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