A plea from Sarawak


Just before I left Sarawak, a Melanau resident of Kuching gave me some sound advice to pass on.

Baru Bian last night after clinching the Ba' Kelalan seat. On the far right, partly hidden, is See Chee How - Photo by Anil

“Please tell the opposition parties not to focus on urban areas in Sarawak. We know what the issues are. They need to work in the interior areas. That’s where the work must be done.”

It is no coincidence that the PKR candidates who won in the interior areas had done their ground work long before polling day on 16 April.

Land grabs are a big issue in Sarawak. Perhaps it is not surprising that all three victorious PKR candidates have been involved in NCR land issues.

Both See Chee How and Baru Bian are lawyers working in the same legal firm and are well known for their work in handling NCR land cases.

Many wondered how Ali anak Biju was able to win in Krian. Even though he is a contractor and not a lawyer, he too has been championing the rights of those who have lost their land.

Ali only knew that he might be a candidate earlier this year. But he had already been something of a land rights activist for a couple of years now. A couple of people told me he gets a rock star’s reception in his area.

Candidates for the parliamentary elections need to be identified early and they must hit the ground now so that the people are familiar with them by the time the general election comes around. That’s the only way to win their trust and counter any vote buying and gain access to the long-houses. Opposition candidates cannot hope to match the BN’s financial resources and spending.

In Baru Bian’s case, because he was familiar with the people and had won their trust, he said he was able to convince the residents to think of their long-term future and not to sacrifice their principles for short-term gain.

Aspiring YBs cannot hope to win if they turn up a few weeks before polling and hope they can pull through. They won’t. By going to the ground early, they can get a head start in addressing what matters most to the voters.

Meanwhile, Baru Bian said last night he saw the results of the election as a continuation of the struggle to establish a two-party system in Malaysia and to give voters a real choice. The results of the election will have an impact on Sabah and the peninsula, he added. “The BN has always regarded Sarawak as a ‘safe deposit’. Today, that safe deposit has been withdrawn.”

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BTW just wanted to thank you for bringing us the Sarawak election via your blog. It’s was hard to get any proper news on the election.


We should in turn convey the messages in the blog to the rural people to neutralize the toxic effects of the mainstream media like Utusan, TV3, RTM, NST and Astro Awani!


At Sarawak DUN polls, the total percentage of votes in for PAKATAN RAKYAT is very surprisingly stunning. It’s unbelievable. Pakatan has actually won the hearts of Sarawakians. For BN won merely 70k votes. Sarawak is BN’s CASTLE for God sake. That is very worrying news for BN….


It is a shame that the rural Sarawak folks complaint about their problems but still vote for BN. If BN is good for you, why then should you still have problems?

Do not expect change if you do not change your voting pattern.

Someone should translate Michael Jackson’s ‘Man In the Mirror’ into the language they can understand.

Morning Dew

You should not blame the rural folks too much. In the urban area the rakyat have access to alternative media and it is easier to reach them. The rural folks only have BN media machinery to shape and form their opinions. The melanau resident was spot on. PR must have an alternative strategy to reach out to the rural folks and this applies to semenanjung malaysia as well. The candidate must be identified early and start reaching out to the folks on the ground. PR had failed to reach out to the rural folks. This suggestion by the melanau resident… Read more »

Noreezan Sherif

BN is now giving these rural folks 1Malaysia email account. But how can they access email if there is no internet or computer?

Kontrator Kroni didahulukan?

Peter Yangko

I fully agreed that ground work has to be done now for all PK’s candidates especially for the rural areas.

I am very happy to see Baru and See being elected in this state election. To me Baru is my hero.


The adorable UBAH hornbill mascot is a great hit! DAP should devise a new Ubah mascot for semenanjung and Sabah. It’s the DAP which succeeded in planting the ‘seeds’ of politics in Sarawak last Saturday. If one looks at the results closely, PKR fared poorly. With GE round the corner, Anwar should stop talking about taking over Putrajaya. Just focus on ending the bickering in PKR now and work instead to step up the momentum that PR seems to be gaining in the peninsula. And that means giving DAP and PAS the due recognition they deserve. The past 3 years… Read more »


Totally agree. I said it months ago that PKR must penetrate the rural areas because that’s where the vote bank lies. And it certainly takes a lot of effort and time to turn them over because traditionally, these are BN die-hards. Towns and cities are bound to support the opposition as the people are more well informed. So there’s no need really to have an overkill there. Crowds are great and it does wonders to one’s ego. Leave the cities and towns for the final two to three days. In Kuching, many in the big crowds were actually the same… Read more »


Seems to me there is DEMAND…but the SUPPLY is lacking. PKR need to put more effort & work into getting the SUPPLY of good candidate ready. These are first baby steps into Sarawak….good job, now have 3 seats. Next is double up these seats to 6 seats in next election.


