Sunday 17 April 2011

Sarawak Election: Sarawakian Chinese Thumbed Their Noses at Chinese Parties in BN

Read here for more in Malaysian Insider

Polls show Chinese reject SUPP

The Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) suffered its most embarrassing defeat last night when the party, which claims to represent the Chinese community, lost to DAP in 12 seats, most of them in Chinese-majority areas.

When the polls results were announced, SUPP, the oldest party in Sarawak, found that it had only won in six of the 19 state seats it had contested. Ironically, only two of the seats are Chinese majority while the remaining four are Dayak constituencies.

The bleak outcome for the flailing party mirrored that of its coalition partner MCA’s performance in the peninsula during the Elections 2008 tsunami, when its parliamentary representation was nearly wiped out by half.

SUPP’s biggest blow last night was dealt when party president Tan Sri George Chan Hong, the six-term incumbent for the Piasau state seat was toppled by a political newbie in the DAP.

The 75-year-old Chan, who was also a deputy chief minister, was defeated by a 1,590-vote margin by first-time contender Ling Sie Kiong, a lawyer less than half his age.

Since the start of the 10-day campaign, SUPP had played the race card to woo voters, warning the Chinese community that it would lose representation in the state Cabinet if the party were to be defeated.

In an advertisement taken out in the Chinese-language dailies, SUPP’s message read, “If DAP wins in 15 seats, Barisan Nasional still forms government. If SUPP loses in 15 seats, Chinese representation in the government will be wiped out.”

But when the Chinese voters came out yesterday to cast their ballots, this message was clearly not on their minds. The party was heavily defeated in almost all of the urban and suburban Chinese-majority seats across Sarawak, mainly in the capital city, Sibu and Miri.

Of the 12 seats it lost to DAP, only two are Dayak-majority seats — Kidurong and Meradong — while the remainder are Chinese seats.

The Chinese community make up the majority in the hornbill state, followed by the Ibans, the Malay/Melanaus, Bidayuhs and the Orang Ulu.

In Kuching, SUPP also failed to defend Batu Kawah, long considered its stronghold, when incumbent Tan Joh Phoi was felled by newcomer Christina Chew, DAP’s youngest candidate at 27-years-old.

The party also failed to make inroads in Kota Sentosa, despite reports of an increase of over 1,000 postal votes in the area.

Instead, Sarawak DAP secretary Chong Chieng Jen managed a landslide victory and retained the seat with a 4,824-vote majority, more than eight times more than his previous margin in 2006.

SUPP was also devastated in its traditional strong-hold of Sibu, the timber town where the party first took roots, when it lost three out of four critical contests to a resurgent DAP.

Especially demoralising was the defeat of party vice-president Datuk Seri Tiong Thai King, the “Sibu mayor” who until this afternoon was considered near invincible.

SUPP’s only saving grace last night was in deputy secretary-general Datuk Wong Soon Koh’s thumping victory against fresh-faced challenger Alice Lau.

Soon Koh had managed to double his winning majority by more than 100 per cent compared to the votes he garnered in the 2006 Sarawak elections.

The party however lost in the Chinese majority enclaves of Pelawan, Bukit Assek and Dudong, all urban and suburban constituencies in the Sibu area. It had also lost in Meradong and Repok, two seats with significant populations of rural voters.

Soon Koh attributed his victory to his extensive services in the Chinese and Bumiputera areas.

“After the Sibu parliamentary by-election (in May 2010), I increased my visits to all the longhouses in my area. I visited them multiple times, even spending the night at their houses. I also set up five new service centres in the Chinese areas. This helped me garner support and I did not lose badly in these areas.”

When approached soon after his loss, Tiong refused to speak to reporters. Tiong lost to lawyer Yap Hoi Leong by 317 votes.


Utusan Malaysia 's UMNO-Editors Want UMNO-BN to Abandon the CHINESE Vote in the Coming General Election

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UMNO-owned Utusan Malaysia has told Barisan Nasional (BN) to ignore the Chinese community for not supporting the ruling coalition during yesterday’s Sarawak elections.

The Utusan columnist, Awang Selamat, also said that BN (read: UMNO) can still win in the general election without the support of the Chinese community.

The columnist, whose pseudonym is used by Utusan editors, said that BN leaders must learn from the state election when preparing for the national polls.

Awang said the ruling coalition (ie UMNO) must not fall into a trap of granting every demands of the community if they continue to vote for DAP.

In its weekend edition Mingguan Malaysia, columnist Awang Selamat
in his article “New Reality, ” said:

“The average Chinese voters have rejected BN and supported DAP.

Therefore the BN state government can no longer be too generous to give place to representatives from the community. Sarawak cabinet must be reflective of the decisions and attitude of the voters.

“Once again, the attitude of the Chinese voters is clear in rejecting BN. Awang believes that sentiment of Chinese voters in the peninsular is also the same.

The reality is that after dominating the economy for so long, the Chinese community wants to have greater influence and become a dominant political force.

The campaign to change the state government seems to only be accepted by a majority of the Chinese voters. The Bumiputera community still remains strong with BN."

If the Chinese voters continue to reject BN then we (ie UMNO) should NOT worry as there will be a way out."

He said that BN (ie UMNO) must formulate a new strategy without depending on the support of the Chinese voters.