Sarawak polls: Indigenous groups will be the kingmakers, says survey

MIRI: Voters from the poorer sections of Sarawak’s minority ethnic groups will be the kingmakers in both urban and rural constituencies come polling day on May 7.

Society for Rights of Indigenous Peoples of Sarawak (SCRIPS) secretary Michael Jok told The Star that surveys on the ground showed the growing importance of minority native voters like the Orang Ulu in urban Sarawak.

As for rural seats in the northern and central region ofTelang Usan, Mulu and Murum, minority groups like the Penans will be the kingmakers because most of them can now vote since they have identity cards.

“The kingmakers in urban seats are no longer the Chinese or Malays or Ibans.

“These communities are today very divided in terms of political views. In urban seats like Miri, the native voters from the Orang Ulu groups will be decisive, especially the Christian natives.

“For example in Telang Usan, Mulu and Murum, the Penans will be the decisive factor because the Dayaks and Orang Ulus are split among themselves,” he said.

Jok said that is why political candidates from both Barisan and Opposition parties including Independents and Barisan Nasional direct candidates are so aggressive in wooing these minority voters now.

This can be seen by the daily visits by political leaders and campaigners to woo this segment of the voting population, he said.

Jok also pointed out the growing influence of Christian voters throughout Sarawak.

This is especially evident in hot seats where the political opponents are locked in close fights, he noted.