The DAP plans to gain confidence of Sarawak’s non-Muslim majority

TTF: Anthony Loke has more or less set the bar of optimism at “sure thing” for Pakatan Harapan (PH) in its quest to wrest control of Sarawak by 2021.

According to him, it would be much easier for Sarawak PH to capture the state now that it is party to the federal ruling coalition.

This is true.

On the 14th of October 2018, I wrote:

It’s about time we came to terms with the fact, that due to the 14th general election (GE14), we now have four distinct segments of voters to contend with. The first and second segments comprise all the usual suspects, i.e., those who will either die for you or want to see you dead. The third segment comprises mainly of the fence-sitters, or those who are neither here nor there but can easily be cajoled if you played your cards right. The real problem lies not with this segment, but the fourth segment, a segment I casually refer to as the “segment of opportunists” among those I consider to be friends.

And it’s true.

This segment comprises mainly of those who support you not because they like you but because they believe your victory to be a sure thing. Barisan Nasional probably had the biggest number of supporters in this category given the number of years it ‘reigned supreme’. But following its disastrous outing during the May 2018 election, support from this segment is likely to have seeped into Pakatan’s voter banks given that each day, Barisan’s comeback is looking more and more to be as good as the likelihood of getting Elvis to play us an old tune from his grave.

Hadi may be right.

Pakatan supporters may be cheesed off with Mahathir for not having delivered on pledges. But Hadi must remember, that Port Dickson came on the heels of an election where a sizeable number of people punished Barisan for the high cost of living. Now, it wouldn’t matter to me if you insist that Barisan’s downfall was the result of lies spread by Lim Kit Siang or if the devil himself spread those lies. At this juncture, one has to contend with the fact, that if indeed Pakatan lied, one needs a credible and able opposition to defend people against those who spread lies.

Fortunately or unfortunately, Sarawak voters conform largely to the fourth voter segment.

That is to say, they’re not necessarily supportive of you because they like you but because they believe your victory to be a sure thing. 

The 14th general election convinced Sarawakians that a new Mahathir led unity coalition would ultimately sweep the state come the 15th general election unless and until a Third Force rises.

According to a state PH leader, the DAP is wary of the unity plan and fears being sidelined once Mahathir gains the favour of sufficient Muslim MPs.

He singled this out to be the main reason the DAP is bent on wresting control of the Eastern Malaysian state ahead of the 15th general election.

Sarawak’s non-Muslim majority comprises chiefly of the Ibanese (30.3%) and the Chinese (24.2%).

Th DAP is confident of capturing the hearts of the Ibanese segment given the time Lim Kit Siang spent fighting for their cause in the late eighties and early nineties. 

It is through him, we learnt, that between 1981 and 1987, many concessionaires linked to Mahathir’s cronies increased the rate of logging in Sarawak to encompass a whopping 700,000 – 800,000 acres of rainforest a year!

As a matter of fact, timber operations in the Baram and Marudi areas alone were carried out in three shifts, 24-hours a day.

These gruelling schedules destroyed entire sections of Sarawak’s rainforests virtually overnight and stripped indigenous groups of their livelihoods.

It almost looked as if a large bulldozer had come in the darkness of night to eat into the life of the Ibans and Penans.

When these groups had nowhere to run, they sought help from the senior Lim who ended up paying a very heavy price fighting for their rights.

KUCHING: It is not impossible for Pakatan Harapan (P to wrest control of Sarawak in the next state election due in 2021, DAP national organising secretary Anthony Loke said today.

Loke who is also federal transport minister said the four-party coalition’s success in defeating Barisan Nasional to take Putrajaya in the May 9 general election has tipped the scales in PH’s favour over the current state ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition.

“In the past, we were faced with a lot of challenges by being in the Opposition, but I think the Sarawak PH has an added advantage to win in the state election because we are in the federal government now,” he said in opening the 18th Sarawak DAP state committee convention here.

Loke promised that PH’s federal leaders will not misuse government assets and only depend on those owned by its component parties during the state election campaigning.

“We will work hard to change the policies of the GPS government and we want to prove to the Sarawak voters that we can become a better government and put in good governance in place,” he said.

Loke told the newly-elected Sarawak DAP committee that its mission is to capture the state in the next state polls and to start preparing for it now.

Earlier, Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen accused the GPS government of resorting to dubious tactics to retain state power.

He claimed GPS has been excessive with spending state fund by awarding millions of ringgit worth of projects to its friends with the hope of winning voter support ahead of elections.

“Now that the change of state government is imminent, the GPS is suggesting to spend an allocation of RM10 billion in a year,” he said.

Chong, who is also the deputy federal minister of domestic trade and consumer affairs, expressed concern that GPS is playing up regional sentiments.

“They are saying that Sarawak is ill-treated by the PH federal government and that only Sarawak-based party can defend the rights of Sarawakians,” he said.

Chong also accused the GPS government of banning community leaders and village headmen from attending PH ministers’ official functions in Sarawak.

“GPS government is also trying to yield its influence to forbid some newspapers from reporting unfavourable news about it.

“In this era, such of suppression will not yield its intended effect but on the contrary will only speed up the demise of a government,” he said.

Source: The Malay Mail Online

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