Thursday, 23 February 2012

DAP and PKR tussling for Stampin parliamentary seat

Posted on February 23, 2012, Thursday

KUCHING: Tension is said to be brewing in Pakatan Rakyat (PR) as both DAP and PKR want to have a go at Stampin parliamentary constituency in the 13th general election.
State DAP secretary Chong Chieng Jen, who is also Bandar Kuching MP and Kota Sentosa assemblyman, recently hinted that he is eyeing Stampin.
Stampin is helmed by the very popular Datuk Yong Khoon Seng from SUPP, but Yong has said numerous times in the past that he would not want to seek re-election in the general election which is expected to be held soon even though the term of the current Parliament ends only on April 24, 2013.
During the 12th general election in March 2008, DAP and PKR both joined the fray to wrest the seat from the BN, but failed.
Word from the grapevine is that the DAP wants to field Chong in Stampin and let its political greenhorn Dr Tang Sie Hing to defend Bandar Kuching.
Another possible scenario being bandied about is that the DAP may let PKR have Bandar Kuching in exchange for Stampin.
Recently, Chong was quoted in a national Chinese daily as saying that several DAP branches in Kuching had recommended that he moved from Bandar Kuching to Stampin.
He was also quoted as saying that he left the decision to the party central.
The DAP now considers Bandar Kuching a safe seat after Chong won it for two consecutive terms, but Stampin has been a tough nut to crack. About 40 per cent of its voters are Bumiputera, and the rest Chinese.
But Chong’s loyalists believed that their charismatic leader would be able to demolish BN’s political bastion there easily based on his track record.
Stampin houses the state constituencies of Batu Kawah, Batu Lintang and Kota Sentosa – all under PR’s control. When contacted yesterday, Dr Tang said everything would fall into place once the prime minister announced the dissolution of Parliament.
He said even though DAP had many credible candidates raring for action, it had yet to finalise its seat allocation.
“But one thing is for sure, and that is that all along, we in DAP are working as team. Whenever YB Chong is away, you may see me or others in his areas,” said Dr Tang, who brushed aside talks that he was lobbying for either Stampin or Bandar Kuching.
“It does not mean that when I am seen working hard in certain areas that I would be standing there. The same goes for YB Chong.”
Meanwhile, PKR vice-chairman See Chee How, who is also Batu Lintang assemblyman, said as PR had yet to decide on Stampin, he hoped it would be given to PKR.
“But even if DAP is allocated Stampin, we, PKR, will assist them to wrest it from the BN. I believe DAP would do the same if Stampin is given to us.”
See stood in Stampin in the last parliamentary polls, but could only garner 2,189 votes, while Voon Lee Shan from the DAP secured 18,896 votes and Yong 21,966 votes.

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