Sarawak Elections – The Winners, Losers & The Next GE

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Apr 18 2011
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Sarawak state elections 2011 has come to an end and as expected PM Najib’s ruling National Front (BN, Barisan Nasional) retained control on the state, which accounts for a fifth of its parliamentary seats. I hate to say this again but (yawn) – didn’t I tell you so? Not that I’ve the crystal ball but the writing was all over the wall and I’ve wrote 10 reasons why BN would still win the elections. Do I’ve to repeat again why Sarawak is a different animal from any states from Peninsula?

Now, the opposition Pakatan Rakyat knows why it shouldn’t get too optimistic about capturing the state, the same reason why PM Najib shouldn’t panicked to the extent of abandoning his cabinet meeting and camped 6 days in Sarawak. Taib Mahmud is no ordinary old senile man but a very smart old fox. He knows the politics game in Sarawak very well otherwise he won’t be able to deliver the fixed-deposit to Peninsula for the last 30-years, would he?

Sarawak Elections 2011 Results

If the once most powerful UMNO president of all time, Mahathir Mohamad wouldn’t dare to ask (point-blank) the Peh Moh (white hair) Chief Minister Taib Mahmud to quit, who was Najib or anyone else to ask him to do so? As Taib Mahmud mentioned, when he started ruling the Sarawak state, many politicians who called him to quit were either not born yet or still wearing diapers (*grin*). Voters, especially from the rural areas were and still are under his control as if they are Taib’s slaves. And going by how his party, PBB, won all the 35 seats contested, it seems these rural voters are still happily being Taib’s slaves.

There’re reports that BN has spent RM500 million during this elections for projects promises and vote-buying ranging from RM20 bucks for each illiterate and poor rural voter to RM300 each in Dudong, RM1,000 each in Meradong and RM7,000 each in Ba’kelalan. I’ve tweeted that my Sibu’s friend in Bawang Assan was promised RM100 for registration and another RM500 after casting his vote for BN. So, the opposition was fighting a losing battle against the mountains of money used by BN in vote buying. Only a fool would think the opposition can capture Sarawak state.

Let’s see who are the winners and losers after the Sarawak elections results:

1)         Chief Minister Taib Mahmud (Winner)

Curse as you like but the undisputed heavyweight champion is none other than the much hated Chief Minister Taib Mahmud himself. The old fox was so smart that he could smell a possible internal coup miles away so much so that he didn’t waste much time but to swear in as the Chief Minister, barely an hour after it was confirmed that his team has won the elections with simple majority.

Rumor mill was churning that Putrajaya was thinking of endorsing someone else as the new Chief Minister, hence forcing him into retirement. Heck, now that he was sworn in as the Chief Minister and his party PBB has made a clean sweep of the 35 seats being contested (that’s 100% success rate, dude), nobody including PM Najib can ask him to quit. To entertain Najib, he said he would quit in another two or three years. But anything can happen by then and considering Najib needs to call a nationwide election soon, the old fox is as good as the “Untouchable Godfather”.

Taib Mahmud Won Sarawak Election WIfe Hug

That was why I said Najib shouldn’t panicked and camped in Sarawak helping the old fox. Taib’s PBB party itself alone can deliver 35 seats (of course you may say I’m boastful now that the result is out but didn’t I wrote his party controls the majority voters within his constituencies well so that money dishing will always work to his advantage?). In case all his buddies lost, which is very unlikely, he can always bribe some of the frogs to jump over and voila, Taib will form the government with simple majority nevertheless.

With Najib’s intervention, it actually did Taib great favours because the old fox would not have to do any hard work but reap all the profits, not to mention more time to spend with his lovely wife. Heck, maybe the intelligence report Najib had gotten that Sarawak was in deep trouble was deliberately planted by Taib himself. Taib knew Najib couldn’t afford to lose two-thirds majority. If BN lost its two-thirds majority, deputy PM Muhyiddin would be at Najib’s throat. Najib is now at the mercy of Taib.

In the event the federal government tries to unseat him now by force, Taib would ensure Najib will not be paid a penny from his fixed-deposit. Even without the Chief Minister position, Taib would want nothing less than Minister Mentor post, the equivalent to Singapore’s Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew. Sarawak’s Chief Minister position would be reduced to just another puppet controlled by Taib Mahmud. And who said Taib Mahmud himself cannot jump ship to join Pakatan if Najib tries to squeeze the old man’s balls?

