Hard truth is SUPP faces a monumental task going into battle
CHIEF Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg confidently announced that the state’s Barisan Nasional candidates would get better results at the 14th general elections (GE14).
Abang Johari said this during the announcement of the Sarawak BN candidate list for parliament seats held at Parti Pesaka Bumiputra (PBB) Bersatu headquarters last week (Apr 24).
He believed Sarawak BN could wrest back at least three or four parliamentary seats in the state previously won by the opposition.
Sarawak BN comprises four component parties namely PBB, Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) and Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP).
PBB is the incumbent for its own 14 parliament seats and PBB should have no problem to defend them.
PRS is the incumbent for six of the allocated seats. There may be a bit of a challenge in its Selangau constituency but in general the party should not have much trouble to defend all of its parliament seats.
PDP faces a similar challenge in its Saratok parliamentary seat but the general feel is that it would retain all of its four allocated seats.
The sentiment now is that, of course the possibility exists for PBB, PRS or PDP to lose any of its safe seats but chances are small.
A loss in any seat held by the three parties would be catastrophic for the entire Sarawak BN reputation.
SUPP, on the other hand, is the incumbent of only one out of total seven parliamentary seats allocated to the party.
The opposition had won the six other seats now being contested by the party at GE13; five were held by the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and one by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).
SUPP only holds Serian as a safe seat. Note that the constituency is predominantly Bumiputera.
As the state BN chairman, Abang Johari has to promise and deliver a good number of seats to caretaker Prime Minister and national BN chief Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Following this, SUPP president Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian, who is also the Stampin parliamentary seat candidate, has to promise and deliver a good number to Abang Johari.
In his announcement, Abang Johari was confident that Sarawak BN could get up to 29 seats, and the expectation here was that SUPP would wrest back at least four seats from DAP and PKR.
This is also provided that the other component parties, namely PBB, PRS and PDP deliver all 24 seats won in the last GE13.
It can be concluded that to win 29 parliament seats (out of the 31 seats in total), the pressure is on SUPP.
I am not denying that the other Sarawak BN component parties have the responsibility to assist SUPP but the hard truth is that SUPP is to face a monumental task going into battle compared to PBB, PRS and PDP.
Out of the six parliamentary seats that SUPP is expected to wrest back from the opposition, only three seats, namely Sarikei, Sibu and Miri were won by either the DAP or PKR with a slim majority.
With a committed campaigning effort (and without internal sabotage), I believe that SUPP could win back these three seats.
It’s also has to be said that SUPP faces a steeper challenge to win back any of the three other seats won by DAP with a huge majority namely Bandar Kuching (majority of 48.36%), Stampin (majority of 29.74%) and Lanang (majority of 19.35%).
I expect Bandar Kuching to be a write-off for SUPP. The party has better chances of winning Stampin compared to Lanang.
SUPP must at all costs win Stampin. It’s a ‘Do or Die Mission’ for the party.