Poll results blow for PM, say analysts

M Jegathesan
Apr 18, 11

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is unlikely to call snap elections after a bruising state poll in which his ruling coalition lost ground to the opposition in a traditional stronghold, analysts said.

The BN coalition held onto its crucial two-thirds majority after Saturday’s vote in Sarawak but the opposition had its best result for nearly a quarter century in the resource-rich state on Borneo island.

The vote was seen as an important gauge of popularity for Najib, who has dished out money for rural development.

Some observers said it was the most crucial test for the BN since the 2008 general elections when the opposition seized a third of parliamentary seats and threatened the BN’s half-century grip on power.

In Saturday’s Sarawak election the BN clinched 55 seats while Anwar Ibrahim’s opposition Pakatan Rakyat alliance won 15.

An independent candidate took one seat. Previously the BN had held 63 seats and the opposition eight.

The two-thirds majority effectively allows the BN coalition to pass legislation without any obstruction.

But political analyst Khoo Kai Peng said Najib had suffered a “massive” dip in the popular vote compared with BN’s performance at 2006 state polls in Sarawak.

“The popular vote for BN dipped by eight percentage points to 55 percent. This is a massive number for a state which has been a traditional BN fortress,” he told AFP.

Khoo said the results showed that the crucial parliamentary seats in Sarawak and neighbouring Sabah that the BN needs to stay in power could be at risk.

There are 31 parliamentary seats in Sarawak and BN holds 29. In Sabah BN has 24 out of 25 seats. The opposition only has three in both the states.

Both sides found positives in the result.

Najib described the victory as a “strong mandate” to rule Sarawak, although he was cagey on whether he would call snap polls.

Anwar told AFP his opposition alliance had performed “extremely well,” as ethnic Chinese, Malays and other indigenous people voted for the grouping across the huge rugged state.

“The result has energised the opposition ahead of national polls which may be called in mid-2012,” he said.

It was the opposition’s best performance in 24 years in Sarawak as it rode a rode a wave of discontent against the long reign of 74-year-old chief minister Taib Mahmud (below) and Christian anger over the government’s attempt to restrict Bibles printed in Malay.

Khoo said Najib had emerged bruised from the poll, which is regarded as a key barometer on how voters in peninsular Malaysia and Sabah state, which neighbours Sarawak, may vote in the national election.

The BN’s losses in some rural constituencies was due to displeasure over the state government’s action to seize ancestral land, he said.

“There was a big swing of votes in the urban and rural areas to the opposition,” he added.

“Najib will not call national elections this year. I think he will be pushed out by his ruling United Malays National Organisation if he fails to secure a two-thirds majority (in the national election),” Khoo said.

Monash University Malaysia political scientist James Chin said Anwar galvanised the opposition by focusing on poverty and the alleged corrupt rule of chief minister Taib.

Taib has denied allegations of large-scale corruption involving his family and political allies.

Chin (left) said opposition success in urban seats could indicate that more parliamentary seats will fall into their hands, a key factor in their bid to topple the ruling coalition.

“Najib will probably not call for elections this year as he has to sort out his economic transformation plans to bolster the economy,” he said.

Jeniri Amir, a political analyst at University Malaysia Sarawak, said Najib was in a quandary.

“Najib is in a dilemma. He wants an early mandate but the outcome of this poll shows that BN is in a disadvantageous position,” he said. “I think Najib will delay the polls until mid-2012.”

National elections do not need to be held until mid-2013.

Jeniri said voters’ anger against Taib, who has refused to step aside despite Najib’s cajoling, could mean the BN will lose parliamentary seats in Sarawak.

While the BN must tackle corruption and abuse of power in the state to claw back votes, support for the opposition is strong and Anwar remains a “threat to BN’s half-century grip on power,” he said.


  1. #1 by dagen on Monday, 18 April 2011 - 2:11 pm

    Yes it is a result which does not set umno into a wild orgy. Not that umno could orgy coz umno actually could not. Umno could not even smile, for goodness sake. Swollen faces, broken teeth and snap ribs. The victory must have felt pretty painful to them.

  2. #2 by Bigjoe on Monday, 18 April 2011 - 2:20 pm

    The financial houses are telling the PM he should go for GE regardless. Its pretty clear the financial community think NOT going for a GE would be a mistake on Najib’s part.

    Financial houses are of course only concern with the financial markets meaning, they want GST, subsidy cut and increase spending to boost the market. They could not care one iota if Najib is replaced if the election goes bad for UMNO/BN.

    What it means is that its confirmed Najib is up the creek. He is in really bad shape no matter what. The issue really is how much worst its going to get and whether Najib gets it right to last another term.

    Based on past track record, Najib has a history of getting it wrong when he is backed against the wall. He has gotten himself into hot soup each and every time. These are the times he really is bad at it. But he has always survived – either got lucky or helped by someone. He has no one to help him now, so just how lucky is Najib?

  3. #3 by Loh on Monday, 18 April 2011 - 3:03 pm

    ///Star today reported the MCA president telling fellow BN component party SUPP to reject any posts in the Sarawak cabinet.

    “If it takes part in the cabinet, I feel the Chinese of Sarawak would think it (SUPP) is there only for the seats and not to serve the community,” Chua (left) told the English daily.

    Chua added that while SUPP should stick with BN, accepting cabinet posts would only expose the party to continued attacks from the opposition.

    “As such, it is better for SUPP to stay out,” Chua was reported saying.///–Malaysiakini

    SUPP did not claim to represent Chinese in Sarawak. SUPP lost heavily because of national policies pursued by UMNO and the corruption perpetrated by Taib Mahmud. It is for Taib Mahmud to decide whether he should take responsibility for the loss of SUPP seats. It is time for SUPP to decide whether they are able to influence the incoming administration and what role they could play in the new administration. SUPP should leave BN if Taib Mahmud and Putrajaya do not change its discriminatory policies against non-Malays, or if SUPP is not given correct role to play in the new administration.

