S'WAK POLLS BN appears poised to retain Sarawak, with pundits even predicting a bigger win this time around. However, a source claims that sabotage could affect the outcome.
According to the source, at least one-third of the 82 seats are witnessing attempts to undermine the chances of the candidates.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source told Malaysiakini that the situation is a result of BN direct candidates being fielded in seats traditionally contested by the Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP) and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP).
These candidates had quit their respective BN-friendly splinter parties United People's Party (UPP) and Parti Tenaga Rakyat Sarawak (Teras) to contest as direct candidates.
Being no pushovers themselves, the source claimed, these candidates who have political and financial clout have retaliated against the SUPP and SPDP candidates.
"This cannot be helped, for the state election is about survival. Their modus operandi of sabotaging each other is similar," he said.
Working to split the votes
According to the source, the party leaders and direct candidates are mobilising their members and supporters to convince voters to cast their ballots for the opposition candidates instead.
Furthermore, he claimed, some members have been asked to quit their respective parties and contest as independent candidates in order to split the votes.
The source said SUPP and SPDP are concerned that if the BN direct candidates win, the parties would not be able to reclaim these seats in future.
All 13 BN direct candidates fielded by Chief Minister Adenan Satem are being challenged by independent candidates or engaged in multi-cornered fights in their respective seats.
Independent candidates and multi-cornered fights are also on the cards for nine out of 13 seats contested by SUPP
The chief minister has described the 36 independent candidates as a nuisance and stressed that they would not be accepted into BN even if they won.
The source also claimed that there is another dimension to the sabotage, with some BN direct candidates engineering one another's downfall.
This is because the candidates are backed by two rival Sarawakian timber giants.
The source said while these tycoons appeared to stand together in support of BN, there was immense competition between them with regard to state contracts and other benefits.