The failure of the opposition to portray Sarawak governor Abdul Taib Mahmud as a ‘bad guy’ of the BN is one of ‘seven sins’ the opposition committed in the May 7 state election,an academician has argued.
“One of the crucial mistakes of the opposition was its refusal to use Taib as the number one target. They went after Chief Minister Adenan Satem instead,” said political analyst James Chin.
Many voters were emotionally connected with Adenan, who was seen as ‘a fresh air’, being liberal and one with a multi-racial outlook, Chin said.
“It is very hard to unhook the emotional connection.
“But, if they had target Taib, like they did in the 2011 state election, then they would have done better in term s of trying to frame the B N as the bad guy,” he said.
Both DAP and PKR won a total of 15 seats back in 2011 when they harped on the scandal surrounding Taib and his family. He then stepped down in early 2014, but went on to become the state governor.
Many still seen Adenan, who was hand-picked by Taib to replace him, as nothing but a Taib proxy.
“The problem is Adenan was not widely known in rural Sarawak, unlike Taib who is a brand name throughout the state, even in the most interior regions,” Chin said.
The opposition could go around, without naming Taib, if they feared the risk of being probed for sedition.
He acknowledged that Adenan had taken the local issues played up by the opposition and the ‘Sarawak for Sarawakians’ movement as it own issue.
The national issues brought up by both DAP and PKR lost traction in the progress, he noted.
The most crucial mistake was none other than the clashes in seats between DAP and PKR that angered the constituents, Chin said.
“Many people from the middle class in Kuching blamed the D A P leader for being the main instigator,” he said in a lecture on Sarawak state elections atSunway University in Bandar Sunway, Petaling Jaya, this afternoon.
DAP forgot its enemy
The third crucial mistake was the failure of the D A P to identify its rival, said C hin, who is the director of Asian Institute, University of Tasmania.
“DAP forgot who its enemy is. It is not PBB or PRS , but SUPP .
“SUPP chief Sim Kui Hian stood in Batu Kawah. It is a known fact that if you w ant to sham e a rival, you cut off his head. If the party president fallen down, that would be symbolic,” he said.
He acknowledged that Sim had an advantage over DAP ‘s Christina Chiew who was essentially weak.
“DAP did not even bother to provide additional sources for its candidate to face the SUPP chief.
“In fact, they went the other way around, they announced that she had a medical problem the night before the election.
“The medical problem was real but I am saying they misunderstood the whole equation,” Chin added.
Sim wrested Batu Kawah from Chiew with a majority of 2,085 votes.
Speaking about the mistake related to resources, Chin also pointed out that PKR , with an intention to show it is bigger than DAP , had stretched its resources to very thin.
“PKR spread out too thinly, in its resources and implementation of electoral strategies,” he said.
He noted PKR only aimed to defend three seats – Be’kalalan, Krian and Batu Lintang, and take another three seats – Mulu, Telang Usan and Marudi.
Similarly, DAP only planned to defend all its 12 seats, plus contest in a Bidayuh-majority seat and another seat as w ell, according to him.
“But when you spread yourself too thin during an election campaign, you will run into trouble, that is what exactly they did,” he stressed.
On top of that, he cited the split in the PKR central leadership as having prompted a last-minute decision on the grounds of Borneo state, as another weakness in the opposition.
Another crucial mistake was both DAP and PKR having wasted the first four days out of the 12 days of their campaign on petty issues.
Both sides busied themselves arguing who had fielded a better candidate in Batu Kitang, whether it was PKR ‘s Voon Shiak Ni or DAP ‘s Abdul Aziz Isa, he noted.
“This came out as a very petty issue for the voters, not only in Batu Kitang, but in the w hole of Sarawak. People just got sick of it,” Chin said.
As a result, BN candidate Lo Khere Chiang won the new seat, while Voon lost her deposit.
PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, who claimed he would only support a Muslim as chief minister, was the biggest loser in the state poll, he said, pointing out that seven out of 11 P A S candidates in the Sarawak election lost their deposits.– May 13, 2016.