For the past 10 years, Sarawak had been both the barometer and the vanguard of political change in Malaysia.
DAP’s breakthrough win of six State Assembly seats in the 2006 Sarawak GE heralded the “political tsunami” in the 12th GE in Malaysian parliamentary elections in 2008 which saw the Barisan Nasional losing power in five states – Penang, Selangor, Perak, Kedah and Kelantan.
DAP’s doubling from six to 12 State Assembly seats in the 2011 Sarawak GE heralded the 13th GE in Malaysian parliamentary elections in 2013, which should have toppled Barisan Nasional from Putrajaya as Pakatan Rakyat won 53% of the popular vote, but because of an unfair and undemocratic electoral system, Datuk Seri Najib Razak became the first minority Prime Minister in Malaysia.
What will happen in the May 7, 2016 Sarawak state elections, and what has it in store for the 14th GE in Malaysian parliamentary elections which must be held by 2018?
There are both certainties and imponderables in the 11th Sarawak State General Elections on May 7.
These include the certitudes that Tan Sri Adenan Satem will be returned as the Sarawak Chief Minister and the Sarawak Barisan Nasional will form the Sarawak State Government after polling day.
But what is uncertain is whether Adenan will win with a two-thirds majority in the Sarawak Assembly, i.e. at least 55 out of 82 State Assembly seats.
Can Adenan and Sarawak Barisan Nasional be denied victory in at least 28 State Assembly seats on May 7 so as to deny the new Sarawak state government a two-thirds majority which will allow a massive abuses of power by the Sarawak State government, without effective checks-and-balances in the State Assembly?
It is going to be a very tall order for the Pakatan Harapan parties of DAP, PKR and Parti Amanah to win at least 28 State Assemby seats (even with PH “plus, plus”
arrangements with local Sarawak parties).
In fact, a new history will be created in the 53-year electoral history of Sarawak if the incumbent State Government could be denied its two-thirds State Assembly majority.
If it is going to be a very difficult task even with an electoral pact reached by Pakatan Harapan on ensuring an one-to-contest against Sarawak Barisan Nasional as far as Pakatan Harapan is concerned, it will be an impossible mission if the one-to-one electoral pact already reached by Pakatan Harapan is violated, resulting in multi-cornered fights involving Pakatan Harapan.
Adenan is very confident about the May 7 Sarawak state general elections, and is even talking about wiping out the DAP, PKR and Pakatan Harapan in Sarawak politics.
It is essential and critical therefore that Pakatan Harapan parties demonstrate their unity, cohesion, discipline and commitment to put Sarawak and national interest above both party and personal considerations so as to achieve two goals in the 11th Sarawak state general elections:
Firstly, to secure victory in the 14 seats won by Pakatan Harapan parties in the 2011 general elections; and secondly to make a breakthrough by winning new seats in the rural hinterland.
It is as good as “mission impossible” to believe that the Opposition combined can win 28 state assembly seats as to deny Adenan two-thirds majority in the State Assemby.
But it is nonetheless a goal which all Sarawakians who cherish democracy, genuine espousal of Sarawakian autonomy rights and the promotion of national unity to continue to make this “mission impossible” their objective and target in the May 7 Sarawak GE.
(Speech at the opening of the Miri DAP Sarawak Election Centre in Miri on Saturday, 16th April 2016 at 1 pm)