Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sibu By-election

The impending Sibu by-election – May 16 – will be a battle for the Chinese vote (making up 67 percent of the electorate), where politics revolves around people and development, but also about big business and family connections. Many political commentators have been saying that Sibu will be the sounding board for the bigger battle ahead (i.e. state elections due next year). Additionally, BN is banking on Sarawak as its “fixed deposit” in the next general election. Besides, the outcome in Sibu wil have implications for other Chinese-majority areas like Miri and Kuching.

This by-election pits SUPP’s Robert Lau Hui Yew versus DAP’s Richard Wong Ho Leng. I shall overlook the third candidate who is standing as an independent. To be sure, Lau’s campaign is going to be one well-oiled machinery. Besides getting the overwhelming BN support, Lau belongs to one of the wealthiest families in Sibu. His family’s business, KTS Trading began with timber and has since diversified into all kinds of investments from hotels and travel agencies to speedboats and instant noodles. Of course, the DAP is the underdog, given the firm grip on power that BN component parties (PBB, SUPP, PRS, etc) have over Sarawak.

This is not to say that DAP doesn’t stand a chance! SUPP is seeking to regain the Chinese mandate after a less than stellar performance in the 2006 state polls when Sarawakians “sent six rockets to make noise” in the State Legislative Assembly!

Let me permit Muhyiddin Yassin, our Deputy PM to put in the last word(s). He was quoted to have said in the Sunday Star today (p N4) “I admit that Barisan Nasional still needs to do much more (for Sarawak and Sabah)”. Enough said!

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