After the closing of nominations on 25 April it was obvious that many seats see three, and even five cornered fights involving opposition parties. If before the nomination the public were not too optimistic of the opposition performance, this latest scenario worsened the situation and even Lim Kit Siang admitted it publicly.
After failing to reach a consensus, DAP fielded 31 candidates and PKR, 40. Party Amanah Nasional (PAN) and PAS fielded 13 and 11 candidates respectively.
Let us now examine the nomination scenario and its impact on the chances of the opposition parties.
In the new state constituency N 13 Batu Kitang we see a five-cornered fight among BN, DAP, PKR and two independent candidates. This seat has 17,494 voters made up of Chinese 54.8%, Malay 20.1% and Dayak 25.1%. Here we shall witness a strong fight with an outcome difficult to predict in view of friendly fire between DAP and PKR, though it was carved out of a constituency won previously by DAP. This scenario gives advantage to BN.
A neighbouring constituency N 14 Batu Kawa has been considered by many as a hot seat where BN could possiby win for reason that BN only lost it by 543 votes in the 2011 Election. Actually, Batu Kawa in this year’s election is much different from the previous Election when the percentage of Chinese voters was only at 54.56%. Today the constituency is populated by a higher percentage of Chinese voters at 62.3%, thus giving more advantage to DAP. Given that a third candidate, an independent from the SUPP splinter group also joins the fray, the BN side is hoping that the Adenan factor could help BN to win the seat. It is a steep uphill battle and probably only a miracle could do it.
DAP has also made special efforts to win seats in Sarawak rural constituencies, notably at Tasik Biru, Mambong, Simanggang and a few seats in Orang Ulu areas. DAP has fortified some of these seats with their supporters in order to improve their chances
At N 32 Simanggang, it is a mixed seat with 12.5% Malay, 33.5% Chinese and 54% Dayak voters. Hence, this is an attractive constituency for DAP and PKR in their strategy to spread their wing into rural Sarawak. Unfortunately for them, they have to face each other in addition to fighting against BN, thus greatly diminishing opposition chances here. In the State Election 2011, BN beat DAP by a fairly sizeable votes of 2447.
At N 29 Beting Maro, in the 2011 Election, BN won this seat with a very slim majority of 391 votes against PAS, largely because of vote split following a change of BN candidate. With the three-cornered fight in this election against PAS and PAN, BN should have no problem retaining this seat with a larger majority, with voters expected to rally behind the incumbent.
At Krian N 39, the incumbent from PKR is defending his seat against BN and a small local party. This seat was won by PKR in 2011 state election with a fairly sizeable majority of 2090 votes. Based on the result of the more recent General Election 2013, it appears that the incumbent is gaining popularity and is likely to retain his seat.
At N66 Murum with virtually all Dayak voters, this involves a four-cornered fight among BN, PKR, DAP and an independent candidate. Murum is the site of a hydroelectric project implemented and just completed by the state government and concerns have been raised about the displacement of the Dayak people and the removal of rainforest due to the construction of the dam. PKR has been active raising the native and environmental issues, hence felt that it should be the party to stand here representing the opposition. DAP, however suddenly staked its claim, hence the friendly fire. This is obviously a case of DAP’s new strategy to penetrate rural Sarawak directly without reliance on it partner PKR. This new seat was carved out from DUN Belaga which was won by BN in 2011 Election by a sizeable majority.
At N 75 Senadin which has 21.7% Malay, 49.7% Chinese and 28.6% Dayak voters, it involves a three cornered fight among BN, DAP and a small local party. This seat was won by BN in the 2011 Election with a very thin majority of 58 votes beating PKR. It is difficult to predict the outcome in view of some changes in the racial composition of the constituency in favour of DAP. Here again BN is hoping for the Adenan factor to assist.
At N 81 Ba’ Kelalan BN will meet PKR in a one to one fight. This seat was won by Baru Bian, the state chairman of PKR with a slim majority of 475 votes in the 2011 Election. It is a fair assessment that Baru Bian will retain this seat.
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