By Churchill Edward and Saibi Gi
Source: The Borneo Post
Mawan, Masing say time to allocate constituency to another BN party since seat lost twice consecutively
KUCHING: Senior Barisan Nasional (BN) Dayak leaders believe that if there is to be any re-distribution of seats among the coalition parties, the Kidurong state constituency should be prioritised.
Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) president Dato Sri William Mawan Ikom and Parti Rakyat Sarawak president Dato Sri Dr James Masing said they felt that this was apt, saying since the BN had lost twice consecutively in Kidurong, it may be timely that another BN component be given a chance to contest there in the next state polls.
Mawan and Masing were responding to a suggestion by Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin that BN should review allocation of seats among component parties to suit the needs of the electorate.
Mawan suggested a review of Kidurong when he said: “BN has lost the seat to DAP twice consecutively (in the state polls of 2001 and 2006) whereas every time (SPDP treasurer-general) Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing contested in the (Bintulu) parliamentary seat (which includes Kidurong state constituency), the BN won,” he said.
Masing who also felt the Kidurong state seat should be subjected to review, said: “BN will have to discuss how best not to lose that seat again.”
Mawan and Masing both revealed that the BN had an understanding that if a component party had lost twice consecutively in a particular constituency – be it parliamentary or state – the seat would be subjected to a review.
According to the two leaders, seat arrangement is not only a strategy but a serious matter to ensure a BN victory at all cost in the next state election, due latest by early 2011.
Kidurong has been allocated to Sarawak United People’s Party headed by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan.
SUPP had lost the state seat twice to DAP’s Chiew Chiu Sing.
Apart from Kidurong, BN also lost in the Bandar Kuching parliamentary seat to the DAP twice consecutively – in 2004 and 2008 parliamentary elections.
The BN allocated this seat to SUPP twice but they lost it to state DAP secretary Chong Chieng Jen.
Mawan, also Minister of Social Development and Urbanisation, said he supported Khaled’s suggestion.
“To me, it has always been the understanding among BN components that the allocation of seats be reviewed from time to time or when the need arises. As a matter of principle the BN should also talk about it,” he said.
“That need arises if, for instance, BN loses a particular seat twice consecutively,” he added.
Mawan said when one talked about seat redistribution, the overall interest of the BN must come first rather than that of individual component parties.
“The minister’s (Khaled) suggestion is something we should be looking into because it is very practical. As far as he and the BN in West Malaysia are concerned, he has hit the nail on the head.
“If BN loses again in any particular seat, we can say that BN as a whole is losing. So it is imperative for the BN to gain public confidence and return to its winning ways,” he said.
“Any individual component should not be self-centred. What is the point of being self-centred when one drags BN to lose seats? This will slowly weaken the BN and erode the spirit of teamwork,” he said.
“If a review is made, component parties must not interpret this as a ‘plus or minus’ thing but rather a strategy to win seats or win back seats it has lost,” he said.
According to him, if BN wins big the next time around, interest of every component party will be better taken care of.
On the Sarawak front, Mawan said he would let the BN leadership decide on seat allocation because this, according to him, is a major strategy rather than plan to boost the self -esteem of any individual party.
He said boosting self-esteem was something that could not be entertained in this current political time.
Masing who is the Land Development Minister, said Khaled was basically referring to the state of the BN in Peninsular Malaysia when he suggested his idea.
Nonetheless, he said even though the BN seat arrangement in Sarawak seemed to be working better than that in the Peninsula, the state BN must study the impact of such review carefully.
“The minister’s (Khaled) suggestion is something worthwhile looking into because of demographic changes which can occur in any seat over a period of time. This has been the understanding of the state BN,” he said.
According to Masing, there are things which the BN must tackle urgently to win back lost seats, including the swapping of seats among components.
Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) vice president Datuk Daud Abdul Rahman said the state BN would only review seat arrangement if the grassroots demanded it.
However, the state BN may not want to disrupt the equilibrium of power by subtracting or adding seats of component members.
According to Daud, the state BN may want to maintain the status quo when it comes to the numbers’ game.
“PBB may be the backbone of BN in Sarawak but PBB will never resort to taking away seats already allocated to other components,” he insisted.
“What may happen is the swapping of seats by taking into account what the grassroots want,” he said.
He said he believed the allocation of seats depended heavily on the strength of parties in areas they represented.
“We must go back to the reality that BN’s victories in elections depend very much on the votes of the majority and that BN subscribes to the concept of power-sharing,” he said, urging component parties to be mindful of the political sensitivities surrounding the issue.
“BN elected representatives serve all races and communities regardless which component they come from,” he said.
PBB Youth chief Fadillah Yusof, meanwhile, said BN elected representatives must have quality and integrity as well as the sincerity to serve the people.
He said he agreed with Khaled’s suggestion to study the demography of each area when BN should decide to review seat allocation.