Pakatan Rakyat is an urban party. They don’t have a political product for rural Malaysia because their constituents largely derive their wealth at the expense of impoverishing their rural compatriots. I can’t see PR’s constituency agreeing to suck less blood, so this is a project that will never fly.


Pakatan Rakyat is an urban party. They don’t have a political product for rural Malaysia because their constituents largely derive their wealth at the expense of impoverishing their rural compatriots.

True, very very true.

And I’ve been saying all along – the rural votes that can sink the boat, not the city constituents.

But the PR machinery just wouldn’t care. Unfortunately.


The way logistics are organised, only the ruling government can effectively access the interior of Sabah and Sarawak.

No mere party, not even UMNO, can effectively reach these remote regions.


The tsunami has indeed reach Sarawak but only in the urban area on the coastline. For the tsunami to reach the interior you would need an earthquake with at least 11.5 on the Richter scale. Gerakan and MCA are now feeling very shaky. But that is not good enough. PR must shake UMNO. Only than can they see Putrajaya.

Charlie Oscar

You were in Sarawak.
Was there a tsunami???
Or it’s more of a WAVE!!!
A lot of people Must be Dreaming when they said there was a tsunami in Sarawak!!!
Well, sleep tight and keep on DREAMING!!!


For too long, DAP has been associated with urban constituencies and is seen to be a Chinese party. This is despite the fact that there are several non-Chinese leaders of a national standing. DAP success, first at the Sibu by-election and then in all the urban areas last weekend, buoyed largely by Chinese support, will lock down this mental image of who they are. In the Peninsula, it will be hard for DAP to rewrite its image but in Sarawak it has a golden opportunity to rebrand itself as a party for all. Work with local leaders to reach into… Read more »

tan, tanjung bungah

Hi everyone,

Stay focussed on the 2-party come the next GE! The 2-party system would at least curb abuses such as corruption, cronyism, mismanagements, etc, etc.

For coming GE, the people should vote for an entrenchment of the system that would always empower the people to throw out any party that does not perform when given the chance!


Who should be told is DAP actually. DAP need to focus on Baru Bian’s pioneering achievement, make him the no 1 priority above all else, even at the expense of their urban support if necessary. The real hope is to make the Dayak leaders like Bian trusted powerful leaders. DAP need to find resources to channel to Bian and build his following far and wide. If Bian is not at least arrested under the ISA, then DAP has failed.

Gerakan K

Gila !!!

DAP should LGE in charge of Sarawak and see how LGE can turn Sarawak into DAP strong hold.

Then LKS in Sabah. Whoa !!!

Putrajaya within DAP pocket in next GE !!!


West Malaysians as well as Sarawakians in towns can play a more active role to activate the democratic change in the interior of Sarawak. Many roads lead to Rome!

Charlie Oscar

Do you still remember the comment below???

“Do you agree on the following???
DAP (15)= Only win in Chinese Majority areas.
PAS (5)= Zilth!!!
PKR (45++)= Only a Couple, If Lucky!!!
The rest by Sarawakian Parties!!!
Care to place a “small” wager???”

Seems very familiar!!!
This Is SARAWAK!!!

Congratulations To All Winners!!!


Anil, I am surprised you chose to give focus to Parti KeAdilan as ‘victors’ of PR in the just concluded 2011 Sarawak State Election which rightly is DAP’s to celebrate, not theirs! Why did PKR demand for more seats than they really could cope? …and received a humiliating defeat – 49 contested, lost 46? Many of us Pakatan Rakyat supporters are terribly upset with PR’s performance at this election. We feel had DAP not given in to Anwar and Azmin Ali’s demand on seats allocation, DAP would have won more seats and Sarawak may already be in Pakatan Rakyat hands… Read more »

Gerakan K

As I have said earlier that, LKS must takeover as the pr chief. Anwar must resign and take responsibility for heavy loses, just like Pak Lah.


It’s obvious, and finally you are talking sense! 😀


There you have it. Lets hope that PR leadership can see it the way we do.


For a pittance, the rural will suffer for another 5 years while the party they vote in will enjoy their fruits and labour. How stupid the natives can be, although without proper road, electricity and water etc etc for more than 35 years, they still vote BN. The urban Chinese enjoy vote the opposition and still enjoy the fruits of their and BN and the native labour. Let me tell you of one person whom I believed has been a BN supporter all along. He told me that to get that fruits, you must vote the opposition because BN has… Read more »



See how this “Yang” city guy is lambasting the rural folks?

