In the 2013 GE, the party was seen to lose its grip on a few seats, having to sacrifice – Stampin, Sarikei, Lanang, and Sibu to oppositions, DAP and Miri to PKR – while still remaining at the top, winning 25 out of 31 parliamentary seats.
Nevertheless, the influence of the opposition in the state is not to be dismissed. Comparing the previous elections results i.e. GE12 and GE13, the opposition is slowly rising in power. Winning 6 seats in 2013 (5 more than 2008 GE), they appear to be stronger in Sarawak.
What can we infer by looking at the previous election scenarios?
Although it is believed that Sarawak will remain a BN stronghold come GE14, the opposition is strategically building their momentum in taking over the state; and if not now, they have high a chance in seizing Sarawak in the next election.
The 1963 agreement ensured equal partnership, however, over the years, both Sabah and Sarawak felt like ‘dianaktirikan’ in terms of development and well-being. Throughout the whole Sarawak state politic history, the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) is always under the limelight.
The 18-point agreement drawn by Sarawak as part of the negotiation prior to the formation of Malaysia was perceived to be faulty, as the federal government is seen to only work in their favour without placing much importance on the wellbeing of Sarawak, as how it was promised in the papers.
The lives of the rural communities under BN are like ‘kais pagi makan pagi, kais petang makan petang’. Sarawak still lags behind the rest of Malaysia in terms of development. In fact, some places remain unchanged for 54 years ago.
Although the state is rich with its natural resources such as petroleum, timber, natural gas, coal, gold, and tin ore, much of the economic benefits was perceived to the federal Government who has been in control of the state since decades ago.
Influencer analysis from January – April 2018 shows that the state Government is indeed taking charge in addressing Sarawakians’ concerns’. The top influencer position is mostly taken up by BN Sarawak via its Chief Minister, Johari Openg.
However, the perception of the public is still very bad. This somewhat shows that, public perception towards the state’s rural and autonomy issues is reaching its boiling point. This ultimately frames BN Sarawak under a bad light and could be strong enough to swing votes to the other side.
While the government is big on planning urban development projects, basic rural infrastructures and issues are left unattended. Rural issues are always being addressed in the media. CM, Johari Openg and Prime Minister are active in telling the people of what they have planned for Sarawakians through their respective manifestos, however, much complaints are received from the public regarding of what has been done so far. Sarawakians are still living in poor despite much allocations for improvement in the interior.
Where did all the funds to the Sarawak state Government went to? Is it used for the benefit of two-thirds of people in Sarawak BN?
This remains unanswered whereby it is perceived that the federal and state government indeed has something to hide from the people, and this sort of vagueness could take its tolls in the upcoming elections.