Ia bagi mengelak sebarang kemungkinan konflik dalam gabungan tersebut, sebagaimana yang berlaku dalam Pakatan di Johor baru-baru ini di mana pemimpin DAP dan PKR bertelagah secara terbuka kerana berebut kerusi yang bertindih.
"Kami akan kekalkan status quo di Pulau Pinang," kata . Pengarah Pilihan raya DAP Pulau Pinang, Ng Wei Aik (kanan), sambil menambah bahawa keputusan itu adalah muktamad dan menolak sebarang kemungkinan berlaku konflik berkaitan dengannya.
Bagaimanapun, DAP tidak mengambil mudah pilihan raya umum kali ini, dengan Setiausaha Agungnya, Lim Guan Eng berterusan mengingatkan semua pihak supaya bersiap sedia untuk berdepan dengan serangan lawan.
Kebimbangan Lim adalah munasabah, terutama dengan laporan penilaian dalaman BN yang menunjukkan ia sudah 90 peratus bersiap sedia untuk merebut kerusi yang majoriti pengundi Melayu.
Terdapat 40 kerusi Dewan Undangan Negeri di Pulau Pinang, di mana 29 dimenangi Pakatan. Sekiranya DAP dapat mengekalkan semua 19 kerusi yang dimenanginya sebelum ini, maka Pakatan memerlukan PKR dan PAS menyumbang dua lagi kerusi untuk kekal berkuasa di negeri itu.
Persoalan yang lebih besar ialah sama ada Pakatan akan dapat mengekalkan majoriti dua pertiga, iaitu sekurang-kurangnya 27 kerusi.
Difahamkan, kajiselidik dalaman Pakatan juga menunjukkan bahawa ia mungkin mampu meraih hanya 25-30 peratus undi Melayu yang diharapkannya, meletakkan ia pada risiko kehilangan kerusi majoriti Melayu dan kerusi pengundi bercampur, yang kebanyakannya dipegang oleh PKR dan PAS.
"Ini adalah kerana (BN) sedang memainkan isu perkauman di Pulau Pinang," kata Lim. merujuk kepada dakwaan Umno bahawa kerajaan negeri dan DAP telah meminggirkan orang Melayu dan kedudukan Islam terancam oleh kewujudan mereka.
PKR Pulau Pinang gugur penyandang bukan Melayu?
BN melihat peluangnya untuk menawan semula Pulau Pinang melalui kawasan majoriti Melayu yag dikuasainya sejak Merdeka.
Bagi Pakatan, menurut spekulasi, PKR merancang untuk menggugurkan atau memindahkan semua penyandang bukan Melayu di Pulau Pinang - sesuatu yang dilihat sebagai merugikan gabungan itu.
Kerusi terbabit ialah Tambun (dipegang oleh timbalan ketua PKR negeri dan exco kerajaan negeri, Law Choo Kiang), Bukit Tengah (Liew Chee Wen), Kebun Bunga (Jason Ong Khan Lee), Pantai Jerejak (Sim Tze Tzin), Batu Uban (S Raveentharan) dan Machang Bubuk (Tan Hock Leong).
Law mungkin dipindahkan ke Bukit Tengah untuk menangani
"cabaran terbesar" dari BN, yang dilaporkan merancang untuk membariskan pengerusinya, Teng Chang Yeow (kiri) di situ, manakala ia Sim, seperti yang pernah diperkatakan sebelum ini, akan bertadning kerusi Parlimen Bayan Baru.
Dengan kerusi Pantai Jerejak ditawarkan kepada ahli Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang, Mohd Rashid Hasnon, maka "kuota" bagi kerusi DUN bukan Melayu untuk PKR Pulau Pinang akan berkurang dari lima kepada empat.
Selain isu-isu kurang prestasi dan peribadi yang dihadapi mereka yang akan digugurkan, bukan Melayu disasarkan selepas satu kumpulan menghadiri mesyuarat dalaman pada Mac tahun lepas, di mana minitnya mendedahkan pengerusi PKR negeri, Datuk Mansor Othman telah melabelkan Lim sebagai "Tokong yang sombong, bongkak "- dibocorkan kepada blog dan kemudian dipaparkan di TV3.-malaysiakini
Can Penang remain in Pakatan hands...
Penang Pakatan Rakyat will stick to its 2008 formula, with the DAP to contest 19 state seats, PKR 16 and PAS five, against Umno’s 15, Gerakan’s 13, MCA’s 10 and MIC's two.
This is to prevent conflicts and intra-party rivalries, given what has happened in Johor, where DAP and PKR leaders publicly criticised one another to get certain seats in which they have an overlapping interest.
"We will maintain the status quo in Penang. That is confirmed," said state DAP election director Ng Wei Aik (right), brushing aside any notion of conflicts arising.
However, the DAP is not taking a smooth election battle for granted, with party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng continuing to remind one and all to be prepared for the upcoming onslaught.
Lim’s concerns are valid, especially with a BN internal assessment report indicating the coalition to be 90 percent prepared in the Malay-dominated seats of the state.
