KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 18 — The federal opposition faces an uphill task in winning over Sarawak voters from Barisan Nasional (BN) as the state’s Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem has the “Badawi effect”, PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar said today.
Nurul Izzah coined the term “Badawi effect” to describe Adenan’s popularity after taking over from his long-serving predecessor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud, alluding to former prime minister Tun Abdullah Badawi who had led BN to a clean sweep of 90 per cent of the federal seats in 2004, after replacing the country’s longest-serving prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“Generally we know that in terms of popularity, Datuk Seri Adenan enjoys the ‘Badawi effect’. I call it the ‘Badawi effect’ because of his replacement — after Taib Mahmud — certainly recorded up to 76 per cent popularity among Sarawakians.
“So this is not easy and we have to work hard and I believe what is most important is to nominate the best candidates to give voice to the people of Sarawak, that is what we can do,” the Lembah Pantai MP told reporters after a forum here this evening.
Abdullah – who shares a fairly common name with many Malaysians – is popularly known as “Pak Lah” but has also been called Badawi, though the name properly refers to his father.
Malays in Malaysia typically do not have a surname but instead take on their fathers’ names as their last name, as do some other ethnic groups.
Nurul Izzah said that Adenan’s popularity does not mean that the opposition does not place high hopes for the upcoming Sarawak election, adding that they will continue their efforts including a planned project to lit up the streets of the Ba’Kelalan village in Sarawak with 200 solar panels.
“We are also pragmatic by knowing that Datuk Seri Adenan is the main factor to BN having a better performance in Sarawak,” she said.
When asked about PAS’s intentions to mount a three-corner fight against BN and PKR’s allies DAP or Parti Amanah Negara, Nurul Izzah said the only way to fight against the ruling coalition was to take it on in a straight fight.
“For me, as usual, we as a party, Parti Keadilan Rakyat, realises that there is only one way to win Barisan Nasional, which is to fight one on one, so we continue that principle,” she said, adding that the public would want a united opposition front.
She also pointed to the Selangor government that is being administered by federal opposition parties.
PAS had cut ties with DAP, but the two political parties still have representatives in the Selangor administration led by PKR deputy president and Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.