Happy Easter 2011:

“ANANG TAKUT NGELABAN BN!”

The senile old fox Mahapokrit really got it wrong big time for accusing DAP spreading racist virus into Sarawak which almost wiped out the Chinese(read:SUPP) representation in Yang Dikasihi’s state cabinet.

It is a classic hypocrisy by Mahapokrit when trying to single out the Chinese voters into myopic racist vindication when Mahapokrit’s biggest and closest cronies are mostly Chinese as well. Even Mahapokrit’s secluded tropical holiday villa in Borneo Highlands, Jalan Puncak Borneo, Kuching was built by his crony KL-based IOI Group(JV partner with LCDA on Borneo Highlands) and local BN Chinese cronies most probably on free-offer compassion and bootlicking basis lah. Call it as ‘multi-racial cronies’ but Mahapokrit always thought that his Chinese cronies probably the worst of two evils than DAP.

Being multi-racial shouldn’t be a one-sided affair but Mahapokrit is hell-bent to preach that only BN is truly multi-racial political platform and not Pakatan Rakyat. On paper BN may rightly won the two-third majority of DUN state seats but in actual fact the Sarawak voters regardless of race defiantly and increasingly voted against BN be it Chinese, Malay, Dayak, Indian or Lain-Lain Etc.

And yes it is a multi-racial revolt against BN Sarawak that Mahapokrit conveniently choose to ignore except his own multi-racial cronies can do no evil at all.

ANANG TAKUT NGELABAN BN! MATI BN!

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The myths of S’wak polls results
Bridget Welsh, Malaysia Kini, 19 April 2011

The dust has begun to settle on the 10th Sarawak polls with the BN touting its retention of the two-thirds majority as a victory, while Pakatan Rakyat points to the more than doubling of its seats. This was the most competitive state election in Sarawak’s history and was hard fought by both sides.

BN, led by Prime Minister Najib Razak essentially camped in the state for 10 days to assure the two-thirds, while the opposition also focused is national machinery in Sarawak, bringing in the top guns from Peninsular Malaysia and thousands of party workers.

A closer look at the results show that the opposition has made impressive ground, despite its failure to break the two-thirds threshold. Sarawak is no longer BN’s fixed deposit, and trends in mobilisation and support suggest that it is even more likely not to be so unless Sarawak BN radically changes how it governs.

Myth of Chinese-only swing

The spin on this election reflects a similar tone of 2006, focusing on the gains in urban seats and Chinese voters. The implicit threat in Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud’s statement that the Chinese will pay for their lack of loyalty highlights the perception that the losses are the product of continued Chinese support for the opposition.

In terms of sheer number of voters for the opposition, this is correct. In all the Chinese-majority seats – from Padungan to Bukit Assek – the level of support for the opposition increased, both in number of votes and share of the vote.

This reflected the dynamic – almost electrifying – opposition campaign in the urban areas, especially in Miri where voters experienced the political awakening that their counterparts in Kuching had experienced in 2006, and in Sibu at the 2010 by-election.

No question about it, a growing number of Chinese supported the opposition in Sarawak. The interesting finding from the results, however, is that they are not alone, and in fact the Chinese swing toward the opposition is comparatively less (yes, less) than the changes within other communities.

By comparing the 2011 results with those of 2006, I trace the changes in voter turnout and share of support (percentage of majority among voters who turned out to vote) for the opposition at the seat level and, when appropriate and with available data, the polling stream level.

The preliminary findings highlight that the movement is greatest in mixed constituencies, and significant movement occurred across the ethnic communities, even the Malays.

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Let’s begin with the mobilisation of voters across ethnicities. The 2011 polls show an impressive increase in voter turnout, in keeping with the increased competitiveness of the election. The greatest turnout increase was among the Malays, where the PBB machinery was well-honed, as more voters were brought to the polls, followed by increased participation of Chinese and Iban voters.

What this impressive increase in mobilisation across groups reveals is that Sarawakians recognised their power as voters and came out to vote in an unprecedented manner. This highlights the growing appreciation of political power in Sarawak and engagement with politics, which is in keeping with the unprecedented crowds at ceramah across the state, even in the rural areas.

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The table (left) also highlights that the change in voting across the ethnic communities. The greatest movement compared to 2006 was in mixed seats, followed by movement in the Orang Ulu community in places such as Ba’Kelalan (where Baru Bian won his seat) but also places such as Telang Usan.

The share of movement in Orang Ulu-majority seats is large, a 20% swing. These numbers can be a bit deceiving in that the actual numbers of voters in Sarawak are small and 20% can reflect a small number of voters in the small constituencies, yet nevertheless, the swing is significant.

