Opposition reeling from the ‘Adenan effect’


The attempt by the opposition to latch on national issues in their campaign against the state government is a measure of Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s success in tackling local issues since he took office.

In the urban Chinese majority areas where the opposition parties’ strength are concentrated, Adenan had addressed their pet causes like funding for independent Chinese schools and the recognition of UEC, the Chinese school’s equivalent to STPM.

The chief minister allocated millions of ringgit to Chinese independent schools and announced that the state recognised UEC, the first state government to do so.

Even national issues which impacted the state directly like the prohibition of the use of ‘Allah’ in prayers and worship by non-Muslim and branding Malaysian Chinese as pendatang (immigrants) have been dealt with by Adenan’s declaration that everyone is free to use Allah in their worship in the state and that Malaysian Chinese who were born in Malaysia cannot be called pendatang.

Through the 50 initiatives he set himself to achieve the chief minister has taken the wind from the opposition’s sails.

As Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) president Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing once quipped, the opposition lawmakers would have nothing to do if the chief minister were to fulfil all his initiatives.

Finding nothing substantial in the state to smear the government with the opposition had resorted to linking the accusations against Prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, especially the IMDB issue, with the state government’s support for him.

While it cannot be denied that the ripples of national issues have an impact on the state, the opposition by making these controversies their campaign focus in a state election either have their priorities wrong or are desperately trying to take the fight to another arena when the going gets too tough.

Sarawakians do not live in caves cut off from the rest of the world. They are well informed of national and international news but in a state election they are more concerned with local issues that affect them directly.

The recognition of the UEC means more to the Chinese voters than the IMDB controversy.

The development of infrastructure and basic amenities are of more immediate concern to the rural voters than allegations of bribery in arms deals.

The opposition can sneer at what matters to Sarawak voters and deride their views on politics as parochial but the reality on the ground dictates that they address local issues closest to the hearts of the voters in a state election.

The problem they are facing now is that Adenan had beaten the opposition parties to the punch on all counts so much so that they have nothing to stir the sentiments of voters against the government aside from harping on 1MDB and other national issues.

A reflection of the lack of interest of Sarawak voters have on such the issues is their low turnout at the gatherings organised by the opposition so far.

Even when Lim Kit Siang himself was present at a DAP fundraising dinner in Sibu recently only a paltry crowd turned up and it was reported that they could not even collect up to 10,000 ringgit.

This is a far cry from the gatherings and dinners organised by the opposition when tens of thousands jammed the venues to listen to their speeches in the 2011 state election.

It is obvious the opposition is reeling from the ‘Adenan effect’ in this election and it bodes ill for them in the ballot boxes.