A day before the New Year an article by Caroline Jackson Bernama Bureau chief appears in Malaysiakini. How fitting to say a few words at the end of a very eventful year for Sarawakians at the polls. The road ahead is anything but smooth for the ruling BN government and certain things needs to be put right or the nightmare will be prolonged for some BN coalition parties. However we must take into account and be Thankful to our Leaders for our state is very much free from security fears,religious persecution and racial hatred.
Sarawakians by and large have our differences but we do not let emotions take control and still live harmoniously alongside each other peacefully. Long may this continue and lets wish 2011 a fond farewell and may we welcome 2012 with open arms.
The management and staff of audie61 wishes all allies.supporters,friends and partners a very Happy and Prosperous New Year 2012. We are always by and with you as far as Sarawak is concerned. “Berjuang untuk Negeri Sarawak” All the bests to all of you and thanks for the support during 2011 and please continue your undivided support during 2012 .
Extracted from internet portal an article by Caroline Jackson(Bernama Sarawak bureau chief)
The year of the Rabbit saw Sarawakians going to the polls in the 10th state election on April 16, the biggest in the state’s history. In terms of statistics, it boasted of a total of 979,796 registered voters, 1,749 polling centres and 213 candidates vying for the 71 state seats at stake throughout the length and breadth of Sarawak. BN emerged from the polls with 55 seats, seven short of their 2006 tally.
Parti Pesaka Bumiputera (PBB) led by Abdul Taib Mahmud (left) repeated a clean sweep of 35 seats it contested in, but the four-party coalition suffered a setback when the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) was again dealt a heavy beating resulting in the party’s worst performance in its 51-year-old history.
The then SUPP president George Chan said the predominantly Chinese party worked so hard with the hope of retaining its seats from 2006 but was crushed, losing 13 seats out of the 19 seats contested to become the biggest BN casualty.
“If the May 2006 electoral disaster was etched in our memory for a long, long time, then the April 16, 2011 results could be a very bad nightmare for SUPP,” said Chan, who failed to defend the Piasau seat in Miri, which he had served since 1983, against a DAP newcomer, in his recently launched book, “What Now?”
But thanks to the predictable support from the rural-based Bumiputera voters, Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) captured eight out of the nine seats it contested and thus debunked its tag as the “sick man” of the state BN, and in the process emerged as the second strongest partner in the state BN coalition.
PRS president James Jemut Masing credited the performance to its current image of stability and solidarity when political parties round them were cracking up – a far cry from its formation in 2004 following a bitter leadership struggle that had earlier led to the deregistration of Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS).
On the other hand, the Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP), which won six out of eight seats contested, is currently facing an internal crisis with party president William Mawan quoted as saying that five “renegades” had created unnecessary tension and anxiety among party members and could even threaten its existence through sustained attacks against him in the press.
Subsequently on Nov 25, the SPDP supreme council sacked former secretary-general Sylvester Entri Muran from the party while four others – senior vice-president and Tasik Biru assemblyman Peter Nansian, vice-president and Mas Gading MP Tiki Lafe, information chief and Batu Danau assemblyman Paulus Palu Gumbang and another supreme council member and Bekenu assemblyman Rosey Yunus – were stripped of their posts due to insubordination.
Amid speculation of attempts to set up a new political party or join a BN component party, the estranged group of five retaliated that they had lost faith in Mawan, who said he would oppose any such attempts outright to re-enter the BN. ‘SUPP won’t weaken S’wak BN’
Leveraging on issues, such as Native Customary Rights (NCR) land, land lease, Chinese education and even SUPP’s alleged “subservience” to PBB, the DAP won in all the 12 Chinese-majority seats while PKR, three, including the Orang Ulu seat of Ba’Kelalan by Sarawak PKR chief and NCR lawyer Baru Bian.
Ironically, George Lagong, who was sacked by PKR for contesting on his own, was the sole winner among the 41 independents in Pelagus. However, with the 13th general election just around the corner, Sarawak BN secretary-general Stephen Rundi was confident that the current political scenario in the SUPP and SPDP would not affect the coalition’s strength. –
Rundi, who is also PBB secretary-general, said the election machinery of all the state component parties was still intact, fresh from the state election.
“As you can see, Umno is the backbone of the BN and PBB is the backbone of the Sarawak BN, and we (PBB) are in the position to actually assist some smaller component parties to get themselves ready for the coming (13th general) election,” he had told Bernama. Meanwhile, SUPP president Peter Chin, who was elected amid much controversy during the party’s polls early this month, said his immediate task was to unite his deeply divided party, repair its battered public image and win back the Chinese community.
The election, SUPP’s first ever direct party election, also saw five-term Serian Member of Parliament Richard Riot making history by becoming the first bumiputera to assume the deputy presidency, which was also expected to woo back its Dayak members to the party fold.
“We must go back to our members first and make them feel that they are part of the family of SUPP,” said Chin, who is also Miri Member of Parliament.