EDITORIAL NOTES

The significance of the return of Chinese votes to Barisan Nasional: Sin Chew Daily

Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem reacts in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, on May 7, 2016.
Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem reacts in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, on May 7, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

The full results of the 11th Sarawak state election have been released, with the BN capturing 72 out of 82 seats up for grabs in an unquestionably landslide win.

State BN chairman Adenan Satem, who led the election war for the first time, has not only consolidated BN's hold in indigenous constituencies, but has even wrestled five "black" seats from the DAP. Al 11 new seats have also come under the BN, thanks to the powerful Adenan Effect.

It is without the slightest doubt that BN will rule the state again this time. Coupled with the return of Chinese votes, the current trend will serve as an important benchmark for the upcoming general elections.

The 16 Chinese-majority constituencies have been the most hotly contested battlegrounds in this election. DAP, which specialises in Chinese constituencies, won 12 out of the 15 seats it contested in the 2011 state election. 

However, given Adenan's people-friendly policies and his focus on Chinese constituencies this time, BN has managed to grab half oft the Chinese-dominant seats in the state assembly.

There are a host of reasons contributing to the decisive return of Chinese votes to the BN. SUPP has once again won the mandate of the Chinese electorate thanks to the party's more capable candidates. 

To top it off, Adenan's determination to be a chief minister serving the needs of all Sarawakians irrespective of race -- ranging in policies from fair treatment for all races to the recognition of UEC certificate and more generous allocations to Chinese schools in the state -- is the biggest reason for BN to win back the trust of the community.

The shift in the community's attitude in favour of CM Adenan shows that Chinese Sarawakians approve and support any leader who is moderate, liberal and just. 

Any leader who practices good governance will not be alienated by the Chinese community, which is all the more willing to change its stand.

Adenan's model of administration is poised to influence the BN on Peninsular Malaysia, and open the eyes of Umno to the fact that Chinese Malaysians are not born opposition supporters. 

If they want to win the support of Chinese voters in the next general election, they will have to be as moderate, liberal and fair as Adenan Satem. 

Leaders who embrace racism and extremism will never be able to win the approval of the Chinese community.

The outcome of Sarawak state election also serves as a key turning point for the Chinese community in the state. 

If they remain as antagonistic to the administration as in the past, it will not only fail the expectations of Adenan for introducing all the Chinese-friendly policies, but will also instill a wrong impression among BN component parties that it is simply impossible to win back the hearts of Chinese Sarawakians. 

As if that is not enough, it could even exclude the Chinese community from the administrative core and mainstream politics.

The return of Chinese votes shows that the community is still very much appreciative of a bigger presence of Chinese representation in the state administration especially with regard to the community's development. 

This is a political reality that all Chinese Malaysians must come to terms with.

As the biggest state in the country in terms of land area, Sarawak has the largest number of state and parliamentary seats. 

As such, the state election offers a glimpse into how the BN federal government should tackle the 14th general election, and has very important connotation to the future political development of this country.

The landslide victory in Sarawak may boost the morale of BN, prompting its president cum prime minister Najib to call for early election.

That said, BN leaders must realise from what happened in Sarawak that only genuine adherence to the spirit of good governance could assure the ruling coalition of winning the hearts of voters.
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Sin Chew Daily is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, an alliance of 22 newspapers.