Anwar says ‘seeds’ planted despite Sarawak defeat

By Shannon Teoh
April 18, 2011

Anwar said PR succeeded in penetrating the interior of Sarawak. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, April 18 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has claimed success in Saturday’s Sarawak election despite failing to deny two-thirds majority for Barisan Nasional (BN) as the “seeds of politics with good values” have been planted in the state.

 “Although we did not achieve the desired result, we succeeded in planting the seeds of politics with good values so that the people of Sarawak will leave narrow racial politics, be brave enough to fight shackling oppression and work to strengthen democratic practices,” the opposition leader said in a press statement last night.

Anwar had said during the campaign that the opposition pact was looking not just to deny BN victory in two-thirds of the contests, but to topple Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud’s government.

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) won just 15 seats on Saturday, up from a tally of seven in the 2006 polls, but still failed to deny Taib a two-thirds majority in the state assembly, a result that would likely have fast-tracked the end of his 30-year tenure as chief minister.

Although BN took 55 seats in the 71-member state assembly, it also saw its popular support drop from 63 per cent in 2006 to 55 per cent in Saturday’s vote.

PKR suffered defeat in 46 of the 49 seats it contested, but its de facto leader Anwar said despite limited resources, “PR succeeded in penetrating the interior that has been considered a stronghold for BN.”

“The 2011 Sarawak state election proves that the fight for justice for all races and gaining their trust is not an easy task, but also not impossible,” he said.

The Permatang Pauh MP also called of Sarawakians to step up efforts to “bring down this corrupt regime” at the next polls.

“The election result is not the end but the beginning of a move for change. Surely this cannot be achieved if the people of Sarawak do not unite to ensure it happens,” he said.

The former deputy prime minister also said the credibility and integrity of the Election Commission (EC) has been damaged as it was biased in “purposely turning a blind eye to any fraud on polling day.”

He said PKR polling agents were denied forms to ensure that results were safe from electoral fraud and that vote-buying had occurred in several seats.

“The refusal of the EC to recount votes in Senadin strengthens the allegations that it acts in the interest of BN. The PKR candidate Dr Michael (Teo Yu Kheng) lost by just 58 votes. Why refuse a recount without good reason?” he said.

The party has said it will challenge the Senadin result through an election petition.

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