Opposition parties ready for elections

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 04 Mar 2004

KUALA LUMPUR: The country’s main opposition parties said they are ready for the polls, albeit last-minute discussions on how to take on the Barisan Nasional in straight fights in possibly all seats at stake. 

PAS would largely go into Malay-majority areas while its ally Parti Keadilan Nasional would tackle mostly the non-Malay-majority seats. 

At the same time, Keadilan was also working out details with DAP to avoid any overlapping that would benefit the Barisan. PAS and the DAP are not talking to each other because of differences over its Islamic state plan. 

PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, the Opposition Leader in the Dewan Rakyat, said his party was 100% ready to face the general election. 

He said the decision to dissolve Parliament, announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi yesterday, was not shocking news to PAS. 

“It had been discussed for nearly a year, when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was still prime minister,” Hadi told newsmen who broke the news to him at his office at Wisma Darul Iman in Kuala Terengganu. 

Hadi, who is Terengganu Mentri Besar, said the top leadership in PAS and Keadilan discussed seat allocations between them in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 29. 

“The draft manifesto is ready and can be printed at anytime,” he said. 

Besides the common manifesto, PAS would come out with different manifestos for states where its candidates would be contesting in the majority of seats. 

Keadilan information chief Khaled Jaafar said the dissolution of Parliament was not a surprise as they had expected it to be announced by tomorrow. 

He said the party’s operation centres were ready in areas it would be contesting, adding that a special committee met yesterday to finalise the candidates list. 

Keadilan deputy president Abdul Rahman Othman said the party was not in a state of panic as there was still time for more preparations before nomination day. 

Seventy per cent of the candidates are old faces while the rest would be new ones, he told Bernama, adding that they were selected for their credibility, leadership and integrity as leaders.  

Keadilan would focus on Selangor, Perak and Penang. 

DAP secretary-general Kerk Kim Hock said negotiations on seat allocations with Keadilan would fall into place within the next few days. 

DAP national chairman Lim Kit Siang said it would be a critical test of Abdullah’s political will to clean up corruption, abuse of power, injustices and inequalities after the elections. 

“DAP and all Malaysians want Abdullah to succeed in his pledge for a clean, incorruptible, efficient and people-oriented government,” he said. 

Lim questioned whether, with the power to independently fix its own nomination and polling dates, the Election Commission could conduct free and fair elections and end money politics, media manipulation and abuse of government machinery and resources during the campaigning period.  

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