Four BN seats in danger, says Masing
FREE DAY 3 What's happening in the state election campaigns around Sarawak today? Quotable quotes, planned events and unplanned incidents as they take place.
7.30am: At Senadin PKR candidate Teo Yu Kheng leads a peaceful protest against the SUPP incumbent for failing to address the constituency’s rising traffic problems, that he says is the result of development plans that fail to take this into consideration.
Among others, Teo blames a lack of transparency and lack of public consultation in the plans and wants FOI legislation to be introduced.
Response from constituents to the protest, says PKR, is ‘encouraging’.
10am: PRS chairman James Masing has said four of their seats are in danger and will need extra effort to win. They are Balai Ringin, Ngemah, Pelagus and Belaga.
He told Sinchew Daily that he believes the opposition will play up NCR land issues and launch personal attacks against the BN candidates for those seats.
Masing (centre in photo) said the help of the other BN component parties will be needed to help win these seats.
"Although these seats worry us, I believe that we still can win in the end," he was reported as saying.
10am: At Sibu, Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud (left) attends a ‘New Vision Tea Reception’ organised by local Chinese organisations, and delivers an hour-long speech. In his marathon delivery he condemns PKR and DAP for politicising the Al Kitab issue and urged Sarawakians to reject the two parties.
The state has never encountered religous and racial issues, says the 30-year CM.
"We live in peace with Christians, and churches built," he said.
He urged the people to keep Sarawak as it is.
"PKR leader is a chameleon....we can't have such a leader...people must stand up and say no (to them)", he exclaimed.
He tells the crowd the Al Kitab should never be an issue to the locals and they should not let it into the state.
The function is organised by United Chinese Association Sibu Division and three other Chinese local NGOs.
After the function those in attendance were reportedly disappointed with the CM for not addressing their concerns.
10.30am: In Kuching a dispute has arisen over a billboard image of a muscular-looking SUPP president George Chan.
In a Sin Chew report 'Since when did George Chan become a muscle man' (right), DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng has questioned if the billboard was trying to send a message that a vote against SUPP would reduce Chinese representation in government.
11am: In Kuching, DAP launches its next phase of leaflets that uses the hearty local dish of kolo mee as an analogy, to show what their alternative to the BN government has offered in Penang.
11am: Engkilili PKR lodges a police report over their flags being vandalised by unknown persons. According to Kajang assemblyperson Lim Kim Sin, who is campaigning for PKR candidate Marudi Mawang, they found that many of PKR’s flags at the entrance to Engkilili town and car parks had been vandalised. Some flags were even dumped into a nearby river.
11.45am: Sarawak DAP secretary Chong Chieng Jen says his party rejects incumbent Padungan assemblyperson Dominique Ng’s call for the party to withdraw from the Padungan race.
"The battle in Padungan is between the BN and the DAP. This is decision of Pakatan Rakyat... No one individual can have his wish over a whole political organisation," said Chong.
Yesterday, Ng urged the DAP to withdraw because their candidate was a greenhorn arguing that he stood a better chance of wining due to his incumbency.
2.15pm: Pakatan Rakyat launches a 10-point manifesto simultaneously in Sibu and Kuching.
Coming just a day after BN launched theirs, Pakatan's is more specific, promising to give each and every Sarawakians above 60 years old RM600 annually as 'welfare assistance', and detailing various measures for clean and good governance.
3.10pm: DAP tweets that KDN has allegedly forbidden advertisements for ceramah from appearing on the front page of Sarawak newspapers.
“(Election mascot) Ubah is upset that KDN has instructed all newspapers that advertisements for ceramah schedules can't be on the front page, only in the inside pages,” tweeted the party cheekily.
4pm: In Kuching Chong Chieng Jen claims that the Pakatan council had once mooted PKR state chief Baru Bian as a potential chief minister for Sarawak.
4.15pm: DPM Muhyiddin Yassin (with blue cap) arrives in Sibu airport and hits the ground running with a walkabout at Farley Commercial Centre, Sibu at 4.45pm.
He stops for teh tarik at the Farley food court and chats with several locals as he is served with roti telur and a platter of fresh fruits.
With him are Pelawan and Dudong candidates Goh Chun Siong and Tiong Thai Khing respectively. He then spends 15 minutes walking from shoplot to shoplot shaking hands.
After Maghrib prayers at Masjid Muhajirin Kampung Sentosa he will attend a '1Malaysia' dinner at RH Hotel in Sibu at 8pm.
4.40pm: Dominic Ng (in purple shirt) says the state election will serve as a referendum for the people to evaluate his work in the Padungan seat over the past five years.
“If the people agree with my past five years’ performance, I urge them to support me and I promise to continue my dedication in serving them,” he said in a statement today along with his report card to his constituents.
4.30pm: Opposition leader and PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim hits Miri with a ceramah in Kampong Luak (Senadin), moving on to Bekenu and two evening ceramah in Lambir ending with a Pakatan ceramah in Miri at 11pm.
6.45pm: In Kuching, a very low turnout is noted at Dominique Ng's ceramah venue. The event was advertised to begin at 4pm.
8pm: Ng finally arrives at his ceramah venue, sandwiched between several restaurants near his service centre.
About 100 people are lined up on the road next to the stage. It is difficult to estimate how many diners are actually there to see Ng.
He explains how he had become a pawn in an elaborate political ploy to get rid of him.
He said Anwar Ibrahim had assured him of his candidacy on March 29, but the very next day the party leadership instructed him to contest in the adjacent Batu Lintang seat.
He said he dutifully obeyed his party superiors and modified his campaign materials and posters, but he was dropped on March 4.
