Home Media statements 2016 Media Statements Sarawak polls: Narrow, selfish interests frustrate Rakyat’s aspirations

Sarawak polls: Narrow, selfish interests frustrate Rakyat’s aspirations

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Malaysians have a right to be dismayed; they have a right to be very disappointed. They are terribly upset with the unbecoming behaviour of the PKR and the DAP.

What prevailed following the nominations for the Sarawak election scheduled for 7 May 2016 are narrow, selfish interests that totally ignored the larger welfare of the nation. The peoples’ aspirations and expectations have been sacrificed at the altar of self-centred political considerations.

This should have never happened – not after an understanding had been reached and seat arrangements had been agreed upon.

But six contentious seats are being contested by both the PKR and the DAP, the coalition partners of Pakatan Harapan. This is absurd. Have they forgotten who the common antagonist is? They should be fighting the Barisan Nasional – not each other.

But that’s what they are doing. Should these six seats be permitted to jeopardise the partnership that was forged at great length and effort in an attempt to replace the BN? The outcome of this silly behaviour would very well mean handing over six seats to the BN.

It is a fact that an arrangement to avoid pitting themselves against each other was confirmed by PKR deputy president Azmin Ali. In a convoluted explanation, he said the decision he made on 7 April, when he signed and agreed in principle to give eight seats to DAP, including the five contentious seats, was not final.

If it was not final, pray tell us, why the need to sign and agree in principle without arriving at a conclusive decision? The fact that what was agreed in principle was signed would carry the weight of finality. Azmin’s claim that it was not final makes no sense.

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Further, at a meeting on 11 April, the Pakatan Harapan presidential council, chaired by Wan Azizah, claimed it had settled the seat negotiation row. This meeting took place four days after Azmin had signed and agreed in principle the negotiated decision. This decision in principle was finalised and endorsed when the PH presidential council met and settled the seat distribution.

But Azmin said at a function in Shah Alam yesterday (25 April), “I was given the mandate in writing by the president to resolve all outstanding issues concerning the state election, including seat allocations and the candidates,” he said.

However, he could not remember when Wan Azizah gave him the mandate. This is actually very strange coming from him!

The fact is, he was given this broad mandate. But instead of resolving the issues, he has, by his action, perpetuated the problem and created a head-on collision course for the PKR and the DAP. He has destroyed whatever goodwill that has been built over the years.

To worsen matters, he even stated, “I was given the mandate by the party. Can you question it? You should not question it.”

It sounds very much like Umno politics. You cannot question; you just behave like sheep and simply follow whatever is dished out to you.

Azmin seems to have forgotten that when Pas proved difficult following the Kajang move, it was the DAP that stuck with the PKR. It was the DAP that remained steadfast and loyal and supported the PKR all the way and ensured that the Pakatan government in Selangor did not fall. The DAP was PKR’s partner through thick and thin.

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And what a way to repay this solidarity! There should have been some semblance of gratitude, but it is sorely missing in the PKR’s behaviour in Sarawak.

There is still some leeway to save the situation. Aliran would like to call on PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to withdraw the PKR candidates from the Mulu, Murum, Simanggang, Ngemah and Mambong seats and make way for the DAP.

Similarly, we call upon DAP secretary general Lim Guan Eng to withdraw the party’s candidate for the Batu Kitang seat and allow the PKR to contest this seat.

Both parties should return to the status quo.

This is the only way to salvage a situation that has gone, perhaps, beyond redemption. Both the PKR and the DAP must be conscious that they carry the aspirations and expectations of the people for a better Malaysia. They must not fail them.

P Ramakrishnan
Aliran executive committee member
26 April 2016

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