It’s been awhile (again) since I last wrote. Work has been hectic and I haven’t had the time to do much reading and research. Except for the occasional tidbits here there.
Anyway, the recent Malaysian general elections #GE14 has just wrapped up and boy, were we all in for a surprise! For the first time since the inception of Malaysia, a new government has won the elections, helmed by our former Prime Minister Mahathir himself. It was a ride we all didn’t know which way it was headed, and a lot of tension when the results were announced. I didn’t expect to see a transition of power from the former Barisan Nasional government to the opposition (now government) Pakatan Harapan in my lifetime.
What does this mean for East Malaysia, the Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak?
After much drama and 2 Chief Ministers sworn consecutively in Sabah, the Sabah state government is now led by the new Warisan government, an ally of PH (the state elections and the parliamentary elections are held together). Sarawak already had it’s state election in 2016 and is not due till 2021. But parliamentary seats in Sarawak climbed to 12 out of 31 this general election, an increase of 6 seats from the last general election, to the shock of the then government who has always called Sarawak a BN “fixed-deposit”.
There were rumors after the federal government fell to PH that BN Sarawak might apply to join the PH coalition, to the consternation of many Sarawakians. There are and has been many infractions under the current state government including issues like mega dams, native land encroachment, and corruption which made BN Sarawak join the PH coalition as something unacceptable by many locals, myself included.
I hope that the BN Sarawak leadership can use this opportunity to maintain itself as a credible opposition to provide check and balance against the federal government. UMNO is facing a leadership crisis after their loss and is slowly crumbling from within. This is the chance for BN Sarawak to take the mantle of BN leadership nationally. BN Sarawak still has the support of many locally, and maybe by banding together with other disgruntled Sabah based local parties, they may even be a formidable side.
I am right now still reveling in the many reforms taking place at the federal level, as well as exposes and the resignation of top leadership that, for so long has been the hallmark of the BN administration’s 60 years in power. Mahathir is a great statesman (with an iron fist), obviously an autocrat, but he wants to right his wrongs, and from where many of us are standing, it does feel like Malaysia now has a new hope for a better future.
The question is, will BN Sarawak ride the wave or will they crumble?