Press Conference Statement by DAP Secretary General Lim Guan Eng on the DAP’s share of the non-Chinese support in the 2011 Sarawak state election in DAP National HQ on 26 April 2011:
The 2011 Sarawak State election was a historic election in that it was the first time in more than 20 years in which the opposition managed to achieve a double digit representation in the state assembly by winning 15 out of 71 seats (or 21% of total seats), not including the one independent who won the seat of Pelagus.
The DAP emerged as the biggest winner by winning 12 out of the 15 seats which it contested in.
While the DAP could not have achieved this win without the overwhelming support of the urban voters, it would be a mistake to say that DAP’s support was only present among the Chinese voters. In many of the seats in which DAP contested in which had a significant percentage of non-Chinese voters, the DAP managed to win at least 30% of the vote among the non-Chinese voters. In some of these seats, the DAP far exceeded the 30% mark among the non-Chinese voters.
Our preliminary analysis shows that in the 48% non-Chinese seat of Kidurong in Bintulu, where the DAP won nearly 70% of the popular vote, the level of non-Chinese support for the DAP exceeded 60%, at approximately 63%. In the state seat of Meradong, located an hour away from Sibu, a 43% non-Chinese seat, the level of non-Chinese support for the DAP was estimated at 46%.
In the seats of Kota Sentosa (23% non-Chinese), Repok (22% non Chinese), Piasau (35% non Chinese) and Pujut (30% non Chinese), the DAP managed to win an estimated 35%, 30%, 39% and 35% of the non-Chinese vote respectively.
Indeed, the higher than 30% support which the DAP achieved in these seats among the non-Chinese voters is higher than the level of support which MCA and GERAKAN received among the Chinese voters in many parts of Peninsular Malaysia in the 2008 general election. In other words, the DAP has more credibility in the eyes of many non-Chinese voters in Sarawak when compared to the credibility of MCA and GERAKAN in the eyes of Chinese voters in Peninsular Malaysia.
While there were some areas such as Batu Kawa (41% non Chinese), Dudong (47% non Chinese) and Bawang Assan (38% non Chinese) where the estimated non-Chinese support for the DAP did not reach the 30% (25% for Batu Kawa, 28% for Dudong, 20% for Bawang Assan), it has to be recognized that the DAP candidates in these areas, all of whom were first time candidates with very little financial resources compared to their BN counterparts, were facing uphill challenges right from the start in terms of fighting against the influence of money politics and vote buying.
The DAP acknowledges that it still faces many challenges in terms of reaching out to the non-Chinese voters especially those who live in the out-of-town areas. But the party is confident that the service record of our new state representatives will convince these voters that DAP is a party which strives to represent interest of all voters in Sarawak regardless of race, religion or language. The fact that our incumbent representatives in the state seats of Kidurong and Meradong won a significant proportion of the non-Chinese votes in their seats is a testament to the ability of the DAP to broaden its support base once the service record of the party has been established and is evident for all voters to see.
The DAP candidates in the three constituencies of Bawang Assan, Simanggang and Bukit Kota, the last two of which are non-Chinese majority seats, will continue to service the voters in these areas as a concrete demonstration of DAP’s sincerity and commitment to serve the interest of the raykat, especially those who are marginalized and whose voices are often not heard.
Moving on, the DAP also acknowledges that it needs to reach out and recruit more non-Chinese leaders and members as part of the party’s larger strategy to reach out to the non-Chinese voters in Sarawak. The success of Leon Donald, the party’s Sri Aman division chief, in reducing the % of the popular vote won by the BN by 17% from 83% in 2006 to 66% in 2011 is a concrete example of the DAP’s commitment to recruit and support non-Chinese leaders who can serve, compete for and represent the interests of the marginalized communities outside the traditional areas of support for the DAP in the town areas. It is hoped that the latest proposal by Saudara Lim Kit Siang to merge with SNAP can be seen in this light and that this move will strengthen not just the DAP but also Pakatan as a whole by demonstration the multi-ethnic appeal of the Pakatan Raykat coalition.
It is disingenuous for the BN to say that it was only the Chinese who were responsible for casting a vote against the BN in Sarawak. This view ignores the fact that the level of BN support fell by more than 10% in 22 Dayak and Orang Ulu majority seats and in 8 Malay Melanau majority seats.
Pakatan will be better prepared to contest and fight for the votes of all Sarawakian voters in the upcoming general election as well as the next Sarawak state election. The DAP will play its role as a key member of the Pakatan coalition in Sarawak to sent a stronger message that the voters no longer accept the corrupt rule of the BN in Sarawak led by Taib Mahmud, the longest serving Chief Minister in Malaysia’s history.
Table 1: DAP Chinese and non Chinese support in 11 seats with more than 20% non-Chinese voters (estimates)
^Electoral Roll and Saluran Election Results not received yet
*Electoral Roll not received yet