There are 40 state seats in Penang, of which 29 are held by Pakatan. Should DAP win all its 19 seats again, Pakatan will need PKR and PAS to deliver two more to retain power. The bigger question is whether Pakatan will be able to retain its two-thirds majority, which is at least 27 seats.
It is learnt that Pakatan's internal survey has indicated that the coalition may be able to garner only 25-30 percent of the Malay votes it is banking on, putting it at risk of losing its Malay and mixed seats that are mostly held by PKR and, to a smaller extent, by PAS.
“This is because (BN) is playing the racial card in Penang,” Lim had said, referring to Umno’s insistence that the state government and the DAP have marginalised the Malays and that the position of Islam has been threatened by their existence.
Penang PKR to drop all non-Malay incumbents?
It is through the Malay-dominated areas that the BN sees the opportunity to win back the state that it had been holding since Independence, but which it lost in 2008. For Pakatan, speculation is that PKR plans to drop or relocate all its non-Malay incumbents in Penang – which is being seen as disadvantageous to the coalition.
The affected seats are Bukit Tambun (held by state PKR deputy chief and state executive councillor Law Choo Kiang), Bukit Tengah (Ong Chin Wen), Kebun Bunga (Jason Ong Khan Lee), Pantai Jerejak (Sim Tze Tzin), Batu Uban (S Raveentharan) and Machang Bubok (Tan Hock Leong).
Law may be moved to Bukit Tengah to counter the "biggest challenge" from the BN, which reportedly plans to field its state chief Teng Chang Yeow (left) there, while it has long been said that Sim is gunning for the Bayan Baru parliamentary seat.
With the Pantai Jerejak seat being offered to Penang municipal councillor Mohd Rashid Hasnon, the 'quota' for non-Malay state seats for Penang PKR will be reduced from five to four.
Other than non-performance and personal issues confronting those on the chopping board, the non-Malays were targeted after a group attended an internal meeting in March last year - the minutes revealed that state PKR chief and Deputy Chief Minister (DCM) I Mansor Othman had labelled Lim “a cocky, arrogant tokong” and this was leaked to a blog and later featured on Umno-linked TV3.
Asked about this at the time, Mansor had tried to make light of the matter, saying: “Of course they said it is all non-Malays, because most of our Malay candidates did not win (in the last election), only three in state seats (Batu Maung, Penanti and Sungai Acheh).
“So how do we drop the Malay candidates? Do we drop them from the sky?”
Mansor (right) said there would be “some changes” in the PKR line-up for the state seats, but did not reveal how many seats would be involved, only saying that it would not be more than 50 percent.
He is still uncertain if he will be given a state seat, despite PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim confirming that Mansor would do battle in the Nibong Tebal parliamentary seat against the BN’s most likely candidate, state Umno chief Zainal Abidin Osman.
Not being certain of a state seat, or winning it, raises the question of who in PKR will replace Mansor as DCM I should Pakatan keep its hold on Penang, paving the way for a bigger power tussle within the party.
On the speculation about a clash with PAS for the Sungai Acheh seat, Mansor said: “We are confident of resolving it, especially after the renewed spirit at Monday’s Pakatan convention in Shah Alam.”
Uncertainties in the PKR camp
These uncertainties are raising the heat in the PKR camp, with those hoping to be picked as candidates trying to score brownie points with Mansor – if an anonymous fax to a Chinese-language daily is anything to go by.
The note says the non-Malay candidates in PKR, who are in two camps – the incumbents and the ‘hopefuls’ – are not happy about their seats being reduced from five to four and that the incumbents are trying to "topple" Mansor.
Although exco member Law (right) has denied any ‘coup’ attempt, it will be difficult to avoid conflict within the party in a scenario where the incumbents are being annoyed by the hopefuls showing up in their constituencies, trying to steal the show.
This is the season where one finds hopefuls, who have not gone to the ground since Pakatan took the state, showing their faces in constituencies of their choice to try increase their visibility, especially when bigwigs like Anwar make their rounds.
In the final analysis, it appears as if the BN can make some headway in Penang by battling it out for the Malay and mixed seats, which will inevitably affect PKR the most, since PAS has hardcore supporters in the Malay heartland.
Penang Malay Congress president Rahmad Ishak is urging Umno to take up more seats in the mixed constituencies, even if this will put it at loggerheads with its ally Gerakan.
The seats suggested are Batu Uban (likely to be PKR vs Gerakan), Sungai Pinang (DAP vs Gerakan), Machang Bubok (PKR vs Gerakan) and Bukit Tengah (PKR vs MCA or Gerakan), all of which Rahmad says have more than 25 percent Malay voters.
“It is not impossible for Umno to contest in these mixed areas when Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s transformation plan is at its peak, for this will most certainly affect Umno positively,” Rahmad said.
It remains to be seen whether Najib’s promises of 20,000 affordable houses, a monorail system to resolve traffic and transport problems and a free port status to boost the state’s economic development will help BN to win back the confidence of Penangites.-malaysiakini