Urban support for the Sarawak BN ruling coalition has been rising since Tan Sri Adenan Satem (pictured) took over as chief minister in 2014, the state BN secretary-general claimed. — File picKUALA LUMPUR, Jan 3 — Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) can regain its lost support in urban seats only if the ethnic Chinese who populated its towns were united under a single party, its secretary-general said ahead of state elections.
Datuk Dr Stephen Rundi claimed an uptake in urban support for the state ruling coalition since Tan Sri Adenan Satem took over as state chief minister in 2014, but added that rolling the different Chinese parties into one will improve the BN’s chances in the upcoming polls, believed may be called in March.
“There is swing to BN, definitely but if the Chinese are united under one party, the chances of winning would be better,” the Sarawak assistant minister of public utilities was quoted as saying by the Sunday edition of The Borneo Post.
The Sunday Post also reported Assistant Minister of Youth Development Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah as saying that Adenan’s increasing popularity among Sarawakians will likely bring BN more urban votes during the next state elections.
“We do hope that the soaring popularity, openness and transparency of the chief minister in his short stint so far, he could bring more urban voters to lean towards BN.
“We can see that the chief minister is a leader for all communities in Sarawak. He is sincere, practical in approach, visionary and very devoted to Sarawak. Not often do we get this kind of leader,” Abdul Karim said.
Nangka assemblyman Dr Annuar Rapaee added that Sarawakians’ positive reaction to the chief minister shows that the public should give him their full support but did not negate the need for a healthy opposition.
“I hope the people would now realise that they should give full mandate to CM.”
“What we don’t need is an opposition side that is just making noise,” he said.
The state’s BN Chinese components Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party have been squabbling for seats in the run-up to elections with breakaways United People’s Party (UPP) and Teras.
UPP and Teras are not BN partners, but are treated as its family members; the former is seeking to contest the same seats as SUPP while the latter is eyeing seats traditionally contested by SPDP.
Adenan has admitted to concern for infighting among the state BN’s Chinese components, fearing a recurrence of the 1983 state elections with now-defunct Sarawak National Party (SNAP) and its breakaway Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS).
Both SNAP and PBDS had at the time used their respective party symbols to contest seats traditionally contested by SNAP.
Adenan promised in the middle of last month to resolve the rowing among the four parties but little has been reported since then.
Sarawak BN won 55 out of 71 seats in the 2011 state elections while Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) secured all 35 seats it contested it.