Sarawak DAP gives thumbs-up to SNAP merger

By Clara Chooi
April 25, 2011

SIBU, April 25 — The Sarawak DAP appears to be taking aggressive steps to take charge of Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) campaign ahead of the coming general election, beginning with endorsing the proposal to merge with the Sarawak National Party (SNAP).

The state’s top leaders met here yesterday to discuss the proposal mooted by DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang and gave its approval despite SNAP’s still-simmering feud with PKR.

The merger is seen to be the DAP’s strategy to boost its mileage in the state’s Dayak-majority areas, thus giving the party greater bargaining power when negotiating for seats with PKR in the coming general election.

Sarawak DAP secretary Chong Chieng Jen (picture) told The Malaysian Insider today that the party had already kicked off informal discussions with several SNAP leaders on the proposed merger and will soon raise the matter with the DAP’s national leadership.

He acknowledged that PKR was uncomfortable with the merger but reminded its leaders that it was PKR’s strained ties with SNAP that had forced multi-cornered fights between the two parties during the April 16 state polls.

“To have a friend is better than to have a foe. For whatever said and done, they (SNAP) still have their support so that is why our state committee met and discussed the proposal and decided to endorse it.

“They (SNAP) still have a brand name in Sarawak after having been around for so long and though they may not have done so well in this is election, I do not think you can just write them off like that,” he said.

Before the polls, the DAP had to back down during negotiations with PKR over seat distribution and finally agreed to settle for 15 seats instead of the 20 seats it had initially wanted to contest.

PKR and SNAP, on the other hand, had failed to strike a compromise and in the final hours before nomination day on April 6, both parties were still locked in combat over seat distribution.

They ended up clashing in 26 state seats, forcing a split in the opposition vote, which PKR later complained had helped Barisan Nasional (BN) emerge victorious in the polls.

“We cannot afford to have a repeat of that… we cannot afford to wait and to continue what we did in the last election when we all had to wait until the very last minute. There was just too much uncertainty,” Chong recalled.

He pointed out that if the DAP did not engage with SNAP, a repeat of the state polls would likely occur during the general election.

“Like it or not, we cannot avoid it. They (SNAP) will be around and they will contest and we need to prevent multi-cornered fights,” he said.

He cited an example of Election 2008 when PKR and the DAP both contested in the Stampin parliamentary seat and lost to BN.

“DAP got 18,000 votes, PKR got about 2,000-plus while BN won with 21,000. Fact is that they (PKR) ruined our chances to win… this is why we must sit and discuss these things amicably.

“If we exclude them (SNAP), they will still come up again and then when does it stop?” he asked.

He expressed relief that despite its battle with PKR, the DAP had already laid its groundwork in Sarawak many months prior to the dissolution of the state assembly, helping it to face the polls fully prepared.

For PKR however, deputy president Azmin Ali admitted to The Malaysian Insider recently that the party had only gotten down to serious work about three months before the election, resulting in its “disorganised” campaign.

As a result, the DAP cruised to a thumping victory on April 16 and swept 12 of the 15 seats it contested while PKR trailed far behind, securing just three of its 49 seats.

“For the next election, we want to be even more prepared and that is why we endorsed the merger. We will sort out the details later… hopefully, SNAP will see the wisdom behind it,” he said.

He stressed however that the proposal was still in the discussion stage and would only become a reality one it is endorsed by the national leadership and accepted by PR.

“We also have to raise it with our central executive committee and to the Sarawak PKR leadership as well as the PR council.

“But whatever step we take, the DAP’s primary objective is to strengthen PR rather than to weaken. So whether it is PKR or SNAP or us, the objective is to win more seats,” said Chong

  1. #1 by yhsiew on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 6:34 pm

    I believe DAP has very good training for their members so that they do not jump ship to other parties easily.

    I hope DAP leaders would extend this kind of training to SNAP members after the merger.

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 7:20 pm

    #1 by yhsiew

    If bad BTN training by the government can influence the minds of so many civil servants, good training by DAP will also be able to influence DAP/SNAP members and helps build a strong political team to face BN onslaught in Sarawak come GE-13.

  3. #3 by wanderer on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 7:38 pm

    It is a win win outcome for PR if DAP and SNAP merged. So what is the big fuss. Is PKR worry they get lesser seats
    to contest.Would’nt it be more consoling to PKR their wining more seats is much healthier? Hope parties in the PR Alliance have learned their lesson…divided they will fail and this time, the electorate may not be so forgiving.

  4. #4 by Ray on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 9:08 pm

    So long its for the sake of winning in coming National GE ,not about winning argumant…Like it or not >>Merge is better only if SNAP understand and works towards PR manesfesto and NOT Unintelligent ,Uninept and not treat PR DAP as strange bedfellows stay united to defend uphold Merdeka Constitutions democratically for common Natonal Interests and Rakyats regaardless of race religion….
    Hoping PR, DAP and SNAP can co-work in oneness to uplift Malaysia for good securing the Rakyats , children futures >careers ,harmony education needs,prosperous economy futures , BUT make sure its Not for personnel aspiration or building mega gigantic tallest Umno towers for monies gains….etc
    ……GOD Bless

  5. #5 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 10:11 pm

    Sounds good.

    Just be triply sure SNAP is not a trojan horse!
    Can’t make any mistake. It’s gonna be a do-or-die GE for Pakatan Rakyat.

  6. #6 by Saint on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 10:19 pm

    A merger is good for all, but minus the frogs.
    So need to be a bit careful, but sure DAP has enough experience to see this through.

  7. #7 by tak tahan on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 11:39 pm

    Whatever one knows the best is whatever one should do the best.I believe LKS has that given wisdom.Stay focus and believe in your self confidence and coupled with your remarkable experiences,you’ll be like me… fact opposite of me.I have trust in you,sir.

  8. #8 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 26 April 2011 - 1:45 am

    R DAP, PAS, PKR n SNAP BFF (best frens forever)? Do remember, in politics, no eternal allies n no perpetual enemies, things change out of survival, necessity n opportunity
    In 1M’sia, many elected politicians don’t hv principles, they sell their souls n family members 2 devils 2 enrich themselves
    If d merger proceeds, DAP/PR won’t know 4 sure until elected ex-SNAPers hop later 2 BN

  9. #9 by monsterball on Tuesday, 26 April 2011 - 5:50 am

    Your latest threat is Haris and Raja Petra’s MCLM for 13th GE.
    Does it mean that should be invited to join PR?
    They love to……provided PR give them what they want…….30 seats.
    In Sarawak…and everywhere…there will be vote splitters.
    DAP and PR need to get more trusts and confidence from voters.

  10. #10 by k1980 on Tuesday, 26 April 2011 - 7:42 am

    //#1 DAP has very good training for their members so that they do not jump ship to other parties easily.//

    You have forgotten the limping Jelapang toadess and the Cash-swindler punjabi

  11. #11 by dagen on Tuesday, 26 April 2011 - 8:50 am

    Actually DAP is a stronger platform for reform than keadilan because DAP does not suffer that ex-umno mentality syndrome. Be that as it may, I can also see that of late keadilan has settled quite substantially. Which means keadilan may yet grow into a real force to counter umno blow for blow. Before then and since GE13 is approaching soon, DAP must take on a larger role. Taking on umno and barisan in sabah and sarawak is a good move. And the proposed merger with snap is the right way forward. Voters in these two states are wary of politicians from across the pond. After several decades of effort DAP has finally made headway there. Snap would take DAP’s influence further into sarawak at least.

    So yes, I support the merger proposal.

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