Sunday, May 16, 2010


DAP wins with 18,845, BN 18,447, Independent 232
Majority is 398


Malaysian opposition wins "historic" by-election
Posted: 17 May 2010 0013 hrs

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's opposition on Sunday snatched a parliamentary seat in a ruling coalition stronghold with a surprise and "historic" by-election win.

The Barisan Nasional (BN) was expected to hold on to Sibu, in Sarawak state on Borneo island, but lost it by 398 votes to the Democratic Action Party (DAP), state media reported.

The DAP is a member of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's Pakatan Rakyat alliance.

"This is a historic win for the Pakatan alliance," veteran opposition politician and DAP leader Lim Kit Siang told AFP.

"This is because the BN's loss in Sibu shows that its strongholds on Borneo island are no longer safe," he added.

The Sibu victory means the opposition has now won eight out of 11 by-elections since the BN was bruised in 2008 national polls.

Analysts say the latest opposition victory casts doubt on the government's sway in Sarawak, where the large share of parliamentary seats means the state could be decisive at general elections expected by 2013.

"The loss has big implications as it has now slowed down Najib's momentum after winning in the two previous by-elections," political analyst James Chin told AFP.

Over the last few days Premier Najib Razak campaigned in the state to get the Chinese vote, promising 20 million ringgit for infrastructure projects and the upgrading of Chinese-language schools in a constituency where ethnic Chinese form 67 percent of the population.

Although the BN last month won a by-election in Selangor state, seen as an endorsement of Najib's reformist policies, the ruling coalition saw a dramatic drop in Chinese support.

"The decline in Chinese support in Hulu Selangor and Sibu are consistent with the 2008 general elections as the Chinese ground has yet to recover for the BN," Chin said.

The BN lost its two-thirds majority in parliament and control of five states in the 2008 election.

- AFP/ir

DAP wins Sibu by-election

M'sian opposition party pulls off surprise win in BN stronghold
05:55 AM May 17, 2010

SIBU - Malaysia's opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP) pulled off a surprise win in the Sibu by-election yesterday, defeating ruling Barisan Nasional's (BN) SUPP by 398 votes in a hard-fought race, according to official results.

DAP candidate Wong Ho Leng won with 18,845 votes, beating BN's Robert Lau Hui Yew - who took 18,447 votes - official results showed. Independent Narawi Haron picked up 232 votes.

The results also showed a major swing from the 2008 general elections when BN won the seat by more than 3,000 votes.

The Sibu parliamentary seat in Sarawak, a BN stronghold, was vacated following the death of Deputy Transport Minister and five-term Sibu MP Robert Lau Hoi Chew last month.

Opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat (PR), which DAP is a member party of, had hoped to win in Sibu because two-thirds of the nearly 55,000 registered voters are ethnic Chinese, who have increasingly accused the Malay Muslim-dominated government of racial discrimination.

The Sibu result is significant in that PR has ended a streak of successive defeats to BN in recent by-elections.

Last month, BN won a hard-fought Hulu Selangor by-election. The count is now 8-3 in favour of PR in terms of by-election wins since the 2008 general elections.

The Election Commission estimated slightly more than 60 per cent of voters cast ballots - lower than the expected turnout of 80 per cent.

BN had been expected to retain its Sarawak stronghold but lost despite the best efforts of Prime Minister Najib Razak.

On Saturday, Mr Najib made a surprise visit to Sibu, pledging to spend RM5 million ($2.17 million) for infrastructure to curb flash floods in Sibu, in addition to funding worth RM15 million he had earlier promised for Chinese-language schools.

And according to a report in The Sunday Post, four Sibu Methodist churches were given special grants totalling RM1.75 million from the federal government yesterday in the final hours of the by-election campaign

The report added that the money would be used for upgrading and extension works of church buildings in Sibu that has a predominantly Methodist population. AGENCIES

Monday May 17, 2010
SUPP: They caught us off guard

SIBU: Two religious issues raised by the Opposition may have turned the tide against Barisan Nasional, said SUPP president Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam.

He said the controversy over the word “Allah” was capitalised to devastating effect. “Yes, this issue was very damaging. The Opposition used it to full effect.

“The Opposition also claimed that Bibles were seized and burned in Peninsular Malaysia. Personally, I don't believe that we (the Govern-ment) would do such things.

“However, the tide turned against us because the Opposition used such controversial and sensitive issues.

“We (the SUPP) were not prepared to answer such allegations because we never encountered such religious problems in the state.

“We were overwhelmed by the issues they brought up,” he said when asked to comment on the defeat of Barisan's Robert Lau Hui Yew to the DAP's Wong Ho Leng.

Dr Chan, who is Deputy Chief Minister, said he felt sad for the people of Sibu. He said the SUPP was disappointed with the outcome because of the implications.

When pointed out that there were also other issues that the Opposition had brought up against the Barisan, such as the flood woes, alleged unfair distribution of projects, nepotism and money politics, he said the SUPP had answered all these allegations.

“In previous elections, the Opposi-tion harped on such issues, but the people understood when we replied.

“This time, the issues raised were of a totally different nature. We were not prepared,” he said, adding that the SUPP did not anticipate that the DAP would harp on such inflammatory issues for political purposes.



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