Ibans and Bidayuhs too change loyalities

Why then, given the swing, did the seats not move into opposition hands? The reason is simple – before 2011 opposition support in some of these areas was minuscule. In many constituencies, the opposition needed more than a 40% change to win. Yet there has been a very large swing, which is much larger than the swing in Peninsular Malaysia in 2008.

From my perspective, the most interesting ethnic changes occurred in the Malay/Melanau, Iban and Bidayuh areas. A look at the seat tally suggests that Malays are squarely in the BN camp. The PBB won all 35 of its seats and PAS failed to win a single seat, even in the close contest of Beting Maro.

The Malay/Melanau seats are interesting in a number of ways. First, the pattern towards the opposition varies, with a few of the seats moving even more strongly toward the BN, such as Sadong Jaya, and as such, the pattern is uneven.

Yet the Malay/Melanau ground was more competitive with more straight fights and more contests, such as in Daro and Dalat. PAS, in particular, made inroads. To suggest that the Malay/Melanau community is firmly behind the BN is wrong. Their support is changing as well, in spite of the ethnic campaigning and use of the racial card.

The Iban and Bidayuh majority seats also followed the pattern of opposition gains. In Iban areas, there was less movement in the share of the vote and like the Malay/Melanau seats the pattern was not consistent across seats toward the opposition, with some increased support towards the BN in Engkilili, but overall, the Iban have also changed loyalties.

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As is shown in this table (right), this occurred most starkly in semi-rural areas.

The Bidayuh seats were seen to be those that would have determined whether the opposition broke the two-thirds or not. Pakatan hoped to pick up at least three of these Bidayuh seats, as sentiment on the ground toward the BN had shifted due to the religious issues and persistent exclusion of this group from economic benefits.

Higher education among the Bidayuh had increased awareness and exposure to political issues. The opposition failed to win a single seat, but here too the gains in the share of majority were impressive – an estimated 17.9% swing.

The bottom line is that the view that this election was the product of a bifurcated pattern of support – Chinese with the opposition and other groups with the BN – is wrong. Every group expressed serious concerns with the BN, and this was driven primarily with angst toward the long tenure and perceived excesses of the chief minister.

The urban voters myth

It is thus not surprising that given the changes across the board across ethnic communities, another myth needs to be shattered, namely that the opposition support is only in the urban areas.

Much has been made that the opposition won two very rural seats, Ba’kelalan and Krian. Yet, the most significant gains in terms of seats were in the semi-rural areas – for example, Batu Kawah, Dudong, Piasau (which has a large semi-rural area). The close fight in Senadin is also illustrative.

My preliminary analysis at the seat level shows that the gains in semi-rural seats were more than in the other areas, 19.7% compared to 14.8% in the rural areas and 13.4% in the urban communities.

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The ‘safe’ seats in the urban periphery are no longer ‘safe’. The change in voting pattern reflected not just Chinese support for Pakatan, but Iban and Bidayuh support as well. In fact, what is especially interesting is that the movement in support in rural areas is more than the share in urban areas (although it is important to note that the urban areas have more voters).

More than anything, these findings point illustrate how much the ‘fixed deposit’ is no longer secure. Semi-rural and rural cracks in BN support are part of the new Sarawak, a more competitive polity that has become increasingly receptive to a stronger two-party system and critical of BN governance, especially in the areas of corruption.

The growing youth revolution

The election of young candidates in the opposition in some cases fresh out to university may come as a surprise to some, but it highlights the final important dynamic in this election, the massive movement among young voters away from the BN.

Drawing from the study of ‘saluran’ results in seven seats so far, from the Miri, Kuching and Bidayuh areas (semi-rural and urban seats), the findings suggest that a youth revolt has occurred.

In the lower polling streams, where new voters are concentrated, more than 70% of voters opposed the BN. Given the largely young crowds at rallies, especially in Kuching and Miri, this is no surprise.

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We see two pattern – higher mobilisation of younger voters, an estimated 16% increase in turnout compared to older voters, and an overwhelming level of support for Pakatan among younger voters in the lower streams, with a change in trend of over 25%. In 2006, there was already stronger support for the opposition among the youth, but this appears to have significantly increased.

When one considers the high number of younger voters that did not register, estimated in the 100,000s in Sarawak, and the large number of younger voters working outstation, these results should be quite worrying for the BN indeed. The fact that the election was timed well before Gawai (the harvest festival in June) is also important: had it coincided, the impact of younger voters returning for the holiday would possibly result in greater losses for the BN.

