KUCHING: Open lobbying for a proposed new state seat by the Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) in the next elections has erupted into a fierce exchange of words between two of its division chiefs.
Batu Kawa division chairman Albert Chin recently lobbied for the new Kota Sentosa constituency for the party but was criticised by Satok division chief Sim Hang Seng, saying he issued an unsanctioned press statement.
Chin said if the new seat was to be given to the Sarawak United Peoples Party (SUPP), then SPDP would want to swap it for the Batu Kawa seat now held by a SUPP representative.
Sim, also a political secretary to the Chief Minister, said Chins statement did not represent the stand of the Batu Kawa division and was made without the party leaderships endorsement.
He said the open lobbying caused unnecessary tension and affected the cordial relationship between Barisan Nasional component parties.
Sim said issues affecting component parties should be discussed behind closed doors.
Chin apparently took offence at his remarks and demanded an apology, saying Sim was not qualified to criticise him.
He said most Batu Kawa division members and supporters felt it should lobby for the new seat.
Kota Sentosa is one of the nine new state seats proposed by the Election Commission under a recent electoral redelineation exercise.
The state legislative assembly has approved the increase in the number of state constituencies from 62 to 71 to accommodate the commissions recommendations.
The state coalition has not held discussions on the allocation of the nine new states among its four partners.
Besides SPDP and SUPP, the other two partners are Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu and Parti Rakyat Sarawak.