My hazy crystal ball on polling day

By Sim Kwang Yang / SKY

By the time you read this, on Tuesday April 7, 2009, the fierce campaigns at the two Bukits and the one Batang would have been over, as voters queue up to cast their precious votes.

Since whatever I say would not change the outcome, or influence the moral of the campainers, I may as well join many of my fellow commentators and cast into cyber sphere my conjecture on the possible results at the end of this evening.

So I unpack my dusty and hazy crystal ball and gaze inside. I see a 2-1, for either BN or PR. A 3-0 clean sweep seems unlikely for either side.

bukit-gantangBukit Gantang

I think PAS will win in Bukit Gantang on the strength of the non-Malay support for their candidate Datuk Nizar. Of the 3 component parties of Pakatan Rakyat, PAS also has the best organised campaign machinery.

bukit-selambauBukit Selambau

Despite the large number of independent candidates, I think PKR can pull through with a victory though with a slim margin. As in Bukit Gantang, the ethnic composition of Bukit Selambau is such that the multiracial appeal of the party may just deliver enough votes for PKR to scrap through.

batang-aiBatang Ai

In Batang Ai, BN should win with a larger majority than the 2006 general election.

I am a pessimist when it comes to electoral contests in Sarawak. If the party I support loses eventually, I will not be devastated. If it wins, then I can be pleasantly surprised.

In the last few days, I have been hearing negative noises about the PKR from Batang Ai. In a by-election like Batang Ai, when the Sarawak BN will concentrate all their vast resources on one single constituency, the opposition candidate will need a convergence of positive forces in order to win, maybe.

In Batang Ai, that convergence has been absent, especially in the last few days of campaign.

Young voters?

Young voters tend to support the opposition nationwide. For a constituency like Batang Ai, there are only old folks and young children still living in the longhouses. The young voters have all migrated to the Sarawak towns and even cities in West Malaysia in search of jobs and cash income. They are unlikely to get leave to go back to vote on a Tuesday. I have also not heard of any organised effort to make it easy for these young Ibans to return to Batang Ai to vote.

The opposition campaign seems to have run out of steam and cash in the last few days. Many strategic measures planned long before nomination days did not come to fruition. Somehow, the enthusiasm shown by PKR on nomination day just fizzled out in the end.

What was all that whisper about the mysterious big financial supporter behind PKR?


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