Sarawak State Election 2016: Tan Sri Adenan’s Popularity will ensure a big Win

 

With the State Election coming up in less than three months time, the political atmosphere in Sarawak is getting warmer, though Sarawakians don’t really get crazy about it, at least not in the way Malaysians look forward to the 14th General Election which is expected in  two years time.

For sure an air of festivity will  come, but it is going to be just another normal state election; with a more or less foregone conclusion that  Barisan Nasional will  win with a two third majority. The only point of interest will be how many seats DAP will win this time and how the Chinese community will vote. It is also a foregone conclusion that majority of the Chinese will vote for DAP, but the issue is whether there will be an increase or decrease of  Chinese support for the party this time around.

In the recent  past, Chinese voters always gave majority support to DAP. In the 2006 State Election, 40.4% of the Chinese voted for BN, but in the 2011 State Election the figure was only 24.6%. In a way, the Sarawak Chinese voting pattern actually led the voting trend of their Peninsular Malaysian counterpart. So, Sarawak Chinese are smarter as they provided inspiration as to how the rest of the Malaysian Chinese should vote! This is an important factor to  observe in the coming state election. If more Sarawak Chinese get fed up of being in the opposition, we should expect an increased Chinese support for BN. This might as well happen if the Chinese feel that their attempt to be king maker in Malaysian politic is getting them nowhere. Why fight a losing battle, might as well join the BN bandwagon and benefit more!

Chief Minister’s Popularity

The popularity of the new Chief Minister provides another and a stronger challenge to DAP and this will dictate the voters’ mood in this election. It will not be our PM’s misadventure that affect them,  as in Sarawak local issues will likely dominate the political campaign. 1MDB  and political donations are largely seen as UMNO problems, so Sarawak BN can distance themselves from these issue. For those who do no know, UMNO does not operate in Sarawak.

A survey on the popularity of Tan Sri Adenan Satem as the Chief Minister was conducted by The Merdeka Center in April 2015.  The Survey agreed that 68% of the respondents were satisfied with the performance of the state government and 74% for the Chief Minister’s performance.

Main Issues

The Survey findings indicated that Sarawak  main issues at that time was GST with 15% citing it, inflation 15%, public infrastructure 9% and national economy 7%.  However, the study found out that the list of issues that required state government attention are slightly different and are  as follows:

Fighting corruption                                    38%
creating jobs                                                 26%
improve public infra in rural areas        25%
fighting inflation                                         20%
protect NCR land                                          19%

Kindly note that protection of Native Customary Land  at 19% is actually very high on the list of the Dayaks only. It is relegated to fourth position only because other races do not likely put it as their major issue.

In fact, DAP and PKR   are seen to be adopting a new strategy to contest seats in the rural areas by trying to be the champion for the  NCR land issue, besides playing up the religious issues.

My contacts with some Chinese friends indicate that there would be slight shift in Chinese voter sentiment in favour of BN, but wouldn’t be enough to loosen DAP’s  grip on the community. While there is not likely any problem for BN with the Muslim community, support from  the Dayak community may erode slightly, but would not likely affect the favourable election outcome for BN.

Creation of New Seats

The current standing in the Sarawak DUN is BN with  55 seats, DAP 12, PKR 3 and Independent 1. There were a total of 71 seats contested in the 2011 State Election.

With the recent creation of 11 new state seats, there are now 82 seats up for grab. Of the eleven new seats, one is in  the majority Chinese area while the balance are in the Malay/Melanau  and Dayak Areas.

It is fairly reasonable to expect that all new seats in the Bumiputera areas will  be won by BN, while DAP’s  chance in the one new area is not quite  certain, depending on racial compostion here as well as the Chinese voter sentiment in this state  election.

How the Chinese will vote in the coming state election will not likely have major  impact on its outcome, as demonstrated in  the last election when only 24% of them voted for BN candidates, although any improvement will be welcome by BN. As indicated in the Merdeka Center Survey, there is already an improvement in Chinese sentiment on the Sarawak state government and the Chief Minister. Any such improvement will likely  enhance  BN performance not only in this state election. but also in the 2018 General Election throughout the country.

 

DAH IKHWAN

 

Please also read:

1. Sarawak State Election 2016: Hot Seats and Opposition Friendly Fire.

 

Gallery | This entry was posted in Pilihanraya Negeri Sarawak 2016, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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