Taib Mahmud’s own 35 seats make him the real kingmaker for those who like to walks the corridors of power. If he can squeeze Mahathir’s balls since 30 years ago till the former premier’s departure, he definitely can squeeze PM Najib Razak though its different balls altogether and if he is being pushed to the wall, he can always extend the invitation to Anwar Ibrahim and the desperate Anwar would not mind his balls to be squeezed either as long as he can become the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

2)         Opposition DAP (Winner)

DAP has performed extremely well, capturing 12 of 15 seats contested – that’s 80% success rate, not to mention doubling its 6 seats in the 2006 state elections. Despite getting two-thirds majority, BN’s popular votes have actually plunged from 62.93% to 55.24% and most of the votes lost were in the urban area of which DAP won with handsome majorities.

Actually, urban areas should have voted opposition parties such as DAP ages ago. The logic is pretty simple – do you think the government would leave cities or states such as Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Selangor, Johore, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu, Sibu etc without any development even if these cities were to fall into opposition’s helm? By holding back any development in urban areas would mean no projects hence no kick-backs.

Sarawak Elections 2011 Parties Success Rate

On the contrary, by voting the opposition in the urban areas, more projects and development would be proposed and implemented simply because the federal government would need to compete and show to the voters that BN can bring developments. Of course DAP has to thank itself for making Penang a successful case study to prove that opposition can govern a state – better than BN.

Pro-government media Utusan Malaysia was actually right in advicing Najib’s BN to ignore the Chinese community for not supporting the ruling coalition during the just concluded Sarawak state elections. The fact is the Chinese community which forms the majority in the urban areas decided to swing their support to the opposition DAP because they were sick and tired of Chief Minister Taib Mahmud. They know the consequences by doing so but actually it doesn’t make any difference because the Chinese community can survives on their own even without the government’s assistance.

If there’s one major reason why the government didn’t dump the Chinese into the sea and ask them to swim back to China, it’s because the Chinese contribute more than 90% of the country’s taxes. This was what Mahathir said not many moons ago. The truth is even if 80% of Chinese votes go to opposition, BN can still form the federal government. So let’s see if Najib would act according to Utusan’s advice, shall we *grin*?

3)         Opposition PKR (Winner as well as Loser)

Depending from which angle you look at it, opposition de-factor leader Anwar Ibrahim’s PKR party can be both winner as well as loser. In terms of number of seats, PKR is clearly the winner capturing 3 seats from 1 seat back in 2006 – 200% improvement. But if you were to calculate from the success rate, PKR only secures 3 seats from the 49 seats it contested – a mere 6% success rate. You may laugh and argue that even SUPP which got slaughtered by DAP fare better than PKR with 32% success rate.

Clearly the opposition’s strategy in promoting issues such as corruption, religion freedom, native customary rights doesn’t work very well with interior areas. Sure, generally the opposition Pakatan Rakyat managed to reduce BN’s majority in certain native-majority rural constituencies but obviously it was not enough to trigger a tsunami. Furthermore only those native voters who live in areas closer to towns which enjoy better infrastructures and access of information have swing to opposition.

Being in the government once himself, Anwar should know better than anyone else that native voters in the interior rural areas are stubborn nuts to crack. You can’t swing their votes by talking about corruption when their mentality were already polluted with corruption for the last 30 years. They are addicted to corruption and elections is the best venue for them to make some fast bucks. Wonder why Taib didn’t have sleepless nights during elections? His winning formula – distribute money at last-minute and the usual promise of development. It works like charm.

Although Anwar’s PKR shouldn’t be too boastful of capturing double-digit seats, it has done well in creating chaos within BN’s machinery. Maybe the result would be different if it adopt a prudent approach. To deny BN of its two-thirds majority is already difficult, let alone to capture the state. PKR should start spending more time on the ground from now onwards educating the native not to blindly vote for the corrupt BN. It’s never too late to teach the native people how to fish on their own, instead of fishing (like BN) for them.

4)         Rural native voters (Loser)

In short, they gained couple of hundred dollars but lost their chance for a better future, at least for the next four to five years until the next elections. They would still live without basic necessities such as treated water, electricity, medical services, roads etc. And before you call them stupid and deserve to be robbed of their lands, let’s respect their choice of option. Nobody can help them if they do not wish to help themselves so if they prefer couple of dollars of short-term happiness instead of long-term solution, let’s be it.

Furthermore weren’t more developed states and well-informed voters in Peninsula equally naive and stupid to vote for BN before the Mar 2008 Tsunami? Using this as the yardstick, it seems it would take many more Sarawak state elections to wake them up. Maybe majority of them enjoy being robbed of their lands.

