Sarawak Election 2016

2016 Sarawak State Election

On May 7, Malaysia's largest state goes to the polls. As any election is a numbers game, here's a break down of the numbers that count in the Land of the Hornbills.

Abdul Rahman Ismail (BN-PBB)

Malay/Melanau 56.5%; Chinese 28.1%; Iban 10.3%; Orang Ulu 4%; Others 1.1%

Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan (BN-PBB)

Malay/Melanau 73.8%; Chinese 14.2%; Iban 1.6%; Orang Ulu 9.7%; Others 0.7%

Four seats have had their names changed for the 2016 election

  • N.19
  • N.34
    Batang Ai
    (Batang Air)
  • N.41
    Kuala Rajang
  • N.68
    Tanjong Batu

New seats

  • N.13
    Batu Kitang
    (P196 Stampin)
  • N.17
    (P197 Samarahan)
  • N.18
    (P198 Puncak Borneo)
  • N.23
    Bukit Semuja
    (P199 Serian)
  • N.26
    (P200 Batang Sadong)
  • N.40
    (P205 Saratok)
  • N.57
    (P213 Mukah)
  • N.63
    Bukit Goram
    (P215 Kapit)
  • N.66
    (P216 Hulu Rajang)
  • N.70
    (P217 Bintulu)
  • N.78
    (P220 Baram)

Facts and key statistics

Total number of registered voters as per Q4 electoral roll: 1,138,650

Number of polling centres: 1,871

Number of polling streams: 2,936

Number of Election Commission staff and volunteers: 21,368

Seats by majority ethnic group, 2016 breakdown

Malay/Melanau majority constituencies
28 seats

Tanjung Datu, Pantai Damai, Demak Laut, Tupong, Samariang, Satok, Asajaya, Muara Tuang, Sadong Jaya, Simunjan, Gedong, Sebuyau, Lingga, Beting Maro, Saribas, Kalaka, Kabong, Kuala Rajang, Semop, Daro, Jemoreng, Nangka, Dalat, Tellian, Balingian, Jepak, Bukit Kota and Bukit Sari

Chinese majority constituencies
15 seats

Padungan, Pending, Batu Lintang, Kota Sentosa, Batu Kitang, Batu Kawah, Repok, Meradong, Bukit Assek, Dudong, Bawang Assan, Pelawan, Tanjong Batu, Piasau and Pujut

Iban majority constituencies
22 seats

Balai Ringin, Bukit Begunan, Simanggang, Engkilili, Batang Ai, Layar, Bukit Saban, Krian, Pakan, Meluan, Ngemah, Machan, Tamin, Kakus, Pelagus, Katibas, Bukit Goram, Baleh, Kemena, Samalaju, Marudi and Batu Danau

Bidayuh majority constituencies
7 seats

Opar, Tasik Biru, Serembu, Mambong, Tarat, Tebedu and Kedup

Orang Ulu majority constituencies
5 seats

Belaga, Murum, Telang Usan, Mulu and Ba'Kelalan

Mixed seats

Stakan, Bukit Semuja, Bekenu, Lambir and Senadin

Seat distribution by parties prior to dissolution

Logo and brief description of the main political parties

Barisan Nasional component parties:

Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB)

President: Tan Sri Adenan Satem

The state Barisan Nasional lynchpin holds nearly half, or 35 of the former 71-seat Sarawak state assembly. In both the 2006 and 2011 elections, the party made a clean sweep of all of the seats it contested.

Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP)

President: Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian

Sarawak’s oldest political party, formed in 1959, was battered in the last state elections. Adding to its woes, a split led to the birth of the United People’s Party, which took with it four assemblymen, leaving SUPP with just two.

Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP)

President: Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing

SPDP won six seats in 2011 but now has none. Five assemblymen left to join the breakaway Teras, and another quit to join the Sarawak Workers Party.

Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS or Sarawak People’s Party)

President: Tan Sri Dr James Masing

PRS was set up in 2003 in the wake of the de-registration of Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PDBS). It currently holds eight state seats.

Breakaway Barisan Nasional friendly parties:

United People’s Party (UPP)

Set up in 2014 as a breakaway of SUPP. It has four state assemblymen, all former SUPP representatives.

Parti Tenaga Rakyat Sarawak (Teras, or Sarawak People’s Energy Party)

Set up in 2014, Teras is an offshoot of SPDP and is led by former SPDP president Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom. It now has five state assemblymen.

Opposition parties:

Democratic Action Party (DAP)

State chairman: Chong Chieng Jen

The fortunes of Sarawak’s main opposition party have grown over the past three state elections. It won one seat in 2001, followed by six in 2006. In 2011, it doubled its tally, winning 12 seats.


State chairman: Mohamad Fidzuan Zaidi

This election will be the maiden outing for the PAS splinter party, a member of the Pakatan Harapan opposition grouping along with PKR and DAP.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)

State chairman: Baru Bian

PKR has yet to make an impact in Sarawak. In 2006, it contested 25 seats but won only one, though its fortunes improved in 2011 when it won three seats.

Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS)

State chairman: Jofri Jaraiee

PAS has yet to win a seat in Sarawak. Its best result so far has been in Beting Maro in 2011, where its candidate lost by a slim 391-vote majority to Barisan Nasional's Razaili Gapor of PBB.

Sarawak Workers Party (SWP)

The party has two assemblymen. On April 20, SWP founder Larry Sng quit as party president, leaving the leadership of the party in question.

State Reform Party Sarawak's (STAR)

The party did not contest the 2011 state polls, while its seven candidates in the 2013 general election fared badly. After the death of its permanent chairman Dr Patau Rubis on March 20, the party appointed Lina Soo as its new leader.

Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDS Baru)

President: Louis Jarau

PBDS Baru is an Opposition party set up after the demise of PBDS, a BN component party that was deregistered in 2004. The Registrar of Societies approved PBDS Baru in 2013.

Timeline on some of the key political events in Sarawak

  • 1963

    Tan Sri Stephen Kalong Ningkan is appointed the first Chief Minister of Sarawak.

  • 1966

    Datuk Seri Tawi Sli, from Sarawak Alliance (Pesaka), takes over as Chief Minister.

  • 1970

    Tun Abdul Rahman Ya'kub takes office as Chief Minister and later becomes the fourth Governor of Sarawak.

  • 1981

    Abdul Rahman’s nephew Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud, who was earlier appointed as State Minister for Land and Mines, succeeds his uncle as Chief Minister.

  • 1983

    Sarawak Barisan under the leadership of Taib adopts the Barisan Plus formula to resolve the conflict between coalition component parties SNAP and its breakaway PBDS. Under the formula, both parties are allowed to use their own symbols to contest against each other, even though both are Barisan components, in disputed seats.

  • 1985

    Abdul Rahman is removed as Governor, a move that sparks a political crisis in Sarawak.

  • 1987

    Taib calls for snap elections, outmanouvering his rivals in the political crisis. Known as the Ming Court Affair, the crisis involves a dispute with Abdul Rahman.

  • 2011

    Barisan’s second-biggest component party SUPP performs badly in urban seats, winning only six of the 19 seats contested.

  • 2014

    After 33 years helming the state, Taib steps down as Chief Minister, with Tan Sri Adenan Satem succeeding him. Taib is appointed Sarawak Governor.

  • 2014

    A split in Barisan component parties SUPP and SPDP gives rise to breakaway parties UPP and Teras, complicating seat allocation among parties for the coming polls.