PETALING JAYA: It is naïve of Parti Rakyat Sarawak deputy president Joseph Entulu Belaun to say the Sarawak Barisan Nasional has a fighting chance of winning all 31 parliamentary seats in Sarawak in the next general election (GE14), says the DAP’s Chong Chieng Jen.
Chong, who is Sarawak DAP chairman and Bandar Kuching MP, said unlike the last state election in which then chief minister Adenan Satem led the BN to victory, the BN’s charge in GE14 would be led by Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Last May, in his first and only election as chief minister, Adenan led Sarawak BN to win a whopping 72 of the 82 state seats available. A number of political analysts attributed the big win to the “Adenan factor”.
“Entulu is entitled to his opinion, but every election is different. The voting pattern for parliamentary seats won’t necessarily follow that of the state election.
“The popularity of Najib in Sarawak is a far cry from Adenan’s popularity,” Chong told FMT.
Earlier, it was reported that Entulu said the state BN had a shot at winning all 31 seats, though 29 was a more realistic number.
Universiti Malaya political analyst Awang Azman Pawi said Entulu’s estimation was unrealistic, with urban voters likely to continue voting the opposition in the interest of check and balance.
He added that issues which didn’t play much of a role in last year’s state election – such as 1Malaysia Development Berhad, the Goods and Services Tax and the rising cost of living – would feature more prominently in parliamentary elections.
“This time around, voters, especially in urban areas are focused on their well being.
“This includes the economy, cost of living, social issues and the preservation of Sarawak’s identity and ‘way of life’. These will be big issues which the opposition will fight for.”
He added that the “cautious” attitude taken by Chinese voters towards Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg, infighting between BN and BN-friendly parties such as Teras and UPP, and native customary rights land issues could affect votes for the BN.
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak political analyst Jeniri Amir said it was unlikely that Sarawak BN could capture so many parliamentary seats in the state.
“I doubt BN can win the urban seats and Chinese majority seats. Even since the 1970s, BN has never won all seats and the chances of that happening now are even less, given the higher level of political literacy.”
He said not much had changed in voter sentiment since the last general election where the opposition won six of the 31 seats contested.
“When it comes to parliamentary elections, national issues or issues related to Prime Minister Najib Razak will feature more prominently compared with state issues.”
Both Azman and Jeniri predict that the opposition will win at least five seats in GE14.
In the 2013 general election, Sarawak BN won 25 parliamentary seats – 14 by PBB; six by PRS; four by SPDP and the remaining by SUPP.