After analysing the selection of the Barisan Nasional’s direct candidates and where they will be contesting, I can say with certainty that it will not be plain sailing for many of them.

It is mind-boggling how and why they are selected, in the first.

In some of these areas, the candidates should be either from Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) or Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP), both component parties of the Barisan Nasional, but Chief Minister Adenan Satem chose to pick members from SUPP’s rebel group United People’s Party (UPP) and SPDP’s splinter group, Parti Tenaga Rakyat (Teras), instead.

Unhappiness and disappointment among members of SUPP and SPDP will be one of the main reasons why the direct candidates will not find it easy to win.

What makes anyone think that Wong Soon Koh will be able to retain his Bawang Assan seat in the state election? Or will Tiong Thai King edge out DAP’s Yap Hoi Liong in Dudong?

Or why is UPP insisting of taking Pelawan from SUPP and put in Janet Lau as candidate?

What changed Adenan’s heart?

We do not know what kind of convincing feedback from the ground that UPP leaders have that changed Adenan’s heart to nominate Wong, Tiong and  Janet Lau as direct candidates?

In Pelawan, David Wong Kee Woan won by  6,391 votes against Goh Chung Siong in 2011. That was a huge vote-margin loss for Goh.  Can Janet gather more votes to win Pelawan.

We know that Wong as SUPP-BN candidate was able to retain Bawang Assan in 2011 election because of the votes from the Melanaus and Dayaks. He lost heavily in the Chinese areas. At the end, he managed to win by 1,808 votes.

Now that Wong is no longer with SUPP, it is even harder for him to retain the seat. Will SUPP members support him? Will Robert Lau Hui Yew, who was proposed by SUPP to contest in Bawang Assan, and his supporters give their support to Wong?

Robert Lau Hui Yew has been going to the ground to solicit support from the voters of Bawang Assan over the last few years. Therefore, he has established some sorts of relationship with the voters there.

Many SUPP members, if not all, have accused Wong of splitting the party when he and his supporters unsuccessfully tried to take over the party in 2011. They have not forgotten that. If their anger at him still persists, then we do not expect them to support Wong.

There is no point in appealing to SUPP supporters to vote for Wong. Because they will not.

Angry reactions of SUPP supporters

Looking at the angry reactions of the SUPP supporters in Sibu, after Adenan had named Wong, Tiong and Janet as direct candidates, the DAP’s chances of retaining Pelawan, Dudong and Bukit Assek have increased substantially. I am not surprised if the DAP will wrest Bawang Assan from Wong.

And of course, the DAP has reasons to see Wong out of the State Assembly. The DAP state assemblymen had called him “Motion King” for his fondness in tabling motions to suspend the DAP assemblymen from the state assembly sitting.

Wong may have done much for Sibu town, like setting up of university college and other public amenities and facilities. But these are for the benefit for the folks of Sibu town. What he has done for the longhouse folks who have been his loyal supporters all these years?

I don’t want to say much about Tiong Thai King. He is now 71 years and had been member of parliament for Lanang from 1995 to 2013 and is now Sibu Municipal Council chairman since 2004. As chairman of SMC, he can do a lot.  So, there is no need for him to be a YB anymore.

So what else does he want? In the word of Adenan “cukuplah”.

I also want to question Adenan on why did he change his mind to replace Adam Yii with  Hii King Chiong in Pujut? The result of this replacement will be reflected in the number of votes Hii will obtain on May 7.

Adam has been the local favourite of the voters in Pujut since he has been helping them over many years. We can imagine how disappointed he is when he is replaced by Hii in Pujut. We do not have to imagine hard that Adam and his supporters are most unhappy at this very moment. Why not when he is replaced after being announced as the candidate for Pujut?

Can Hii, who comes from  a wealthy family, edge out the DAP’s candidate in the election later? I doubt it very much. Pujut, to all intents and purposes, is as good as belonging to the DAP.

But, of course, the direct candidates linked to PBB, of which Adenan is the president, are safe. This is because they are nominated to contest in areas  where the majority of the voters are Dayaks.

The Dayaks are known to be strong supporters of the Barisan. So, the possibility of these direct candidates winning is rather high.

I am referring to the nominations of Miro Simuh in Serembu, John Ilus in Bukit Semuja and Gerawat Gala in Mulu, who are all PBB members, to contest in the election. Serembu, Bukit Semuja and Mulu are supposed to be allocated to SPDP and SUPP.

But Adenan, due to calls from PBB grassroots, decided to nominate PBB members as direct candidates, depriving SPDP of the opportunities to contest in Serembu and Mulu and SUPP in Bukit Semuja. He can always reject the calls from his party members, but he did not. Instead, he acceded to their calls.

Lame excuse

The lame excuse is that there is no guarantee that SPDP and SUPP will win in these three seats.

At a press conference, Adenan made no excuse in openly admitting that he wanted PBB to be more stronger. Naturally, these three direct candidates will become PBB wakil rakyat if they win in the election, thus increasing the number of PBB state assemblymen from 40 to 43 or even more if other direct candidates decide to choose PBB as their party of choice.

A stronger PBB is not necessary good for the Barisan Nasional and Sarawak as a whole. It may become too arrogant, disregarding the views of other component parties of the Barisan as well as the views of the people.

After analysing the past many state elections, the election on May 7 is creating a history of sorts. It is the first time that when we see so many direct candidates going to be fielded. Perhaps, it is Adenan’s way of trying to win as many seats as possible.

Looking at the flip side of the coin, some analysts thought that Adenan’s way is short-term to win in an election. It is all about winning as many seats as possible while he is still in office, but at the expense of other Barisan component parties.

Already, we have heard of angry reactions from SUPP and SPDP or even PRS surfaced, but, of course, not from UPP and Teras. These two parties are the political beneficiaries of Adenan’s way in fielding direct candidates, so there is no reason for them to complain.

Intense struggle for seats

What will happen when Adenan is no longer the chief minister after five years? There will be fierce  fighting for seats in the post-Adenan era. Will the state Barisan break up due to the intense struggle for seats? Can the next State Barisan leader find amicable solutions to all the problems arising from the nominations of direct candidates?

We have already heard from SUPP president Sim Kui Hian that those seats which are allocated to UPP-direct candidates still belong to SUPP. Sim is telling Adenan and whoever his successor is that  putting up UPP-direct candidates is only for short-term. In the next state election, SUPP wants to take those seats back.

So, in this May 7 election, we expect to see intense proxy fights between SUPP vs UPP direct candidates and to a lesser extent proxy fights between SPDP vs TERAS direct candidates.

With this kind of sad political scenario, Pakatan Harapan’s aspirations to win more seats may be realised, not because it is stronger but because the unhappy and disappointed voters want to show their displeasures and frustrations on what they perceive to be undemocratically wrong. –