Saturday, January 29

25 out of 31


KUCHING: The State Barisan Nasional (BN) has maintained its status as the ruling coalition’s “fixed deposit” by retaining 25 out of the total 31 parliamentary seats it contested in the 13th general elections here last night.

The opposition alliance — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) — failed in all its attempts to win in bumiputera-majority areas, managing to make gains only in the urban constituencies where the State DAP won five seats while its ally PKR won one.

The State BN’s contribution of the highest number of seats to the National BN in this ‘mother of all elections’ is the expected outcome as support for the BN in the state has been unwaveringly consistent, especially in the rural bumiputera-majority seats.

The Sarawak United Peoples Party (SUPP) lost its urban seats mainly to DAP. The peninsula-based opposition party took Kuching, Stampin, Sibu, Lanang and Sarikei while the other urban seat Miri went to PKR.

The SUPP narrowly avoided ending up empty-handed by retaining only one seat — Serian, a bumiputera-majority constituency under the party’s deputy president Datuk Richard Riot Jaem.

There are altogether seven Chinese-majority parliamentary seats in Sarawak, all of which are urban constituencies.

The only urban parliamentary seat still under the BN is Bintulu, held by Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing of Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP).

Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) the backbone of the State BN, won all the 14 seats it contested.

Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) also successfully defended all its seven seats — Sri Aman, Selangau, Hulu Rajang, Julau, Kanowit and Lubok Antu while its archrival the Sarawak Workers’ Party (SWP) which contested in the same seven seats, drew a blank.

The Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) won all the four seats — Saratok, Mas Gading, Bintulu and Baram — it contested but faced tough fights in two of them – Saratok and Baram.

Its president Tan Sri William Mawan, who was trailing in the early count in Saratok, finished with a flourish to defeat PKR’s Ali Biju with a majority of 2,081 votes.

But it was a close shave for its Baram candidate Anyi Ngau who pulled through with a slim 194-votes majority against PKR’s Roland Engan.

For the opposition camp, DAP is the biggest winner in this 13th parliamentary election in Sarawak, taking five out of the 11 urban seats it contested — Bandar Kuching, Stampin, Lanang, Sibu and Sarikei.

PKR won only the urban seat of Miri, losing all the other 14 rural or sub-urban seats it contested.

Baru Bian was the highest profile candidate from the party, to be defeated. The PKR state chief lost to BN’s Hasbi Habibollah by a majority of 8,301 votes in a straight fight in Limbang.

PKR’s partner PAS lost all the five seats — Kota Samarahan, Batang Sadong, Tanjong Manis, Igan and Sibuti – it contested.
Both SWP and the State Reform Party (STAR) failed to make any headway in this election, losing in all the six and seven seats they contested respectively.

State BN chairman Pehin Sri Taib Abdul Mahmud said as expected, the State BN was able to deliver 25 out of 31 parliamentary seats to the National BN.

“It appears that in the areas where we won, we had a better majority compared to the past. The voters’ turn-outs were also better.

“The response from the rural areas was very good but not so in the urban areas where we were unable to counter the issues raised by the opposition,” he told a press conference held at his residence at Demak Jaya last night.

“Overall, in the urban seats, the tide was against us.  The Chinese have not been receptive to the government policies in the urban constituencies,” the Chief Minister added.

However, he pointed out that overall, the support for BN in Sarawak is still overwhelming.

In the elections yesterday, 828,893 out of 1,083,972 voters in the state cast their ballots, according to the State Election Commission director Datu Takun Sunggah.

This represented 76.4 per cent of the total electorate, he added.