The price of victory in Sarawak for all Malaysians

Barisan Nasional has won a handsome victory in Sarawak despite political awakening in urban Sarawak. Gerrymandering has effectively rendered Malaysia's federal administration as a kampung elect government responsible for governing all affairs including international relations, investments and urban administration. Therefore, Malaysians are blessed with eloquent parliamentarians such as Bung Mokhtar and Noh Omar.

One wonders how much opportunity costs have been, and will continue to be forgone if parliament is largely made up of MPs of these calibre. If urban areas are given more parliamentary seats, it is possible that more MPs from more educated and demanding areas would improve the quality of grey matter, debates and law making in the august house.

Sarawak as a fixed deposit for Barisan Nasional votes might no longer be absolute, but the BN's fixed deposit in rural areas, both in the Peninsular and the 2 East Malaysian states are still very much in tact.

Therefore it would be in BN's political interest to keep the status quo in rural areas and stem the spread of alternate thinking and mindset flowing from urban areas to rural areas in the era of globalisation and information technology.

Such a strategy, while is great at ensuring political survival, may result in Malaysians with fixed and narrow mindset, unable to adapt to changes, bearing a siege mentality that run against national interest and commonsense.

For example, calling DAP a "communist party" is nothing more than a kindergarten bully with limited vocabulary; as competent adults should be able to differentiate between a socialist and a communist.

Would this polarise the country's democratic influence and political divide into urban and rural? In the Malaysian context, it would be very easy to be mis-interpreted as urban Chinese vs rural Malays hence clouding the basic issues of accountability and competence of elected office bearers with the obsolete racial politics.

Therefore, we might see the continuation, or expansion of the misguided strategy of resorting to emphasizing racial and religious divide, such as church fire bombing, cow head protests, al-kitab issue etc hence unnecessary social unrest and make Malaysia look immature, intolerant and regressive. Gutter politics will continue to be a favoured weapon, as personal attacks would be much easier than engaging in eloquent, informative and insightful public debate.

It is worth pointing out that barring Johor Bahru, the more cosmopolitan the area, the weaker the BN's hold onto power. The top 2 favourite foreign investment destinations are Penang and Selangor, no longer under BN's control.

Therefore, can BN continue to exercise the approach to tamper with development allocation (look towards Kelantan) to justify it's position as the only political power to bring development? In my opinion, it would run counter to the nation's interest and the federal administration would look terribly incompetent and grossly unfair as well as immature to continue with this approach.

Voters should protest against any such allocation bias as there is no discrimination base on political affiliation as far as income tax rates are concerned.

It would be interesting to see how the returning chief minister of Sarawak treat the lost urban areas...would he try to woe them back or punish them for going with the flow of political awareness? It is something new for the grand old man of Sarawak strangle hold.

Najib's approach to all by elections and state elections revealed his hallmark - it's Najib who is contesting all the elections, and not what's his name or who is he that is standing up to be scrutinized and explaining to the voters who are they voting for.

Najib's hallmark in Hulu Selangor and Sibu is impromptu fund allocation; the legend of "you help me I help you " refers. This is a nightmare for accountants. Ad hoc financial allocation can easily make national debts situation and budget deficit worse. Malaysians are already shouldering heavy national debts. Also such ad hoc ang pows could well divert funds from existing allocations and may disrupt original development or maintenance plans.

Reading the report below, I wonder how much longer can the fragile financial position of Malaysia can absorb further haemorraging of tax payers' money and national wealth.

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The power of incumbency Conservative estimates suggest that the BN spent more than RM500 million on these hotly contested elections. Last night, the going rate in Miri was RM1,000 per identity card and apparently RM7,000 in Ba’Kelalan.

In addition to cold cash, the BN election machinery was supported by the impressive government machinery, from Kemas officials watching over longhouses to education officials working the ground.

Even the government-linked companies were out in full force in Sarawak, doling out gifts and opening bank branches, etc.

The point is that when PR go to battle, they are up against Umno, MCA, SUPP, PBB, Maybank, Utusan Malaysia, New Straits Times, PDRM, EC, Pos Malaysia, AirAsia, etc.


Malaysians are at an interesting junction in its history. Perhaps there is no turning back to the politics of old. Even Indonesia and Phillipines have made more political progress than Malaysia despite the continuing accountability issues. It is something that Malaysians have to decide for themselves.

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