Many a younger voter in my exit interviews highlighted the fact that they convinced their parents (and grandparents) to change support. The youthful composition of voting this election compared to 2006 shows that indeed a revolution among younger voters has occurred in Sarawak.

Rise of a new Sarawak

These results are preliminary and need to further confirmed with the official results at the ‘saluran’ (polling stream) level. This analysis is drawn from the newspaper publication of results and ‘saluran’ results that have been made available immediately after the polls, so the numbers should be seen as indicators of trends rather than absolutes.

These findings collectively show that there is indeed a new Sarawak, that voters across races, across geographic areas and especially the state’s future are no longer supporting the BN to the same degree. While the two-thirds may not have been broken, profound political change did come to Sarawak.

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It remains to be seen whether the opposition can continue the momentum or the BN will address the root causes of the discontent, but irrespective of this, Sarawak remains critical for the political direction of the country – now more than ever.

DR BRIDGET WELSH is associate professor of political science at Singapore Management University and she can be reached at bwelsh@smu.edu.sg. She was in Sarawak to observe the state election.
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Urban bumis also swing to opposition
Wong Teck Chi, Malaysia Kini, 19 April 2011

On top of a huge swing of nearly 40 percent of Chinese voters to Pakatan Rakyat in Miri, a smaller proportion of urban or suburban bumiputera voters has turned to the opposition coalition, which resulted in SUPP losing almost all three state seats in Miri three days ago.

However, the magnitude of the swing is hard to estimate, given that there is no single area in Miri with a super majority of bumiputera voters.

The best example which showed there is some swing to Pakatan among the bumiputera community is Senadin, which is located on the outskirts of Miri.

Despite that that the seat has a mix of 49.98% Chinese, 28.97% Malay or Melanau and 15.88 % Iban, PKR candidate Michael Teo was still able to slash the majority of SUPP incumbent Lee Kim Sin from 4,799 votes in the 2006 state election to just 58 votes.

If not for the controversial postal votes that numbered around 1,000, SUPP would definitely have lost Senadin, and the party would have been totally wiped out from Sarawak’s second largest city.

In a further analysis into the results at Senadin’s polling districts, Malaysiakini has also found that PKR almost won at Kuala Baram despite the constituency having only 37.19% of Chinese, who are considered largely pro-opposition.

There are 31.35% Malay/Melanau voters and 24.46% Iban in Kuala Baram, but PKR still managed to get 47.25% of votes, showing that the multiracial party also got significant support from the bumiputera community in this election.

Beside Senadin, two other state seats – Piasau and Pujut under the Miri parliamentary seat – also showed a similar trend and the Iban swing was more obvious.

Within Piasau’s Lutong polling district, which has the highest number of Iban voters (40.63%), DAP’s popularity has increased tremendously to 56.73%, a jump of 23.06% from 33.67% in the last state election.

Surge in DAP’s popularity

In two other Malay/Melanau majority polling districts – Permaisuri (50.1% Malay/Melanau) and Bintang (44.85% Malay/Melanau), DAP’s popularity also increased by 17.37% and 20.35% respectively to 42.84% and 44.39%, despite losing to SUPP in both polling districts.

Another clear example of the swing is from Lambir, a mixed-bumiputera state seat under the Sibuti parliamentary seat, which is close to Miri. Miri International Airport is located in the constituency.

The seat has a majority of bumiputera voters, with 39.3% Malay/Melanau and 29.7% Iban, but PKR still successfully increased their votes from 1,497 in the last election to 3,104 this year, and the majority was also reduced from 2,834 to 1,521, despite that another opposition party, Snap, has siphoned off 693 votes.

In terms of percentage, the popularity of PBB, which contested under the BN logo, has reduced from 74.31% to 54.98%, a sharp drop of nearly 20%.

The swing among urban or suburban bumiputras is believed to be largely because they faced the same inflationary pressure faced by Chinese urban voters.

Indeed, the urban bumiputera community faces even more perils because most of them belong to the low-income group, living mostly in squatters’ residences beside the beach or in low-cost housing areas in the suburbs.

In addition, thousands of bumiputeras, especially Ibans, in squatter areas such as Canada Hill, Pujut Corner and Kampung Wireless were also relocated to give way to development projects, causing dissatisfaction with the state government.

In contrast to those in rural areas, this group of urban bumiputera voters have more access to information and thus more open to a political alternative.

For instance, one of the ceramah held by PKR on the outskirts of Miri before polling day had attracted around 500 bumiputera voters to listen to leaders like PKR deputy president Azmin Ali (centre in picture).

When one of the leaders asked, “Who is the biggest vacuum cleaner in the state?”, the crowd simultaneously shouted, “Taib”, displaying their dissatisfaction against Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud and his government following a series of corruption allegations.

