9-Day Countdown to 13GE Polling Day: Sarawak BN has conceded that 11 parliamentary seats in the state are in danger – a step closer to Putrajaya

I have just returned from a 42-hour whistle-stop visit to Sarawak and Sabah, where I challenged voters in the three Barisan Nasional “fixed deposit states” of Sarawak, Sabah and Johor to rise up to the historic challenge to achieve the target of winning a total of 33 Parliamentary seats in the 13GE from the three states – which is an important precondition for Malaysians to effect change in Putrajaya with Pakatan Rakyat replacing Barisan Nasional as the new Federal Government of Malaysia.

It is a tall order for the three BN “fixed deposit” states of Sarawak, Sabah and Johore to win for Pakatan Rakyat 33 out of the total of 83 parliamentary seats in these three states on 13GE Polling Day on May 5, as PR only won three or one in each state in the 2008 general elections – namely Bandar Kuching in Sarawak, Kota Kinabalu in Sabah and Bakri in Johore - but it is not an impossible target as it would have been five years ago.

I am encouraged from my lightning visits to Sabah (Sandakan and Kota Kinabalu) on Wednesday and Sarawak (Kuching, Mas Gading where our parliamentary candidate is Mordi Bimol and Serian where our parliamentary candidate is Edward Andrew Luat) yesterday that the winds of change are blowing strong and hard in these two states.

It was in Sabah that the catchcry “Ini Kalilah” and in Sarawak where the other catchcry “UBAH” first rang out loud and clear and which have now been joined as “Ini Kalilah – UBAH” to become the common cry and inspiration of all Malaysians in the country who want change to embrace the Malaysian Dream and an end to the politics of race, corruption, cronyism, abuses of power, violation of democratic and human rights, injustices and lack of good governance!

In the PR scheme of things for the 13GE, I envisage each of the three “fixed deposit” states not only winning at least one-third of the parliamentary seats in their respective states, i.e. nine seats each for Sabah and Johor and 11 seats for Sarawak, but collectively achieving a higher goal of 33 parliamentary seats.

Adding 33 parliamentary seats to the 79 seats won by PR in all the other states, PR will have reached the magic figure of 112 to win a simple majority in the Dewan Rakyat of 222 MPs.

This is of course a very precarious parliamentary majority of two, and PR must win another 12 additional seats from the other states to have a total of 125 MPs with a comfortable majority of 28 seats.

I am most encouraged by what is reported in the Sarawak press when I caught the 6 am flight from Kuching to Senai, which quoted the Sarawak Barisan Nasional election war room as conceding that 11 parliamentary seats in the state are in danger.

The Sarawak BN 13GE war room has categorised the state's 31 parliamentary seats in “black”, “dark grey”, “white grey” and “white” areas.

White is for safe seats, black for areas where the coalition faces overwhelming odds, dark grey for seats where it faces very strong opposition while constituencies where there are opposition candidates capable of causing an upset are white grey.

State BN secretariat spokesman Dato Peter Minos in revealing the ratings of the seats at a media briefing at PBB headquarters in Kuching yesterday said only Bandar Kuching, where voters seemed to have made up their mind, had been graded black.

He added that five constituencies listed as dark were Stampin, Sarikei, Sibu, Lanang and Miri while another five seats – Mas Gading, Saratok, Lubok Antu, Selangau and Hulu Rajang – were considered white grey.

With this concession from the Sarawak BN that 11 parliamentary seats in the state are under the various hues of danger, the Pakatan Rakyat is one step closer Putrajaya, provided Sabah and Johor can deliver their challenge of exceeding one-third of the parliamentary states in the respective states.

The situation in Sabah is very volatile, with 96 candidates contesting for the 26 Parliamentary seats (including the Federal Territory of Labuan) and 258 candidates contesting for the 60 State Assembly seats, viz:

Party Parliament State Assembly
BN 26 60
PR 26 60
STAR 21 48
SAPP 8 41
Ind 15 49
Total 96 258

If the Sabah voters are fully conscious and mindful of the historic and national significance of the 13G, to bring about an unprecedented change of Federal government which will have far-reaching impact on the future of Sabah, and join all Malaysians in the great battle between Pakatan Rakyat versus Barisan Nasional and not to allow a single vote to be wasted for a third candidate, then Sabah is capable of delivering its quota of 9 – 11 parliamentary seats to PR to realise the first democratic transition of power in Putrajaya.

Now to Johor - the third BN “fixed deposit” state. Can Johor deliver to Pakatan Rakyat more than a third of its total of 26 parliamentary seats – whether 11 or 12 seats?

Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was in Johore to carry out the directive issued earlier by the de facto UMNO leader, former Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir, that Gelang Patah be my “burial ground” while preserving Johor as the BN stronghold.

I have explained the rationale for my leaving Ipoh Timor, which I had won with a majority of over 21,000 votes in 2008 to contest in a high-risk constituency of Gelang Patah which was won by the MCA candidate with close to 9,000-vote majority in 2008 and a humongous majority of 31,666-votes in 2004.

I have said that I have put my head on the chopping block in contesting Gelang Patah and I am prepared to have my head chopped.

But if in the process, it could create greater political awareness and unity among Johor voters, whether Malays, Chinese, Indians or Orang Asli, to cause them to stand up for the Malaysian Dream, an objective which the Johor Malay leader Dato Onn Jaafar had also fought for as far back as 62 years ago in 1951 when he suggested that UMNO open its door to non-Malays and UMNO change its name from United Malays National Organisation to United Malayans National Organisation, I would consider it as a worthwhile patriotic contribution to the Malaysian Dream shared by all patriotic Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region, down the decades, whether in Malaysia or in the world Malaysian Diaspora.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timur