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“Sarawak will remain with BN”

KUALA LUMPUR, 13 July 2010: The Barisan Nasional (BN) will continue to rule Sarawak for at least two more state elections, said a Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) political scientist.

Citing the latest Merdeka Center for Opinion Research poll on Malaysian political values, Faisal S Hazis said the perception that the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) could take control of Sarawak was unjustified.

“Sarawak will remain with the BN for one, maybe two more decades,” Faisal, who is Unimas’s political and international relations department head, said today at a Kuala Lumpur forum by Merdeka Center to present the poll results.

He said despite doubts about the BN’s grip on Sarawak, especially after the Sibu by-election, 64.1% of the Sarawakian respondents in the poll indicated support for the BN.

This, he noted, was an increase by 1.1% of the popular vote that the BN secured in the 2006 state election.

Sarawak must hold a state election by the middle of 2011, although talk has been rife that it will be called earlier.

The BN has consistently won at least 55% of the popular vote in Sarawak since 1974. It won 71.2% of the popular vote in the 2001 election. However, this dropped to 62.9% in 2006. Still, voter support remains substantial.

Massive swing needed

Faisal said the 2006 election data showed that there were only 12 marginal seats out of 71 in Sarawak.

“If there was a 5% vote swing towards the opposition, it would only give them five more seats. A 10% vote swing would give the opposition 12 more seats and a total of 21 seats in the state assembly,” said Faisal.

However, for the opposition to capture 36 seats and take over the government, it would require a vote swing of 20%, which Faisal categorised as “ridiculously impossible” by the next election.

Faisal also said Sarawak’s size and terrain was challenging for the opposition, especially since the state government controlled most of the resources. An average-sized constituency such as Krian is about the size of Singapore, whereas the largest constituency, Belaga, is the size of Pahang.

Faisal said an opposition candidate told him that just to bring supporters to polling centres on polling day cost RM50,000.

Desire for change



However, all is not gloomy for the opposition. While between 70% and 80% of respondents had a positive perception of the BN, many of them were at the same time skeptical of the government.

“More than half believed that the government’s aid would not reach the needy, while almost half felt that the government is not spending money prudently,” said Faisal.

He added that a high percentage, 65.7%, said they were having trouble making ends meet. Many respondents also wanted to see an increased level of democracy, and for the government to be free from corruption.

There were also some positive indicators for the opposition. This included endorsement of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s leadership; increasing popularity of the new media; and a strong sense of skepticism and distrust towards the ruling party.

“If a unified opposition can exploit the people’s grievances and their desire for change, the coming state election could become a feisty affair,” said Faisal.

Less racial politics

Faisal noted that racial politics was not played out in Sarawak as much as in Peninsular Malaysia. “All the BN parties in Sarawak are multiracial parties. So are all the opposition parties,” he said.

“This is because Sarawak is a multiracial state. A race-based political party which focuses only on one race would not survive.”

Faisal, however, pointed out that racial and religious issues “imported” from Peninsular Malaysia could be divisive.

He cited the “Allah” controversy as one example. “In Sarawak, Christians have been using ‘Allah’ for ages, so it’s a non-issue. But during the Sibu by-election, the opposition managed to exploit the issue by saying that the electorate should teach peninsular Malaysians to be as accommodating as the bumiputera in Sarawak. It played an important role in moving the fence-sitters,” he said.

The Merdeka Center survey, which looked at voters’ views about unity, government spending, interest in politics and race-based affirmative action, polled 3,141 adults nationwide between January and April 2010. Out of that figure, 518 were Sarawakians.

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23 Responses to ““Sarawak will remain with BN””

  1. thokiat says:

    Terengganu jatuh kepada PAS pada 1999 kerana MB Wan Mokhtar terlalu lama berada di tampuk kekuasaan. Sentimen yg sama kini mendidih di Sarawak kerana Taib, begitu juga dgn Adnan di Pahang. Tanpa pengganti KM yg jelas, peluang Taib dan BN kecundang di pilihanraya akan datang memang ada, sekurang-kurangnya pengundi Sarawak akan memastikan kerajaan negeri baru di Sarawak tidak menikmati kelebihan undi 2/3 di DUN.

