KUCHING: Political parties in Sarawak are already gearing up for the next state elections, which is expected to see nine new seats up for grabs.
The additional seats, which will bring the total number of state constituencies to 71, had been proposed by the Election Commission in a recent redelination exercise.
It is expected that the commission will seek Parliaments approval for the creation of the nine state seats and three new parliamentary seats at next month's session.
Although the next polls areonly due in 16 months, the DAP has become the first party to announce its plans, saying it will contest 14 seats, in Chinese-majority constituencies.
These seats are mostly held by the Sarawak United Peoples Party, the state Barisan Nasionals second largest partner.
Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party president Datuk William Mawan Ikom has also urged party leaders and members on several occasions to start going to the ground to drum up support.
The party, formed by a breakaway group from Sarawak National Party and now a Barisan component party, will be making its debut in the state elections.
Also contesting for the first time is the newly-formed Parti Rakyat Sarawak, headed by state Land Development Minister Datuk Dr James Masing.