See how this “Yang” city guy is showing off his “holier than thou” thing to everyone?

As if he is better than the rural folks all along.


Penangite, I am not lambasting but to wake up these rural folks. I would say that the urban folks are better educated and can think and look forward than these rural folks.. Its a fact. A fact that despite being poor for 35 years, despite not having electricity, water, proper road and education they still vote in a corrupt government for a mere pittance of 100 – 1000. No wonder Taib continue to make sure that they are uneducated so that he can (exploit them) without them knowing what happen to them. And what we want is for them to… Read more »

Gerakan K

No way pr can campaign in interior areas. If you observe the pro-pr comments on the net, you will know what they call the interior people. Moron ??? … Stupid ??? Idiot ??? I think that not before those parties workers can do anything, they are already “kena halau”. Those parties workers look down people in interiors. Even those top top leaders are the same. Remember Hadi Awang comment when losing a by-election in interior constituent ??? Here is the proof: 1) Hadi Awang Kata Orang Sarawak Masih Pakai Cawat (http://anginperubahan.blogspot.com/2010/05/hadi-awang-kata-orang-sarawak-masih.html) 2) Hadi Awang ‘cawat’ remarked thoughtless, insensitive ignorant (http://www.bintulu.org/news/2009/07/24/hadi-awang-cawat-remark-thoughtless-insensitive-utterly-ignorant.php)… Read more »


Although BN won 55 out of 71 seats (77.5%), the total votes garnered by BN is merely 54.5%, which is a significant drop from the previous election.

Meanwhile the total votes obtained by Pakatan has gone up to 38.3%.

There are more voters this time. The results has shown that new voters mostly voted for Pakatan.

So the trend is no good news for BN, as they cannot take Sarawak as safe deposit in the future.


GK, you are absolutely right. No way PR could campaign in the interior. You can’t just hope into a car and drive there. You require fleets of helicopters and lots of money. Only bn can pull it off.


If there is a will there is a way… Do you think those missionaries working in China had it easy? U think the people they seek to serve welcome them with an open arms? The fact is, they persevere, they let their actions speak for them…. It can be done. The challenge is finding the people whose hearts are true and sincere…


This is what I have been saying all long. PKR must concentrate more in the interior and rural area and also likewise for Peninsula Malaysia.


No, you certainly did NOT say so.

Checking back on the comments you made you were doing exactly the opposite – you lambasted the estate Indians for not voting PR, you call them names, you look down on the rural folks, just like your typical type of “I am better than you” city snobs.


Very well thought out.. winning the rural or interior electorates is very similar to christian mission work. You have to work alongside them for a long time, even years, and you have to demonstrate by your works that you mean what you say… as I have been told, we have no business sharing the gospel with anyone, until we truly care for them. So in the same way, I think Pakatan has alot of work cut out for them…. start to place your people to live amongst them, if not, at least work with them & help them … For… Read more »


We have no business sharing the gospel with anyone, until we truly care for them

Couldn’t be any more wiser words than the above quote !

I do hope PR can find people who understand that service is not limited to the lips.

Caring is what the people need.

Let me say this again —> keep those “holier than thou” city folks away from the rural folks, PR, or you are going to do more harm to yourself than help.


And isnt this assessment and recommendation by our Melanau friend i.e. ” Candidates for the parliamentary elections need to be identified early and they must hit the ground now so that the people are familiar with them by the time the general election comes around. That’s the only way to win their trust and counter any vote buying and gain access to the long-houses”… exactly what MCLM has been proposing to the PR from the very beginning. But was it well received by PKR? It is time for PKR to learn some humility, evaluate itself and receive the extended hand… Read more »


All depends on how serious Pakatan rakyat willing to improve the supply chain. Efficient local services and cost control, are way more than simple service management, but also control of supplies.

Rural people need simple stuff, but the cost is always forbidden to them due to demand and supply compare to urban area.
IMHO ,bicycle, small scale power generator, walkie-talkie and ham radio communication and some modern technique to improve rural everyday living will definitely break the ice. The problem is how to implement and distribute it cost effectively.


Just let the interior people in Sarawak rot. They deserve what they voted.
I have no sympathy for them.


That is exactly what I mean by the city folks looking down on the rural folks.

Keep up your “holier than thou” attitude and see how far you can go with your snobbishness.


gerakan k,

where r u? laughing all the way to the bank with this win? heard in the street interest on fds in sarawak has dwindled a fair bit. watch your deposits closely. next time, it may be zero interest.

till then, best wishes to the people of sarawak. I respect your decision.


Totally agree. PR must campaign more in rural areas as they do not get informed decisions. Urban areas voters have more or less made up their minds.