Monday, April 18, 2011
MCLM congratulates Pakatan Rakyat for achieving a larger representation in the Sarawak state assembly in the latest election by
winning 15 seats on April 16, 2011. Suffice to say, this was made possible by the people of Sarawak, who are the Third Force.
It is notable that the popular votes for Barisan Nasional has been reduced from 63% (2006 election) to 55% which augurs well for the
opposition coalition in the run-up to the 13th General Election. This shows that with proper preparation and equally important, a better understanding and cooperation among the non-BN components, the ‘Ubah’ factor will gain currency in Sarawak.
Hence, BN’s vote bank in the Hornbill state has been breached and cracks have appeared in its electoral strategies. However, further efforts must be made to replicate the urban and semi-urban gains in the rural areas, in order to enhance the opposition’s chances of breaking BN’s fixed deposit. As it stands, the 15 state constituencies held by PR (plus the one held by the sole independent) may only translate into a handful (4–5) of Sarawak’s 31 parliamentary seats.
DAP should be credited for having won 12 seats, doubling its tally of 2006, and scoring an 80% success rate for contesting in 15 constituents. This is a direct result of DAP’s long term presence and having a well-oiled state machinery to engage with local voters. George Chan’s fall in Piasau did not happen in a vacuum of inactivity.
PKR may not have achieved as well as expected but Baru Bian’s victory in N70: Ba’kelalan has created another beach-head in the battle against BN. From here, the issue of NCR lands for the future of the Dayaks shall continue and be heard within the state assembly itself, not just in a court of law.
PAS was unfortunately up against the might of Taib Mahmud’s PBB which won all 35 seats it contested.
Having said that, we at MCLM are concerned about race-based strategies employed by both sides of the political divide and would urge non-BN parties to refrain from using these old tactics to gain voter support. A clear and united opposition to BN based on national as well as bread and butter issues can be achieved by forging our respective strengths under a common front.
MCLM therefore reiterates its commitment to offer its Barisan Rakyat independent candidates to ’kuburkan BN’ during GE13.
The writer is president of the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement