Thursday, April 21, 2011

Aftermath of the April 16th, 2011 Sarawak election, : Sabah is different says Sabah BN Leaders

The 10th Sarawak election held on 16th April 2011 showed that the majority of the Chinese voters, voted for the oppositions, and they did not give a damn on the ruling coalition, the mighty Barisan Nasional, BN.

The Prime Minister of Malaysia, the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia and the long serving Chief Minister, Pehin Sri Taib Mahmud, tried their best campaigning for the BN in the urban areas where the Chinese community dominates the number of voters.

However, how hard they tried, the Chinese voters had made up their mind.

No matter how much they announced to the tune of hundreds of millions of ringgits of special allocation to the Chinese community, Chinese schools and Chinese Chambers of Commerces, the Sarawakians Chinese voters won't budge.

They still chose the rocket (DAP) symbol, rather than the Dacing (BN) symbol.

The end result > BN won 55 out of 71 seats, The opposition won 16 seats in which the DAP won 12 seats, Parti Keadilan Rakyat 3 seats and an Independent candidate won 1 seat.

In the previous Sarawak state election in 2006, Taib Mahmud's BN won 62 seats and only lost 9 seats.

BN's popular votes also decreases from 65 % to 55 %.

Why did they do that??

One things is a sign of protest to the 30 years old reign of Pehin Sri Taib Mahmud as Chief Minister of Sarawak.

The other was the professionally and wonderfully done DAP campaign strategies.

The DAP slogan was "CHANGE" or UBAH in Malay.

The BN slogan was continous prosperity through development for all Sarawakians, regardless of races, religions and areas including in remote settlements.

In the end, the DAP won 12 out of 15 seats they contested while the Sarawak United People's Party, SUPP, a BN component party, fared miserably, losing 13 out of 16 seats!!!

Their biggest casualty is none other than the SUPP President himself, Tan Sri Dr George Chan who was undefeated in 6 succesive elections, but this time, he bowed tamely to an uknown DAP rookie and first-timer!!!

I wonder what will happen had DAP contested in all 71 seats in Sarawak???

Meanwhile Taib Mahmud's Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Sarawak, PBB regained their supremacy, winning all 35 seats that they contested including Taib who retained his seat in Balingian.

The 100% win echoes PBB's similar feat in the 2006 election.

After the Sarawak election, what did their BN counterparts in neighbouring Sabah have to say??

A Sabah BN leader said the BN should accept the decision by the people in Sarawak in the recent State election, especially in urban areas.

Gerakan Vice-President Datuk Raymond Tan said it was more important to find out why the Chinese in urban areas decided to vote for the opposition.

"They were very, very well prepared, what to say and what picture to put up. They planned everything. They did very well, were organised and very detailed," he said on Tuesday, 19 April 2011.

However, the peninsula-based Gerakan believes the "winds of change" as demonstrated by the Chinese community there would not blow over to Sabah.

"The party (Gerakan) had learnt well about what had transpired in Sarawak and, thus, will prepare for the general election that is expected to be held soon.

"When the time comes for Sabah, we will know what to do," Tan said.

During his trips to Sarawak, Tan said he found that the people there understood the scenario not just in Sarawak but also issues and challenges in the country, especially in urban areas.

The people are more open-minded to issues both in the state and also nationwide. Hence, Sabah must learn about what transpired in its neighbouring State, he said.

"This is something that we and I need to be aware of and learn from in order for us to prepare ourselves in the direction that we are going," he said.

Tan, who is also State Industrial Development Minister-cum-Tanjong Papat Assemblyman, said doing the routine during campaigning such as putting up posters, giving ceramah (public rally) and shaking hands with the constituents was not enough.

"They could not claim that are already popular after doing all these.

Each campaign process is different and they learn new things from it, he said, adding the Sarawak general election was no exception."

People in the State, particularly in urban areas, he said, would draw comparisons to the scenario that took place in Sarawak.

