If it is not confirmed already the calls by some quarters to dump East Malaysia for Pakatan Rakyat campaign strategy post-Batu Sapi defeat make it unavoidable for various parties to confront the issues if there isn’t already a Penisular centric bias in the PR’s political strategy? What would East Malaysians think of such a `strategy’ if it were true? What could be their possible response to it?
Firstly let’s look at the reasoning for such a `dump the east strategy’: it has been raised that East Malaysian constituencies are by majority rural based-as a urban-led reform moment PR will not do well in the East, except in the few urban seats. On the face of it the claim do sounds true-Sarawak only has less than 1/3 urban/town seats in the legislatures. But it is to be reminded that there are a lot of rural seats which the PR is contesting in Penisular. Then the argument may become: in Penisular there is a PAS which take care of rural seats. There is no equivalent in East Malaysia. This argument is not entirely absolute since political changes often occur at marginal areas-which tend to be at a certain point between the urban-rural divides. This apply both to Penisular as well as in East Malaysia. An effective `dump the East’ strategy may mean sacrificing those in the East Malaysian PR candidates/parties so that they will be left to fend for themselves-which seems to be unfair compared to the support given to candidates in similar rural/urban fault-lines in Penisular. On a wider perspective it is a test of the rural policies of PR-they simply can’t run away from this challenge, even though in practice there are the money politics and`development politics’ that need addressing too.