Jumaat, 15 April 2011

Both rivals upbeat but who to believe?

In the final hours before the election, it is a question of who you want to listen to – Najib, Taib or Anwar.
KUCHING: In the final hours before the Sarawak election, it is a question of who you want to listen to and who to believe in. The Barisan Nasional (BN) without batting an eyelid say they are sure to get the two-thirds majority or even more.
Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has gone on record as saying BN’s achievement of a two-thirds majority “is a bonus”, whereas Chief Minister Taib Mahmud says that he is confident of getting a two-thirds majority.
Pakatan Rakyat leader Anwar Ibrahim is also confident that the opposition would form the next government in Sarawak.
Both the BN and Pakatan are on their last-gasp mission to win the hearts and minds of the nearly one million voters in the state.

On the last day of campaigning, the BN is leaving no stone unturned in taking on Pakatan, especially in seats it perceives may swing to the opposition.
The DAP is convinced that it can hold on to at least six seats it won in the 2006 state election and indications are it has a very good chance of securing another four, making a total to 10 seats – all Chinese-majority urban seats.
Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), a multi-racial but Chinese-based party, has lost its hold in the state. The party is fighting a rearguard action to stave off the DAP aggressive campaigning and is raising issues that it would normally never touch.
A big draw card
PKR, on the other hand, has slowly made inroads in several Dayak-Malay majority seats even though BN is saying otherwise. It has stepped up its campaign to counter the opposition.
PKR state chief Baru Bian, who is contesting in the interior hilly seat of Ba’ Kelalan, is still going from longhouse to longhouse while the BN campaigners are in full force to make sure that the seat does not fall to the opposition.
Since nomination day on April 6, Pakatan has campaigned strongly in the so called “winnable seats” in Chinese urban areas and sub-urban Malay-Dayaks seats where the voters are more aware of the issues played up in the peninsula.
Pakatan leaders led by Anwar criss-crossed the state, which is as big as the peninsula, drumming up support and highlighting two main issues – resignation of Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud and natives customary land rights.
Anwar has been a big draw card – with his fiery speech and oratorial skills, he has attracted thousands to his ceremahs. Judging from the huge turnout, one might think Pakatan has the upper hand.
The BN, on the other hand, has been more sober and organised and has met the opposition’s charges with facts and figures.
But in the rural areas, voters do not care for facts and figures as they are more concerned with making a living with what little they have.
Najib’s visits and meet-the-people sessions have boosted the BN campaigns and, according to the BN people, the voters have been taken in by his soft-spoken style and charisma.
In the final count, some observers predict that the BN will get its two-thirds majority while the DAP may win 12 seats. The jury is still out on the number of seats PKR and PAS will get.

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