KUCHING: PKR is adamant that it will not withdraw its candidates from the five seats where it is clashing with DAP.
This is despite DAP saying it would withdraw its candidate from Batu Kitang â€“ where there is another clash â€“ if PKR agrees to withdraw its candidates from the other seat contests.
PKR vice-president Dr Xavier Jeyakumar (pic) said there were strong reasons and credentials for the party to field its choices at the five state seats.
“Let’s not split the votes. We hope to bring as many candidates into the state assembly as possible.
“These are people with a proven track record of fighting for the people of Sarawak,” he told reporters at the PKR operations centre on Wednesday.
He said the one-for-five exchange of seats proposed by DAP organising secretary Anthony Loke on Tuesday showed that the party was not serious about Batu Kitang.
“In comparison with the DAP candidate who was fielded at the last minute, PKR’s candidate for Batu Kitang Voon Shiak Ni has been working on the ground in the area for nearly 10 years.
“We appreciate DAP’s willingness to withdraw from Batu Kitang, and we hope that our supporters can converge their votes for Voon who has a higher chance of winning,” he said.
DAP held a simultaneous press conference at its state headquarters, alleging that its popularity in the Batu Kitang constituency had dropped because of PKR’s actions.
However, an immediate response could not be obtained from PKR on this matter.
Asked why both parties chose to announce separate manifestos for this election and not as Pakatan Harapan, Dr Xavier said there were similarities in both.
“I think there isn’t a lot of difference in the manifestos of both parties,” he said, without elaborating further.
Loke had suggested that the only way forward from the stalemate between both parties was for PKR to back down from the five disputed seats.
Both parties are going head to head in six seats in the 11th Sarawak state election, facing the prospect of a split in Opposition votes which could work in Barisan Nasional’s favour.
The seats are Mambong, Ngemah, Siamanggang, Murum, Mulu and Bukit Kitang.