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Feb 6, 2008

SPECIAL REPORT: Showdown in Penang

Malaysiakini special report showdown in penang 060208

Penang is shaping up to be a major battleground between the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition and the opposition in the 2008 general elections. After all, it is the home state of two key leaders - Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and former deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim.

With a swing against the government among Chinese and Indian voters, the opposition is expected to pick up more seats at the expense of Gerakan, MCA and MIC - the three parties representing the two minority communities in BN.

The focus will again on how well DAP - the main opposition party in the state - will do this time in this Chinese-majority state. Its best ever showing was in 1990 when it came close toppling the Gerakan-led government by grabbing 14 state seats.

penang seats breakdown 050208Since then it has been a downhill slide. In the 1995 election, DAP was roundly routed ending up with one solitary seat. In 1999, the opposition secured three seats - DAP 1, PKR 1 and PAS 1. But it failed to improve on its standing in 2004 - DAP and PAS picked up a seat each while PKR was left empty-handed.

Another interesting question is whether Umno will finally claim leadership in Penang - the only state in Peninsular Malaysia under BN rule which is not governed by the ruling party. Pressure will mount for Umno to take the helm should Gerakan and MCA suffer massive defeat.

has compiled the following reports on the battle for Penang. There will be more reports to come.


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