"So, if the people in Sarawak were discontented or unhappy with certain things there and the Government was not doing anything about it, and we face a similar situation, then we would probably end up in the same way," he said.

Thus, the party needs to be focused, he said, adding if certain things were raised by the people and not enough was done to address these, Sabah would probably face a similar fate.

From his observation, he said many people especially in Sarawak's urban areas are unhappy, discontented and also frustrated over some issues.

Certain things that the Government should have settled, he said, failed to be resolved.

However, Tan said the situation was not only faced by certain communities but felt across the board. It applied to the Chinese, Ibans and also Malays, he said, adding that it was not only confined to the Chinese.

It is for this reason that the opposition influence had spread from urban areas to rural areas.

"So, the Prime Minister was right in querying whether we are really in touch with the people and that if you are in touch with the people and know how to address their needs, you will get their support," he said.

He said that as leaders they could not just assume that the people would be contented after providing them with the necessities.

"You could have done it but they would still be unhappy.

So, it is important that whatever you do, it touches them or that it gets to them," he said.

Meanwhile a leader from the Liberal Democratic Party, LDP thinks otherwise, saying the BN is not fully aware of the needs of the people especially the Chinese community.

The controversial LDP Deputy President Datuk Chin Su Phin said despite retaining the two-third majority, Sarawak BN saw its votes dropping to 55 per cent from 65pc in the previous state election.

"This means almost half the popular votes went to the opposition," he said.

"In the Chinese majority seats, about 80 per cent of the votes went to the opposition, particularly DAP which won 12 of the 15 seats that are concentrated in the urban areas. Even Parti Keadilan Rakyat won three seats of which one is a predominantly Dayak area," he said.

According to Chin, Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud should thank Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as well as the entire Federal Cabinet who went all out campaigning for the BN during the election.

"It was the first time we saw both the PM and DPM campaign together for one week. If not for the two leaders the result would have been different and the BN might have failed to get a two-third majority," he said.

On the defeat of SUPP President Tan Sri George Chan, he said the people there wanted Taib to step down as Chief Minister.

"As a result, SUPP became the victim. Had the issue been settled before the election, SUPP would not have lost heavily," he said.

He claimed the same leadership issue was adversely affecting the Sabah BN coalition and that the Prime Minister should be brave enough to effect changes in the BN leadership in the two states.

Chin claimed the Sabah BN leadership exploited powers and influence to gain the support from the Chinese chambers of commerce and religious bodies.

"It was sad that certain leaders from the Chinese chambers of commerce and religious bodies were involved in politics as well as issuing political statements to the media for their own agenda," he said.

"The Prime Minister should re-look the situation in Sabah and change the State BN leadership as soon as possible and not wait until the next general election. We believe Sabah Umno have adequate leaders from their own ranks to take over and effect the changes," he said.

"Apart from the Chinese, many from the other communities are also unhappy with the present State BN leadership. We all see the problems in Sabah and I hope other BN component parties are brave enough to speak up," he said.

"In the 2008 general election, Gerakan almost lost all the seats it contested due to the political tsunami and today, SUPP was dealt the same fate, so there is a great urgency to resolve the pressing BN leadership issue in Sabah before the next general election comes," he said.

He said the Chinese community in Sabah is not anti-BN government and in fact appreciated the government contributions including the allocation of financial grants to schools and religious bodies.

"I believe the issues such as concerning the Bible and the illegal immigrants are not the reason for the people to vote the opposition in Sabah and Sarawak. The main reason is that they have lost confidence in the BN leadership of the State.

"Another issue is the Chinese dislike for certain BN leaders who always raise sensitive issues in Parliament and to the media," he said, adding that he agreed with Umno Youth Chief, Khairy Jamaludin that "what we are facing now is the problem of leadership".

"The LDP will bring up issues affecting the BN and the people of Sabah in the next BN supreme council meeting," said Chin.

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