Kota Kinabalu September 04 2011: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) agrees with Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) that there is a need for the Election Commission (EC) to increase the number of parliamentary and state seats in Sabah.
Its Kota Kinabalu chairperson, Christina Liew, said, however, that any proposed increase in parliamentary and state seats in the State should be made public by the EC for the people, particularly constituents, to comment and give their feedback before it is implemented.
"It (any proposed increase/additional number of seats) should be opened to the public, especially the constituents, to comment and give feedback, to be fair to all,"
There are suspicions among the public that these proposals are made only for the benefit of certain parties in the BN Sabah components, she said, believing any increase in this matter would not involve areas in and around Kota Kinabalu which are now under the opposition.
She was commenting on the proposal by PBS Information Chief Datuk Johnny Mositun for the EC to consider increasing the number of parliamentary and state seats along the West Coast.
So far most of the BN component parties have voiced out support to this proposal. Presently Sabah has a total of 25 parliamentary and 60 state seats.
Earlier, Sabah PAS disagreed, saying it would be a waste of taxpayers' money that could be better spent on the poor and elderly.
Its Sabah Deputy Commissioner, Hamzah Abdullah, said the additional states are better justified in the opposition-held states of Penang, Selangor, Kedah, Perlis and Kelantan.
Sabah MCA, which currently has only one State seat, said it backed the proposal. "Its about time to review it but it has to be passed in Parliament and also adopted in the State Legislative Assembly," said its chief Datuk Edward Khoo.
"As far as MCA is concerned, we need this in certain areas which has become too big and populated," he said, after attending the annual general meeting of the Federation of Malaysia Hokkien Associations, Saturday.
Umno Penampang said the suggestion by PBS Information Chief Datuk Johnny Mositun for eight new seats to be added in certain places was appropriate in view of Sabah's sheer size.
Met at the Hari Raya open house hosted by Inspectorate-General of Projects Datuk Amir Kahar Tun Mustapha and his wife, Datin Aminah Ambrose at Sutera Residency here, John believed there was nothing wrong for Mositun who is also a Deputy State Speaker to go to the media to express his view.
He said it was to inform the public as well as the top Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders in Sabah so that they would be able to take it up to the BN chief.
"Sabah is very big so with more seats we will have more representation for the people," he said. On the call by Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) for all the SAPP seats to be given to the party, John said it was not right under the BN consensus spirit.
"Any seat doesn't belong to any component party even Umno ... we go back to the source, which is the grassroots.
"I agree with the Prime Minister on the need to choose winnable candidates in the coming General Election," he said, adding that it was best for LDP leaders to voice their opinion during the BN meeting and let the Prime Minister decide.
Even in Penampang, John said Umno would leave it to the leadership to decide and once the most suitable and winnable candidate is chosen "we will work hard to ensure victory".
John said Umno Penampang is fully behind the leadership of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Datuk Seri Musa Aman as the Prime Minister and Chief Minister, respectively.
Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Moktar Radin said having more State and Parliamentary seats would help bring about faster development in the State.
He cited his own constituency as an example, which he said was as big as the State of Pahang but only had two State constituencies.