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Sarawak State Election 2011: An Analysis of Racial Sentiment and Forecast

Since the last Malaysian  General Election held  in 2008, I have made ​​a total of twelve bye-election forecasts from early 2009 until now,  eleven of which proven to be correct. All previous forecasts can be viewed in the archive of this blog.

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PLEASE  CLICK HERE TO SEE THE ARTICLE ON  ‘THE RESULTS OF THE SARAWAK STATE ELECTION: ANALYSIS AND COMMENTS

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All these  predictions have been made based on relevant  factors which include  prevailing political sentiments of all  major races of this country and adapted to the situation in each constituency. Two other factors were also included, namely; the strength of  the  competing political party as well as  the  candidates’ incumbency in each constituency.

A Forecast for  Sarawak  requires a study of the political sentiment of the  Malays / Melanau, Dayak and Chinese, which form the major racial groups of the state. Regression analysis, a type of statistical analysis approach, was used in this study making use of published data from almost all state constituencies from the  2006 Sarawak state election.The results show that approximately  77% of Malay/Melanau voters have voted for BN, compared with 67%  of  the Dayak, and 40% of the Chinese voters in the 2006 state election.

Recently, there were  only two bye-elections in Sarawak, both of which did not indicate any substantial shift in the voting pattern of the major races compared with the 2006 state election or  the 2008 General Election.

With the recent   data from bye-elections held throughout the country, including  Sarawak, it can be concluded that BN still has  support from over 75% of the Malay / Melanau voters, and about 40% of the Chinese.

For the Dayak people there are also firm indications of continued  strong support for the Barisan Nasional, particularly after looking at  the bye-elction results in the  Batang Ai and Sibu constituencies. Other pointers  are that  BN component parties have been long established and are incumbents in  the Dayak constituencies. In addition, policies and programs of the  government brought  numerous benefits for the Dayak people, such as the  NCR Land Development Programs, including numerous SALCRA  oilpalm projects in many areas of the states.

The above findings are in line with the situation in Semenanjung Malaysia where the latest five bye-elections have  confirmed  full rehabilitation of the Malay and Indian supports for  Barisan Nasional.  This  augurs well for  Barisan Nasional to reestablish a strong  Federal  Government  with coutinued   support of the Bumiputeras in Sarawak and Sabah.

It should be noted that  ethnic Dayaks, Malays and Melanaus, all benefit from the NEP, such as placement in the Government run Universities, job opportunities in government and GLCs, such as Petronas, MAS, TELEKOM, etc. In addition the future of their children are also guaranteed with provision of Government Scholarships.

BN’s strength is now further enhanced by the failure in the  horsetrading of seats in the opposition camp which  has led to three cornered contests between PKR, SNAP  and  BN  in more than 20  rural constituencies.  This would certainly  seriously damage Opposition  chances in many   rural Dayak  constituencies.

However, it is expected that  Pakatan Rakyat will continue to fight and focus on the NCR land issues   because of the existence  of disputes  between some local longhouse residents with the plantation  companies operating nearby. Further, there are NCR land levelopment projects which do not perform as well as expected.

They are also expected to capitalize on the current issue of the Bible and Christian religious texts in Malay language, while several old issues related to the Chinese community has been addressed earlier  by  the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister.

The issue surrounding the  chief minister himself is definitely a hot issue among the Chinese, but creates lesser impact with the other communities  after he has  several times expressed his desire to retire sometime in the middle of next term in office.

It should be noted that  the Chinese is the only  community in Sarawak that still favours Pakatan Rakyat (DAP and PKR), with a  voting pattern  in line with their counterpart in the Peninsula since the 2006  Sarawak state election. However, it would still  be interesting to watch whether PM Najib’s 1 Malaysia campaign would improve their support for BN in this election.

A decline in their support will continue to puzzle the Bumiputera communities as the Chinese are widely seen  as the ultimate major beneficiery of most of the government economic programs,  with or without the New Economic Policy, thus making them as a group far richer than the Bumiputera. Tun Mahathir  has been quoted to say that  the Chinese are  a difficult people to please as they always want to win, and not prepared to lose.

On the brighter side of things, the 1 Malaysia Policy should have its positive impact, at least socially, if not political, as the spirit of this policy has long existed in Sarawak, even before Sarawak joined in to form Malaysia. The spirit of racial tolerance  is very high in this state and  the people of different races have always been free to interact with one another. Sensitive matters in the peninsula such as the issues of the word ‘Allah’,  the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia and the so called apostate problem are non issues here.

For Muslims in Sarawak, they do not see the church could become a threat after going through a long history of harmonious interaction with the Church. So far we have not heard of apostasy cases occurring  among the Malays.

The social situation in Sarawak was also partly the result  of political wisdom  of past leaders, especially Tun Abdul Razak ( refer to Tun Mahathir authobiography, A Doctor in the House ). With Tun Razak’s blessings, local political parties  in Sarawak and Sabah joined the Barisan Nasional, by which the people in the Borneo states were given opportunities to exercise and  maintain autonomy of the local communities by the state government run by local BN partners,  such as ensuring that Native Customery Rights land continue to exist  and develop. This political arrangement helped to provide assistance that ensured a continued existence and growth  of  Chinese schools as well as autonomy in immigration and employment policy for the state.

These  autonomies exercised by the state government have been able to safeguard Sarawak from being flooded by Peninsular Malaysians and foreigners who could compete and take away jobs and businesses from Sarawakians in the Sarawak labour and professional markets. Perhaps, the Chinese community in Sarawak are now  more open minded and ready to have PKR or DAP to open these floodgate.

