PAS has veered from its policy of contesting in only Malay-majority seats in elections in Sarawak by declaring last night that they would contest in one Dayak-majority seat, one Chinese-majority seat and the new mixed seat of Samalaju in Bintulu in the coming state polls.
They would also field one non-Muslim candidate from its supporters' wing (DHPP), one woman and re-contest in four of the five seats they contested in the 2011 state elections.
PAS however withheld disclosing who the candidates were and party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said they “have been picked” but their names would only be announced after their candidature has been approved by the Shura Council, which will meet on March 20.
PAS had earlier confirmed that it would contest in 11 seats in the state elections which are likely to be held next month.
The Dayak-majority seat is Kakus in Bintulu and the Chinese-majority seat is Pujut in Miri.
The other eight seats announced by Deputy President Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man in Kuching were Samariang, Pantai Damai, Muara Tuang, Sadong Jaya, Sebuyau, Beting Maro, Jepak and Lambir – all Malay-majority seats held by Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), the lead party in the four-party state Barisan Nasional coalition.
PAS had contested in Tanjung Datu, Muara Tuang, Sadong Jaya, Sebuyau and Beting Maro in the 2011 poll.
It has given up trying to re-contest Tanjung Datu, and topple Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem there, as the task could be herculean.
In the 2011 elections, PAS fielded housewife Nani Sahari for a three-way fight which Adenan won by garnering 76.5% of the votes to Nani's 18.2%.
An independent candidate Gilbert Asson Kulong picked the remaining 3.9%.
When asked why PAS had decided to field candidates in the non-Malay seats, Hadi said it was based on the current political trend and in the believe they could win.
Hadi said in the last general election, PAS had made breakthroughs in “Umno stronghold state” Johor where they won four seats and even in Chinese-majority Penang where they won one.
“This showed we can win anywhere. Not impossible to win these seats.”
There could be last minute changes to the 11 seats, PAS election director Datuk Mustafa Ali said, as at least three seats – Kakus, Jepak and Lambir – were also claimed by the only political ally they have, PKR.
He said they still in discussion with PKR on the overlapping claims and to avoid fighting among themselves in these seats.
“We hope there will not be a clash.” – March 13, 2016.