    • Salak says:

      Peluang mesti ada. Itu aje yang kita tuntut. Betul-betul peluang, harap tak main tahi dengan SPR.

      Peluang di Sarawak lebih cantik lagi kalau dia orang buat Bujang Senang Rock! 😀

  2. I’m a Kuching voter. If I were living in the Klang Valley my voting choice would be clear. But when I went back to vote, I had to pick someone who could offer the best for the local area. In the end I voted for the best candidate, not for the party. Kenny Sia did an interview on the two of them which made choosing easy.

    • Kong Kek Kuat says:

      @ Kate Green

      And that´s the way it should be, as with all developed democratic countries in the world. This is something to be proud of.

      And that´s the way it will be as long as Umno and its lackeys do not enter Sarawak.

      If I am a Sarawakian, I´d join politics just to help influence and make darn sure that Umno & Co. do not enter Sarawak. Doesn´t matter which party I´d join, as long as it´s to keep out Umno & Co.

      You might think that I am being paranoid, but have you ever known any Prime Minister of Malaysia making so many visits (measured in percentage of visits) to Sarawak?

      • Not really.

        The flaw of my method of voting is that:

        a) Politicians are not limited to the matters directly related to their local constituency. For example, typically a BN candidate might be better for local issues like tarring roads and cleaning drains. Nevertheless, she or he may not be the best candidate for the people if she or he provides backing to extremist right-wing types within the alliance.

        b) Politicians are often not able to express their personal views, and must follow the party line.

        Apart from that, I’ve never been a believer in supporting a party that ‘expresses my beliefs’ anyway — were I British, I might say that the Green Party is the party that best expresses my beliefs, but I don’t think I’d vote the Green Party if I were British.

        As a Sarawakian, I think that being a member of a political party will not be an effective way of changing the lives of the people for the better. I would prefer to work with an NGO or with a religious organization.

        • Kong Kek Kuat says:

          So… what [imagine my face contorted with complete confusion]: You are not proud of what you did; or you think that what you did is wrong because the person you voted for actually was following the party-line; or tarred roads, free-flowing drains, and etc. are worth trading in for your personal and your ethnic community´s dreams (because even if you are a Muslim, you´d have to think about whether you really want the Umno Baru or PAS’ brand of Islam); or you voted for the most suitable person because you just wanted to shiok sendiri despite knowing that he [or she] can´t help you or your ethnic community with tarred roads, free-flowing drains, and etc.; or you think that Umno and its lackeys should enter Sarawak as soon as possible because local issues should not be rated as equal to personal issues, or what?

          Or are you saying that there are more flaws in voting the person, and less flaws in voting the party?

          If you are expecting a flawless system, I say good for you, Kate Green Zombie Shooter.


          p.s. You can join whatever you want. But they don´t call the game, “politics”, for no reason. NGOs and religious organisations? You are talking about changing lives, not changing principles or believes.

  3. Salak says:

    Citing the latest Merdeka Center for Opinion Research poll on Malaysian political values, Faisal S Hazis said the perception that the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) could take control of Sarawak was unjustified./blockquote>

    That’s months ago well before the Sibu screw up.

    Misleading. It’s quite alright if he comes out independently and state his personal position. This smirks of another one those academia guises.

    • It’s not unjustified. The Merdeka Centre is a good source. Sibu has always had a strong pro-Opposition ground, and in the 2008 elections it would have easily fallen into Opposition if it were not for competing independents who split the pro-Opposition votes.

      • Salak says:

        It’s the ONLY source.

        If they zap up the Rocket, Harakah and Suara Keadilan, Merdeka Centre would be the ORACLE, wouldn’t it?

        Sometimes even Oracles have to tell a little white lie in good faith 😀 Remember Oedipus?

