At Kuching, the capital of the Est Malaysian state of Sarawak, a new government was sworn in after the ruling Alliance Party agreed to take part in a coalition.
At Kuching, the capital of the Est Malaysian state of Sarawak, a new government was sworn in after the ruling Alliance Party agreed to take part in a coalition. When elections ended on July 4, days of bringing between the parties ended in surprise deal between the alliance and the left-wing Sarawak United People's Party.
The new coalition commands 27 of the 48 seats in the state assembly. Sworn in as new chief minister was Dato Haji Abdul Rahman ya akub, who was education Minister in the former Alliance Party government.
The United People's Party is supported mainly by Sarawak's chinese residents, who make up just under a third of the state's population. Previous Alliance governments have accused the party of being infiltrated by communists, But leaders like Stephen Yong, sworn in as deputy chief minister, have been excluded from these charges.
Many Iban people, once renowned as headhunters, supported the Pesaka Party, a splinter from the alliance. But one winning Pesaka candidate has gone back to join the coalition. Other Iban backed the Sarawak National Party, which won 12 seats, more than any party except the Alliance.
The Sarawak elections were held a year late. They were suspended along with parliamentary democracy when violent riots broke out after elections in West Malaysia in May, 1969.
This year voting lasted four weeks as election officers visited remote jungle areas on foot or by canoe. Polling was high despite fears of communist interference, but three officials were killed and four wounded when their canoe ran into an ambush.