"Why should a person sacrifice it's only elected representative in Sarawak? Now I know it is a political exchange," he said.
8.35pm: Ng continues his ceramah saying, "I’d rather die standing and fighting for the people of Padungan, rather than live kneeling down."
He says he is not doing this for money but for his constituents, pointing out that he is not a wealthy man.
8.40pm: Taib Mahmud and his wife grace his alma mater St Joseph's Kuching for a fund raising dinner at Riverside Majestic Hotel. An ustaz and a pastor take turns reciting prayers before dinner is served.
Several state election candidates are also St Joseph's alumni, including independent candidate Dominique Ng, DAP's Chong Chieng Jen and SUPP's Alfred Yap Chin Loi.
The premier school was founded 129 years ago by the La Salle brotherhood.
9.00pm: Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin attends a ‘1Malaysia dinner’ in Sibu where he canvasses for support from the some 800 diners.
Clearly not impressed with Pakatan Rakyat’s slogan of ‘change’ or ‘ubah’ in Malay, in his speech he took potshots of their battlecry.
“They say change, but change is an archaic word. The word we in BN want to use is ’'transformation’...
“The prime minister has said that change is not sufficient enough. We must be able to transform to move the country,” said Muhyiddin to an appreciative mixed crowd, before launching into the successes of the government’s transformational programmes.
9.15pm: Abdul Taib pledges one month’s salary to St Joseph’s school, which is turning into a private school.
The school is seeking to raise RM13 million to fund its transformation into a private school.
“If you need help you ask the state government. Many Josephians there,” he said.
In his speech, the septuagenarian said that his days growing up in St Joseph were the happiest in his life.
9.30pm: In Kuching, Bersih 2.0 activist Wong Chin Huat was barred from entering Sarawak by immigration officials. He is also a social activist.
On his arrival at 8.45pm, he was told that travel restriction was imposed on March 29 by the CM’s office.
His last visit to Kuching was on March 19 for a forum on electoral integrity.
“I am arguing that under Section 67 of the Immigration Act I have the right to enter Sarawak for legitimate political activity,” Wong said.
“I am here as an election observer and representative of Bersih 2.0.”
9.30pm: In Sibu, DAP held a large ceramah for the third day at a road junction at Delta Park commercial area, and attracted a throng of over a thousand.
The speaker for tonight include four DAP candidates in Sibu, and DAP Beruas MP Ngeh Koo Ham.
DAP chose the venue as part of its strategy to expand its influence, hoping to capture new supporters.
Ngeh condemned SUPP for insulting the DAP mascot, Ubah the hornbill, where SUPP had described the bird as a “bully”,which carries same sound “opah” in Fookchew dialect.
DAP even set up three big screens.
Meanwhile, SUPP held a ceramah at a hawker centre near Huo Ping Road , which only attracted two hundred people.
The speakers include Dudong candidate Tiong Thai King, Bukit Assek candidate Chieng Buong Toon and Sibu Municipal Council deputy president Daniel Ngieng.
Tiong admit he can’t speak as well as those from the peninsular, but speaking well does not equal to performing well.
He jeers at DAP for copying US President Obama’s “change” slogan , but ultimately the US had landed in big trouble, with the country’s economic being badly hit.
Ngieng says Ubah has a big mouth and looks like a crow.
945pm: A PKR ceramah held in King Centre, Batu Lintang draws 400 people despite the drizzle.
PKR candidate for Batu Lintang See Chee How urges the audience to vote for him in order to get a better and transparent state government.
“We will give at least RM600 to senior citizens if Pakatan can form the state government,” he says, in reference to the Pakatan state manifesto which was launched earlier this afternoon.
9.45pm: For the Meradong state seat, DAP holds a ceramah for the second night at Bintangor town, a semi rural area 45 minutes drive from Sibu town.
The incumbent state assembly person Ting Tze Fui, who is seeking a second term, unfortunately has lost her voice during only the second day of campaigning.
10.15pm: Still at Sibu Delta Park commercial area, DAP election preparation bureau publicity chief Hiew Kuan Yau, who wears a Superman T-shirt, says he will wear his underwear like a Superman and go all over Sarawak, if all 19 SUPP candidates lose.
He jeered at SUPP incumbent Bawang Assan who had made a statement claiming that the majority of the crowd who attended the DAP ceramah were sent by SUPP, asking the crowd who are the party member sent by SUPP.
Hiew, who has a PhD in history, says if incumbent CM Taib Mahmud falls, he would made Taib’s luxurious house into a "Corrupted Officials Museum”.
10.22pm: A tweet from DAP’s Teresa Kok alleged that about 1,500 people attended DAP’s ceramah in Bintulu. DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang, candidate Chiew Chin Sing and Goh Liong San spoke at the ceramah.
11.15pm: DAP’s ceramah in Sibu ends, with the crowd singing the DAP party song.
The party invites supporters to wear red Ubah shirts and bring along Ubah mascots to attend another ceramah tomorrow, where Penang CM Lim Guan Eng would be the main speaker.
11.55pm: According to DAP publicity chief Tony Pua who is leading the party's Kuching campaign team, three DAP ceramahs in Kuching tonight have drawn an estimated 2,300 crowd in total.
This included 1,800 people at a ceramah at Kenyalang commercial centre, 1,000 people at BDC coffee shop and about 500 people at Xin Bao Bao coffee shop, which are situated in Pending, Kota Sentosa and Padungan respectively.
He tells Malaysiakini that despite DAP not organising a big ceramah tonight, they still managed to draw a strong crowd in three places.