This blog post is based on DAP’s Forum Perdana at the Penang Chinese Town Hall last night. Photo credits to my lovely friend Jennifer Mourin:
Pakatan Rakyat has yet to overcome its shocking victory at the recent Sibu by-election, and now harbours fantasies of taking one giant leap to Putrajaya, the country’s administrative capital. They are quite convinced that after Sibu, they can, hand in hand, conquer Premier Najib Razak’s BN government.Can they do it?
If PR can make inroads into Sabah and Sarawak, party leaders warn, the Opposition coalition may very well be on their way to seize the federal government in the coming 13th general elections, rumoured to be around the first quarter of next year.
Oh, so very soon! Have you people registered as voters?
In a forum organised by DAP in Penang last night, every PR leader that spoke on stage, boasted about how courageous Sibu voters were, who did not cave in despite offers of monetary pledges worth millions from the Federal government.
They poured scorn over Najib’s antics in Sibu, including his lightning visit to the Tua Pek Kong temple and his ‘infamous vote buying’ speech at Rejang Park, which they claimed, actually contributed to the downfall of the BN and Supp, its coalition member in Sarawak, in the “buy election”.
“Even in the face of extortion, offer of millions of ringgit in the form of development and allocation for schools, churches and organizations, none of these could sway the hearts of the voters,” said State chairperson Chow Kon Yeow.
Bukit Mertajam MP Chong Eng was even more daring and dubbed the Sibu win as a ‘mid term review’ for the DAP and PR.
“We passed with flying colors” she thundered, while the 1,000 strong crowd who filled the Town Hall where the forum took place, clapped joyously.
She recounted her ‘tough’ journey into the interiors of Sibu to reach out to voters in long-houses and claimed that the party’s victory was indeed a ‘miraculous’ outcome which ended Umno’s notion of East Malaysia being its ‘fixed deposit’.
He later presented an analysis of DAP’s various strategies which managed to overturn BN’s influence in the Chinese dominated state.
He claimed that DAP faced an uphill task as half of the state was allegedly ‘controlled by big bosses (taiko) aligned to Supp’ and that the former employed most of the people in Sibu.
“The first hurdle was to get the people to vote against their bosses,” he said, adding that it was a challenge to penetrate into the longhouse community as it was tightly controlled by village heads who were paid monthly by the government.
“For those who said that DAP has all the opportunities to win in Sibu because 67 percent of the voters there were Chinese, really do not understand Sarawak politics at all,” added Liew.
Bandar Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen, who also attended the forum, concurred with Liew, saying that 50 percent of Sibu’s economy is controlled by timber tycoons aligned to Supp and Chief Minister Taib Mahmood.
“But our win in Sibu has caused panic in BN, where its leaders started to talk nonsense,” said Chong, although BN denied that it is horrified by the recent polls.
“A day after Sibu polls, Taib said that if a cock crows once, it does not mean that the dawn is near,” he added.
“But what Taib fails to understand is that when one cock crows, many others would follow,” he added, rousing laughter in the already excited crowd.
Meanwhile, PAS central committee member, Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, dubbed the victory of the Sibu polls as the “sweetest of all” because Pakatan managed to overturn BN’s 3,235 majority in 2008, to the coalition’s 398 majority win in 2010.
He said it was a miraculous win because “the people and God were with us”.
“During polling day it rained and flooded, and since flooding is such a big problem in Sibu, it reminded the people to vote against BN as it had done nothing for the people for years,” joked the Kuala Selangor MP.
Penang Deputy Chief Minister P Ramasamy said Sibu was a ‘symbolic’ victory for Pakatan rakyat as it indicated the possibility of BN losing in the 13th general elections.
He said BN’s ‘blatant corruption’ practices did not work in Sibu.
“We told the people of Sibu, take the money that BN offers, it is your money, but when it comes to voting time, vote Pakatan Rakyat,” added the Batu Kawan parliamentarian.
He incessantly waved the yellow pamphlet and spoke about the achievements Pakatan Rakyat governments have made in the two years since the 2008 political tsunami, which included better services to the public and monetary appreciation like the RM100 awards to senior citizens.
But he criticised Najib for acting like a ‘santa claus’ in Sibu, bearing ‘gifts’ which made it look as if the state was going to have ‘an early Christmas’.
However, Lim cautioned voters about the countless ‘crocodiles’ (read: Taib and his cronies) resting in the rivers of Sarawak.
“Vote PR (in the next elections) and we can help you catch and get rid of all these crocodiles,” he said sarcastically.
Despite the euphoria at DAP’s performance in Sibu and the provoking presentations by Pakatan leaders, a participant at the forum last night, said she wished there were some critical analysis of the by-election and not merely propaganda speeches.
READ also blog post on the same event by Masterwordsmith: GET CRACKING, PAKATAN RAKYAT.