In spite of the above preferences in favour of the local communities,  there are still a number of hot seats now,  including in Bumiputera constituencies,  which were  won by BN with a slim majority of less than 1000 votes in the last state election. These areas are  now the focus of fierce election battles, namely;  Sadong Jaya (N.20), Beting  Maro (N.24), Saribas (N.30), Repok (N.39), Dudong (N .46), Pelawan (N.48), Belaga (N.57) and Ba’Kelalan (N.70). The nomination of fresh candidates in  some of these areas makes it difficult to predict the voting pattern, since  a new election candidate , unlike incumbents, would  not able to attract votes in their own rights. However, the BN seems quite confident and is  careful enough to choose only the so called winnable candidates.

But there are also seats won by Pakatan Rakyat with equally slim majorities, such as N. 12 Kota Sentosa (77% Chinese voters) only won with a majority of the 531 votes. Alfred Yap  of BN who  has represented the area previously, was known  to have continued efforts in the last five years  to reclaim this constituency. It is not impossible for BN to stage a come back here.

Padungan Area (N.9) currently held by Dominique Ng (PKR) is seeing  a three-cornered contest between him now   as an independent, against  the DAP and BN candidates. Dominic stand on independent  ticket after being dropped by  PKR. It is not impossible for  BN  to recapture this area.

In the  DUN  area  ​​N. 10 Pending, the incumbent Violet Yong of the DAP is contesting   against Professor Dr. Sim Kui Hian (BN). Many of my Chinese friends put an even chance for him to beat  the DAP candidate due to the background of his family. His father, the late Sim Kheng Hong , was  a former Deputy Chief Minister of Sarawak

Fierce competition is expected in N.70 Ba’Kelalan where Baru Bian, the PKR state leader is locked in a two cornered fight with the  BN  candidate. Baru Bian only lost a total 475 votes in the elections of 2006.

The situation at Beting  Maro (N.24)  appears critical where  PAS is putting up a very strong challenge.  BN won only with a majority of 895 votes in the last  state election.

At N.20 Sadong Jaya a new BN candidate is defending the seat  against a PAS and an independent candidate. Majority obtained in the last  was only 858 votes. As in the Beting  Maro, PAS has long shown  interest  in this area.

At Saribas Area (N.30), a two cornered fight between BN and PKR also requires special attention from the BN. In the 2006 election, BN only won with a minute majority of 94 votes.

In N.43 Ngemah BN  candidate was  defeated in the hands of an independent candidate  Gabriel Adit  with  a total of 549 votes in last election. This time there is a possibility of BN  victory  here, for reason of  vote split between PKR and SNAP candidates as well as the incumbent now contesting under Parti Cinta Malaysia.

At Belaga there is  a  likelihood of victory for the incumbent  Liwan Lagang of the BN, because of the advantage of  incumbency and split of votes between the two opposition candidates  from PKR and SNAP.

Based on our initial calculations, Barisan Nasional  should be able to retain a 2/3 majority at the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly.

Forecast with detailed figures will be shown here on April 12 since we need to observe the progress in campaigning before making a more accurate prediction.

Update 14 April 2011 and Forecast

We wish to thank visitors of this Blog who made  a total  3,000 hits reading our  articles on the Sarawak State Election since the beginning of this month. We expect to exceed 8,000 hits during this election fever.

During the above period we have been examining reports from friends on the frontline as well  from the mainstream and online opposition media.

From these online media and Chinese papers, it appears as if there is a political tsunami against BN in Sarawak. Huge crowds appear  almost daily on pages of these newspapers attending Opposition rallies in major towns and cities of Sarawak. Many observers may not notice that the rallies are virtually attended by  the Chinese community only, a phenomenon difficult to understand and almost bordering on mass hysteria. However, this is not expected to make much impact on the election outcome  this Saturday.

If this extremely negative  Chinese sentiment does not change in these  last two days of campaigning, the community will lose any meaningful representation in the State Government. They will not be part of the state decision making process in the next five years.

After examining response of the Bumiputera community to the BN election campaign, especially their enthusiastic welcome  to our Prime Minister Najib Razak, it is certain that Barisan Nasional will retain a 2/3 majority in the State Legislative Assembly.

The Oppositon on their part will get not more than 15 seats, of which 10 are likely won by DAP in Chinese majority areas.

Regard with thanks.

DAH Ikhwan

Related Articles:

1. Can Chua Soi Lek Regain Chinese votes fo MCA?

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One response to “Sarawak State Election 2011: An Analysis of Racial Sentiment and Forecast

  1. CHUA SOI LEK PRESUMED WILL BE ABLE TO REGAIN CHINE VOTES BASED IN HIS QUALITY LEADERSHIP AND PERSONAL STRENGTH AND JOB WELL DONE BY MCA SO FAR IN ADDRESSING THE CHINESE COMMUNITIES ISSUES.HOWEVER IN THE END BASED ON CHINESE SENTIMENT ,THE CHINESE PERCEPTION AND NEW THINKING IS THAT THEY MUST SUPPORT DAP THROUGH PR .THIS WAY TECHNICALLY POSSIBLE IF PR MANAGE TO TAKE OVER THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND MOST LIKELY DAP WILL BE DOMINANCE IN THE GOVERNMENT AND CAN PLAY MAJOR ROLES IN DETERMINING THE FUTURE OF CHINESE COMMUNITY.HOWEVER IF IT IS NOT HAPPEN THEN THE CHINESE HAVE TO PAY HEAVY PRICE BY NOT HAVING REPRESENTATIVE S IN THE GOVERNMENT LED BY UMNO.THE EFFECT WILL BE DETRIMENTAL TO THE CHINESE COMMUNITIES AND THEY MUST THINK WISELY EITHER TO VOTE BN OR PR TO MAINTAIN STABILITY AND PROSPERITY OF THE COUNTRY

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