Archive for May 8th, 2016

A ‘fixed’ result – Sarawak’s electoral distortions

Bridget Welsh
7 May 2016

As Sarawakians head to the polls today, it is important to understand that the BN-created electoral constituencies in the state will significantly impact the result. Malaysia’s non-independent Electoral Commission (EC) has staked the system in its favour in how it has delineated and recently redrawn the state’s electoral boundaries.

Chief Minister Adenan Satem’s victory has been assured, but it will not be a win that is based on fairness or meet basic international standards of electoral integrity. This article looks at malapportionment and gerrymandering in Sarawak, and shows how those in office have manipulated the system to their advantage. Read the rest of this entry »


It’s raining money in Sarawak

Bridget Welsh
7 May 2016

More than any other state in Malaysia, Sarawak’s elections have been seen to be determined by money. Vote buying and patronage are deeply intertwined in the state’s political fabric, as many voters look at the election period as one of festivity and entertainment.

Booze is purchased, and bounty is shared. Projects are announced, and even more ‘development’ promises are made in arguably one of Malaysia’s most neglected states.

The 2016 campaign is similarly being affected by the use of resources and highlights how uneven the playing field is in this election. Given the seriousness of the 1MDB scandal and the use of these tainted funds in Malaysia’s 2013 election, understanding the role money plays in determining the electoral outcomes is more important than ever.

Money politics in Sarawak is not only intense; it is expensive. There is no question that the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) is using its control and access to resources to assure a victory in this Borneo state. Read the rest of this entry »


Stopping ‘change’ – Sarawak’s electoral battlegrounds

Bridget Welsh
6 May 2016

While the Sarawak campaign may lack dynamism, the nature of the state’s politics has been transforming. Over the last 10 years, voting has changed considerably, with more support for alternatives and, importantly, greater engagement in politics.

The seats the opposition has won in state elections has increased from two in 2001 to 16 in 2011, with gains in Parliament from one seat in 2004 to six seats in 2013. The share of the popular vote won in Sarawak state elections jumped from 29 percent in 2001 to 44 percent in 2011.

Chief Minister Adenan Satem and his team, led by the head of the BN Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, aim to stop and reverse these gains, and in the process assure that the state remains a BN stronghold. By looking at voting behaviour, we can understand the electoral battlegrounds and the slowly-shifting sands of the Sarawak political landscape. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Same Old’ in Sarawak campaign

Bridget Welsh
3 May 2016

As the lacklustre 11th Sarawak 2016 election campaign comes to a close on Friday, consistency rather than change has predominated.

Most Sarawakians on both sides of the political divide had made up their minds on how they will vote before the campaign began. So far, the campaign has done little to change their orientations, and even less to inspire Sarawakians to vote at all. Political parties have mainly relied on old strategies, offering little new in their engagement with the electorate. Read the rest of this entry »

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DAP must not be afraid to lose in elections as we must learn from the crushing defeat in the Sarawak state elections yesterday so that we can become stronger to fight for justice, freedom and human empowerment another day

DAP must not be afraid to lose in elections as we must learn from the crushing defeat in the Sarawak state elections yesterday so that we can become stronger to fight for justice, freedom and human empowerment for all Sarawakians and Malaysians another day.

The test of a political movement dedicated to the higher ideals of justice, freedom and human empowerment is the ability not to be crushed by a “crushing defeat”, but the ability to rise from a “crushing defeat” to be stronger and more committed to our cause to fight another day.

We can bemoan that if the voter turnout had been more than 70 percent and close to 76.3 per cent as in the 2013 Paliamentary elections and not just 68.1% yesterday, DAP Sarawak could have kept the 12 state assembly seats won five years ago.

In fact , on the same day that the Sarawak voters went to polls yesterday, a political analyst Bridget Welsh had predicted the Sarawak state general election outcome in her article, “A ‘fixed’ result – Sarawak’s electoral distortions” in Malaysiakini, explaining that the non-independent Election Commission (EC) had staked the system in the Barisan Nasional’s favour in how it had delineated and recently redrawn the state’s electoral boundaries – resulting in the DAP Sarawak losing five of the 12 state seats and the greatest victim of such “BN-created electoral constituencies in the state” is Alan Ling Sie Keong, DAP Sarawak State Secretary in a redelineated Piasau assembly seat.

It is because of such gerrymandering that Adenan could predict during the election campaign that the BN would win at least 70 of the 82 seats, which turns out finally to be 72. Read the rest of this entry »