PETALING JAYA: The approval rating for Tan Sri Adenan Satem has soared to 85.5% as he prepares to face his maiden state election as Sarawak Chief Minister.
Adenan, who is widely expected to call the election in April, has received a thumbs-up across the board from Sarawak’s diverse ethnic groups, according to a recent survey headed by Assoc Prof Dr Jeniri Amir of Universiti Sarawak Malaysia.
His approval rating among the Iban, Bidayuh, Malay and Melanau is in the stratosphere zone of between 87% and 93%.
Dr Jeniri said the approval of these four native groups is crucial given that they comprise two-thirds of Sarawak’s 2.6 million population.
They like what Adenan has done so far such as abolishing bridge tolls, coming down on illegal logging and reducing electricity tariffs.
The survey also showed that 74% of Sarawakians approved of Adenan’s brand of Sarawak nationalism. They also want him to declare July 22, which marks the end of colonial rule in Sarawak, as their independence day.
However, Adenan’s standing among the Chinese stands at 64% compared with 74% for state DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen.
But Chong did not fare well among the native groups. His ratings among the four main native groups ranged from 35% to 51%.
State PKR chairman Baru Bian’s ratings among the native groups was better, ranging from 43% to 51%. The Bakelalan assemblyman’s approval rating among the Chinese stood at 61%.
“The Chinese like Adenan but the catch is that only 47% of the Chinese are expected to vote for Barisan Nasional in the state election,” said Jeniri.
The majority of the Chinese voters are likely to continue going for DAP even though they are not impressed with the opposition party’s Impian Sarawak, a programme aimed at reaching out to the rural voters.
The Chinese regard Chong, who is both an assemblyman and MP, as bold, vocal and able to voice issues of concern to the community. Some of them attribute policy changes taking place in the state to his check-and-balance role.
“The Chinese tsunami that began in the 2011 state election is still not over,” said Dr Jeniri, who is a leading authority on Sarawak politics.
Dr Jeniri said the current Chinese mood means that it would be tough for Barisan to take back any of the 12 seats that DAP won in 2011.
He said there will be a Chinese vote swing for Adenan but it may not be significant enough for the DAP seats to fall.
“Adenan has reached out to the Chinese. He said the Chinese are not pendatang. He gave funds to Chinese schools and the state has recognised the United Examination Certificate issued by Chinese schools. But they said it is not enough, they want real reform,” said Jeniri.
Barisan won 55 seats of the 71 state seats in 2011. The remainder were won by DAP (12), PKR (3) and an independent (1).
There will be a total of 81 seats up for grabs because an addition 11 seats were drawn out to accommodate the population changes.