Pakatan and Barisan to hold final round of seat talks

GEORGE TOWN: Politicians must put on their game faces soon because six states are expected to dissolve their state assemblies before the end of this month.

But as Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional face the polls on the same side of the fence for the first time in history, the final round of seat negotiations is getting intense.

In Penang, a source in Pakatan revealed that during the negotiations, it was agreed that incumbency was a virtue, and parties that have solidly held on to those seats should retain them for the sake of maximising chances of winning them back this round.

“And that leaves us with five seats to discuss, which are four seats in which the incumbents had hopped to Perikatan Nasional, plus one seat held by PAS, after the 2018 election,” said the source.

He was referring to the Seberang Jaya, Sungai Acheh, Bertam and Teluk Bahang seats where the assemblymen were removed after they joined Perikatan, and the Penaga seat held by PAS.

“Since the matter of incumbency does not arise in these five seats, they are on the table for negotiations. Because the seats are Malay-majority seats, it is for Umno, Keadilan and Amanah to work out which party has the best chance of winning which seats,” said the source.

Yesterday, while attending an event at a private hospital, state Pakatan chairman and Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow declared that negotiations on 95% of the 40 state seats in Penang were settled, and when pressed further, added that the last 5% “could be on just one seat”.

He told reporters the third and final meeting for seat negotiations would be held in Kuala Lumpur today.

With this done, Chow said the Penang state assembly’s dissolution is expected to be held within the last 10 days of this month.

Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah, Penang, Selangor and Negri Sembilan did not dissolve their state assemblies to hold state polls along with parliamentary polls in the 15th General Election on Nov 19 last year.

The Election Commission had recommended that the six states hold their polls simultaneously, adding that holding it together would cost RM450mil. The Selangor state assembly will automatically dissolve on June 25, and polls must be held within 60 days.

The Kelantan state assembly will automatically dissolve on June 28; followed by Terengganu (July 1), Negri Sembilan (July 2) Kedah (July 4) and Penang (Aug 2).In the 2018 election, Penang Pakatan bagged 37 seats (losing four later after the assemblymen switched parties), followed by Barisan Nasional (Umno), which won two, and PAS one.

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