Like most interested Malaysians I waited up till the last result of 10th Sarawak election was announced at 11pm. The final status of parties, according to BERNAMA ( Government News Agency) is as follows:
BN 55, DAP 12, PKR 3 and Independent 1. All 71 seats in the state legislative Assembly were contested.
As predicted, the opposition garnered more seats this time around with 16 seats compared to six in the last State election in 2006. The greatest casualty was the President of SUPP (Sarawak United People Party) and an in-law of Taib Mahmud, George Chan who had been representing the seat of Piasau formerly known as Miri since 1983. He lost to a young lawyer from DAP ( Democratic Action Party). It seems the DAP’s tagline ” A vote for Chan is a vote for Taib” has worked!
Demolition of Chan sends a strong message to BN that the Chinese, may not only be in Sarawak, want a stronger representation with more voice and credibility. So MCA (Malaysian Chinese Association), the main Chinese-based component party at the Federal Level had better beware. Chua Soi Lek has to have a “pow wow” with Najib, no doubt about it if MCA is to remain relevant.
More people in urban areas rejected BN and more so the results appeared as a rejection of Taib Mahmud, the 30-year term corrupt Chief Minister. Sarawakians also rejected PAS (Islamic Party) based in West Malaysia. PAS did not win a single seat it contested.
The pattern shows that people are increasingly against BN under the current state leadership and the next GE13 is going to show a greater decline of support for BN unless Taib Mahmud step down!
Taib Mahmud won with a comfortable majority in Balingian but the win is deemed ” Jaguh Kampung” (a village champion).
Like all those leaders who have outstayed their welcome (Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Salleh of Yemen and Gadhafi of Libya), Taib Mahmud is very reluctant to let go off power. His addictive clinging to power appears to have cost BN at least eight seats in this election. I feel if PM Najib and his Deputy had not come down to Sarawak to campaign more seats would have been captured by the opposition, not that I think it is a bad thing. A strong opposition is required in any democracy to keep in check unhealthy activities/policies/over-exuberance of a government.
As the PKR leadership is still weak and uncertain, my personal opinion is, it is better for Malaysia to stick to BN for the time being and give PM Najib the chance to work through his Government Transformation Program (GTP). He has certainly shown more leadership qualities than his previous dumb predecessor. A new mandate for him may just see Malaysia achieving better economic growth and quality of life for her people.
Sarawak BN still won with its two-third majority intact but the quality of this winning cannot be called a triumph with the voters and thus cannot be taken for granted. A disturbing apparent picture of poorer BN support is noted to have emerged. However, a more specific analysis of actual number of votes and voting trend are needed.
Finally, Sarawak may no longer remain the “fixed deposit” for BN unless the State BN leadership is restructured and Taib Mahmud be gone ( the earlier the better!) before GE13, which must be called by 2013!