Battle royale shaping up in all 82 seats

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KUCHING: All 82 seats at stake in the coming 12th state election are likely to face between four and seven–cornered fights with candidate tally expected to double that in the 2016 state election.

If the disputes on seat allocation are not amicably resolved, especially among the Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (Sarawak PH) components, some of the seats may likely also be entangled in eight or nine–cornered fights including independent candidates.

In terms of candidates, the 12th state election, the nomination for which has been fixed for Dec 6 and polling on Dec 18, may see close to 480 candidates or more than 110 percent compared to that in the 2016 state election.

The figure, however, is just an estimate and the actual one will only be known after the nominations close on Dec 6.

The previous state election saw 228 candidates joining in the fray with GPS (then known as Barisan Nasional Sarawak) contesting in all 82 seats, DAP (31), PKR (40), Amanah (13), PAS (11), STAR (10), PBDS (five) and Independent (36).

In the 2011 state election, there were a total of 213 candidates with BN contesting in all 71 seats, DAP (15), PKR (49), SNAP (26), PAS (five), PCM (six) and Independent (41).

This time around, Sarawak PH (comprising DAP, PKR and Amanah), Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB), Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) and the loose pact of Aspirasi and PBDS have expressed keen interest to cross swords with GPS in all 82 seats.

In addition, PAS also said it would field candidates in at least 11 seats while the number of Independent candidates is also expected to increase to at least 50.

Should there be no eleventh-hour withdrawal by the potential candidates of the respective parties and independent candidates, this state election will be the most hotly contested in the history of the Sarawak state elections.

The coming state election will also create many firsts.

Among others, it will be the first election to be conducted under the new norms due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a first for GPS since its formation about six years ago and the first for Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg after he was appointed as Sarawak’s sixth chief minister.

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