Sarawak PKR looking at contesting Senadin, Piasau seats instead of DAP

KUCHING: Sarawak PKR are looking at contesting two state seats in the Miri parliamentary constituency, where it feels it has a better chance of winning over their ally DAP.

The Senadin and Piasau seats were contested by DAP in the 2016 Sarawak election, but state PKR acting chairman Abang Zulkifli Abang Engkeh believes his party can fare better in the upcoming state polls.

“We are not trying to be biased. But based on our data, our candidates have good credentials and can be trusted to deliver in the seats," said Abang Zulkifli.

“In the 14th General Election (GE14), PKR won the Miri seat under Dr Michael Teo. The data of that election shows that PKR performs better there. We hope this can be considered," he added.

Abang Zulkifli added at a press conference at the state PKR office here on Thursday (Dec 2) that it would be normal if DAP disagrees, but also said that there is still room to negotiate.

The Miri parliamentary constituency has been held by PKR for two terms, with Dr Teo as MP since 2013.

However, the Senadin and Piasau state seats are under ruling coalition Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), through their component party Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP).

The Senadin seat has been won by SUPP’s Datuk Seri Lee Kim Shin for five terms since 1996.

PKR had contested in Senadin since the 2001 election but has never managed to unseat Lee.

In 2016, DAP contested Senadin instead through Dr Bob Baru Langub, but he also lost against Lee with an improved majority of 3,538 in a three-cornered fight.

As for Piasau, SUPP’s Datuk Sebastian Ting Chiew Yew in 2016 wrested the seat from the then incumbent Alan Ling of DAP - winning with a 2,112 majority.

For the upcoming state election, PKR is supposed to contest 47 seats while DAP will compete in 26 - according to a Pakatan Harapan agreement signed on Jan 2 this year.

Abang Zulkifli said PKR is hoping that negotiations on overlapping seat claims with DAP can be settled amicably.

“PKR will always look at things in the context of comradeship, where we look at creating a formidable pact with our partners," he said.

“We want to avoid a dispute. There is still time to discuss till the last minute, but we are hoping there won’t be an overlap in claims,” added Abang Zulkifli, who also informally confirmed he will contest in Beting Maro.

He also said another seat PKR is hoping to contest is Kemena in Bintulu, which was “loaned” to DAP in 2016.

Abang Zulkifli said Sarawak PKR will confirm their candidate list by Friday latest (Dec 2).

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