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Sarawak polls: Pakatan Harapan should have compromised on seats

Photograph: themalaysianinsider.com

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It is time to put self-interest behind and renew the pact while coming together as one to work for a better future, says David Yeoh.

The Sarawak State election on 7 May 2016 was supposed to bring hope to all Malaysians, especially Sarawakians, as Pakatan Harapan enters its first election campaign ahead of the 14th general election.

The coalition, which comprises DAP, PKR and Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah), will help shape the future of the country. How the people decide to vote will make a difference and perhaps, result in change for the whole of Malaysia, starting with the great Land of Hornbills.

Even though Pakatan Harapan is just a seven-month-old pact, its national leaders had to show the nation and convince the rakyat that they are serious in working for change. For this, they had to compromise on the seat allocations which had agreed upon in early April.

The agreement was to ensure that there would be no clashes among the the DAP, PKR and Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) candidates in any of the 82 seats up for grabs. Besides that, the national leaders must be aware that there are 11 more seats than in previous Sarawak polls in 2011.

Thus, ample opportunities could have been given to candidates from the various parties with regard to seat distribution. Pakatan Harapan should have come to a consensus in a harmonious environment and followed what was agreed upon in early April.

The PKR or the DAP should have put aside their differences and concentrated on their strategy of how to win in the Sarawak polls this time around. It is pointless to argue and go against the Pakatan Harapan agreement and only think of one’s own party when the main objective should be to work for change, for a better future for Malaysia.

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It was sad to read that opposition allies would face and clash with each other on the seat distribution in the state polls. This squabbling will not benefit the rakyat, especially when the parties should have resolved the seat allocations earlier. Why does the DAP need to go head-to-head with PKR in six seats or vice-versa when all eyes are watching the most important event of all?

Pakatan Harapan should have compromised for the sake of the pact and for the sake of the Rakyat. It is time to put self-interest behind and renew the pact while coming together as one to make a change for a better future.

This is not about Pakatan Harapan’s national leaders interfering in Sarawak state matters. Every Pakatan Harapan national leader should have tried to come to a conclusion under a win-win situation.

In the 2011 state election, the DAP contested 15 constituencies and won 12, while PKR contested 49, but secured only three. The DAP won the lion’s share of seats for the opposition, taking 12 out of the 15 seats it contested while the PKR only won three. The outcome shows that much of the urban vote favoured the opposition allies, and this should have provided a better platform for Pakatan Harapan to make further inroads this time around.

In any case, the allies within Pakatan Harapan should respect one another and fight like real politicians in a healthy way despite the challenges ahead. Do remember that the real opponent is not within Pakatan Harapan.

It is time to work for change for a better Malaysia and for a better future!

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David Yeoh Beng Tatt is an Aliran member based in Penang.

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