When the parliamentary sitting concludes next month, the 11 new Sarawak state seats are expected to be finalised, and the political parties in the 'Land of the Hornbills' can begin talks on whom should best contest in these constituencies.
Out of the 11 seats, three are Malay/Melanau majority areas (Gedong, Kabong and Telian), three Iban majority (Stakan, Selirik and Samalaju), two Orang Ulu majority (Murum and Long Lama), two majority Bidayuh (Serembu and Triboh), and one Chinese majority (Batu Kitang).
Chief Minister Adenan Satem has earlier announced five out of the new seats would be contested by the state Barisan National (BN) component party led by Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu, including the three seats which are predominantly Malay/Melanau who never failed to give their full support to PBB and BN at every past state election.
Batu Kitang will be a testing ground to see if the "Adenan charismatic factor' can draw the support of the Chinese given that the problem faced by BN is its component, Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP) - the predominantly Chinese party that faced an internal crisis which resulted in the formation of the splinter United People's Party (UPP).
As Batu Kitang is an area created out of Kota Sentosa and Batu Kawah, which are currently under DAP, the opposition party is expected to make it a battlefield.
This is because another of the opposition pact, PKR has already stake a claim in Batu Kitang and has even submitted several names who are likely to fielded as a candidate there.
Sarawak PKR chairperson Baru Bian when contacted said Gerakan Harapan Baru would hold talks to reach a consensus on the distribution of seats when the time comes.
He said it was still too early to say which seats would be contested by PKR but it would be in areas that they had worked hard to consolidate support.
In the last state election in 2011, PKR contested in 49 seats but only won three, namely Ba’Kelalan, Batu Lintang and Krian. Previously PKR only had one seat.
In the state legislative assembly at present, PBB has 35 seats, SUPP six, Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) six and Sarawak Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) eight. The opposition - DAP has 12 seats and PKR three. There is one Independent.
A piece of the pie
Among the state BN leaders, PRS president James Jemut Masing has voiced his hope to get the Bukit Goram (Selirik) and Murum seats from the 11 new seats.
SPDP senior vice-president Paul Igai, when contacted, said the party was eyeing the two Iban majority seats but hastened to add that it was still up to the state BN top leadership to decide.
If a consensus is reached, it means that PRS is almost certainly to get Bukit Goram (Selirik), while two other Iban majority seats, Stakan and Samalaju, can be 'booked' by SPDP.
That leaves the Orang Ulu majority seat of Long Lama (Mulu), and Bidayuh majority seats of Serembu and Triboh.
After PBB is expected to get the three Malay/Melanau majority seats, it is also eyeing another two seats, with Triboh and Serembu being their best bets.
PBB is also highly likely to get Triboh, which is carved from the two existing state seats of Tebedu and Kedup, which are represented by PBB.
Serembu, on the other hand, is created from a portion of Bengoh seat, which is represented by SUPP, as well as the Tarat seat, being represented by PBB.
The 11th new seat, Long Lama (Mulu) is created from the Marudi, which is represented by SPDP (now with the new Parti Tenaga Rakyat Sarawak (Teras)) and Telang Usan, which is under PBB.
With PBB claiming five out of the 11 new seats, SPDP or PRS can now eye Long Lama (Mulu).
In terms of estimated figures, the opposition is viewed as not likely to pose a big challenge to the state leadership.
Redelineation favourable to BN
However, it is well-known that the support for a party in a particular constituency can swing due to factors such as protest votes, selection of candidates who are not 'voter-friendly' or internal disputes.
This new redelineation can be considered as favourable to the BN as almost all the new seats involved rural areas in which the BN has proven to receive a lot of support.
Prior to this, these places involved rural state constituencies that are huge, prompting the Election Commission to conduct the electoral redelineation.
As soon as the Federal Court approved the redelineation process middle of last month, Sarawak DAP secretary Alan Ling claimed that the state BN required an additional 11 seats to address a split in two of the BN component parties.
All this assumption, however, was made without any consideration to the two splinter parties, namely UPP and Teras, which have declared themselves as 'BN-friendly'.
Now the onus is on Adenan to use his good sense and experience in dealing with their application to join the state BN fold.