Sarawak BN suffers biggest setback in recent history

The breakdown of parliamentary seats in Sarawak.

KUCHING, May 9: It is a major earthquake in Sarawak where state Barisan Nasional (BN) lost six out of 25 Bumiputera seats apart from losing six out of seven Chinese-majority seats in this 14th General Election.

This is to say, state BN in total has lost 12 seats and retained only 19.

The Bumiputera seats BN lost are Lubok Antu, Mas Gading, Puncak Borneo, Saratok, Julau and Selangau.

The Chinese seats it failed to wrest back are Sarikei, Sibu, Miri, Bandar Kuching, Stampin and Lanang.

This news came as a shock not only to state BN but all political observers.

The results which unfolded tonight are so far off from what state BN chairman Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had predicted, where prior to polling, he stated that he was confident to deliver 28 out of 31 parliamentary seats.

BN-Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (BN-SUPP) was the biggest loser where it only managed to defend one of the seven seats it contested.

SUPP deputy president Datuk Seri Richard Riot was the only winner where he retained the Serian seat with a 9,905 majority by garnering 17,545 votes against Democratic Action Party’s (DAP) Edward Andrew Luak who polled 7,640 and independent candidate Senior William Rade, with 2,234 votes.

The second biggest loser in state BN was Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) which lost three out of the six seats it contested, namely Lubok Antu, Julau and Selangau.

PRS lost Julau to independent candidate Larry Sng and Lubok Antu to independent Jugah Muyang while it lost Selangau to state Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) chief Baru Bian.

Meanwhile, Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) lost two seats — Mas Gading and Saratok — and retained only one seat — Baram.

Even Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) was not spared. The seemingly infallible party lost one seat — Puncak Borneo to PKR’s Willie Mongin.

From the view of the opposition, Democratic Action Party (DAP) was the biggest winner where the party managed to win seven seats, out of which six are Chinese-majority seats and one, a Bidayuh-majority seat.

PKR now holds four seats in total, namely Puncak Borneo, Selangau, Miri and Saratok.

It was not shocking for state BN to not score any wins in the Chinese-majority seats in view that the Chinese voters tend to lean towards the opposition.

What came as a surprise was that state BN lost in the Bumiputera seats — Mas Gading and Puncak Borneo, both Bidayuh-majority seats and Lubok Antu, Saratok, Julau and Selangau are all Iban-majority seats.

Most of these seats were considered safe seats, some such as Selangau and Julau were even BN stronghold.

State BN suffered an onslaught due to opposition’s well coordinated propaganda, including its ‘ceramah’, both online and offline.

The issues brought up by the opposition that brought down state BN including Goods and Services Tax, the mystery shrouding 1MDB, the negative images of BN chairman Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.

The situation was also compounded by the arrogance of United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) ministers as well as other component parties’ ministers who every now and then, made insensitive religious and racial statements that caused widespread discontentment and anger and never seemed to get rebuked or made to apologise for doing so, thus giving the impression it was endorsed by the establishment.

Then there are local factors including native customary rights (NCR) land, slow or lack of development in many rural areas, ambitious projects such the Light Rail Transit (LRT), losing of confidence in BN candidates and others.

What is most detrimental to state BN is the internal sabotaging from within among BN leaders. — DayakDaily