- 施压中央给砂州20%石油税， 张健仁入禀改元首御词动议
- DAP: S'wak needs checks and balances - vote opposition
- 'Najib neutralises Adenan's feel-good factor in S'wak polls'
- DAP's Ubah mascot returns as warrior for S'wak polls
Posted: 08 Mar 2016 06:14 PM PST
Posted: 06 Mar 2016 06:06 PM PST
Sarawak DAP has made a plea to voters to support the party in the coming state election to strengthen the opposition's representation.
"I have made it clear that the state election is not about changing the government. Adenan Satem will continue to be the chief minister without any doubt," Sarawak DAP chairperson Chong Chieng Jen said.
Indeed, it was reported that Adenan's approval rate has climbed to 85.5 percent, according to a survey headed by Associate Prof Jeniri Amir of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak.
"But, don't you want a stronger opposition? (We) do not want to return to the era of former chief minister Abdul Taib Mahmud who ignored the voices from the ground," said Chong.
In an interview with Malaysiakini and KiniTV last Wednesday, Chong explained why voters should continue to reject BN.
He pointed out that various promises, particularly related to autonomy issues, were still unfulfilled and Sarawak had been marginalised for years.
In his visit to Sarawak last Sunday, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, who relies much on the support of the Borneo state voters to maintain power, urged the people to give Adenan a strong mandate to give him the strength to negotiate with the federal government for help in developing the state.
Giving victory to the state BN, Najib said, would ensure that the state and federal governments were on the same page to ensure rapid development would continue there.
Chong, however, reminded the BN leaders that the erosion of rights in Sarawak was caused by the BN political conglomerate, whose state allies had agreed to accept five percent oil royalty. They also gave up on English education.
"If BN is sincere, then it should surrender its autonomy on education, health, finance and other internal affairs to us," he added. "We want autonomy. We want checks and balances."
"Yes, we do have administrative power in land matters and logging licences, for example. But, we do not have checks and balances.
"We have seen the monopoly of six major logging companies, which were given licences that cover 9.2 million acres of forest or one-third of Sarawak land. We have seen prime land in Kuching town given to BN cronies and the companies of Taib's family at low prices," he alleged.
This happened even after Adenan took office on Feb 28, 2014, he said.
"BN will only look at the people's demands seriously when it is under pressure," he said.
Getting rid of race-based tag
Sarawak DAP had obtained its best results in the 2011 state election taking 12 state seats - all Chinese majority - after its establishment in 1978. Only two out 15 seats it contested then were of Dayak majority.
It's notable that DAP wants to get rid of the Chinese-based party label in the Peninsula and Borneo states.
"Sixty percent of our members are Dayak – we have a few thousand," said Chong, adding that Sarawak DAP plans to contest 35 to 40 seats in the coming state polls, expected next month.
This means that DAP will contest 22 to 27 Dayak seats.
In the last state polls, DAP only enjoyed an average 30 to 40 percent of Dayak support in the seats they won.
Kidurung state assemblyperson Chew Chiu Sing, who speaks fluent Iban and had lost six times in elections, had managed to win more than 45 percent of the Dayak vote in the 2011 state polls.
Chong is confident that the party has made some progress in Dayak- majority seats as the DAP's brainchild 'Impian Sarawak', a programme that brings development to the rural community, has borne fruit.
"The Dayak community is aware of the programme," said Chong, adding that the party was confident of taking more than 12 seats.
Meanwhile, the two-term Kota Sentosa assemblyperson said he may contest in Batu Kitang, a new seat under the Stampin parliamentary constituency, created after the redelineation exercise.
"It depends, I may contest there if needed," he said.
Posted: 05 Mar 2016 06:04 PM PST
Scandal-plagued Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak will neutralise the feel-good factor of Sarawak chief minister Adenan Satem in the upcoming state election, state DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen said.
"To put it bluntly, Najib is a liability to BN," he said, adding that federal policies affecting the economy is also a huge factor affecting the ruling coalition's chances at the polls.
Najib is now the opposition's number one 'campaigner' based on two reasons - the goods and services tax (GST) and the scandal surrounding RM2.6 billion donation, he stressed.
