It declared today that it would contest 40 seats, 10 more than previously claimed, just a day after the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) central leadership had said that only a few seats with overlapping claims remained.
SNAP president Edwin Dundang said that claims by PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim that seat allocation has been resolved was “totally inaccurate” and criticised the parliamentary opposition leader’s party for wanting to nominate 52 candidates to the 71-seat assembly.
“In this state elections of 2011, SNAP is taking back its rightful role as the leading opposition voice in Sarawak.
“It is sad that at this eleventh hour, PKR still insists on contesting in 52 seats at our expense, and without substantive grounds to support their insistence,” he said.
The Malaysian Insider reported recently that SNAP is at loggerheads with PR’s three core parties, particularly PKR, over the division of seats for the coming state contest.
It is believed that PKR aims to take the lion’s share of the 71-seat assembly by fielding 52 candidates, while SNAP had earlier targeted 30 seats, up from the 28 it had contested in 2006.
DAP is seeking to field 20 candidates while PAS is content with about four or five seats.
Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud is expected to call for state polls in April ahead of the state assembly’s mandate expiring in July.
SNAP said that while it is will look to ensure one-to-one contests against Barisan Nasional (BN) throughout the state, PKR’s “presumptuous” claim over native majority seats was “unwarranted and unmandated.”
“There has been no agreement, no attempt to negotiate and PKR’s lackadaisical attitude towards native political issues is now becoming obvious. We believe that PKR after reviewing its influence in Sarawak for the last 12 years should only concentrate in the mixed areas where we feel they can do better than SNAP,” Dundang said in a statement issued today.
He noted that after participating in three federal elections and two state elections involving 74 candidates, PKR has only managed to win a single state seat and said that PKR has had little impact in native-majority areas.
To underline its seriousness, SNAP also announced 17 candidates today and said that its own aspiring candidates would make way in 23 other constituencies for native leaders that it is currently inviting to ensure that native votes against the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) will not be split.
Dundang, who will contest in Marudi, said that the party had no issues with PAS and would in fact work towards a closer partnership with DAP, which will likely be contesting in Chinese-majority urban seats, away from native-majority interior seats where SNAP is staking its claim.