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From Malaysia Today
From Malaysia Today
Comments by Sarawak Headhunter in red.
Why the Federal Government prefers to separate the state elections for this East Malaysian state is irrelevant. The fact that Pakatan Rakyat desperately needs to win here to get the momentum of “change” going is of paramount importance.
The fact is that it is not that the Federal Government prefers to separate the state elections for Sarawak. It has no choice in the matter, given that the last state elections were only held hardly 2 years ago. Historically this can be traced back to the revolt against Taib Mahmud in 1987 which caused the state elections to be held in mid-term. Since then, the Chief Minister decides when to call for state elections, after ostensibly consulting or informing the Prime Minister as head of the BN.
One relevant query at this point in time is whether there is a Pakatan Rakyat in Sarawak or not, given that the State DAP has not yet agreed to cooperate with PKR - in view of its misgivings about the PKR Sarawak Head, Dominique Ng - and as to what role PAS would or should play, if any.
As the largest state in
Sarawakians are made up from 52% Ethnics, 26% Chinese, 21% Malays and 1% Indians and others. The major political parties here consist of Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (BN), Sarawak United People’s Party (BN), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (BN), Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (BN), Sarawak National Party (Independent), DAP (PR) and PKR (PR). Using the previous Parliamentary Elections as a yardstick, the BN coalition won 30 seats out of a total of 31 seats contested. This represented a 96.8% win for the BN parties. That however only exhibits one side of the grim picture. What PR needs to understand when looking at the alternate side is that there was an additional 3.0% swing to the BN parties when compared to the 2004 Parliamentary elections (only Perlis on the Malaysian peninsular swung to BN whilst
It should be noted that the so-called 52% "Ethnics" or rather natives comprise a fairly diverse group of ethnicities which the Iban majority (30%) has tried to rally under the unifying umbrella of "Dayakism". This has not worked and the Ibans themselves remain divided among the major state BN parties such as PBB, PRS, SPDP and (surprise!) even SUPP - a Chinese-based party itself while those who used to be in or affiliated with the dying or dead SNAP and PBDS and stillborn MDC are now faced with joining PKR or setting up a completely new party.
While they have stopped trusting Taib, the real Sarawak Dilemma is that the natives also don't trust the Malayans, whether of the BN or of Pakatan Rakyat origins. This is what PR needs to understand. Sarawak needs a completely new party and a new leader to rally ALL Sarawakians. Whether this can be done in time or not is another matter.
With Gabriel Adit’s entry into PR early this month,
Presumably the writer meant "State Assemblymen" instead of "parliamentarians". Sarawak Headhunter however is not adverse to the Sarawak State Assembly being renamed the Sarawak State Parliament, once Taib Mahmud is gone of course. A 20% swing is possible, but not just to PR. A completely new Sarawak-based party leading PR in the state could even make it a 30% swing to the opposition.
DAP now has 6 (Pending, Batu Lintang, Kota Sentosa, Meradong, Bukit Assek & Kidurong) state seats whilst PKR has 2 (Padungan & Ngemah) and SNP (independent) has 1 (Engkilili). That is 9 opposition seats against 62 BN seats. That means BN parties make up 85% of the state government and this entitles them to a “carte blanche” situation whereby the opposition voice is effectively muted. If 14 BN state councilors cross over to PR, the BN coalition still retains a two-third majority. If the opposition party intends to curtail this overwhelming BN position, they will need to win at least 24 state seats (to deny BN the two-third majority).
Let’s look at
Obviously, but the Chinese vote is still critical to ensure that the BN loses in all the urban areas and that these seats, most of whom were won by the DAP and one by PKR, are retained in the hands of the DAP and PKR respectively.
Before PR can look at other alternatives, they must get the fundamentals right. Let’s look at the state constituencies with more than 50% Chinese as voters. Other than those stated above, the rest are Bawang Assan, Pelawan and Nangka in the Sibu Division (60%); Piasau, Pujut and Senadin in the Miri Division (55%); Repok in Sarikei (67%); Batu Kawah in Stampin (78%); and Dudong in Lanang (73%). This is only another miserable 9 state seats. Add this hypothetical figure to the existing 9 seats and you get 18 seats altogether (if PR relies purely on the Chinese votes). BN still holds the two-thirds majority.
If the Chinese voters are convinced to vote for DAP, these 18 seats are nothing to sniff at and would go a long way towards ensuring the overall and crushing defeat of the BN in the next state elections.
It can henceforth be determined conclusively that PR needs to court the critical Iban and Melanau votes. Without these, PR can never string up sufficient state seats to trouble the BN parties. The theoretical 18 seats only make up 25% of the state assembly. PR needs 24 state seats to deny BN the two-thirds majority and 36 state seats to form the state government.
Other than the Iban and Melanau votes, the Malay, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu votes must not be forgotten. Every vote counts, especially when Taib Mahmud and the Sarawak BN will use all means, mainly foul, to stay in power even after losing the support of the majority of Sarawakians.
With the impending state elections due in 30 months (or thereabouts), everything should be on express mode now. PR must start, and start now to establish themselves in
The next state elections are not due until 2011, but with the pressure that Taib Mahmud is now facing and the questionable state of his health, he could conceivably call for snap elections at any time from now, given that the opposition (PR) has not yet garnered sufficient support in the state nor consolidated its position. Are they ready?
And then there are Pensiangan and Kuala Terengganu to see where the pendulum swings.
Sarawakians don't care which way the pendulum swings in Sabah or Malaya. What they are more concerned about is how they will be treated by a new government. Only the confidence of better treatment will swing the votes needed to topple the BN in Sarawak.
- Hakim Joe