    By giving the advice to SUPP CSL tells Malaysians that when MCA is wiped out completely in the GE 13, MCA would still stick with BN so that by association with the powers-that-be, MCA leaders can still have a way to enrich themselves. MCA is willing to give UMNO the convenience to claim that all the anti-Chinese policies have the support of the MCA because MCA sticks with BN, even if not a MCA member is appointed into the Cabinet. CSL has conveniently forgotten that MCA, unlike SUPP, claims that it represents Chinese. When Chinese do not vote for MCA, it means that Chinese do not recognize MCA to represent them. Of course CSL can have elephant skin to claim that MCA represents Chinese. CSL is now given notice that what he advised SUPP would not be acceptable to Chinese in Malaysia. If MCA loses half its seats, it means that the majority of Chinese in Peninsular do not want MCA to represent them. MCA should then quit BN, so that UMNO and MIC can remain the two racist parties in the country. MIC would soon cease to exist, and UMNO will have to explain to the outside world why it is still relevant.

  4. #4 by buy election on Monday, 18 April 2011 - 3:03 pm

    Form a Coalition Government for Sarawak since almost half of the people voted for PR.

    Don’t think of appointing SUBP YBs like senators.

    Give the local councils of Sibu, Miri and Kuching to the people.

    If Taib and Najib are really thinking seriously for the people, bring in PR members to form the joint cabinet. Of course, PR may not agree…. Don’t place hope on SUBP, because it will not recover and regain the trust of the people.

  5. #5 by buy election on Monday, 18 April 2011 - 3:33 pm

    If we have to choose between Taib and Najib, I would say it is very difficult to make any decision. I don’t think Najib is better than Taib. Taib rushed to installation ceremony was due to a possible coup by Najib??

  6. #6 by Jeffrey on Monday, 18 April 2011 - 4:12 pm

    TDM went into a tirade against the DAP for its victories in Sarawak: See “Sarawak Chinese infected by DAP racism, says Dr M” by The MalaysianInsider Shannon Teoh, April 18, 2011.

  7. #7 by Godfather on Monday, 18 April 2011 - 4:21 pm

    Of course it’s a blow for Najib. He was going to bury Anwar, but it looks like he can’t do that with the video. The video was released on the day Taib called for elections. After the elections have ended, PDRM says that they are no longer interested in the identity of the actor, but are only interested in finding out who screened the porn show. Conveniently, Sharyl Eskay now says he was solely responsible. This after press conferences involving Tamby Chik, and a separate statement from Shuib Lazim that he was part of the Trio in his personal capacity and not as Perkasa treasurer. RISDA, of which Tamby Chik is the Chairman, booked the hotel for the screening, and was paid for using a credit card belonging to an aide of Tamby Chik.

    What do these guys take us for ? They must really think that the population by and large are really stupid.

  8. #8 by Godfather on Monday, 18 April 2011 - 4:23 pm

    Mamakthir, the father of racism, now says that DAP is racist. If running a campaign against corruption and for transparent governance is racist, then I plead guilty.

    What Mamakthir is really worried about is whether or not his son is likely to make it to the top.

  9. #9 by yhsiew on Monday, 18 April 2011 - 4:40 pm

    ///Poll results blow for PM, say analysts///

    This is the price Najib has to pay for refusing to reform the NEP and failing to treat the NEM seriously after much flip-flopping.

  10. #10 by hallo on Monday, 18 April 2011 - 4:51 pm

    A dog met the dogs, the dog asked the dogs ‘What you do for living?’

    Dogs replied ‘We’re serve our Master to get supply (money)…..order us to sit we sit….order us to jump we jump…order us to bark we bark’

    ‘Oh Master call now….need to go’




    Go to P HOUSE to protect the CORRUPTED interest from the HUMAN BEINGS and JUSTICE






    In the P HOUSE



  11. #11 by hallo on Monday, 18 April 2011 - 4:55 pm

    A dog met the dogs, the dog asked the dogs ‘What you do for living?’

    Dogs replied ‘We’re serve our Master to get supply (money)…..order us to sit we sit….order us to jump we jump…order us to bark we bark’

    ‘Oh Master call now….need to go’




    Go to P HOUSE to protect the CORRUPTED interest from the HUMAN BEINGS and JUSTICE destroying it, interrupt our supply






    In the P HOUSE



  12. #12 by boh-liao on Monday, 18 April 2011 - 5:44 pm

    Dis time NR n UmnoB had learnt some useful dirty tricks like HOW 2 JAM/BLOCK radio stations n on-line portals dat spread truth 2 rakyat n educate raykat/voters
    Also they knew dirty tricks, cheats n frauds worked, esp in rural n marginal places

  13. #13 by born in Malaya on Monday, 18 April 2011 - 10:45 pm

    The era of a racist government is finished, all ill treated citizens are awaken from their sleep, a racist government must be kicked out.
    Say no to the racist government, say no to UMNO.
    Say yes to PKR.

  14. #14 by raven77 on Tuesday, 19 April 2011 - 2:03 am

    Jibby is paying the price for his past indiscretions and surrounding himself with foolish advisors and a greedy wife…

    Taib got his usual concoction right…just get the Ibans tuaked the night before the election and pay them RM 10 ringgit to vote for him…it always works…for 30 years it has worked and will work for another 30 years because all these guys are uneducated….

    Malaya should not have taken Sarawak in….

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