Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Get set for a battle royale, its Sarawak 10th State Election

The Sarawak State assembly was dissolved yesterday Monday, 21st March 2011:

Sarawak dissolves state assembly
The Star 

KUCHING: The Sarawak state assembly was dissolved yesterday, paving the way for the 10th state election.

Speaker Datuk Seri Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar told a news conference here that the proclamation of the dissolution, signed by Yang Di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abang Muhammad Salahuddin Abang Barieng, was received yesterday morning.

He said the notice of dissolution would be handed over to Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof today.

The EC is expected to meet here tomorrow to decide on the dates for the nomination and polling.

In the outgoing assembly, Barisan Nasio­nal controlled 63 of the 71-seats after Engkilili assemblyman, Dr Jonical Rayong Ngipa, who contested on the opposition Sarawak National Party (SNAP) ticket in the last election on May 20, 2006, joined Barisan last year.

DAP controls six seats while Parti Keadilan Rakyat and Parti Cinta Malaysia (PCM), through an Independent representative, control a seat each.

Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, who is also PBB president, said yesterday that a quarter of the party’s candidates for the election would be new faces.

“There will be more younger faces,” he said.

He said Barisan’s candidates would be made known shortly before nomination day.

“The candidates will know beforehand but we will only announce their names when everything is in place and agreed to by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is the national Barisan chairman,” Taib said after launching a seminar for councillors from the state’s local authorities here yesterday.

The state PKR, meanwhile, has yet to finalise its list of candidates.

Its state information chief See Chee How said the party was still negotiating with its other partners in Pakatan Rakyat.

Attempts to contact state PKR chief Baru Bian to comment failed.

PKR is looking to contest in 52 seats in the coming state election but it could be at loggerheads with SNAP which recently announced 16 candidates and said it was eyeing at least another 40 seats.

PCM has also announced that it would contest in 10 seats. DAP is likely to contest in 20 seats, most of them in the Chinese majority urban seats.

This has put the Opposition front on a collision course and Pakatan Rakyat’s aim to give Barisan a straight fight in all 71 seats may not materialise.

Sarawak is a very politically complex state of about 2.4million Malaysians made up of more than 40 sub-ethnic groups, each with its own distinct language, culture and lifestyle. Cities and larger towns are populated predominantly by Malays, Melanaus, Chinese, and a smaller percentage of Ibans and Bidayuhs who have migrated from their home-villages for employment reasons. Sarawak is distinctive from the rest of Malaysia in that there is only a small community of Indians living in the state. Source here.

CM Taib Mahmud has been in power for about 30 years and has announced that he will step down after the state election, who will replace him will face a daunting task of satisfying the various needs of the diverse people of Sarawak.

Anyone interested to understand Sarawak politics please read here:

Cabaran Pilihan Raya Negeri Sarawak by Dato' Kadir Jasin

The Question of Succession in Sarawak from Marahku blog

Sarawakreports.org if you want to read rebuttals of that Mat Salleh lady writing about Sarawak from the UK.

Anyway good luck to BN in Sarawak but this time it would not be a walk in the park as usual though.

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