"Politics is about managing the country's economy. At the end of the day, the ultimate concern and consideration of the people is their pocket.
"These are things that BN have done very badly - employees do not have money to cover their living costs, business has dropped 30 percent. Price hikes are especially serious in Kuching; the price of imported canned goods from China has increased by 30 percent," he said.
"In speaking and interacting with the people, we found that even those previously more inclined to BN said he had crossed the final limit of their tolerance," said the two-term Kota Sentosa state assemblyperson.
Prior to this, Adenan who took office in April 28, 2014 was seen as the biggest threat to Sarawak opposition with his climbing popularity, by showing a friendlier face of BN compared to his predecessor Abdul Taib Mahmud.
'Traditional supporters ignored'
Political commentators' forecasts say the Chinese community, which voted BN out in most of the Chinese-majority seats in 2011 state poll, will swing back to BN in the upcoming state poll. However the majority Dayak and Malay-Melanau groups will still opt for BN.
Chong, however rebutted the pundits' view, claiming DAP is confident it will maintain all its Chinese majority seats, mainly located in Kuching, Sibu, and Miri.
According to him, Adenan had put so much effort to please Chinese voters that some complained he took the support of Dayak and Malay-Melanau communities for granted.
"Do not think of Adenan as God," said Chong in an exclusive interview with Malaysiakini and KiniTV.
Chong claimed his party had enjoyed a comfortable 60 to 70 percent Chinese support in the seats it contested in 2011, compared to 60 percent in 2006.
In 2011, DAP set the record by winning 12 out of 15 state seats it contested.
"What was announced by Adenan might be politically correct and the Sarawakians see him as a good chief minister. The problem is he has a BN team that are bad teammates and that would hold the people back from supporting him," he added.
Internal squabbles in BN
Moreover, Adenan has failed to contain the infighting in his own party, as well as in his BN allies, where splinter parties have emerged due to internal squabbles, he added.
"During Taib's (era of) high-handed and strongman politics, this would never have happened or would not have emerged in the open. They just did not dare.
"Adenan is losing grip. The internal fight will be carried over to the state election. It is an open war now.
"Thus, I don't think Adenan's feel-good factor would add any extra value to the support of BN as compared to (during) Taib's era," he said.
The state BN is mulling on fielding candidates under the BN banner, amid the internal problems in the Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP) and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP).
Posted: 04 Mar 2016 06:02 PM PST
With the Sarawak state polls around the corner, DAP has unveiled its official mascot called 'Ubah warrior' to join its electoral hustings.
First introduced in the 2011 state election, the mascot complete with a kalambi (Iban ikat vest) and kelabit jewellery necklace, has now grown into an adolescent rhinoceros hornbill.
Notably, the Ubah warrior now dons a red cape embossed with a bunga terung (eggplant flower) tattoo, a sacred symbol of an Iban boy's passage into manhood.
In Iban tradition, a boy gets a coming of age tattoo after a trip to the jungle.
"The Ubah bird has grown up - from a kid to adolescent. The (plush doll's) size is bigger. We also have the shield and spear which symbolise Ubah's warrior status," said Sarawak DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen.
"(It shows that) we are moving into a new territory with the courage, spirit and determination of a warrior," he said in an interview with Malaysiakiniand KiniTV.
Chong added that it also means Sarawak DAP has grown up too.
Design more complicated, expensive
The Ubah warrior comes in two sizes. The bigger one will be sold at RM100 each, a 66 percent hike in price compare to its predecessor in 2011, while the price of the smaller version has doubled to RM20.
Chong said the party had to fix a higher price due to the depreciation of the ringgit – a 30 percent drop against China's renminbi since the last state election.
"Ubah was manufactured in China. We were supposed to order the mascot in August 2015, but it was delayed as we had to finalise the design. We only put the order in October 2015. This has caused 10 to 15 percent increase in costs," he said.
Chong added that the new design is more complicated, thus more expensive.
The party has ordered 10,000 big Ubah and 30,000 small Ubah mascots.
There was an overwhelming demand when it first made its debut five years ago, Chong said.
"We had to do a second and third order then."
He expressed hope that the mascot will again be well received in the coming state election.
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