Sibu by election underway
May 08, 2010 15:30 PM
DAP Hopes For Political Magic To Win Sibu By-Election
SIBU, May 8 (Bernama) — The DAP is hoping for political magic to help them win the Sibu parliamentary by-election on May 16.
Its parliamentary leader, Lim Kit Siang said today the party was facing an uphill battle against Barisan Nasional (BN) in this by-election.
He even rated DAP’s chances of winning at 40 percent.
“The battle of the century has began and we want the people in Sibu to speak up,” he told a press conference after the nomination process for the by-election concluded on Saturday.
DAP is fielding Sarawak DAP Chairman, Wong Ho Leng to contest in the by-election which is being held following the death of incumbent Datuk Robert Lau Hoi Chew on April 9.
The by-election will see a three-cornered fight between Wong, Barisan Nasional’s Robert Lau Hui Yew and independent candidate Narawi Haron.
Meanwhile, Narawi when met before submitting his candidacy, said his decision to contest was to assess his popularity.
“I want to see how much votes I will get this time around as compared to the last state election,” he added.
Narawi had once contested for the Sibu parliamentary seat in 1995 where he only managed to garner 975 votes and lost his deposit.
9-10am: Submission of nomination forms
10-11am: Objection period
11-12 noon: EC’s official announcement
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11.29am: Returning officer Wong See Meng announces that one objection was made but none of the three candidates are disqualified.
It’s a three-cornered fight among Robert Lau (SUPP-BN), Wong Ho Leng (DAP-Pakatan) and Narawi Haron (Independent).
The trio, on emerging from the nomination centre, give the crowd their own unique hand signals – a thumbs-up from Narawi, while Lau holding up his forefinger (to indicate 1Malaysia).
Wong initially mimic Lau but when DPM Muhyiddin Yassin quips that this was a sign for ‘1Malaysia’, the DAP candidate quickly displays three fingers instead (indicating that he is number three on the ballot paper, photo).
He uses his left hand as his right hand is wrapped in a plaster cast due to an accident.
The eight-day campaigning period begins with polling on Sunday, May 16. Lau’s name will be first on the ballot paper with Narawi second and Wong third.
Muhyiddin vows that BN will strive hard to retain Sibu. However, he refuses to reveal the BN target for this by-election or whether the ruling coalition is aiming for a bigger majority.
“We know our target, but there is not need to announce it.”
He concedes that the Chinese voters are crucial as they form the majority in the electorate.
“We know to handle it,” he said, referring to the voting pattern of Chinese Malaysians who have mostly backed DAP in the past.
The seat has some 54,695 registered voters with 36,389 Chinese (66.7 percent), 12,050 Ibans (22.1 percent) and 5,740 Malays (10.5 percent).
11am: Objection period ends.
10.33am: Cheering war continues between BN and Pakatan supporters. Both sides are waiting for the returning officer to make an official announcement on the candidates. No objections have been raised so far.
10.15am: It is learnt that Robert Lau (SUPP-BN) has submitted his nomination papers at 9.02am, Wong Ho Leng (DAP-Pakatan) at 9.03am, while independent candidate Narawi Haron submitted his at 9.25am. A three-cornered fight looms. No objections raised so far.
10am: Returning officer Wong See Meng announces nominations are closed. The one-hour objection time begins. The BN crowd starts shouting “Hidup Pemuda” and “Hidup BN”. This stirs up the emotion of the Pakatan supporters, who also start chanting slogans.
BN Youth retaliates by singing patriotic songs, while the Pakatan side shouts “Undur Barisan, Hidup Pakatan”.
9.30am: Pakatan supporters, beefed up by hardcore supporters from the peninsular, continuously cry out slogans such as “Hidup Rakyat”, while the largely local BN supporters wait quietly for the outcome of the nomination process.
One of the Pakatan banners says, “Vote BN = Vote White Hair”, a thinly veiled reference to long-time Sarawak CM Taib Mahmud, who has been in power for more than a quarter of a century.
9.10am: Narawi Haron (right), the expected independent candidate, arrives at nomination centre.
9am: Returning officer Wong See Meng declares nomination open.
Both DAP’s Wong Ho Leng and SUPP’s Robert Lau Hui Yew enter the nomination centre at the same time at 9 on the dot (below).
8.50am: Both opposing parties are backed by crowds of supporters had gathered outside the nomination centre in Dewan Suarah in Sibu town.
The BN crowd is estimated at 3,000, overwhelming the 300-strong Pakatan crowd.
Pakatan leaders seen in the crowd include DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim, PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, party vice-president Azmin Ali, PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub and party deputy election director Wan Abdul Rahim Wan Ahmad.
A few Snap leaders are seen on the Pakatan side. They include party president Edwin Dundang and secretary-general Edmund Stanley Jugol. Snap, which has recently joined the Pakatan coalition, is split into two factions, with the other faction backing BN.
The BN entourage is led by Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. With him are Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, Sabah CM Musa Aman, Gerakan president Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Umno Wanita chief Shahrizat Abdul Jalil and the wife of senior Robert Lau.
Interestingly, no top MCA leaders are there.
8.45am: DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang exchanges some light banter with SUPP leader and Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Peter Chin.
“It is good that the PM comes everyday, ‘angpow’ will arrive everyday,” Lim told Chin.
8.40am: The BN crowd arrives to join the Pakatan supporters at the nomination centre.
Both BN and Pakatan supporters are separated by 100-strong FRU at two different parts of nomination centre and they are not able to see each other.
Top leaders move inside the compound of nomination centre, sitting inside the camp provided by the Election Commission.
8.30am: Muhyiddin Yassin leads BN supporters in quietly marching to the nomination centre, about 1km away. With him are Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud and other to BN leaders. No slogans are heard.
8.20am: Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin arrives at the BN gathering point. He along with other BN leaders shout “Hidup BN” and “Satu Malaysia”. He calls out the slogan in Chinese too. The pronunciation is not bad, observes a journalist.
8.10am: Pakatan supporters first to arrive at the nomination centre. They chant, “hancur, hancur, hancur BN” as they march.
7.45am: Pakatan Rakyat supporters at Rejang Park begin marching to the nomination centre at Dewan Suarah. The crowd is estimated at around 300 strong.
7.40am: Hundreds of SUPP and BN supporters congregate at the residential area of Taman Delta, which is around 1km from the nomination centre.
They are in high spirits, holding both BN and SUPP flags. BN candidate Robert Lau, who is among his supporters, said he “feels good” ahead of the eight-day campaign.