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Sunday, September 30, 2001

Winners must prove their worth

THERE seems to be something special about the electoral appeal of Barisan Nasional (BN) parties in east Malaysia. Sarawak has just confirmed this with a thumping BN win of 60 out of 62 seats in the State Assembly.

Once again, the arguments of the opposition parties throughout the campaign held little sway.

But will the opposition and independent candidates accept the results and all their implications?

There will be, as always, endless disagreement over the precise nature or reasons for the BN sweep. Yet it is useful to consider the objective figures of the vote outcome, and what it says about the peopleís choice.

Support for BN is even more pronounced than in the peninsula.

The tussle between BN and the opposition coalition appears petty and inconsequential.

Of the two non-BN seats, one was won by the DAP and the other by an independent, Wong Judat.

Both PAS and Keadilan, which between them vied for a total of 28 seats, scored a round zero with a dozen of their candidates losing their deposits.

Only one of 42 independent candidates who ran won a seat.

Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmudís PBB (Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu) won all the 30 Malay and Melanau seats contested.

SUPP (Sarawak United Peopleís Party) won 16 out of 17 contested seats. In all, BN did even better this time than in the last state election in 1996.

Customarily, winners and losers have their own interpretations of the results. But how much partisan spin can a humiliated opposition give in such dire circumstances?

Leading opposition figures had been brought to the state for the hard sell. Yet when the time of reckoning came, voters opted for the incumbent coalition.

It is difficult to ignore Tan Sri Taib Mahmudís argument that the voters clearly chose to reject the kind of alternatives offered by PAS and Keadilan.

Now that the campaigning, the count and the celebrations are over, the newly elected or re-elected peopleís representatives must settle down to work.

They must fully discharge their duties throughout their entire term in such a way as to justify the peopleís trust in them.

Opposition candidates failed to capitalise on any issue in their favour this time.

But the huge margin of BNís win could encourage an enfeebling complacency over the next five years, unless the winners consistently strive to demonstrate their worth.

Source: The Star

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Sunday, September 30, 2001

  • Voters give opposition the boot
  • Barisan Ďbrandí strikes the right chord
  • Sarawak sends a strong signal
  • Winners must prove their worth
  • All abuzz over Judatís victory
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