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Mar 20, 2008

The countdown begins

Raja Petra Kamarudin

One day after the 8 March 2008 general election, Anwar Ibrahim flew to Sarawak and the following day he stopped over in Sabah before coming back to Kuala Lumpur. And the two-day flying visit to these two East Malaysian states was certainly not to catch up on the latest Iban or Dayak cultural shows. The three opposition parties had just swept 82 of the 222 Parliament seats plus now had control over five states and all it needed was another 30 seats to form a federal government with a simple majority of 112.

Sabah and Sarawak, which have a combined 53 seats in Parliament, make sense because about 80% of these seats are in non-Umno Barisan Nasional component members' hands. The opposition had made little in-roads in East Malaysia or else the opposition would by now have formed the federal government. One million 'new' voters from Indonesia and the Philippines ensured that Sabah would not be to PKR what Kelantan is to PAS.

There is little love-lost between East Malaysians and Umno. East Malaysians view Umno as a parti penjajah or a colonialist party. Many regret the move to allow Umno into Sabah, and although Umno is not quite in Sarawak yet, the many Umno flags flying all over the state give the impression that it is a matter of time before Umno moves into Sarawak as well. This 'visible' presence of Umno make Sarawakians very nervous and if they have to leave Barisan Nasional just to keep Umno out they would do just that.

“Kita orang Umno juga tidak suka Umno,” said one Sabah warlord who is an Umno division chief and a Member or Parliament. “Kita meyertai Umno kerana Umno berkuasa di Sabah tetapi kita harap Umno akan jatuh supaya kita boleh kembali ke parti asal.”

This sums up the sentiments of even those who can be viewed as Umno 'strongmen' in Sabah. “Saya mahu bertanding di atas tiket PKR tetapi Anwar Ibrahim beritahu kami jangan tinggal Umno untuk sementara waktu. Anwar suruh kami bertanding di atas tiket Umno dan kemudian, sekiranya pembangkang menang cukup kerusi, barulah kita keluar Umno dan menyertai pembangkang.”

Yes, there were many planned defections before the 8 March 2008 election but Anwar told them to stay put in Umno and Barisan Nasional and make sure that they win their seats first. Only if the opposition wins with a large enough minority and all it needs are those few extra seats to form the government should they leave the ruling coalition and join the opposition.

This was certainly a sound strategy because Sabah and Sarawak can always play the role of king-maker. And, considering that Sabah and Sarawak control about 24% of the seats in Parliament, they would be a most powerful king-maker indeed. And if Anwar agrees that Malaysia shall have two Deputy Prime Ministers and one of the two shall be rotated between Sabah and Sarawak, this would be enticing enough for the 50 odd Parliamentarians from Sabah and Sarawak to cross-over to the opposition to enable it to form the new federal government. more...


Anonymous said...

YB Richard Riot according to the news today already declared leaving SUPP one of BN component parties in Sarawak. The imppregnable Bakun Dam is starting to burst.

Anonymous said...

Mari amri, jom heboh kan tu. Join PKR today.

Hass-00635712 said...

Pasti Kau Rugi>...

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