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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Poll Position - Sarawak: Change or More of the same Indefinitely?

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Well, the final straw poll tally is in… and today the people of Sarawak will decide for real.

The final result hasn’t changed much over the last few days, and the percentages have remained quite consistent.

Is Sarawak really going to see an historic change once the election results come in (hopefully) later today? Or is it going to be more of the same ‘ol, same ‘ol indefinitely? 
(results analysis, and more, in the full post)

First off, Walski has never claimed that any of myAsylum’s polls are scientific – most straw polls aren’t. What the poll does show is the general sentiment of netizens who come by this blog. What that sampling represents is anybody’s guess. Some have said that because this blog tends to be liberal-leaning, the results are skewed towards what the more liberal minded think.

Walski accepts that hypothesis, and to a certain extent can’t really argue against it. Be that as it may, the poll’s done and dusted, and so it’s time to look at the results.

Image taken from The Malaysian Insider, hosting by Photobucket The general feel is that the 2011 Sarawak state election will see some surprising results. Whether that means Barisan Nasional (BN) will scrape through with a slim seat majority, or lose Sarawak altogether is left to be seen.

Only about 18% of the poll participants felt that BN will retain its 2/3 majority. That is a pretty low number, indicating that the general feel is that Sarawak is ready for a sea-change election result.

A majority opinion of nearly 43% think that BN will lose their 2/3 advantage – that doesn’t necessarily equate to Pakatan Rakyat (PR) forming the next state government, which a whopping 30% of respondents felt will happen.

The 3 “Other” responses were:

  • BN will lose more seat than previous election – which loosely translates to BN losing 2/3 majority
  • pr is badly losing – which loosely translates to BN regaining 2/3 or better (as in total wipe-out of any seats in opposition)
  • will have a hung state govt. – which loosely translates to BN getting a slim majority

Walski interprets the overall results as a desire for a stronger opposition for Sarawak, at the very least. No government, state or federal, should be given card blanche indefinitely. And an unchallengeable government is what Sarawak has had for at least the last 30 years.

Granted, the state has developed tremendously over the last four decades or so since joining the Peninsular states to form Malaysia, together with Sabah. But many ask, development at what cost?

Recent revelations of Chief Minister Taib Mahmud and family’s immense wealth have also raised questions about whether or not the current regime should be given another 5 year lease to rule. The jitters by certain quarters leading to attacks on websites critical of the current regime in the run-up to the state elections indicates the realization that such knowledge is detrimental to continued unchallenged rule, something that these certain quarters would prefer to see remain as the status quo.

One state official (Walski can’t quite remember who) even went as far to say that it was Taib’s prerogative to accumulate wealth in his position. From the poll result, though, this sentiment isn’t shared with most people. A person in public office should not use his or her position for personal gain. Or even gain for family and friends.

But unfortunately, that is exactly what has happened in Malaysia – the power that comes with position is often times misused for personal benefit. And to many, Chief Minister Taib Mahmud is guilty of doing just that.

And so today, the people of Sarawak go to the polls to decide who to give their mandate to. In a democracy, it is the will of the people that decides. As with most right-thinking individuals, Walski hopes that they make the right decision.

Some might say that BN has the undisputed right to rule for however long it wants. For whatever reason that spawns the idea. But that goes against the very grain of democracy, a system that we claim to practice.

In a democracy, regime change is the norm when the populace no longer feels the incumbent is serving in their best interest, and arguably, that circumstance is what we are seeing now in Sarawak.

Walski wishes the people of Sarawak all the best – the choice is in their hands, and he hopes that they make a decision that’s in their best interest.