Right from the very beginning of the Sarawak state general elections, the three seats most likely to be won by the DAP had been Kidurong, Bukit Assek and Padungan in that order, and I have no doubt that the DAP would have won Bukit Assek and Padungan yesterday if SUPP had not resorted to one of its dirtiest election campaigns in its party history.
I have with me a copy of the election pamphlet distributed by the SUPP in the last two days of the campaign, plumbing the deepest fears of the people about “jihad” and terrorism with a full-page photograph of the towering inferno of the New York World Trade Centre - as if the DAP and the Opposition were advocating terrorist mayhem in Sarawak, which is not only a total misrepresentation and distortion of the DAP position, but were highly divisive, seditious and most anti-national acts!
If the DAP Sarawak election campaign had been based on the line calling on voters to oppose the New York and Washington terrorist mass murders and to support the DAP, and in the process insinuate that a vote for SUPP and Sarawak Barisan Nasional would be a vote for terrorism, DAP leaders and candidates would have been arrested and charged - and rightly so - for criminal defamation and sedition.
But SUPP was allowed in the Sarawak state general elections campaign to conduct with impunity the most pernicious and seditious election campaign, putting up billboards and banners at traffic roundabouts and prominent places calling on voters to denounce terrorism, Islamic jihad and riots - maliciously and falsely insinuating that the DAP stood for such horrors - allowing them to win Bukit Assek and Padungan in a most dishonest and dishonourable manner!
I have with me another SUPP election pamphlet, screaming the warning that an Islamic State would bring about “bloodshed, violence and riots” - although the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had boasted at the June UMNO General Assembly that UMNO’s Islamic State was respected and admired by the Islamic world!
The DAP Central Executive Committee’s decision on Sept. 22 to pull out of the Barisan Alternative because of the failure of DAP and PAS to resolve the long-standing controversy over the Islamic State issue was a pure coincidence and had nothing to do with the Sarawak state general elections, as the Sarawak polls did not factor in the CEC decision.
It must be conceded however that the CEC decision enabled the DAP to withstand the SUPP campaign of falsehoods and fear on the Sept. 11 US terrorist mass murders, jihad, riots and the Islamic State issue in the Kidurong constituency.
With DAP as the lone Opposition party represented in the Sarawak state assembly in the next five years, Chiew Chiu Sing has a very heavy responsibility as DAP Sarawak Assemblyman for Kidurong, for he must be the voice not only of the DAP but of all Sarawakians, irrespective of race, religion, constituency or political affiliation.
Kidurong is a very mixed constituency, as its 22,082 voters comprise 50.4% Chinese, 33% Iban, 15.6% Malay/Melanau, 0.3% Bidayuh, 0.5% Orang Ulu and 0.2% Others, and Chiew could not have won without support from all communities.
Chiew will not only be the DAP Assemblyman for all communal groups represented in Kidurong, but also of all Sarawakians in the Sarawak State Assembly.
I am disappointed by the Sarawak state general election results, as I had hoped, as I expressed in my speech at the last DAP general election ceramah in Bintulu on polling eve on Wednesday, that a strong team of six to eight Opposition State Assemblymen could be elected to begin a new page for democracy in the state. But this is not to be.
Although the Sarawak state general elections yesterday is generally a setback for democracy, the battle for a clean, honest, accountable, transparent, just, democratic and developed Sarawak and Malaysia is still in full swing as it has suffered a mere temporary setback. The prophets of sunset and doom for the DAP have also been proven wrong once again, and the DAP is set for a new phase in our political mission.
DAP and all forces for justice, democracy and good governance must learn the right lessons from the Opposition debacle in the eighth Sarawak state general elections yesterday if political reforms and renewal are to take root in Malaysia.