PETALING JAYA: The ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) has retained the 71-seat Sarawak State Legislative Assembly with a lower majority, say unofficial results.
The BN, unofficial results reveal, had bagged 50 seats, while the opposition comprising PKR, DAP and PAS alongside the Sarawak National Party (SNAP) managed to wrestle away 21 seats in the state.
At the 2006 state election, the BN obtained 63 seats, DAP won six, SNAP and PKR one each.
The unofficial results, if true, would see a massive cut in the number of seats won by the BN. It had lost an additional 13 seats to the opposition compared to the 2006 polls.
The reduction in the number of seats for the BN will not in anyway put its two-thirds majority in the state assembly in jeopardy.
The BN only needed to win 36 seats to obtain a simple majority and triumph in 48 seats to safeguard its two-thirds majority at the state assembly.
Long-serving Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud retained his seat in Balingian. Taib had been the opposition’s focal point and came under relentless attacks.
Taib beat Suriati Abdullah of the PKR and Salleh Jafaruddin, an independent. The official tally for the seat is yet to be announced.
Taib, who has served as chief minister the last 30 years, was accused of enriching himself, family members and his cronies by awarding contracts to them. He was also accused taking over ancestral land belonging to the local people.
Taib has refuted all these claims.
The reduction in majority would require the state BN to do some soul-searching in its effort to safeguard the state at the next election, expected in 2015.
On another front, Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian has triumphed in Ba’Kelalan. He beat Willie Liau of the BN in the constituency which had 6,958 voters.
Observers are also anxious over the fate of Sarawak United Peoples Party (SUPP) George Chan Hong Nam who is contesting the Piasau state seat. Chan, who is also deputy chief minister, is up against Ling Sie Kiong of DAP.