Archive for category Sarawak

Johor should take over the baton from Sarawak to be the vanguard for political change in Malaysia

At the mid-point of the 11th Sarawak state general election campaign on April 30, I warned that seven of the 13 seats carved out of the 12 State Assembly constituencies won by DAP in last general election were in “danger list” for the May 7 poll.

A week later, on Polling Day, I was proved right when DAP could only win seven of the 12 seats won five years ago.

DAP Sarawak fought the 11th Sarawak state general election with two objectives:

(I) to defend and win the 13 State Assembly seats carved out of the 12 DAP seats
won in the last general elections; and

(2) to achieve a breakthrough in the Dayak-dominated seats to expand DAP support from the urban areas.

I had hoped that DAP candidate Modi Bimol could win the Tasik Biru state assembly seat, and that was why I was in Tasek Biru on Nomination Day.

But the combined artillery and firepower of the Barisan Nasional national and state “heavyweights” including the Sarawak Chief Minister and the Malaysian Prime Minister who led a long queue of State and Federal VIPS to descend on the constituency with monetary offers and other goodies, succeeded in foiling Modi from the DAP election breakthrough. In the event, Modi lost by 1,288 votes.

I had right from the beginning of the election campaign acknowledged that the 11th Sarawak state general election was not about deciding who would be the Sarawak Chief Minister and who would form the Sarawak State Government as both these questions had already been decided on Nomination Day – i.e. Adenan Satem as Sarawak Chief Minister and Sarawak Barisan Nasional as the Sarawak State Government.

I even said that the goal of denying Adenan two-thirds state assembly majority would be quite impossible, as it would mean the Opposition collectively electing at least 28 State Assembly seats in Sarawak. Read the rest of this entry »


S’wak’s Tasik Biru battle DAP’s litmus test of conscience

Mordi Bimol
12th May 2016

COMMENT On the nomination day for the Sarawak state election on April 25, 2016, Lim Kit Siang, who was present at the Tasik Biru seat nomination centre, described the battle in Tasik Biru between Henry Jinep of the BN and I, as the litmus test for DAP in the Dayak majority seat.

Tasik Biru is a constituency that comprises 68 percent Dayak, 26 percent Chinese and six percent Malay Melanau. BN eventually won with a majority of 1,288 votes, garnering 6,922 votes (55 percent) against the DAP’s 5,634 votes (45 percent).

Although we lost the seat in a straight fight with BN-SPDP, we made significant inroads in this Dayak majority seat.

In the 13th general election, I contested for the parliamentary seat of Mas Gading, which comprises two state assembly seats – Tasik Biru and Opar – and garnered 5,293 votes.

In this state election, we obtained more votes (5,634) in just one state assembly seat alone. At the micro-level, we won in four out of 20 Dayak villages, with one of them as high as 70 percent. We averaged at 40 percent votes for Dayak localities. Such an achievement was unimaginable three years ago.

We managed to make significant inroads into the Bidayuh heartland despite BN’s systematic pouring of cash handouts on the last day and use of fear tactics – the villagers were told that the government would cut their water, electricity and welfare aid if BN were to lose the seat! Read the rest of this entry »


Elections in Malaysia – Rumbles in the jungle

May 7th 2016 | KUCHING

A cakewalk in Borneo is a boon for Najib Razak— at least for now

IN A hut on stilts on the island of Borneo, a dozen skulls hang in a cage. They are those of long-dead victims of the Dayaks—indigenous tribes whose members make up the majority in Sarawak, a sprawling Malaysian state. Once thought to harbour protective spirits, the heads are now tourist curios. Few indigenous people still live in the communal dwellings such relics guard, and those who remain hang Christian crosses on their doors.

This month many Malaysians would like to see the Dayaks take one last scalp. Sarawak’s state election on May 7th is a chance for voters to rebuke Najib Razak, Malaysia’s unpopular prime minister, who has spent much of the past year denying that hundreds of millions of dollars which entered his bank accounts were wangled from an ailing national investment firm. Investigations into 1MDB’s dealings are under way in half a dozen countries; some of its borrowings are in default. Yet parties loyal to Barisan Nasional, Mr Najib’s coalition, will probably retain a crushing majority in Sarawak’s state assembly. That prospect illuminates the prime minister’s resilience, which outsiders find bizarre. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia’s Najib Has Little to Cheer Over Sarawak Triumph

By Luke Hunt
May 11, 2016
The Diplomat

The election win is rooted in local rather than national factors.

Victory for the incumbent at Malaysian state elections in Sarawak has been billed by the government-friendly press as a turning point for the embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak. The state poll was won by chief minister Adenan Satem and Najib was quick to claim the credit.

