‘Move by PKR is to avoid three-cornered fights’

Safety measure: Workers sanitising the nomination centre for the Tanjong Datu seat before it opens. — Bernama

KUCHING: It is a strategic move by PKR to avoid three-cornered fights by fielding fewer candidates in the Sarawak state election, says Sarawak PKR adviser Hafsah Harun.

Hafsah said PKR’s decision to contest 28 seats, unlike 40 in 2016, was made after considering logistical issues and strict Covid-19 SOP.

“Nevertheless, we hope all party members and supporters continue to cooperate with our 28 candidates to achieve victory and deny Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) in those areas,” said Hafsah during a press conference via Zoom yesterday afternoon.

Hafsah also said that PKR understood the disappointment among its grassroots after the party dropped several seats.

“We were also told that online campaigns are very challenging in many rural seats due to poor Internet coverage,” added Hafsah.

Hafsah then took the opportunity to thank PKR grassroots who had prepared for the 12th Sarawak state election, as the 12-day campaigning period officially kicked off yesterday.

“The party leadership understands the grassroots sacrification and struggles to uphold justice for Sarawakians. These sacrifices are greatly appreciated.”

Meanwhile, Hafsah said PKR would continue to fight for Sarawakians to ensure better access to healthcare, job opportunities and basic infrastructure such as water, electricity, Internet coverage and safer roads.

“PKR will also ensure Sabah and Sarawak status based on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).”

Earlier yesterday, Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen, who spoke to reporters, denied allegations made by PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim that PKR only received leftover seats for the state election.

Chong admitted that certain parties in Pakatan Harapan were unhappy during seat negotiations earlier.

“I think that is what we call negotiations. You can’t please everyone. Some seats are winnable and others not so winnable.

“There are what we call white seats, grey seats and black seats. We are also competing in certain black seats.

“I don’t think that would be a problem and a deterrence for cooperation among the Pakatan parties.”

Recently, Anwar expressed disappointment after PKR was accused of being greedy despite receiving “leftover seats” for the Sarawak state election that are “unwinnable”.

During the 2016 Sarawak state election, PKR contested 40 seats but only managed to win three seats.

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