5)         Urban Area (Winner)

As mentioned on item (2) above, the urban voters should have make the first step in voting the opposition to create two-party system. Two-party system will not only act as check and balance with louder voice but also to keep corruption at bay instead of blatant day-light robbery. Due to obvious reason, the government would not black-out urban areas from development simply because projects still need to be carried out to attract investors (to enable corruption).

Sarawak Kuching

Sure, Taib Mahmud would trumpet about losing Chinese representatives and the community being sidelined. But that was pure gimmick to scare and intimidate voters into submission. Unless Taib ordered armies of bull-dozers to bulldoze towns in Kuching, Sibu, Miri and all the towns won by opposition, these towns would still be business as usual. Even if Taib wouldn’t care, the federal government would be anxious to win back the hearts of the urban voters so expect better “treatment” from Najib administration.

6)         SUPP (Loser)

The biggest loser is definitely SUPP whereby its president George Chan was booted out by DAP unknown Ling Sie Kiong by 1,590 votes in Piasau. Just like its sister parties Gerakan, MCA and MIC from Peninsula which lost heavily in the Mar 2008 general election, George blamed Barisan Nasional for reacted “too little too late” to correct “unjust and unfair policies”. It’s quite funny and hilarious how these leaders share the same script when they lost their piece of share in the musical chair game.

SUPP George Chan Lost Seat Sarawak Elections 2011

However as a consolation prize, SUPP deputy secretary-general Wong Soon Koh who scrapped through PKR with razor-thin majority of 58 votes is set to be appointed as deputy Chief Minister. Wong Soon Koh should thank his lucky star because I bet he wouldn’t thought that he could replace his boss, George Chan *grin*.

And unlike Gerakan which was completely wiped out in Peninsula, SUPP can still claim that it actually did better than Gerakan’s Koh Tsu Koon. And Koh Tsu Koon has the cheek to advice BN what to do in Sarawak after the latest election. Anyway, George Chan should consider a permanent retirement from politics after this embarrassing defeat. Of course he still can pay some visits to Taib Mahmud asking for projects considering his daughter was married to Taib’s son.

7)         SNAP (Loser)

If it was true that SNAP was Trojan Horse and was set to jump ship if it wins big, BN’s gamble obviously didn’t pay off. SNAP did so bad that all its 26 candidates except Toh Heng San who contested the Katibas seat lost their RM5,000 deposit in the Sarawak polls. SNAP is as good as toast and has lost its shine which it enjoyed once upon a time after it lost it’s only 1 seat which was won in 2006.

8)         Woman (Winner)

Out of 16 women who entered the contest, 7 will make their way to the Sarawak state legislative assembly. Four are incumbents from BN – Fatimah Abdullah, Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali, Simoi Peri and Rosey Yunus who retained their seats. Opposition DAP contributes to the tally when 3 of the four women fielded won their seats. The three are Violet Yong in Pending, Ting Tze Fui in Meradong and Christina Chiew in Batu Kawah.

9)         Barisan Nasional (Loser)

How can BN be a loser when it not only win the state election but also secured the two-thirds majority? The answer is simple. Not only its popular votes have tumbled from 62.93% to 55.24%, it also lost additional 8 seats (6 to DAP and 2 to PKR) mainly the urban areas to opposition Pakatan Rakyat. To add salt to injury, prime minister Najib Razak has to cancel his cabinet meeting to rescue the state from further damages, at least that was the intelligence report received by the premier.

BN Najib Sarawak Elections 2011

If the amount of RM500 million was spent by BN machinery during this state election is true, then the opposition has indeed give BN a good run for its money. Many may also argue that Najib is the winner who save the day but considering his focus in urban areas and yet the losses of 8 seats, it can be considered a slap to his face because the urban voters wouldn’t care of his promises and threat that the Chinese would not be well represented.

Sarawak Elections 2011 Performance Comparison

Performance wise, BN plunged 11.3% in terms of number of seats secured compared to 2006 – from 62 seats in 2006 to 55 seats now. On the other hand, opposition’s performance jumped 87.5% from 8 seats in 2006 to current 15 seats. If BN and Opposition are both stocks, you know which is the clear winner.

Now, the question is will Najib Razak calling the next snap election this year? Given the results of Sarawak election on the table, he will definitely do so. His only worry is the fact that the Chinese voters are stubbornly behind the opposition, not because they love the opposition but because they still hate BN so his claim that the Chinese community have return to BN in droves does not hold waters.

BN Najib Sarawak Elections 1Malaysia

If his claim that the Indian community has return to BN is true, then there’s no reason why he shouldn’t rush for a nationwide general election this year. But would he dare to do so? What else does his intelligence report is telling him that we do not know? His 1Malaysia doesn’t seems to work, at least not the Chinese community.

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