KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 1 – The decision by Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem to “announce in advance” the 11th state election date, has sent the whole town talking. Even tough he is no stranger to making bold decisions, Adenan, still managed to catch many by surprise when he, at a function in Santubong late Friday night, announced candidly that the State Election is to be held on April 30 while nomination is on April 18.
He chose to move away from the norm of his contemporaries, who preferred to keep the sacred date a top secret until much later, and the announcement, has been received positively by many in and outside the political sphere. Political scientist Assoc Prof Dr Jeniri Amir said the announcement had indicated two things, that the 71-year-old ‘supremo uno’ was not only confident of winning the state election, but also to win with a bigger majority.
Secondly, he said, was the state Barisan Nasional is already very well prepared to face the election. This will be the first state election that Adenan leads as a Chief Minister. The Dean of Social Science Faculty of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) said what it can say is that he is confident. By choosing to reveal the proposed date a couple of months early, Adenan also intends to stop all speculation regarding the date.
“At the same time, the announcement is an advantage in terms of giving a level playing field to all political parties from both divide ample time to gear up for the much-awaited event. This is unprecedented. I think this should be the way forward for a mature democracy,” Jeniri told Bernama.
In an immediate response to the announcement, the Election Commission said only it has the power to decide on the dates for nomination and polling, after the State Assembly is dissolved. However, Jeniri said it is worth to note the EC will decide based on the proposed date submitted by the Chief Minister.
He added that the prefered date was also strategically timed with the second ‘Senada Sejiwa’ programme, a state government programme that aims to boost the people’s support for the government. The programme was launched in early January and the finale will be in Mukah on March 20.
He also said that was the biggest indicator that the State Election will be held in April. He added that the programme is also used to gauge the people’s support to the ruling government. ‘Senada Sejiwa’ was first held in a prelude to the 10th State Election in April in 2011. In the last election, the Barisan Nasional won 55 out of 71 state seats contested. A total of 82 state seats will be contested this time. –Bernama