Two issues in the 11th Sarawak state general election on May 7 are already decided – that Tan Sri Adenan Satem will be the Sarawak Chief Minister for the next five years and that the Sarawak Barisan Nasional will form the next Sarawak State Government.
The real issue about the Sarawak State Assembly to be decided on Sarawak Polling Day is whether there is going to be a strong, effective and principled Opposition grouping in the Sarawak State Assembly to ensure three things: (i) that Adenan keeps his election promises to serve the people; (ii) Adenan does not abuse his powers as Chief Minister; and (3) to prepare for a new non-Sarawak BN government in five years’ time in the next Sarawak state general election in 2021.
With the situation very clear that Adenan will be the Sarawak Chief Minister for the next five years with Sarawak Barisan Nasional as the State Government, the most ideal result of the May 7 Polling is for the denial of Adenan’s two-thirds majority in the State Assembly which is the best safeguard to protect the rights and interests of Sarawakians.
However, I do not think this is likely to be achieved on Polling Day on Saturday as I do not see the signs that the Opposition collectively will be able to win 28 State Assembly seats, the “magic figure” to deny Adenan two-thirds majority in the 82-seat Sarawak State Assembly.
I hope more than 20 Opposition State Assembly representatives could be elected on May 7, which would be a resounding setback for the many high-handed actions taken by the Sarawak Barisan Nasional in the election campaign, aimed at reducing the DAP to a “mosquito” presence of about half-a-dozen seats in the State Assembly.
Through the four-pronged strategy of Adenan effect, Najib effect, politics of money and politics of fear/intimidation, Adenan hopes to crush the DAP in our strongholds in Kuching, Sibu, Sarieki, Bintangor, Bintulu and Miri.
There are analysts who believe that DAP had adopted a wrong strategy of “over-reach” in the 11th Sarawak state general election as we should be defending the 12 seats which we won five years ago instead of over-stretching our resources campaigning in the Dayak areas all over the state.
DAP Sarawak has adopted a very high-risk strategy, as there is no doubt that it would be easier and safer to concentrate on defending the 12 DAP seats in Kuching, Sibu, Bintangor, Sarikei, Bintulu and Miri instead of more than doubling our candidate numbers requiring DAP leaders to try to cover all the 31 constituencies where we have fielded candidates.
However, the Sarawak DAP decision is right as the DAP is a principled political party which want to represent all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region. DAP had never wanted to be a Chinese or a peninsular party, as right from the formation of DAP, we are committed to be a Malaysian political party to serve all races, religions and regions in the country.
This is why Sarawak DAP has embarked on the two-fold objective in the 11th Sarawak state general election to firstly, defend the 12 State Assembly seats we won five years ago; and sceondly, to make a breakthrough outside the urban areas to demonstrate that the political change and meaningful development espoused by DAP have the support not only of the Chinese in Sarawak, but also the Dayaks and Malays; and that it is not only in the urban areas in Kuching, Sibu, Sarikei, Bintangor, Bintulu and Miri that the DAP message for change and renewal finds resonance and support, but also in the rural areas as well.
I admit that DAP Sarawak is taking high risks and may fall between two stools – failing to defend the 12 seats we won five years ago and also failing to achieve any success and breakthrough in the 18 Dayak-dominated seats DAP is contesting on May 7.
Adenan and Sarawak BN are doing their utmost to ensure that Sarawak DAP fail in May 7, and only the voters of Sarawak can save the DAP from the four-prong attacks from Sarawak BN.
I call on the Sarawak voters to fully mobilise to save DAP so as to save Sarawak. In particular, I call on Sarawak voters to cast their vote on Saturday to ensure that the DAP can campaign to capture the Sarawak state government in the next Sarawak State Election five years’ time in 2021 – for this is the only way to ensure real change and improvement in the lot of Sarawakians!
(Speech at the DAP Sarawak state general election ceramah in Song on Tuesday, May 3, 2016 at 9 pm)