Sarawak’s difficult terrain not only limited to its geography

Hilly terrains and urban legends abound in Sarawak, which contesting political parties in the coming state election will soon learn about. Literally, as well as figuratively.

For the DAP, the battle remains uphill and “on difficult terrains” despite talk that the voting pattern is shifting in Sarawak’s urban areas populated by mostly Chinese voters.

The state Barisan Nasional has been expressing concern over the attitude of urban voters — that they might choose to vote to have “someone to bark at the government”, instead of ensuring a balanced representation in the state government.

They are concerned that this attitude might result in them having no representation in the state government. Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) central working committee member Daniel Ngieng (pic) said without representation, there was really nothing they could talk about.

“Everyone has something which he or she is not happy about, but what is important is to engage each other and talk to resolve issues. We hope they will see the bigger picture,” he said.

Despite the much-talked about shift in urban areas, the DAP is not convinced that it would be sufficient to turn the tide in its favour.

For the opposition parties, a DAP man said, “they are still fighting in a very difficult terrain.”

“There will not be a big shift among the Chinese voters,” DAP strategist Liew Chin Tong said.

Based on the 2006 state election figure, there were 299,173 Chinese voters (33.5%), 250,526 Iban (28.1%), 241,070 Malay/Melanau (27%), 71,207 Bidayuh (8%), 28,983 Orang Ulu (3.2%) and 1,578 other races (0.2%). In terms of composition of seats, there are 28 Malay/Melanau seats, Iban (19 seats), Orang Ulu (three), Bidayuh (six) and Chinese (15).

Four of the Chinese-majority seats had a very high percentage of voters, exceeding 90 per cent, namely Bukit Assek, Pelawan, Padungan and Pending.

Other seats which had 50 to 80 per cent Chinese voters were Batu Lintang (84 per cent), Repok (77.5), Kota Sentosa (77.2), Pujut (66), Bawang Assan (65.3), Piasau (65), Meradong (60.1), Batu Kawah (60.1), Dudong (53.2), Kidurong (50.7) and Senadin (50).

A party insider said Barisan only obtained between 38.4 per cent and 47.2 per cent of the support among the Chinese in these areas in the last state election. Sarawak BN holds 63 seats in the 71-seat assembly. — Bernama

Report by The Star

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