Protest vote against Taib

Meanwhile, the Chinese community in Miri has seen a bigger swing to the opposition, which is as large as 38.22% in some areas, leading to the fall of SUPP president George Chan to DAP novice Ling Sie Kiong in Piasau.

According to the election results, DAP won at least 66% of the Chinese votes in Miri, which is largely a protest vote against Taib and the BN state government.

This is evident in DAP’s victory in two Piasau polling districts with 90 percent Chinese voters – Bazaar and Merbau. During the last election, DAP only gained 28.7% and 29% in these two areas, but their popularity has jumped to 66.59% and 67.22%.

In Pujut, there is also a polling station with 90 percent Chinese voters – Krokop – and DAP’s popularity there has increased sharply from 46.2% to 72.02%.

This has sounded the alarm bells for SUPP, who claim to represent the Sarawak Chinese community within the BN coalition, as the party could only bag less than one-third of the Chinese votes.

Another peril the party faces is that they are getting less support in those polling streams with younger voters.

Before the state election, Miri was seen as the last fortress of SUPP after the fall of Kuching in the last state election and Sibu in last year’s parliamentary by-election to the opposition.

However, this was not surprising since opposition ceramahs in Miri after nomination day have constantly attracted crowds of thousands, evidence of the strong anti-Taib and anti-SUPP sentiment.

Although the Chinese-based SUPP had called on the Chinese community to defend George Chan as deputy chief minister and warned voters about the loss of Chinese representation in government during the last stages of the campaign, this fail to deter voter to back the opposition.

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Dr M: DAP’s racist virus infects Chinese
FMT, April 18, 2011

The former premier accuses the opposition party of spreading its racist disease to Sarawak, and warns that the nation is under threat of being divided.

KUALA LUMPUR: Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad has accused DAP, which won 12 of the 15 seats it contested in Sarawak, of spreading its racist disease to the state.

In a blog posting, the 84-year-old statesman said Saturday’s state election results clearly showed that the Chinese in Sarawak rejected multi-racialism.

“I congratulate DAP for bringing its racist politics to Sarawak. Before this, all races cooperated well with each other for the good of Sarawak.

“Perhaps SUPP is at fault but others in BN also committed many wrong things. But the rejection is almost entirely by the Chinese community,” he added.

According to the medical doctor-turned-politician, the community had now become “infected by the virus of Chinese racism”, which he added, was DAP’s guiding principle.

He also noted that in the past, DAP was almost totally rejected in Sarawak.

“DAP will talk about Malaysian Malaysia i.e. Malaysia for all Malaysians. But its appeal has always been to the racialist sentiments of the Chinese. Those Chinese who reject DAP seem to be considered as non-Chinese by DAP,” he added.

Threat of division

Mahathir, who held office for 22 years until 2003, warned that Malaysia was now faced with the threat of being divided by two parties – one Malay dominated by default, and the other Chinese by choice.

“This will not be good for Malaysia. But this is what DAP is striving for. A two-party system based on race will not contribute to stability much less national unity,” he said.

He also mocked the presence of several Malays in DAP as mere window dressing and likened it to Singapore’s PAP government, which had “sidelined its Malay supporters completely.”

Mahathir, whose disdain for PAP and its senior leader Lee Kuan Yew was well-known, said that the Malays made up 15% of the island state’s population but their share of political power and wealth was about 1%.

“Of course Singapore is ruled by Singaporeans. The same will happen in Malaysia should DAP rule this country. It will be ostensibly Malaysian,” he said, adding, “I will be called a racist for pointing this out.”

For more than half a century, Mahathir reminisced, the races in Malaysia had worked together to build the nation.

“The world saw stable BN governments with power and wealth being shared by all races quite fairly. None of the races got everything that they considered they were entitled to – not the Malays, nor the Chinese, Indians, Ibans, Kadazans etc. All had to give up something. That is the essence of sharing.

“Now DAP has destroyed this power and wealth-sharing formula by separating the Chinese from the rest,” he said.

Voters must be cautious

Mahathir also hoped that the pattern in Sarawak would not be replicated in the next general election, and urged voters to be cautious.

“Let us all think carefully whether we want to split up this country or we are prepared to sacrifice something of our own in order to maintain the stability and growth through the BN coalition,” he said.

On the same note, Mahathir congratulated Sarawak Chief Minister and state BN chief Taib Mahmud for emerging victorious in the state polls.

He also congratulated Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and his deputy Muhyiddin Yassin, saying the pair had worked hard during the whole campaign period.

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