The Next Battle: Sarawak

The Kuala Terengganu by-election is settled. Before the by-election, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said that the by-election should not be seen as a referendum on him; after the election, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, with his declining influence in the party, voiced out a different tune and said that the by-election was actually a referendum on Umno leaders.

Regardless how you see the by-election and how you interpret the result, it is undeniable that every election plays a role, some may also become historical turning points.

However, Pakatan Rakyat is still unable to seize power from BN in spite of the victory, and the result could not substantially change the current political situation, but it has in fact boosted their morale and obviously, the Sarawak regime would be their next target.

"BN must walk out from the sadness of defeat, while Pakatan Rakyat have to calm down from the passion of victory."

It is expected that Sarawak is going to hold its state election soon. For BN, it is a great battle that would affect its federal regime. The ruling coalition could bear no mistake this time.

At least the Kuala Terengganu by-election could be seen as a skirmish for the Sarawak state election. The by-election defeat is a big warning for BN.

However, the defeat does not necessarily mean doom for BN and Umno; it may not be a bad thing either.

Of course, to turn the crisis into a turning point, the prerequisite would be a serious review from BN and Umno. They should profoundly study why voters kept turning their backs on them.

It is not sufficient just to carry out a review, but most importantly, to take action.

Every election involves all human, material and financial resources which tests the parties' mobilisation capability, as well as the parties' performances. Its process and significance, particular new ideas and concepts proposed during an election campaign would continue to ferment with a far-reaching influence after the election. This is the most precious part of a democratic election. It is more important than the election result.

During the election campaign, both parties have made a number of promises and policy stances. In the following days, voters would keep observing their words and deeds.

BN must walk out from the sadness of defeat, while Pakatan Rakyat have to calm down from the passion of victory. Both of them should think about their strategies and directions for the Sarawak state election. This year, the political arena of Malaysia is filled with unpredictable variables. (By LIM MUN FAH/ Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE/ Sin Chew Daily)