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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

We won’t withdraw from Sarawak seats for DAP, PKR veep says

KUCHING - PKR will not back down from any of its seats in Sarawak to give way to the DAP, party vice-president Dr Xavier Jayakumar said today as the two Pakatan Harapan allies continue to bicker over seat clashes for the May 7 polls.

Instead, Xavier urged the DAP to lay the matter to rest and move on.

“There is no point in asking us to withdraw from the five seats in exchange for Batu Kitang,” he told reporters here.

He said the names of the candidates contesting in those five seats will remain in the ballot papers even if they withdrew from contesting in the May 7 Sarawak elections.

“In any case, our candidates will not withdraw to give way to DAP candidates to contest in exchange,” he said.

“The one-for-five exchange proposal shows that DAP is not serious in Batu Kitang,”  Xavier said when responding to DAP organising secretary Anthony Loke who said that DAP was willing to withdraw its candidate Aziz Isa from Batu Kitang in return for PKR’s withdrawal from five other seats.

The five seats are Mambong, Simanggang, Ngemah, Murum and Mulu, all where the Dayaks are the majority voters.

Xavier said all the PKR candidates in these five seats are highly qualified and have vast experiences in public life and social activities compared to the DAP candidates contesting in the same seats.

“Voon Shiak Ni, the PKR candidate for Batu Kitang, is a well-known family lawyer and renowned social activist who have been working for social justice since 1999.

“She has been consistently carrying out community work in Batu Kitang area and has established an extensive network with the local communities,” he said, adding that she has been championing the children and women rights by providing free legal aid to victims of abuse and rape.

Xavier said the party’s candidate for the new seat of Murum, Abun Sui Anyit, is a native customary rights land lawyer and activist.

“He has fought some 20 NCR land cases for the people in court in the last five years,” he said, adding that Abun is also the chairman of Gerakan Anak Sarawak, a leading coalition of Dayak NGOs.

Xavier added that PKR’s candidate for Simanggang, Nurina Umoi Utot, is a professional in the oil and gas sector with a lot of overseas experience and that the party’s candidate for Mulu, Paul Baya, is a former senior manager with a large corporation and has been working on the ground in Mulu for a long time.

Dr Xavier said Thomas Laja, PKR’s candidate for Ngemah, is an educationist and a retired secondary school principal.

He was an active member of the Sarawak Teachers’ Union and a recipient of Anugerah Khas Pengetua dan Guru Besar dalam Bidang Keberhasilan Utama Negara Pendidikan 2010.

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