Rabu, 6 April 2011

Nomination day arrives for Sarawak: An era of change begins

Nomination day arrives for Sarawak: An era of change beginsNominations have drawn to a close for the people of Sarawak. It is a momentous day and the first leg of a process that will one way or another end an era of strongman rule and corruption politics in the state and the rest of the nation.
Pundits admit it may not happen immediately but for sure, the button for change has been pressed and can no longer be reversed.
"I am very confident of stupendous results this election. The BN can cheat, they have already been doing do and it will get worse as we approach balloting day," PKR Sarawak chief Baru Bian told Malaysia Chronicle.
"But what we feel is what Sarawakians feel and it is tangible. We all know our time has come. Taib Mahmud can try to rob us once more but it won't be so easy ever again."

Go for it
Seventy-one state legislative assembly seats are out for grabs. Balloting will take place on April 16.
The BN has already announced it will stand in all 71 seats, with Taib himself leading the charge in his Balingian stronghold.
Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, working round the clock since arriving mid-last week, is confident Sarawakians can deliver the knockout punch needed to erase Taib's controverisial and unpopular leadership from their lives.
"Sarawakians have the capability to chase Taib away and they should not waste this opportunity," Anwar told Malaysia Chronicle.
The Pakatan Rakyat will go after 69 seats - with Anwar's PKR contesting 49, DAP 15 and PAS 5.
"We are collating all the information right now. So far, as we have been informed, all candidates have been confirmed except for one bankruptcy challenge. Everything went smoothly and no other forms were rejected on our side," PKR co-ordinator L Vernon told Malaysia Chronicle.
"None of our candidates pulled out at the last minute or made any threats. For the first time, on the opposition side, no one fought or quarrelled. We will have a big win, for sure."
The fight of Taib's life
Such was the euphoria at the Pakatan camp.
Despite back-biting and serious infighting in the run for intensely-fough seat allocations, all three partners DAP, PAS and PKR have apparently closed ranks and are thrilled at giving Taib the fight of his life.
"I am in Batu Lintang helping out See Chee How to campaign. The people here are very supportive of PKR and DAP, and also PAS. They are very noisy but orderly. What is going on here is very positive and we are very confident to face BN," PKR vice president N Surendran told Malaysia Chronicle.
"Mainly the people here are sick and tired of Taib and the government robbing the people. They want a different government and people that they can trust."
It is unclear yet how many seats SNAP, which withdrew from Pakatan at the 11th hour after being solicited by BN-linked sources, have signed up for.
PKR had initially left three seats for the Sarawak-based SNAP to contest as was originally agreed before BN infiltrators persuaded SNAP leaders to switch allegiance. However, after confirmation that SNAP planned tlo go its own way, PKR raised its seats to 49.
"We don't see SNAP creating much problems in terms of spoiling votes in the urban seats or even the rural seats," DAP Sarawak chief Wong Ho Leng told Malaysia Chronicle.
In the mood for change

Across the state, Malaysia's largest in terms of land size but among the poorest despite its huge natural resources, candidates gathered early this morning to file their nomination forms.
Among the earliest must surely be 67-year old Salleh Jafaruddin, who mistakenly thought nominations would open at 8am or an hour earlier than it is supposed to. Salleh, a former deputy education minister, is a cousin of Taib's and although he has previously fallen out with him, the ever-fluid political undercurrents in Sarawak make it tough to dimiss the possibility that he might be a spoiler for PKR candidate Suriati Abdullah.
The owner of a humble sundry shop, 50-year old Suriati may turn out to be the giant-beater in Sarawak's colorful history.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission's returning officers opened their doors at 9am to receive the nomination forms. A one-hour period for the constituents to object if they have any valid grouses had begun at 10am. Then officials were then given another hour or so to vet through the forms before declaring the official candidates.
Official campaigning then kickstarts for the 10th Sarawak election, the most anticipated and exciting of polls since the political tsunami that defined the national elections of 2008.
"I personally believe it will happen. I can tell you the feeling for change is so strong it is even higher than in Selangor before the 2008 tsunami," Selangor Seri Setia assemblyman Nik Nazmi told Malaysia Chronicle.
BN is expected to announce its cleared nominations list later this afternoon along with its manifesto. Pakatan is expected to do so on Thursday.

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