Are the voters of Tasik Biru prepared for their rendezvous with history on May 7?
The famous gold-mining town of Bau had been replete with history, going back some 200 years.
There was a historic episode in Bau in 1837 and another in 1857, but on May 7, 2016, the people of Bau and the voters of Tasik Biru are set to write a new and greater history for Sarawak and Malaysia in the 11th Sarawak state general election by spearheading a third wave of political change in the country.
I first visited Bau in September 1978, after the Great Fire of Bau on 24th September 1978 when Bau town was virtually razed to the ground.
The fire started at about 3.30 am. There was a strong wind and because all the shop-houses were made of wooden materials in 1950, the conflagration spread very fast to both ends of the row of shop-houses.
Due to the explosions of gas, kerosene, ammunitions and falling debris, the fire grew more violent and within minutes, the opposite row of shop-houses was also on fire
Most of the 69 wooden shops at Jalan Datuk Salau were destroyed beyond recognition.
Luckily there were no casualty although some 900 people were made homeless.
Returning to Bau 38 years later, Bau has risen like a phoenix from the ashes of the Big Fire of 1978.
The question is whether in two weeks’ time on May 7, the people of Bau and the voters of Tasik Biru can “write history, create miracle” to spearhead a third wave of political change in Sarawak and Malaysia.
The first wave of political change in Sarawak and Malaysia was started in the 2006 Sarawak state general election where the people of Kuching, Sibu and Bintulu stood up for the rights of all Sarawakians and Malaysians by giving the DAP an unprecedented half-a-dozen State Assembly seats in Sarawak.
This created a great impact and was the precursor to the “political tsunami” of the 12th Parliamentary General Elections in 2008, which saw Barisan Nasional lost power in five states – Kelantan, Kedah, Perak, Penang and Selangor.
The second political wave was the 2011 Sarawak State general election where DAP State Assembly representation in Sarawak was doubled from six to 12, with Miri joining Kuching, Sibu and Bintulu in the vanguard for political change.
This impacted on the 13th Parliamentary General Election in 2013, resulting in a whisker away from change of federal government in Putrajaya.
Although Datuk Seri Najib Razak won only 47% of the popular vote, he was able to win 60% of the parliamentary seats because of constituency gerrymandering and an unfair democratic system, resulting in his becoming the first minority Prime Minister of Malaysia.
What has the third Sarawak state general election on May 7, 2016 in store for political change in Sarawak and Malaysia?
Will it have similar far-reaching political impact in Sarawak and Malaysia, presaging a third wave of political change in the 14th Parliamentary General Election in two years time, even resulting in the end of UMNO/Barisan Nasional government of Putrajaya?
I believe this is possible – that history is waiting to be made in Sarawak on Polling on May 7, starting from Tasik Baru.
This is why I will be at the Tasik Biru Nomination Centre with the DAP candidate Mordi Bimol on Nomination Day, to symbolically represent my hope that the town of Bau and the constituency of Tasik Biru will rendezvous with history on May 7, by electing Mordi as the first Bidayuh State Assemblyman for Sarawak.
This was also why the DAP Secretary-General and Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng was in Bau a few days ago to officially launch the DAP Tasik Biru Elections Operations Centre.
If DAP can win in Tasik Biru, then we stand a chance of making a breakthrough in the Dayak-dominated areas of Simanggang, Serian, Mambong, Mulu and Murum – marking that it is not only Kuching, Sibu, Bintulu and Miri which want change, but also the Sarawak hinterlands of Tasik Biru, Simanggang, Serian, Mambong, Mulu and Murum which are standing up with the urban areas to demand political change and meaningful development.
This is the third political wave since the 2006 Sarawak state general election, with far-reaching impact on the 14th Parliamentary General Election in two years time.
If DAP cannot win in Tasik Biru, then it will be even more difficult for the DAP to win any of the other 19 seats which we are contesting where we had not won in the last general election.
DAP’s inroads into Tasik Biru, Simanggang, Serian, Mambong, Mulu and Murum marks the second of the two-prong objective of the DAP in the 2016 Sarawak state general election – firstly, to defend the existing 12 State Assembly seats in Kuching, Sibu, Bintulu and Miri; and secondly, to take the political “offensive” to achieve breakthroughs by winning state assembly seats in Tasik Biru, Simanggang, Serian, Mambong, Mulu and Murum.
This is why Tasik Biru will be the cynosure of state and national attention on the May 7 polling day.
Are the people of Bau and the voters of Tasik Biru prepared and ready to rendezvous with history on May 7?
(Speech at the DAP pre-Sarawak state election ceramah in Bau on Sunday, April 24, 2016 at 12 noon)