In The Star this morning (21.5.2006)
KUCHING: A Barisan Nasional wish for a clean sweep in the ninth Sarawak state elections ended in shock for the coalition, which lost eight seats to the Opposition and one seat to an Independent.
It was the best performance by the Opposition in the state which also saw an increase in the popular votes for it.
Having won two of the 71 seats unopposed on nomination day, the four-party state coalition led by Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud found itself boxed in the Chinese majority constituencies in Sibu and Kuching.
Suffering the severest blow was the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), which lost eight of the 19 seats it contested. It lost six to the DAP and one each to Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and the Sarawak National Party (SNAP).
The Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party lost one seat to an Independent.
The seats lost to the DAP were Bukit Assek, Meradong, Kidurong, Pending, Batu Lintang and Kota Sentosa.
SNAP took the Dayak majority seat of Engkilili.
PKR made a breakthrough by taking the Padungan seat.
Among the biggest casualties was SUPP secretary-general and Assistant Minister of Culture and Urbanisation, Datuk Sim Kheng Hui. He lost the Pending seat to the DAP's Violet Yong Wui Wui.
Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister's Office, Datuk Alfred Yap Chin Loi of the SUPP lost to DAP's Chong Chieng Jen.
Another casualty was SUPP vice-president Lily Yong Lee Lee who lost the Padungan seat to Dominique Ng Kim Ho of PKR.
At his Demak Jaya house where state Barisan leaders were gathered, Taib said he did not know why, but added betting could be a factor.
Taib said he was disturbed with the defeat faced by SUPP, which was the second strongest party in the coalition.
“Although SUPP had been dealt a severe blow, one defeat did not mean the end of politics. SUPP needs to think of ways to strengthen party and get the support of all the communities,” he told reporters.
On PKR's win, Taib said it did not mean that the party was making inroads into Sarawak.
A visibly upset SUPP president Tan Sri Dr George Chan said he had called for a meeting today to analyse the party's performance.
“We want to know why we lost. We want the rakyat to tell us why they are so unhappy and why the Barisan lost so badly in Chinese areas.
Wind of Change to start from Sarawak? Perhaps so. It is also very interesting to note that in the some of the key seats BN-SUPP managed to win, they won by very slim majorities:
Repok: BN-SUPP won by 576 majority
Dudong: BN-SUPP won by 408 majority
Pelawan: BN-SUPP won by 263 majority