DAP and its foray into Sarawak Dayak Politics

Posted on April 26, 2011


In the recently concluded 10th Sarawak State Election, Malaya-based DAP won 12 out of the 15 seats it contested.

DAP claimed it does not practice race-based politics but by sheer coincidence ALL its 12 victorious candidates are of ethnic Chinese origin.

It was also not planned that two of the losing candidates were also of ethnic Chinese origin.

The lone non-Chinese candidate was the son of a once-prominent politician (who contested in another seat under the PKR ticket).

DAP though underestimated both the service record of the BN incumbent, and the baggage carried by its own chosen Bumiputera candidate.

Political scientists may come up with statistics to show that my observation is yet another myth of our recent State Election, but I’m merely telling it like I see it.

Just to state the obvious, in Sarawak there are more Chinese in the urban areas and there are more non-Chinese (Bumiputera) in the rural areas.

In the semi-rural or semi urban areas of Sarawak, you’re free to make up your own conclusion.

In the run-up to the elections, DAP has also never hinted that it is fighting for the rights of the Chinese community alone, but in fact for ALL Malaysians and would rigorously deny that it was running a race-based campaign.

By the way, judging from the results, the campaign was excellently implemented, and only pales in comparison to the 35/35 of PBB.

Actually come to think of it, percentage-wise DAP’s 80% winning rate was also not as good as PRS’ 89% success rate and just slightly better than SPDP’s 75%.

Anyway, from what has transpired, we can safely say that DAP fought to get the “Chinese-majority seats” (except for Simanggang and Bukit Kota) and it could say that it gave the responsibility of representing the non-Chinese to the other members of the coalition of convenience (also known as Pakatan Rakyat or even PR sometimes) namely Malaya-based PKR and Malaya-based PAS.

By now, we know the success rate of these two parties in the recently concluded State Election: Malaya-based PKR won 3 out of 49 seats and Malaya-based PAS won 0 out of 6 seats it contested in.

Because PR is a coalition of convenience, Malaya-based DAP has recently conveniently asked SNAP to join DAP to once again be part of PR…or maybe even set up another coalition of convenience, just for Sarawak.

It all depends on what the Penang CM’s father thinks is best.

No one really knows how PKR, PAS or even SNAP feel about the Penang CM’s father’s proposal for the tie-up, but one thing’s for sure, DAP knows it needs to get more credible non-Chinese to help it win seats in the rurals, or the semi-urbans, or the semi-rurals.

I’m not sure about SNAP though because it wasn’t really successful in its recent outing (0 out of 27).

In terms of its credibility, in this election it’s bark eventually proved worse than its bite.

As for the Penang CM’s father’s proposed foray into Sarawak’s Dayak Politics, he may do well to learn from lessons of the past.

Perhaps DAP hopes to emulate the success brought about by a former president of SNAP, who was coincidently of ethnic Chinese origin himself.

Or maybe DAP wants to be more like SUPP, which is actually represented by various races in Sarawak.

In fact, SUPP now has four Dayak YBs, and only two YBs of ethnic Chinese origins, which actually gives more credibility to SUPP being a multi-racial party (although essentially it is a party that aimed to represent the Chinese community in Sarawak).

To the Chinese voters in Sarawak that voted for DAP, make no mistake that their vote was for the “most Chinese” party on the ballot that they felt could best voice their discontent.

Unfortunately for SUPP, that’s not the character of the party or its members.

Hopefully, in its journey towards tranformation, SUPP would not be tempted to try to be “more Chinese” than DAP…rather SUPP should aim to be more successful in selling the idea of creating a better Sarawak through greater cooperation among ALL races in Sarawak.

Now that’s the UBAH we could all really use!

How The Borneo Post reported the “down-grading” of the “PROPOSAL” into merely an “IDEA”:

Merger proposal only an idea – Kit Siang

by Raymond Tan. Posted on April 25, 2011, Monday

SIBU: DAP’s proposal to merge with SNAP is only a preliminary although it has plans to move into the native areas on its own, starting with eight constituencies in southern Sarawak.

In a press conference yesterday after its state committee meeting that saw the attendance of its 12 newly elected state representatives, DAP’s national advisor Lim Kit Siang said the two proposals had come after the just-concluded election, in which they had found significant support from the native communities, notably the Dayaks.

He said if it were not for their support, there would not have been such a resounding victory, especially in constituencies like Dudong, Pujut, Batu Kawa, Meradong, Kidurong, Repok, Kota Sentosa and Piasau.

“The merger proposal has come from a discussion within DAP’s state committee and from the public opinions.”

Lim admitted public opinions on the merger were divided, with one group supporting and the other objecting the idea.

He said Sarawak DAP’s victory had come from the people’s power due to what he called “The Ubah Awakening”.

“The suggestion to merge the two parties is an effort to take the Ubah awakening among the various races to the next level.”

But Lim stressed discussion on the merger was only at a preliminary stage within the state DAP, adding they had not approached SNAP to talk on the possibility.

He however stressed that whatever decision is reached later, it would be done in the spirit of Pakatan Rakyat (PR), saying they would put its interest as top priority.

On whether the move would hurt the unity of the state PR, Lim said any decision made later must not be a threat to their solidarity, but a progressive move for the people and the opposition front.

“It should be one that promotes the strength of the opposition front; not one that goes against it.”

In the press conference, state chairman Wong Ho Leng did not touch on the merger plan but instead spelt out their efforts to go rural to work with the native communities.

“This next step is to ensure ‘the Dayak Awakening’ is further enhanced.”

He said the election had shown the native communities were prepared to work with DAP, noting that the opposition had managed to get a considerable amount of support from them.

“We are eager to reach out.”

State DAP secretary general Chong Chien Jen said they would immediately begin with the plan by first moving into eight areas in southern Sarawak, namely Tasik Biru, Opar, Tarat, Bengoh, Satok, Tupong, Balai Ringgin and Kedup.

From there, he said they would expand to other areas.

State DAP treasurer Chew Ching Sing said they would now employ full-time native political workers in their service centres throughout the state.