The countdown begins

SIBU May 14 — With barely two days to Sunday”s by-election for the Sibu parliamentary constituency, it is clear the battle is between the Barisan Nasional (BN) and DAP despite it being a three-cornered tussle. In the next 48 hours, the campaign trail is expected to see the BN machinery pulling all its mighty resources to retain this predominantly Chinese urban seat through its candidate Robert Lau Hui Yew of the Sarawak United People”s Party (SUPP). The 45-year-old lawyer is pitted against DAP”s Wong Ho Leng, 50, also a lawyer and Bukit Assek state assemblyman and an independent Narawi Haron, 60, a retired soldier-turned businessman. With the DAP harping on sensitive issues, especially with religious and racial overtones as well as on native customary rights (NCR) land to stir up the people”s sentiments, political observers said both the BN and DAP camps were running neck -to-neck. Narawi, on the other hand, has remained low-key as he preferred to gauge his popularity by hoping not to lose his deposit come polling day. But the BN was also said to have the upper edge, thanks to the moral booster from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, the national BN chairman and and his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who joined in the campaign, traversing the length and breath of the constituency. The prime minister”s walkabouts and impromptu unscheduled visits to meet the ordinary people have certainly helped to change the perception of the mainly Chinese voters towards the government. The Chinese account for almost 67 per cent of the total 54,531 voters but the support of the Iban as well as Malay/Melanau voters will also remain crucial to determine if the outcome of the by-election is going to continue favouring the BN. In acknowledging this vital factor, Najib yesterday assured the longhouse folks at Rumah Sebastian Onggoh in Pasai Siong about 25 km from here that a vote for the BN was a vote for progress and a better future in comparison to the opposition”s rhetoric promises. As evidenced in previous election results, the Bumiputras in choosing to remain as BN loyalists will be the kingmakers in this by-election, which has been dubbed as the battle of the Foochows - the ethnic clan of both Lau and Wong. However, Muhyiddin said the BN could not afford to be over-confident or complacent as it also needed to focus attention in wooing the fence-sitters through better coordination of its machinery. The need to solve pertinent problems raised by the people such as infrastructure development and flood mitigation projects had so far received positive response from the people, especially the Chinese community, he said. He said Sibu, as a vibrant riverine town, had great potential - all the more reasons that the BN should be retained to continue its development plan to encompass the suburban areas. In the 2008 general election, it won the seat through the late Sibu member of parliament Datuk Robert Lau Hoi Chew by only a 3,549-vote majority in a three-cornered fight against Wong and Lim Chin Chuang of the Parti Keadlan Rakyat(PKR). Meanwhile Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister”s Department Datuk Ahmad Maslan said voter turnout on Sunday would also be another crucial factor given the relatively low percentage of 67.7 percent in 2008 and 62.8 percent in the 2004 general election in the constituency. "The entire BN election machinery has to step up its efforst to get at least 10 per cent more voters come out to vote,” said Ahmad, who has been campaigning here for the last 10 days. Various factors deterred voters from coming out to exercise their right, included those living in the interior due to transportation problem as well as fence sitters” lacklustre attitude that the BN would win somehow, he said. He said another group was voters who decided against casting their votes to protest against a particular candidate for some unsatisfactory matters. It remains to be seen if either camps succeed in winning the hearts and minds of the voters when they cast their ballot papers this Sunday.

Posted by YB Datuk Hj. Ahmad bin Hj. Maslan on 5:01 PM. Filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0

1 comments for The countdown begins

  1. Siapa yg retorik sekarang BN atau DAP???

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