GPS should not abuse or misuse their super-majority in the Sarawak State Assembly or they will suffer the fate that befell Abdullah Badawi’s over 90 per cent super-majority in Parliament in the 2004 general election – the beginning of the end of UMNO political hegemony

There is a lot of gloom and doom in the political scenario in Sarawak as if the end of the world has arrived.

I am more sanguine. As Confucius said, “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall.” Nelson Mandela said: “Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

Sarawak and Malaysia need what I would call the “Chong Siew Chian Spirit”. Siew Chiang is the founder of DAP Sarawak setting up branches in Sarikei, Sibu and Kuching in 1978 and who contested in 14 parliamentary and state assembly elections but never succeeded personally. I respect Siew Chiang for his “never-say-die” spirit despite his inability to succeed in 14 parliamentary and state assembly elections. Sarawak DAP is today because of the Chong Siew Chiang spirit.

We must never say die or surrender in our mission to create a better, more just and equal Sarawak and Malaysia. We must have the stamina, commitment and perseverance to be prepared for the long haul – lasting decades and not just years; many general elections and not just one general election.

Sarawak DAP was established 43 years ago in 1978, and DAP had contested in 10 Sarawak state general elections since 1979 and nine parliamentary elections since 1982.

It was only in the fifth Sarawak state general election contest in 1996 after 18 years ceaseless and heart-breaking toil and unremitting commitment that DAP Sarawak succeeded in the breakthrough to be represented in the Sarawak State Assembly although DAP Sarawak had an easier innings at the parliamentary level – succeeding to secure the election of DAP Members of Parliament in Sarawak right from the first parliamentary election contested by DAP in 1982.

I still remember the 1996 Sarawak general election where three DAP Sarawak State Assemblymen made the historic breakthrough – Wong Ho Leng (Bukit Assek), Wong Sing Nang (Pelawan) and Wong Sing Ai (Kidurong).

However in the sixth Sarawak state general election in 2001, we were reduced to a sole Assemblyman for Kidurong, Chiew Chiu Sing who courageously faced the Taib Mahmud phalanx of sixty Barisan Nasional Assembly persons until DAP Sarawak won six State Assembly seats in the 2006 Sarawak state general election.

DAP Sarawak’s best results were in the 2011 general election, when under the leadership of Wong Ho Long, DAP won 12 state assembly seats. In 2016 Sarawak general election, this was reduced to six and now DAP after the 2021 general election is left with two Sarawak State Assembly persons – Chong Chieng Jien (Padungan) and Violet Yong (Pending).

What is worth nothing is that for last two decades, Sarawak Barisan Nasional (now Gabongan Parti Sarawak – GPS) had not lost two-thirds State Assembly majority for more than two decades.

The voters of Sarawak should have punished the GPS and its predecessor the Sarawak Barisan Nasional for betraying the rights of Sarawakians for half a century, for in 1976, the Constitution Amendment Act was passed with their support to downgrade the status of Sarawak from one of the three entities with Sabah and Malaya to form Malaysia to one of the 13 Malaysian states with far-reaching implications in terms of fair financial allocations, true autonomy rights in education and health, proper allocation of oil funds and equitable development expenditures in accordance with Malaysia Agreement 1963.

Now, the 45-year injustices of the 1976 Constitution Amendment Act had to be undone – as the 2021 Constitution Amendment Bill was passed with two-thirds majority in Dewan Rakyat on Dec. 14, 2021.

DAP should be rewarded for the nine DAP MPs who opposed the 1976 Constitution Amendment Act 45 years ago, but instead DAP and Pakatan Harapan candidates were punished for failure of the PH government to fulfil election pledges in 22 months when the PH government were given a five-year mandate to fulfil these pledges.

The 2021 Sarawak general election is a victory for the cybertroopers and propagandists who used misinformation and lies to present the voters with a false picture of the PH government.

Be that as it may, the Sarawak general election is not a cause for despair and hopelessness, but for new hope and confidence about the future.

Firstly, DAP would have won five more seats if the voting turnout was not as low as less than 60 per cent in the DAP areas and if not for the split Opposition votes as a result of the multiplicity of candidates. The 2021 Sarawak general election saw 349 candidates – when there were only 229 candidates in the 2016 Sarawak general election.

Secondly, although GPS has won with a landslide victory, GPS should not abuse or misuse their super-majority in the Sarawak State Assembly or they will suffer the fate that befell Malaysia’s fifth Prime Minister, Tun Abdullah Badawi who had over 90 per cent super-majority in Parliament in the 2004 general election – which saw the beginning of the end of UMNO political hegemony.

This is where the four PSB State Assemblymen and two DAP Assembly members have an important role to play - to keep the GPS government in check and ensure that it carries out its duty after the fullest consultation with all sectors of Sarawak society to restore the lost rights of Sarawak for the failure of the Federal Government to strictly adhere to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 starting with the demand for just compensation by the Federal Government for half-a-century neglect of the MA63 pledges and rights.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri