If I am to go into campaigning in Sarawak for the elections, there is a baseline rule that you need to keep in mind before I even start any campaign speeches - which is to understand the race mindset. It is important to establish the fact that a voter's mindset varies on races. From my basic understanding, the voter mindset pattern is at:
1. The Malays would always think back of the past as past histories - which implies of unwillingness to change out of possible repercussions.
2. The Chinese are the opposite: they would try to think ahead in the future.
3. In the Peninsular - the Indians are minding more on the present issues.
The base rule above is basically how you approach the target of voters in a voting area.
It took me a while to go through the whole news post Sarawak state-election, which is why I was not ready to comment on this immediately after the last week elections. On the night of the results, a friend of mine asked me of my comment and opinion on the results. From the first glance, when I saw the results shown, my first impression on the results was that I remarked, "People succumbing to the Devil's Temptation."
Why would I say that is simply although there is a strong sentiment on "Hate Taib", but people are not willing to change, particularly those in the rural areas. Most of them would vote the same line out of fear of repercussions. Secondly, since Sarawak is mostly comprises of a Christian community, I was sure that they do believe in the stories of Temptation, being the third main canon (sequential order) of the life of Jesus. There are similar lines running along the story of Temptation and what happens during the campaigning period of Sarawak.
However, the results is a good and bad thing. A double-edge sword. The good thing is that Taib, being a wily man have managed to prevent UMNO from taking over Sarawak - i.e Kuala Lumpur intervening with one of the autonomous states of Malaysia. In the process, Taib has shown himself that he's a wily man and no pushover for Najib. Secondly, as predicted, the number of opposition presence in the state is higher, no thanks to DAP's sweeping almost the urban area spots that they have contested (80% success rate), although I admit that giving them 3 more seats could give them a better chance. Thirdly, it shown that there tag of "fixed deposit" doesn't work anymore, with the walls of divisive politics starting to crumble, if not broken yet.
Obviously the bad thing is that there's still money and threats playing the big part of the wins - since some of the seats contested and won by BN are based on bags of money offered to voters and threats, notably the case of Alfred Jabu's constituency that according to the longhouse chief, they voted because they were told that if Jabu finds that one of them do not support him, they risk losing assistance. Secondly, it clearly demonstrates that voters, particularly in the areas of Malay-Melanau popularity are not keen for change -hence the mindset point that I mentioned above. Third, it clearly shows that PKR's approach towards contesting the areas is inadeaquate, ill-prepared, lack resources and wrong.
Anwar's maverick approaches that I've watched in some speech videos that I've watched can work well in urban areas partly because of the Chinese population there, in whom my friend Aspan said that are people who are realistic and dare to take the risk of what will happen, unlike the other communities there. As the result SUPP, got whacked up badly in the Chinese areas, except for Meluan and Bawang Assan.
However, Anwar's approach don't work in rural areas mainly because people don't understand well on the scandals, sensational issues and so on, but on B n B. (bread and butter matters). Look in contrast of how Najib goes down to those areas and used subtle approaches and concentrating on the B n B approach. Because the mindsets are in contrast with those urbanites, people might not be able to buy to Anwar's idea of governing a.l.a Penang / Selangor model.
Obviously throughout the show, the credit must go to DAP who have done adequately well in campaigning and winning. Of course the risk from threats posed by BN parties saying that the Chinese would be sidelined do not work on them. The Penang model seems to have impressed urbanites desire of changing things in addition to hating Taib Mahmud.
I obviously thought that the opposition can go scramble a few more seats by a possible chance of re-election since there are countless of police reports reported over voting irregularities. For the case of Senadin and in Muara Tuang, the fault was lying on the EC's side. In Senadin, the EC official refused to sign the returning form, and hence provides implications of rigging of votes there - with the 58 razor thin margin. In Muara Tuang, the BN candidate came late to submit the nomination papers although nomination time ends at 11 a.m, thus violating own rules.
In several other places like in Tamin and Layar, voters are subjected to intimidation, where there should be police cases of vote buying. If the EC doesn't act at all, it still doesn't change the perception that EC is BN's unofficial component party and a stooge. Jabu's case clearly mirrors to the same way Tengku Adnan did that in Putrajaya. If you recall how voters in Putrajaya were told of sack threats for voting against BN by Ku Nan personally, then Jabu's one is no different matter. (See also the case of Joseph Muah's vote buying by fraud here as well)
The fault actually lies on the people themselves. The bad news and implication is that by refusing to change they are willing to enslave themselve for 5 more years, risking more daylight theft of lands, false promises and discrimination, coupled with risk of more increment in cost of living by voting for the wrong party - partly because they have succcumbed to the temptations of not changing things.
PKR in particular have misjudged many things and in this case, perhaps Anwar may want to take a step back personally and let the rest of people help his work out rather than stressing himself out by doing double-duty work as MP and party head. As for PAS, many still think PAS as a Taliban-style party particuarly with Hadi and Nasaruddin running the organization, and as what Husam said recently, there is a need for refresh.
I still believe that in the battle for which political fronts, neither side wins. - a stale mate Both sides win on several aspects, but BN still have internal squabbles that are never reported in particular out of fear of Home Ministry calling in. In the end, it's the voter mindset that determines the election outcomes.