But any applause for Najib is misplaced and overlooks Adenan’s popularity, which was achieved on the back of promised reforms and his stand against corruption in the aftermath of his predecessor Taib Mahmud, who retired with his family ranked among the world’s richest following over three decades at the helm of Sarawak.

This weekend’s election was not a test of national policies. It was fought on local issues in a state, which legally is an equal part of a three-way Malaysian federation that encompasses neighboring Sabah and the Malaysia peninsula.

In the election, Barisan Nasional (BN), the ruling coalition which is led by the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) which Najib heads, secured 72 out of 82 seats. UMNO has been the dominant party within BN at the federal level ever since Britain told Malaysia it was time to evolve into a country in its own right. That was almost 60 years ago and ever since then, politicians have enjoyed conflating the two political outfits when it suits their political purposes.

In this case, it is quite clear that Najib attempted to steal the headlines and craft national-level spin for a local story written by Adenan, who had earned high marks after Taib stood down by promising to respect the rights of the long-marginalized indigenous tribes, crack down on corruption and “put the fear of god into people who are dishonest.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s Hobbled PM Taps Local Election Win For Support: Why It’s Not Enough

Ralph Jennings
MAY 10, 2016

Malaysia’s ruling coalition and embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak got some breathing room this month but aren’t out of the ICU.

Najib’s Barisan Nasional party won 72 of 82 state assembly seats in Sarawak on Saturday, indicating that the party’s coalition has a chance of holding parliament in national elections expected by August 2018. To carry on politically, Najib needs to rebuild his name. He has been suspected since last year of moving about $700 million from government-run development company 1MDB to personal bank accounts. The 62-year-old leader faces no formal charges, but based on suspicion alone a lot of people want him out after seven years as prime minister.

The state election, his party’s first contest since the bank account issue erupted, gives Najib a narrow margin to grapple his way back to good standing before the nationwide vote.

His continuation in power would mean more economic development, his thing all along. The well-off Southeast Asian nation of 30 million people relies mainly on resources such as gas and rubber but faces risks from drops in fuel prices and oil-related taxes that the World Bank says account for around 17% of public revenues. So it’s building up an Islamic finance sector, manufacturing (up more than 20% in 2014) and even a film industry.

The Sarawak victory is a quick fix for the leadership. It’s not necessarily enough to last through the national election, per analyst views. Read the rest of this entry »

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Will Adenan become the next Pak Lah?

The jubilation over Adenan Satem’s victory in Sarawak is somewhat reminiscent of the Pak Lah ‘tsunami’ in the 2004 general elections.

In the 2004GE, Pak Lah led the BN to victory by winning a historic 91% of parliament seats (199 out of 219) with 61% of the popular vote.

He went into the elections promising to clean up corruption in the country. He promised a collaborative approach by famously asking people to ‘work with him, not for him’.

He was helped by a delimitation exercise that added 26 parliament seats in 2003.

The opposition then also did not present a united front or a united coalition although three corner fights were avoided in the majority of seats.

But four years later, in GE2008, Pak Lah suffered a humiliating set back.

He was the first Prime Minister to lead a BN government that did not have a 2/3rds control of parliament. The number of opposition MPs increased fourfold from 20 (9%) in 2008 to 80 (36%). BN’s share of the popular vote dropped from 61% to 55%. Read the rest of this entry »


Why DAP, PKR failed miserably in Sarawak

Adrian Lim
10th May 2016

COMMENT With humble and sincere intentions, I have to point out what Sarawakians and Sabahans generally feel about West Malaysians.

If Sun Wu Kong (the Monkey God) had a ‘Journey to the West’, PKR and DAP should now have a ‘Journey to the East’.

In future, obey these rules, and you will not fail so miserably in the east.

1. NEVER go into others’ house, telling them their house is under-developed, lesser democratic, less rich, no highway, no water, no electricity.

Sarawakians are humans, and humans have dignity. The first impression would be: “Why are you West Malaysians so arrogant”? Read the rest of this entry »


Sarawak Win Buys Malaysia Premier Time as Economic Risks Mount

Shamim Adam
May 9, 2016

A state election win for Malaysia’s ruling coalition has given Prime Minister Najib Razak breathing space after months of political turmoil, while serving as a reminder he needs to focus on the economy to avoid becoming a liability to his party before the next national vote.

Barisan Nasional secured a bigger majority in Sarawak, the nation’s largest state located on Borneo island and across the South China Sea from peninsular Malaysia.

Najib visited the state frequently over the past two months, shifting last week’s cabinet meeting there as he campaigned alongside Chief Minister Adenan Satem.

Even as he carries back the message to his United Malays National Organisation — the lead party in BN — that he can still help win elections, the Sarawak polls show Najib can’t afford to let bread-and-butter issues slide with voters. Malaysians are contending with rising prices that are eating into disposable incomes and eroding consumer confidence, while a debt default by a government investment fund could pose a threat to state finances. Read the rest of this entry »

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The struggle I fought so hard for, and lost

Musa Ngog
9th May 2016

COMMENT In my battle for the Tarat state seat, I lost more than half of the total votes in my own village. I even lost votes from my own relatives.

