12/03/2004

PPP offered Taiping seat, says Tajol Rosli

PPP offered Taiping seat, says Tajol Rosli

IPOH March 11 - The People's Progressive Party (PPP), which was initially expected to contest in the Bukit Gantang parliamentary seat, has been offered the Taiping parliamentary constituency held by Gerakan, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli Ghazali announced Thursday.

He said Gerakan would instead contest in Bukit Gantang, a traditional UMNO seat.

Tajol Rosli made the surprise announcement when speaking at the presentation of cheques for the development and repair of Community Religious Schools and launching of the Education Welfare Fund, here.

"PPP will contest in Taiping and Gerakan in Bukit Gantang. However, this is only for one term because Bukit Gantang will be returned to UMNO and Taiping to Gerakan in the next general election," he said.

Tajol Rosli said the decision was made after negotiations between Gerakan and PPP.

Speculations were rife that PPP President Datuk M. Kayveas would contest in Bukit Gantang held by UMNO's Datuk Dr Abdullah Fadzil Che Wan who had expressed his intention to retire.

This prompted the Bukit Gantang UMNO division to pass a resolution protesting the award of the seat to PPP.

The Taiping Member of Parliament Datuk Kerk Choo Ting, who is Gerakan Deputy President, will move to his hometown in Simpang Renggam, Johor.

Meanwhile, PPP believes that the single state seat in Perak allotted to the party is the beginning of its comeback to the state since last contesting in the general election in 1986.

Its state chairman, Lee Heng, said that the Perak PPP was hoping to be given a seat in Kinta Valley but the Barisan Nasional (BN) decided to give the party the Pasir Bedamar state seat under the Teluk Intan parliamentary constituency.

Lee said that the Pasir Bedamar state constituency was a good alternative to Kinta Valley as it has been the stronghold of the PPP, when it was still in the opposition, until the 1969 General Election. The party joined the coalition in 1974.

"One state seat is OK for a start. Even though many people said the DAP is too strong at Pasir Bedamar, we believe with the strong support of the BN component parties, we can win the seat," he told Bernama when contacted Thursday.

PPP, which last contested in a general election in 1986, has been offered only two seats - Taiping and Pasir Bedamar state seat under the Teluk Intan parliamentary constituency.

Taiping has 65,046 electorate comprising 21,260 Malays (32.68 percent), Chinese 34,019 (52.30 percent), Indians 9,288 (14.28 percent), Sarawak bumiputeras (166), Sabah bumiputeras (49), Orang Asli (70) and others (194).

Bukit Gantang has 53,880 registered voters, with 33,918 or 62.95 percent Malays, Chinese 14,743 (27.36 percent) and Indians 5,149 (9.56 percent).

It is understood that Gerakan would field its Perak Wanita Chief Tan Lian Hoe in Bukit Gantang.