Winning over the Sarawak Chinese voters

Posted on February 27, 2011


For quite some time now, I’ve noticed that the Chief Minister of Sarawak, has been campaigning hard to win the hearts and minds of the Chinese community in Sarawak.

I think he’s been trying to say and do what he feels are the right things to say to, and do for, an integral community in Sarawak’s multi-racial society.

I believe he wants the mix in his government to include  a good representation of Chinese members…because that would be the only way to achieve the kind of progress and prosperity that he truly feels Sarawak is capable of achieving.

Now all he needs is to get SUPP to think in the same way. And, more importantly act in the same way.

Sadly, the focus of the SUPP doesn’t seem to be there…as some of the party’s decisions in recent days have not exactly boosted the confidence of the Chinese community.

Case in point is the decision to retain ALL the party’s incumbents as candidates in this year’s State election.

Hopefully, the SUPP leaders can create excitement and stir up passion among the party faithful and sympathizers…with their choice of candidates in the seats they need to win back.

The mayor and doctor could do the trick and with a strong campaign, I dare say they have a fighting chance to wrest back two seats for the party.

Victory of course would also depend on SUPP being able to stop acts of “sabo” against the promising candidates.

On that note, I believe victory and defeat rests heavily on the discipline of each party’s campaign. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot!

This unsolicited advice is relevant for ALL parties. Opposition, not excluded.


The Borneo Post report on the Sarawak Chief Minister’s recent announcement:

Govt to lift Section 47

Posted on February 27, 2011, Sunday

Taib says he will soon free all the land in Bako for development by the private sector

KUCHING: The state government will lift the imposition of Section 47 of the Land Code on land in Bako.

Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud made the announcement on Friday and said the master plan for the area would be made public very soon.

“I’ll announce very soon that I’ll free all the Bako lands to be developed by the private sector. Those landowners who want to develop the lands can come together and we’ll give you the plan on how to develop it.

“That is the best way. I don’t want to spend the government’s money unnecessarily. But I want to get the people’s understanding and that’ll do things correctly because only orderly development can guarantee the country becomes more prosperous and our younger generations will live not only with more money but they have the ability and the environment to enjoy that wealth,” he said.

Speaking at the Chinese New Year dinner organised by the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sarawak (ACCCIS), Taib said he intended to include industrial as well as residential areas in the development of Bako.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan told reporters after the dinner that some parts of the land would be acquired by the state government to develop an industrial site.

He stressed that the compensation for land to be acquired would be calculated based on market value.

While for land that would not be acquired, landowners could form their own companies to develop the areas but the proposed projects must be according to the master plan, he explained.

“(The) Chief Minister said he will lift all the lands in Bako under Section 47. He then will have a master plan for it and private sectors will be allowed to develop according to the plan.

“It is up to land owners (to develop or not). The state government is giving back the land to them, hopefully they’ll develop accordingly,” said Dr Chan, who is also Industrial Development Minister.

Meanwhile, Taib said that 80 per cent of problems faced by the Chinese community could be solved.

He cited Chinese education, one of the major concerns of the community, but didn’t disclose further details.

“I think 80 per cent of their (Chinese) problems can be solved. I talked to the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak) and Deputy Prime Minister (Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin), they are all very sympathetic to the position of the Chinese schools and the independent schools.

“I think to develop all these things, we need to sort it out. Please do understand with facts and don’t be distracted by the propaganda. You’ll find out if you do that you may be doing some irrational work,” he said.


…and the Star (Sarawak & Sabah) report on the reaction to SUPP’s announcement:

SUPP’s decision to retain all incumbents not well-received

By jack wong

KUCHING: The Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) decision not to “retire” any of its long-serving assemblymen in the coming state polls indicates that there is no generational leadership transition in the state’s oldest party, said a political scientist.

Dr Andrew Aeria, associate professor of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) social science faculty, said the party’s move to retain all its 12 incumbent assemblymen showed that there was a big disconnection between the party leadership and the rank-and-file of the Chinese community.

Dr Aeria believed that it was the wish of the Chinese to see leadership renewal in the party, saying that the decision to let the veteran assemblymen, some already serving five or six terms, to seek re-election in the polls would not go down well with the community.

“If the SUPP does not want to renew itself, I am afraid the electorate will be forced to renew the party,’’ said Dr Aeria when commenting on the party’s central working committee’s decision to give the 12 incumbents another chance to defend their seats.

Among the longest serving assemblymen are party president and Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam (Piasau), Dr Soon Choon Teck (Dudong), Datuk David Teng Lung Chi (Repok), Datuk Wong Soon Koh (Bawang Assan) and Vincent Goh Chung Siong (Pelawan).

Reminding the SUPP leadership of the various reforms it had promised to implement after its defeat in the 2006 state polls, Dr Aeria said it was apparent that the party had not done what it said it would do.

“The party has made decisions, including limiting the term of office of its elected representatives. If it does not implement the decisions, how could it win the support of the people?”

In a booklet entitled “SUPP – The Way Forward” that detailed the various resolutions adopted during the party’s special delegates’ conference in late 2006, it was stated that the reforms include amending the party constitution to limit the term of office of federal and state ministers, assistant ministers, MPs and assemblymen, senators, political secretaries as well as councillors in local authorities.

A federal and state minister and deputy chief minister are to serve a maximum two elections term while it is three elections term for the deputy/assistant ministers.

The MPs and assemblymen can serve up to four election terms (this term limit is to be extended accordingly if the MP or assemblyman is appointed a minister, deputy/assistant minister or parliamentary secretary).

The party said the amendments would help to institutionalise and facilitate the automatic process of renewal of party leadership.

Federation of Kuching and Samarahan Divisions Chinese Asso-ciations’ president Dr Chou Chii Ming said SUPP’s decision to retain all the incumbents for the polls would be a disappointment to many voters.

“This does not meet the expectations of particularly the younger voters, who wish to see new young faces as candidates,” he said.

Dr Chou said the party’s decision might be based on the thoughts that the incumbents stood a better chance of retaining the seats for the Barisan Nasional.