It is not a total surprise since some are so scared of me due to my standing in my political struggle.

I lost badly in Dunuk, the place where I grew up; Bisira, where I have my cousins, nieces and of course my close relatives from my father’s side. I also lost half of the votes in Marakep, the place of origin of my father. I lost in all the rural polling districts.

I saw fear in them when they are not allowed to hang my posters and flags. I even saw the impressions of uneasiness on my cousin’s face when I visited him to ask for help to hang my posters.

They fear being sidelined from all the goodies and assistance given by the Barisan National. Indeed, poverty doesn’t have power to make a change, since fear is always the enemy of change. Read the rest of this entry »


Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections will be more reliable barometers of Najib’s fate in 14GE than the 11th Sarawak state general election

The Minister for Communications and Multimedia, Datuk Salleh Said Keruak may be wide off the mark to think that the Sarawak polls show that Barisan Nasional can win in the 14th General Election.

At least the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak was more realistic when after Adenan Satem’s swearing-in as Sarawak Chief Minister, he hailed Barisan Nasional’s victory as an indication of “Sarawakians’ confidence in Adenan’s leadership” – which is a very different matter from Sarawakians’ confidence in Najib’s leadership despite Najib’s hijacking of the Sarawak state general election from Adenan by being the Santa Claus of the BN election campaign of money politics.

Salleh should know that the impending parliamentary by-elections in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar will be more reliable barometers of Najib’s fate in the 14GE than the just concluded 11th Sarawak state general electilns.

This is one of the several myths which have been born in the past 36 hours after the results of the 11th Sarawak state general election on Saturday night. Read the rest of this entry »


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 »


Is Sarawak Barisan Nasional opposed to the appointment of a Dayak Sarawak Chief Minister in the 2021 Sarawak state general election – for the first time in half a century since the appointment of two Iban Chief Ministers from 1963-1970?

I am surprised that there is no strong reaction from both the Federal and Sarawak Barisan Nasional leaders to the shockingly unMalaysian statement by the PAS President Datuk Seri Hadi Awang that a Chinese or a non-Muslim bumiputera cannot be the Sarawak Chief Minister.

As the PAS President has become a close ally of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, even defending Najib’s RM50 billion 1MDB global financial scandal, why is Najib and caretaker Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem silent on Hadi’s shocking statement?

So far only the PBB Vice President and Deputy Minister for Rural and Regional Development Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi had expressed his outrage at Hadi’ statement, causing him to describe Hadi as “ignorant” and “stupid”.

But why are the heavyweights like Najib and Adenan silent on this important issue? Read the rest of this entry »


Call on Sarawak voters to think “2021” in next five years for Sarawakians to change political course in the next state general elections and to vote in a new State Government which gives priority to the interests of people and not just to cronies

I call on the Sarawak voters to think “2021” in next five years for Sarawakians to change political course in the next state general elections and to vote in a new State Government which gives priority to the interests of the people and not just to cronies.

The 11th Sarawak State general election is one of the most challenging elections ever experienced by the Sarawak DAP since its formation 38 years ago in 1978.

In a way, its a “Do or Die” battle for the DAP.

The Sarawak Chief Minister, Tan Sri Adenan Satem, and the Sarawak Barisan Nasional election juggernaut are doing their utmost to destroy or reduce the DAP to a “mosquito” party with only half a dozen seats in the State Assembly with their four-pronged strategy of Adnan effect, Najib effect, the politics of money and the politics of fear/intimidation.

Adenan would want to see the worst-case scenario for DAP after the May 7 Sarawak state general elections, reduced to at most half-a-dozen seats in the Sarawak State Assembly.

DAP Sarawak is not cowed and is not prepared to play according to the Sarawak Barisan Nasiona’s rules of the game. Read the rest of this entry »


If DAP succeeds in forming Sarawak State Government in next general election in 2021, the first DAP Chief Minister of Sarawak is unlikely be a Chinese but most likely be a Dayak

Sarawakians and Malaysians must be shocked to read about the speech by the PAS President, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang at a ceramah in Kuching that only a Muslim bumiputera can be Chief Minister of Sarawak and not a Chinese or a non-Muslim bumiputera.

It is very sad and shocking to see PAS advocating such narrow and divisive politics, when everyone should be promoting unity, harmony and togetherness in our multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-lingual and multi-cultural society.

For promoting such a narrow, negative and divisive stand, all the 11 PAS candidates in the 11th Sarawak state general election deserve to lose their deposits on May 7 Polling Day.

