese New Year gathering at a resort here in Miri on Sunday. Stephen pic

THERE were handshakes and cordial exchanges of smiles among political rivals but it is clear those niceties were just for the sake of the Chinese New Year occassion.

The past 15 days of festive gatherings here saw political enemies from rival groups chancing upon each other during open houses and VIP gatherings.

For the sake of maintaining good public relations for the CNY period, these political rivals tried to be nice to each other.

But it is clear that since the celebrations are over, and that the state election is fast approaching, these rivals will now fight each other to the end for the chance to contest.

Since discussions on seat allocation among the state Barisan Nasional component parties and the so-called BN-friendly parties is proving to be a thorny affair, it is likely that there will be open war among them.

There is still no confirmation that new parties – Parti Tenaga Rakyat Sarawak (Teras) and United Peoples Party (UPP) – would be allowed to negotiate seat allocations with the state BN.

Despite Teras and UPP having declared themselves as BN-friendly, three out of the four BN component parties still refuse to talk with the two new parties.

Sarawak United Peoples Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP), which together make up the state BN together with Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB), are still objecting to any move by PBB to invite Teras and UPP for talks.

PBB top leaders are in favour of talks with Teras and UPP on seat allocations to the old 71 state constituencies plus the 11 new seats delineated by the Election Commission, but the party cannot initiate any discussions without the approval of SPDP, SUPP and PRS.

SPDP and SUPP leaders had already shot down the BN-Plus formula advocated by state Barisan Nasional chairman Tan Sri Adenan Satem, who is the PBB president as well as Sarawak Chief Minister.

PRS, SPDP and SUPP are against the formula, which was proposed by Adenan last year to accommodate UPP and Teras.

UPP was set up by a group of former SUPP leaders, while Teras was formed by former SPDP leaders, both due to internal leadership disputes.

Since the BN traditional principle is that every major decision in BN must get 100% support from all component parties, the BN-Plus concept is thus not possible.

Any move to allow former BN leaders to become partners in BN again will make the grouping weak and irrelevant. It will encourage rebellion within the component parties.

The Sarawak BN will have to solve this seat distribution problem soon as the election is expected to be held in a couple of months.

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