        • It always bothers me when pro-Opposition supporters seem so out of touch with reality. The Rocket, Harakah, and Suara Keadilan are newspapers with a political agenda. Oedipus (which one are you referring to? There are three plays in the Oedipus cycle) is a work of fiction. The Merdeka Centre is a research organization.

          Even if research organizations can have their biases, the information gathered usually cannot be very badly manipulated unless there is something really wrong with the methods. Yes, political bias shapes funding and the kind of research done, but it rarely can impact the methodology and thus, the results. Even in a place as government-influenced like the University of Malaya, academics do produce research that go against the current government stance.

          • Salak says:

            Rocket, Harakah and SK make no bones about their ownership although Utusan and its likes make plenty of meat on theirs. The pro government government papers are a disgrace in self deceit and if there’s a free press the present government would have bitten the dust a quarter of a century ago, and would have distributed more of the wealth to Malays and others bumiputeras instead of the few phony egalitarian suckers. What would it take the new bumiputra converts to understand this?

            In the same vein, even wealth potential of research results in MU stymie any progressive intellectual freedom.

            When you exist in a vacuum, as these circumstances relate to, there are only smoke rings to poke at.

  4. Ellese A says:

    This clearly shows that Pakatan is very divisive creating tensions among the people by introducing the Allah issue. They have no regard at all about the costs to the society so long as they can win.

    This also shows that Allah issue is a peninsular issue. Then this begs the whole question. Why in the world would non-Muslims in peninsular want to create a ruckus over the usage of Allah when they in peninsular don’t even use the Malay bible? What more using Allah as their god? It creates so much ill-intent. Pakatan is again creating issues out of nothing just for the sake of creating tension and hatred. This is despicable and utterly irresponsible.

    • Why in the world would non-Muslims in peninsular want to create a ruckus over the usage of Allah when they in peninsular don’t even use the Malay bible?

      I don’t know what you are talking about. I know plenty of people in the Peninsular who use the Malay Bible. I do too.

  5. Farouq Omaro says:

    Many Sarawakians I have met expressed their desire to have a new government but the prospect of Umno entering Sabah should the Sarawak BN lose is a real fear. They have seen what happened in Sabah and this is one reason many choose to vote for BN. Many of the common folks, contractors and non-Muslim government servants fear the entry of Umno! The common comment is that “better a devil you know than one you don’t know”. I agree with them.

    • Salak says:

      Let’s not get parochial.

      Of course Rais has not tried hard enough to roll out all of broadband and other facilities for internet communication. Even if he does who can afford? The GLC’s don’t want to lose their subsidies. Will the cronies with their tanked business heads? Get real!

      The fear of Umno [entering] Sarawak is unfounded and pardon me, it’s dumb. If Umno people or BN-biased Malaysians are bad to Sarawakians they’ve been BAD in their own kampungs in the peninsula. Conversely there are good West Malaysians in their kampung or in space – except that dumb space traveler.

      This is a myopic view serving solely PBB and Taib’s objectives.

      • Kong Kek Kuat says:

        @ Salak

        And how do you know?

        • Salak says:

          Kek Kuat,

          The way they do business will affect a lot of things political, cultural and social. Not a growing thing – though they do a lot of just talking the right things. You can’t have your “kek” and eat it, too! 😉

          • Kong Kek Kuat says:

            @ Salak

            So, you really don´t know. You were merely making guesses about the fear of UMNO entering Sarawak.

            Next time you make guesses, say so — instead of making statements such as, “this is a myopic view serving solely PBB and Taib’s objectives,” or “the fear of Umno [entering] Sarawak is unfounded and pardon me, it’s dumb,” because, pardon me, it´s dumb.

          • Kong Kek Kuat says:

            @ Salak

            By the way, what you are talking, i.e. “the way they do business will affect a lot of things political, cultural and social. Not a growing thing – though they do a lot of just talking the right things,” sounds more like Umno than any of its lackeys.

        • Salak says:

          Kong Kek Kuat,
          “…sounds more like Umno than any of its lackeys.”