Sarawak and Malaysia should be going forward to weld a greater unity out of the rich and diverse ethnic groups, languages, religions and cultures in our midst instead of segregating the diverse ethnic groups, languages, religions and cultures into their separate silos which is not to promote greater national unity but engender greater distrust, division and disunity in our plural society.

I met the first Sarawak Chief Minister, Stephen Kalong Ningkan half a century ago when DAP was established in 1966, and after Stephen was toppled as Sarawak Chief Minister, he was succeeded by another Iban, Tawi Sli.

Sabah had also a history of Chief Ministers who is not a Muslim bumiputera, with personalities like Peter Lo, Joseph Pairin Kitingan, Yong Teck Lee, Chong Kah Kiat and Bernard Dompok.

It is sad that instead of going forwards to promote greater unity, there is a political party which is advocating that the country should go backwards to erect artificial walls to divide the people in Sarawak and Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »


Mystified why Najib gave Adenan an open slap-in-the-face by rejecting Sarawak Barisan Nasional request for 20 per cent oil royalty for Sarawak on eve of May 7 Polling

I must confess I am mystified why the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak had given Tan Sri Adenan Satem an “open slap-in-the-face” by rejecting the Sarawak Barisan Nasional’s request for 20 per cent oil royalty for Sarawak on the eve of the May 7 Polling.

Why could’nt Najib wait until after the 11th Sarawak state general results on May 7 to deliver such bad news to the people of Sarawak?

Is it because it is finally not Adenan’s Team and Adenan’s Way but Najib’s Team and Najib’s Way as far as the 11th Sarawak State General Election is concerned?

The reason given by the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for Najib’s announcement after the Cabinet meeting in Kuching yesterday that this would not be the right time to consider raising the state’s oil royalty to 20 percent is too patronising and an insult to the intelligence of Sarawakians.

Zahid said that the total RM20 billion allocations handed to Sarawak by the federal government is more than the 20 percent oil royalty to the state.

Zahid claimed that Najib’s allocation for the Pan Borneo Highway, as well as those from other federal ministers, have exceeded RM20 billion.

Zahid had said that the weekly Cabinet meeting had been switched from Putrajaya to Kuching to support Adenan’s leadership in Sarawak.

This a very strange and funny way for the Cabinet to support Adenan’s Chief Ministership in Sarawak, as the Cabinet should have approved Adenan’s request for 20% oil royalty. Read the rest of this entry »


Call on voters of Sarawak to solidly vote for DAP to deliver two powerful “Yes” and one even more powerful “No” on May 7

I call on the voters of Sarawak to solidly vote for the 31 DAP candidates to deliver two powerful “Yes” and one even more powerful “No” in the 11th Sarawak state general election on Saturday on May 7.

The May 7 Polling Day will decide the success or failure of the two-pronged DAP objective in the 11th Sarawak state general election to defend the 12 State Assembly seats won five years ago and to achieve a breakthrough in Dayak-dominated constituencies and to send a clear, categorical and unmistakable message that a new political era has arrived in Sarawak where rural areas like Samalaju, Kemena, Murum, Mulu, Tasik Biru, Mambong, Bukit Semuja, Kedup, Simanggang, Pakan, Bukit Goram, Pelagus, Ngemah have joined their brothers and sisters in the urban areas in Kuching, Sibu, Sarikei, Bintangor, Bintulu and Miri to demand for political change and meaningful development.

The message of the two powerful “Yes” and the even more powerful “No” which the voters of Sarawak must send out to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the caretaker Sarawak Chief Minister, Tan Sri Adenan Satem, Malaysia and the world are:

The first loud and clear “Yes” is to Adenan as the next Chief Minister of Sarawak for the next five years. Adenan himself said many a time that he is 72 years old and wanted only another five years as Sarawak Chief Minister as he wants to retire and play with his grand children. The first “Yes” includes a “Yes” to Sarawak Barisan Nasional forming the Sarawak state government for the next five years as the issue of who is going to be the Sarawak Chief Minister for the next five years was as good as decided and resolved on Nomination Day on April 25, 2016.

The second loud and powerful “Yes” is to have a strong, effective and principled Opposition in the Sarawak State Assembly to ensure that Adenan deliver his promises to give top priority to the rights and interests of Sarawakians, and even more important, to check him from any abuses and excesses of power, bearing in mind Lord Acton’s maxim: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely”!

The ideal result on May 7 is to deny Adenan two-thirds State Assembly majority, which will require a collective Opposition strength of 28 out of the total of 82 State Assembly seats.

This appears very difficult to achieve, and I will personally be delighted if DAP can win over 20 State Assembly seats on May 7 – which will also start the Sarawak DAP on the new journey to aim to form the Sarawak State Government with like-minded Sarawakians in the next 12th Sarawak State Government in 2021. Read the rest of this entry »