Archive for April 17th, 2011

Comment on the 2011 Sarawak election: We need fair election rules

By Lim Yin Kuin


I am a Malaysian student in a U.S. university and would like to comment on something I found outrageous about the Sarawak state election.

How is it that Chinese people make up the majority in Sarawak (something the mainstream media is not keen on mentioning often), yet Chinese candidates were left to fight for around 20 or so seats out of 71 in the state assembly? While I’m not a fan of political parties chasing votes from specific communities (PBB vs. PKR for Malays/Melanaus, SUPP vs. DAP for Chinese), how is it that the battle between DAP and SUPP to win the Chinese vote became a sideshow while PBB and Taib retained their political dominance while representing a minority of Sarawak’s population?

Of course, those questions are rhetorical. We all know the reasons behind them and no one dares ask why. For a Chinese person to question his or her lack of political representation is the worst form of political incorrectness in Malaysia.

Yet, this isn’t an issue about one race versus another (like a zero sum game). It’s a question of fairness, and whether or not to allow those in power (with questionable legitimacy) to do whatever they wish, to subordinate whomever they want in their quest for more power and wealth at the expense of those who are subordinated.

This issue paints a relevant picture of the unfair rules that opposition parties have to play by during elections. Again, I would like to emphasize how it sickens me that racial politics dominate our elections, but it does and here’s my take on it: Chinese people are the majority of Sarawak’s population. They are more likely to not vote in favor of Barisan Nasional, hence the electoral boundaries are gerrymandered in a way that: Read the rest of this entry »


Clean sweep for PBB, but Taib still on rocky ground

By Shannon Teoh
April 16, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 — Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) won all 35 seats it contested in today’s polls but its president Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud will still take the fall for Sarawak Barisan Nasional’s (BN) loss of 16 seats.

Coalition chief Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in a press conference tonight that BN will stick to the pledge that the Sarawak chief minister would step down after the state election.

“When the time is right, we will fulfil the promise,” the prime minister said when asked about whether Abdul Taib would be ending his 30-year term. He did not specify the timing for Taib’s resignation.

Opposition parties improved on their 2006 tally of eight by winning 15 seats this time around.

It was also reported that BN saw its comfortable popular majority of 62.93 per cent slashed to just 55.24 per cent, a clear warning that the state could no longer be considered a fixed deposit in future elections.

Najib also said that he would use the results of the Sarawak election as a guide for when to call federal polls which are expected to be held within a year.

Analysts have said that the results would translate into further losses for BN in Parliament if Abdul Taib is not forced to quit before a general election.

During the 10-day campaign, the Umno president had pledged that Abdul Taib would step down after the polls.

However, the 74-year-old Abdul Taib immediately responded by insisting that he would only resign “after a few years.”


BN retains two-thirds majority but Sarawak’s fixed deposit shattered

By Jahabar Sadiq
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 16, 2011

KUCHING, April 16 — The Barisan Nasional (BN) has managed to keep its two-thirds legislative majority in Sarawak but today’s results have shattered the coalition’s invincibility and the notion of a fixed deposit in future elections.

The DAP doubled its presence to 12 and PKR tripled its representation although the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lynchpin had contested in 49 seats. PAS lost in all five seats it contested while Independent George Lagong took one seat.

The number of state seats to the Opposition pact will spell danger for BN as it could help them win more parliamentary seats when the general election is called by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. PR now has 75 MPs but the Sarawak win could translate into more in the future. Read the rest of this entry »


Five things we learned in Sarawak

The Malaysia Insider
Apr 16, 2011

APRIL 16 — There are five things to be learned from today’s Sarawak election.

* The Najib factor

Even Pakatan Rakyat (PR) campaigners concede this fact grudgingly: till Datuk Seri Najib Razak camped in Sarawak, the Barisan Nasional (BN) machinery was rudderless and dispirited.

He cajoled, persuaded, pressed flesh and turned on the pipe of incentives and gifts when it appeared that the BN team was going to collapse under the incessant attacks on Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.

PR basically got a taste of what it means to come up against a prime minister who will do pretty much anything to win an election. It is going to be pretty much the same at the next general election. Umno and BN will ride on the Najib brand.

There is no one else in Umno or BN with the pull of the prime minister. Definitely not Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. Or Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein. Or Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek. Or Datuk G. Palanivel. Even Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad can’t work the ground effectively.

The main question in Kuala Lumpur at the onset of campaign was this: why is Najib spending so much time in Sarawak? The answer: without him, BN is just like a piece of driftwood. Read the rest of this entry »


DAP tells BN Sarawak no longer fixed deposit

by Debra Chong
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 16, 2011

KUCHING, April 16 — Flushed with its historic 12-seat victory in Malaysia’s biggest state tonight, the DAP has declared boldly that Sarawak is no longer the ruling Barisan Nasional’s (BN) fixed deposit as the prime minister mulls nationwide polls ahead of its 2013 expiry.

Despite failing to block the BN from winning back its traditional two-thirds control in the oil-rich state, the opposition Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) 16-seat haul in the 71-seat state legislative assembly has effectively denied Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak a much needed referendum to confidently call for the 13th general elections this year.

The party adviser and parliamentary chief, Lim Kit Siang, remarked that PR’s win marks the biggest defeat faced by the BN’s Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud in his 30-year career as Sarawak chief minister, cementing the widely-held view that he is a liability to the ruling coalition at the federal level.

“This is the biggest setback for the Barisan Nasional. Sarawak is no longer the fixed deposit for the Barisan Nasional,” Lim senior told a news conference here tonight. Read the rest of this entry »