          It’s not just Umno, Kek Kuat! Without official presence, Umno is everywhere and they have client-parties in Sarawak or wherever. In as much as wealth distribution in Malaya is horrid, it’s even worse in Sarawak. Natural resources like timber have so been plundered the thing tall enough for the Hornbill bird to perch is only the Twin Towers in KL. You can work out the rest as indiscriminate exploitation of resources tear the state apart.

  6. Farouq Omaro says:

    Dear Ellese,

    You seem to be oblivious to the real situation in the Allah issue. I agree that Allah should not be used as an issue to gain political support, at least not overtly.

    However you said “Why in the world would non-Muslims in peninsular want to create a ruckus over the usage of Allah when they in peninsular don’t even use the Malay bible?”.

    First of all you forgot that today there are many non-Muslims from Sabah and Sarawak who are working and studying in West Malaysia. Therefore the need to use Malay Bibles in West Malaysian churches has increased.

    Globalisation in the Malaysian context has also hit Malaysian Christians, and today Malaysian Christians whether they are Sabahans, Sarawakians or West Malaysians are much closer to each other than they were 20 or 30 years ago.

    So, it is not about West Malaysians creating a ruckus. It is about Malaysian Christians as a whole fighting to keep something which they have practised all this while.

    Secondly, if Sabahan and Sarawakian Christians were to dismiss the Allah issue as a West Malaysian problem, they are only inviting trouble. This is because there is no such thing as a West Malaysian state government, so the government that would be against Christians in West Malaysia using Allah would be the Federal government which also has control over both Sabah and Sarawak. Don’t forget JAKIM already has offices in Sabah and Sarawak!

    Subsequently, Christians in Sabah and Sarawak too would be affected. This is because if the Federal government succeeds in implementing a policy in West Malaysia, then Sabah and Sarawak would soon follow. A case in point is the seizure of Indonesian Bibles that were headed for Sabah and Sarawak. If they are against the use of the Malay Bible in West Malaysia, then why confiscate Bibles headed for the Borneo states.

    There is no longer such a thing as one law for West Malaysia and another for Sabah and Sarawak. Remember, when Malaysia was formed the conferment of official religion to Islam was not supposed to apply in Sabah and Sarawak. What happens today? Even Sarawak which has yet to endorse Islam as official religion looks like an Islamic state with big funds going to Islamic development.

    So stop acting like Sabah and Sarawak are different countries from Malaysia. There would not be a Malaysia without Sabah and Sarawak! And then perhaps there would not be a Petronas Twin Towers and all those fancy buildings Mahathir built!

    • Salak says:

      No malice intended, perhaps we could glimpse through the irony and send, pardon me, Allah an representation, the real Allah, as His Sole Representatives on earth are only making smoke rings!

    • Ellese says:

      To the contrary. I think you are oblivious to the practice here in peninsular. In essence the crux of the matter is this: it’s between the usage of Allah by Christians in Sarawak which has been used for decades (Christianity was introduced in Borneo fairly recently) against the exclusive use of Allah by the Muslims in peninsular for hundred of years. Both parties have hardened their views. So it’s either we have separate application for east and west Malaysia or we do a referendum like all democratic countries in the west do.

      Just to correct the misconception. There are many laws which apply to peninsular and not east Malaysia. For your information each state has it’s own islamic laws. Federal does not have power under our constitution over Islamic matters in Sarawak. Thus Jakim does not have authority in Sarawak. So your basis is unfounded.

      Secondly Islam is the official religion of Malaysia which includes east Malaysia. We have already agreed to it . See article 3.

      Also please don’t forget that east Malaysian states have more powers than other states in peninsular. For example it has its own immigration laws. So please don’t argue that Sarawak and Sabah must have similar laws with peninsular. This is a fallacy and dubious argument. We are Malaysia because of these differences. We are a federated country. So stop arguing that I’m sidelining east Malaysians. Read our constitution before you comment. It’s trite law.

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