Politics in Sarawak is unlike politics in Malaya!

VIEWPOINT: Sarawak politics is probably more matured and more exciting compared to the rest of Malaysia. I say this for a few reasons, the first being that from the beginning Sarawakians realised that politics here couldn’t be based on race alone.

The proof is that all political parties, even PAS’s chapter, are in-fact multi-racial parties. Yes some are dominated by a particular race but that is because ‘birds of a feather flock together’.

The second is that from the beginning, Sarawakians only had Sarawakian parties representing them in the government and opposition until the entry of DAP and now PKR, PAS and PAN.

Thirdly, politics in Sarawak was gentlemanly and with decorum. The issues were issues of substance also until the entry of Malayan parties, these lot like to play on racial and religious issues, slowly estranging the opposition supporters and causing a sense of distrust and jealousy towards the government and opposing for the sake of it rather than substance.

This maturity has been somewhat diluted in the last two decades within the Barisan Nasional coalition with SUPP being dominated by the Chinese with a few Dayak seats, PRS has but a handful of non-Bumiputera members, SPDP is by far the most diverse in its membership, and PBB with its two wings – Bumiputera and Pesaka – too has a handful of early Chinese membership.

In the opposition, DAP leads the pack; they claim to have more Bumiputera members than Chinese, however their management committee line-up and their election results tell us that DAP like SUPP is dominated by the Chinese.

PKR, however, seems to have a diverse membership similar to SPDP. PAS has Dayak Muslims in the party but is concentrating only in Malay-majority areas. PAN is brand new so I shall not comment about it.

Then we have what I call the third force made up of SNAP, SWP, Teras, UPP and PBDS Baru. I call them the third force because they are all Sarawakian-based parties. The incumbent opposition are but branches of their giant bosses in Malaya.

The third force could in fact be the replacement for all Malayan parties because Sarawakians have had somewhat of an awakening. The spirit of Sarawak for Sarawakians used first by SUPP in its fight for independence is now back through a people-backed movement uniting the Sarawakian spirit with a vengeance. The BN has embraced it and so have the opposition.

Imagine a coalition of Teras-UPP-SWP-SNAP (the third force) doing battle as a coalition. They might actually replace the DAP-PKR-PAS-PAN coalition as the opposition in Sarawak. If the Sarawak for Sarawakian movement is a yardstick then this is truly possible.

It would also mean an opposition with a huge amount of experience within its ranks. An opposition of substance not opposing for the sake of it. They have personalities who know the inner workings of the Sarawak state government and who better than them to safeguard and be the check and balance.

They will be able to deliver a loyal (to Sarawak), local and legitimate leadership in the opposition. Sarawak’s political maturity may well be restored.

SNAP used to be a powerhouse in Sarawak and was truly multi-racial in spirit and its membership.

Jhonical Rayong stood on a SNAP ticket and won against SUPP in Engkilili. He then joined SUPP and subsequently UPP. I mention this to show that SNAP as a brand is still viable, especially in the rural seats.

Teras will have six former ministers. UPP will have two former cabinet members and two incumbent YBs, in SWP it had three YBs and a former minister.

In the early days there were many political parties and all of them had a say in Sarawak; they were all Sarawak-based thus Sarawakians decided our fate, be it in government or in the opposition.

We should return to that time if we are to attain true political autonomy. In 1969, true to form Sarawakian voters gave all parties (opposition and government and even Independent candidates) a chance to be their voice and allowed for a natural system of check and balance. We can return to that time in 2016 and unite Sarawak once again.

Results of the Sarawak State Election in 1969 (Source Wikipedia)

As we can see here, the state had a deadlock and if any party wanted to rule it had to form alliances. -The Ant Daily

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