PETALING JAYA: Sarawak DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen is ignoring the obvious in attributing his party’s poor performance in last Saturday’s election to low voter turnout and dismissing the effect of Chief Minister Adenan Satem’s popularity, according to political analyst Jeniri Amir of Universti Malaysia Sarawak.
Speaking to FMT, Jeniri said the main reason for Barisan Nasional’s impressive victory was that Adenan was popular with all communities, including the Chinese. He said this was shown in the reduction of votes for DAP in its Chinese-majority strongholds.
He was commenting on Chong’s statement that low voter turnout, not the so-called Adenan factor, was the main reason for DAP’s loss of five seats.
Jeniri said there was no guarantee that voters who did not turn up would have voted for DAP.
“If what Chong is saying about lower voter turnout is true, then DAP would not have been able to retain the seven seats that it did,” he said.
He noted that the Election Commission had said the voter turnout was 70%. This was close to the turnout at the 2011 state election, he pointed out.
Jeniri said the opposition needed to accept that Adenan’s popularity was the main factor in the polls, which saw BN winning 88% of the seats as well as the popular vote.
“The opposition parties need to do some soul searching,” he said. “If they keep harping on issues that have no relevance to Sarawak, like 1MDB and the RM 2.6 billion issue, they’ll not be able to improve their performance.”
Jeniri also dismissed PKR Vice-President Xavier Jayakumar’s assertion that a lack of opposition unity cost DAP the five seats.
Referring to multi-cornered contests where both DAP and PKR fielded candidates, he said, “Even the combined number of votes for DAP and PKR would not have been able to defeat BN.”