Rabu, 30 Mac 2011

As Sarawakians await change, DAP reverts to jaded MCA-SUPP mentality

As Sarawakians await change, DAP reverts to jaded MCA-SUPP mentality Sentiments are at an all time high as voters are now much more aware about political issues and ready for significant changes as Sarawak braces itself for state elections.
The Chinese communities were politically matured with the Ibans and Dayaks rising to the occasion by being more politically aware, said PKR Sarawak chief Baru Bian. The Melanaus, however, were still more conservative.
“The allocation of the seats has been finalised. We have chosen a woman to contest for the Balingian seat against Taib. Her identity will be announced tomorrow, we hope, the women will give her their support,” he told Malaysia Chronicle.
“Among the ‘hot seats’ identified as winnable are Chinese dominated constituencies, Kota Sentosa and Batu Kawah. I am also confident, we will win in Pantai Damai, Kedup, Repuk and Tupong,” he said.

Negotiating an impasse
Meanwhile, PKR’s hopes of contesting in more Chinese dominated urban areas were dashed after DAP refused to negotiate on Batu Kawah and Dudong. The party’s national information chief Tian Chua confirmed the party would not put up a candidate in Batu Kawah as proposed earlier.
They proposed to put in the seat, which has 50 per cent Chinese voters, the Stampin division chief See Chee How, who is a lawyer by profession, but DAP is to contest there now.
Another seat eyed by PKR, Senadin  is still very much in limbo. Senadin contituency, according to Tian Chua, was facing a rather insistent claim from Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS). The claim arose following recent visits by opposition party’s representatives to the area, who said the people there pledged their support to them.
PAS claim to Senadin was refuted by Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) president George Chan. “No lah… I don’t think so as a lot of them are natives and they are Christians. They are strong supporters of Barisan Nasional,” Tian told Malaysia Chronicle, adding that many of the residents in Senadin were Chinese who made their decisions independently.
In 2006 PKR stood in four “Chinese majority seats of Piasau, Senadin, Batu Kawah and Padungan, and this year PKR is willing to negotiate for slight adjustment.
“Since last year, we  recommended DAP to expand outside Chinese-concentrated urban areas and we were willing to cooperate, to develop support for DAP in indigenous areas so that DAP could take a bigger share of non-Chinese seats and truly project itself to be a multiracial party,” said Tian Chua.
The minimum presence of PKR in three urban seats located in Miri, Sibu and Kuching was not accepted by DAP. He disclosed while PKR was willing to offer more seats outside urban areas, DAP seemed to be “not interested”.
Such “non-alliance agreement” by DAP, he said, would only reinforce the perception that DAP is merely a duplication of MCA or SUPP.
To sort out the impasse both PKR and DAP have turned to their federal leadership.
Meanwhile, PKR is knocking on Sarawak National Party (SNAP)’s door in its hope to form an alliance but sources said various attempts to contact them on finalisation of seats allocation had not been fruitful.
“The door of negotiation remains open and we hope a common formula of cooperation with SNAP can be worked out before the eve of nomination,”said Tian Chua.
Challenging in Balingian
Nevertheless, Baru said he was confident Pakatan can bear the challenge of contesting against Taib’s stronghold.
According to him, the people of Sarawak will not succumb to the promises of projects made by BN and they were disgruntled over money politics and threats of Taib’s dominion.
BN’s Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud had been a powerhouse in Sarawak for over 30 years but was accused of corruption and usurping Sarawak’s riches for personal gain.
His involvement in the logging industry caused damage to many of the ancestral lands of Sarawak's indigenous communities. He was blamed for not carrying out any effective measures to address the plight of Penan women and girls who are until today, facing sexual attacks by loggers.
“There will be some changes but the question now is how many per cent. There is also the issue of whether people who are away can come back to vote,” Baru said.
Taking action against misdeeds
Having identified a few state assembly constituencies as ‘hot seats’, the Election Commission set up 80 special monitoring teams to take any action against misdeeds during campaigning.  EC deputy chairman Wan Ahmad Wan Omar identified such as Pantai Damai, Kota Sentosa, Batu Kawah, Kedup, Repok, Palawan, Nangka and Balingian to be contested by Taib.
The decision was made following past experiences encountered during campaigning and the close competition, results for the seats in the past elections.
“Altogether we have 80 teams because nine of the seats will each get an additional team. We are going to put two teams in each of the nine constituencies because we expect the campaigning there will be more intense,” he told a news conference before opening a briefing for 35 election enforcement teams at a hotel, yesterday, reported in The Borneo Post.
“What we are expecting is, through our past experience, the campaigning there will be more tense, when compared to other areas.
“We do believe campaigning in some other constituencies would also be tense but these areas have better police links so we will only station one team there.”
Wan Ahmad said each team would be headed by an officer to be appointed by the EC and assisted by a police officer with at least the rank of Inspector.
“The basic role of the enforcement teams is to monitor the campaigning activities conducted during the election. They are empowered to take action against those found to have breached the rules and regulations under the Election Offences Act 1954.”
One of the main tasks of the enforcement teams was to monitor the party logos on display in the constituencies. This was to ensure only the parties contesting in that particularly constituency were allowed to display their party logo and not non-contesting parties. “The other areas they are going to look at are the wordings and statements displayed on the posters or banners.
“This is to avoid people from using wordings and statements that can create racial or religious tensions.” The briefing for the election enforcement officers will be conducted in three zones, namely Kuching, Sibu and Miri.  - Malaysia Chronicle

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