PKR had their General Assembly over the weekend, and Anwar, its de Facto leader, had promised to take over Sarawak before 2011, apparently in the next State General Election. Thus the next State Government will either be led by Dominic Ng, PKR or Chong CJ, DAP, as the Chief Minister or another character yet to come to the fold. He announced that the PR will comprise of PKR, DAP and PAS and had asked its MPS to adopt a seat each and to start to visit their seat starting this week. Thus with 31 MPS in hand, 31 seats will be taken care of by PKR alone. Under this strategy, some seats will even have two Members of Parliament assigned to it if PR fully agrees to implement his recommendation.
PKR has been very active to recruit the Dayaks in Dayak areas, after they have so far unable to win any Muslim majority areas since the 2000 blackout when they could have won Santubong and Petra Jaya seats but lost with a small margin after the blackout. In the last Parliament, they tried to get a foothold in the Chinese areas, only to lose their deposits in certain seats but importantly ensure the return of at least five seats to BN. Now they want to capture the Dayak majority areas with Nicholas Bawin and his MDC group minus John Nichol Rayong, the former Deputy President of Malaysian Dayak Congress(MDC), who still waits for his acceptance into SUPP.
Taib quickly “scoffed” Anwar’s mission as a mere dream. He must have his reasons to be confident and Anwar should be fully aware of it. Yet nothing is impossible and only time will tell.
In 2006, even with Taib at his weakest, he managed to survive PKR, DAP, PAS and SNAP/MDC assault, although he lost the most number of seats to the BAS, Barisan Alternative Sarawak, since 1987, the Ming Court attempted coup de tat which failed. BN lost eight of the 71 seats available for grabs to BAS. But BN won two seats uncontested namely Daro and Dalat. DAP won the most seats, six in total. Now with the defection of the Independent from Ngemah to PKR, PK(Pakatan Rakyat) has now nine seats in the State Assembly.
PK now needs to win at least twenty seven more seats in the coming State Election to form the next Government to get a minimum of 36 seats to form a simple majority to take over, assuming PK can retain all its present seats. DAP can surely win three more if they can get proper candidates to stand in REPOK, DUDONG and PELAWAN where they lost by 576, 408 and 263 votes respectively in 2006. Thus assuming that the Chinese voters continue its present trend to reject BN, with twelve seats in hand, PR still need to work on a minimum of 24 more seats. To-day it is rumored that PKR has at least five more seats in hand, if PR works together honestly otherwise it may even lose Padungan.
But will Dominic Ng retain his Padungan seat without DAP support? He had angered the rank and file of DAP by putting up candidates against DAP and BN in the last Parliamentary election ensuring that BN won at least Stampin, Sarikei and Sibu back. Knowing Taib as a political heavyweight, he will know how to placate certain “opposition weaklings” to help him win again in the coming state election. Thus the real challenge for Anwar to do is to appease all the contending parties within his PK first before he can topple Taib. If he can appease all the former DAP factions to genuinely work together, then there will be at least TEN seats from the Chinese area alone. If not, the sure Chinese seats will go back to BN SUPP again just like the last General Election where SUPP managed to retain the Sarikei seat with the skin of their teeth.
Much are heard now of a potential Sarawak political Tsunami in the next general Election. Given the right conditions, it can happen. Amongst these are genuine co-operation amongst the current PK partners, with a good and respectable local Muslim leader for PKR commanding the respect of the Muslim constituencies, an additional strong and viable locally based party as a partner and sufficient finance for them to do the needed ground work. However even with all these in place, if the younger and eligible voters don’t register to vote and mobilize themselves, the older generation will remain to become the Taib’s bastion of support, especially in rural constituencies. PK cannot win unless they can challenge effectively in the Muslim areas and win some seats there. The failure of Ming Court and KUMPULAN MAJU was because they failed miserably in Muslim and Chinese majority areas. They won only one Chinese majority area and only two Muslim areas while the other seventeen were Dayaks majority areas out of forty eight State Assembly seats then. If fact, had KUMPULAN MAJU had worked closely with DAP at that time, BN would have lost in 1987. But now, there seventy-one seats and most of them have been made to favor a BN win.
For Anwar to succeed he has to work very hard, invest time and money to “conquer” Sarawak by getting the right person to do right job. If he is going by his 2006 crew again as what he has done so far, he may fail in his mission to win Sarawak. Winning Sarawak is crucial for him to become the next Prime Minister. If Sarawak and Sabah remains to be the main “battle ground” to become Malaysia’s Prime Minister, then he should know that this coming Sarawak State Election will be critical both for him and Najib.
In the last State Election, PKR contested in 27 seats and PAS Beting Maro. PKR won only Padungan seat with a majority of 1,417 votes or 3.7% of the popular vote. It lost its deposits in 4 seats namely Bukit Sari, Balingian, Muara Tuang, and Tanjong Datu. In Saribas, its candidate lost by only 94 votes. Overall popular votes obtained was 17.3% while won in the same areas with a popular vote of 47.2% on an overall turnout of 64.5% in the Muslim majority areas and one Chinese majority area of Padungan. With this in mind, no wonder, Taib “scoffed off” Anwar’s next mission.
Most Sarawakians have told me they want Taib out, but very few can really commit themselves to work at it. Many of them are just waiting for a sponsor to even “pay for their car loans before they have the stomach to fight on” and other needs before they can fight. With such needs and spirit by the present Opposition pact, no wonder Taib still has the command despite various “handicaps” and is confident to form the next Government.
In 2006, many Dayak politicians sprinted past STAR to join BAS when they heard “rumors” that they would be given RM50,000.00 as pre-election expenses and RM 200,000.00 for the election expenses. I was told at the last minute that no seats would be given to STAR, even though we were supposed “to look after the Bidayuh areas” initially. They were so confident of winning that only one SNAP candidate asked for my help. Surprisingly after we announced that we would forgo the election, it was my friend in BN who asked me whether I could help Peter Namsiam in Tasik Biru. The rest is history, but up to to-day they failed to see why I did it. They could spread rumors trying destroy my reputation without bothering to look into their own mirrors to examine their egos and greed.
However many of those “SNAP” candidates of 2006 do not even bother to chip in money to get the SNAP headquarters running fully and properly nor could they hold their annual Divisional Meeting. The Headquarters had been closed since October 2008. Only once, I saw the office open again. It is sickening to see how SNAP, a party with a good history, is being used by different people for different purposes, save to make it a strong local Party to over the State Government again. Hopefully it can hold all its Divisional Meetings properly with proper notices in accordance to its Constitution without resorting to the powers vested with CEC just to remain in control.
How Anwar moves to get all these diverging forces with vested interests together to win will determine whether he will become the next Prime Minister. It is not impossible to topple Taib, but it is not that easy also. It will take time, money, and better strategies to counter money politics, potential electoral frauds including potential blackouts and the promises of developments and projects in Sarawak Politics.