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Quest for 71 state seats begins

KUCHING, April 6 (Bernama) -- The quest for seats in the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly begins today with the nomination of candidates in the 10th state election set for April 16.

Those vying for the 71 seats will have one hour beginning 9am to submit their nomination papers at the various centres set up by the Election Commission (EC).

The nomination papers will then be displayed for one hour from 10am for objection.

For those who make it to the "starting block" of nomination, the race to get elected will span 10 days of campaigning, one day shorter than in the 2006 state election.

These candidates, representing political parties or standing as independents, will be wooing a total of 979,796 voters, including 18,363 postal voters.

The EC has set RM5,000 as deposit and RM3,000 for campaign materials for each candidate.

Candidates who decide to withdraw after filing their nomination papers are entitled to a refund of the deposit only if the withdrawal is done within the nomination hour.

Voters will cast their ballots on April 16, at 1,749 polling centres.

Barisan Nasional (BN) election workers will be the most widely spread out as the coalition of four parties in the state is contesting all the 71 seats.

The state BN, comprising Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP), have agreed on a seat-sharing formula worked out in the power-sharing spirit of the coalition.

Out of the 71 seats at stake, PBB, the backbone of the state BN, has been allotted the most number of 35 seats while 19 go to the SUPP, nine to the PRS and eight to the SPDP.

Prior to the dissolution of the state legislative assembly, the BN held 63 of the 71 seats.

The BN announced its line-up of candidates last Sunday, retaining 52 incumbents and fielding 19 new faces.

Sarawak BN chairman and Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, who is going for his seventh term of office, will defend the Balingian seat, SUPP president and Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan, the Piasau seat and PBB deputy president and Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu, the Layar seat.

PRS president Datuk Seri Dr James Masing will defend his Baleh seat and SPDP president Datuk William Mawan, the Pakan seat.

For opposition parties, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) will contest 49 seats, Sarawak National Party (SNAP) is expected to go for 27 seats, DAP (15 seats) and PAS (five seats).

The other parties that may join the race are Parti Cinta Malaysia (PCM) and State Reform Party (STAR).

Meanwhile, Parti Ekonomi Rakyat Sarawak Bersatu (PERSB), a new party which has yet to obtain approval from the Registrar of Societies (ROS), is expected to contest as independents in several state seats.

MySinchew 2011.04.06



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