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‘Big’ turnout at PKR ceramah worries Taib’s men

 | January 10, 2013

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim is confident of winning 10 parliamentary seats in Sarawak in the coming general election.

KUCHING: The “impressive” turnout of Malays at PKR’s recent ceramah at one of Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s strongholds – Samarahan – appears to have rattled the corridors of power in Parti Pesaka Bumiputera (PBB).

Some 3,000 Malays were said to have attended PKR de facto chief Anwar Ibrahim’s talk last Sunday. The numbers have shocked PBB leaders.

PBB is the leader party in the Sarawak BN coalition.

On paper, (Kota) Samarahan’s MP is Taib’s son Sulaiman Rahman. Sulaiman has been “politically missing” since 2010. The constituency, as such, has been “looked after” by Asajaya assemblyman Abdul Karim Hamzah. Karim is an acknowledged PBB “strongman” in Samarahan.

Asajaya and Muara Tuang constituencies are part of the Kota Samarahan parliamentary seat. Muara Tuang assemblyman is Taib’s brother Ali Mahmud. A turnout such as this “is unimaginable”.

Party insiders surprised at the turnout said even Karim had quietly conceded that the opposition had made inroads into Kota Samarahan.

Karim, a PBB supreme council member, himself had earlier this week admitted that opposition Pakatan Rakyat could win “some seats” in the state.

But he was quick to say that these would be urban seats and the victories would be DAP’s and not PKR’s.

Responding to Anwar’s claim that PKR’s popularity had reached new heights, Karim said it was a mistake for Anwar to make that assumption.

He claimed most Sarawakians were “loyal” BN supporters.

Voters awakening

Sarawak PKR vice-president See Chee How, however, was of the view that the “magnitude” of support at the ceramah was telling of BN’s waning support in the state.

“It was really incredible to see some 3,000 people turning up at the function considering the fact that the Samarahan parliamentary constituency is a PBB stronghold.

“It was the first time that you saw a large crowd of Malays in Samarahan turning up to listen to Anwar. We had an earlier function in Bau which had attracted a similar big crowd.

“So I think in a way, it shows the awakening of voters and their aspirations for change.

“And if I were him [Karim], I would be worried. He will have to explain to his PBB boss and Chief Minister Taib Mahmud why so many Malays from his area were present at the PKR function,” said See who is Batu Lintang assemblyman.

Anwar had during a meeting with Sarawak PKR recently said Pakatan was confident of winning 10 parliamentary seats in the 13th general election.


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