Thursday, May 5, 2016

#PRNSarawak : PBB set to bag all the 40 seats it is contesting

PBB, the party which has always been part of the ruling alliance in Sarawak, looks likely to repeat its feat in the past two state elections when it swept all the seats it contested.

Most political observers are confident that PBB president Tan Sri Ade­­nan Satem’s team will be relatively untroubled in the 40 seats it is contesting as most are in rural areas.

Back in 2011, the PBB went for 35 seats.

Team Adenan appears to have pressed all the right buttons especially with his talk about unity and autonomy.

“At the heart of this manifesto is our promise to safeguard this precious unity of ours,” he said at the launch of the Sarawak Barisan Nasional manifesto last Tuesday.

His manifesto emphasised religious freedom, no hudud in Sarawak, no restriction on the word Allah and Bahasa Malaysia bibles.

In fact, Adenan has openly quoted from the Bible and given the assurance that Sarawak does not condone forced conversions.

Prof Dr Syed Arabi Idid of the International Islamic University said Barisan Nasional would lose some seats but it would not be those contested by PBB.

“I believe they’re very confident of straightforward victories; firstly because of Adenan’s popularity and secondly, there’s no strong Opposi­tion in the seats contested by PBB,” he said.

Development plans laid out by the chief minister for rural areas would comfortably see PBB through, he said.

PBB publicity and public affairs working committee chairman Datuk Peter Minos was quoted as saying last month that PBB’s election machinery had been ready for battle since March.

In the 2011 state election, Barisan secured about 80% of the Muslim bu­­miputra votes. This segment re­­mains PBB’s strongest support base.

Notably, none of the Muslim majority constituencies are in any danger of going to the Opposition.

So far, the grey seats PBB is contesting are those involving non-Muslim bumiputras like in Machan.

Nonetheless, Barisan’s dacing symbol remains a potent force to be reckoned with in rural Sarawak.

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak Assoc Prof Dr Jeniri Amir said rural areas had been the stronghold of Barisan and PBB for decades.

“The 40 seats should be no problem, but there will be uphill battles in a few seats maybe because of promises not fulfilled, less development and ‘wrong’ candidates,” he added.

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