Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Batang Ai, Sarawak

While many in Semenanjung are obssessing over the 2 Bukit by-elections, the one Batang by-election in Sarawak is equally interesting, if not more so.

http://media1.malaysiakini.com/32/cd3770af252b6453a29d087a90da7e80.gifchart from here.

The reason is that the Batang Ai by-election may well be a barometer of two things:

First, the state of Sarawak BN's governance under Taib Mahmud.

Second, the coalescence of the disparate Dayak community that has been divided and ruled for many, many decades.

There are two blogs, in particular, that are particularly high-profile. One is Sarawak Headhunter. The other is The Broken Shield.

Read these two blogs to get a better understanding of the depths of the Dayak sentiments in Sarawak.

chart from here

Whether these sentiments can translate into a victory for PKR in Batang Ai is the key question.

All things considered, the powers of incumbency and the substantive political largesse of the Sarawak BN delivered via the tuai rumah is very, very significant.

In an isolated constituency with poor transportation infrastructure, the political battle is pitched and guerilla-style.

But, the erstwhile Dayak political powerhouse, SNAP's declaration that it will not participate in the Batang Ai campaigning (presumably for BN) is also a significant gesture that does not augur well for Sarawak BN.

Keep the tuak flowing, guys.


Anonymous said...

I was once at Batang Ai in 1996 participating the in Rainforest Cup mountain bike race. Wonderful place! The trip by bus from Kuching was an adventure in itself. I never knew Sarawak was so big - and beautiful!

I finished second last in the race: but that's OK; I enjoyed being there tremendously!

de minimis said...

Bro Mat B

You have been places, bro. Beyond the Hilton....now that's where the action has begun. Many strangers are traipsing those trails that you traversed bearing gifts and promises.