Wednesday, November 14

Excerpts from Chapter 5: The Fall-Out With Taib

It was evident during the SNAP-PBDS crisis that Taib was not only supportive of PBDS, but went all out to ensure that it was admitted into the Barisan Nasional. At one time, Taib even called SNAP the “real enemy” of the Barisan Nasional.

After a year or so in the Barisan, Taib started to pick quarrels with PBDS leaders insulting and chiding them whenever occasions presented an opportunity for him to do so. For example, at the opening of the Batang Ai hydroelectric station in Lubok Antu by the Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad on 21 August 21 1985, Taib spoke highly of Datuk Alfred Jabu, the deputy Chief Minister III as the true leader of the Iban community, honest and trustworthy. Datuk Leo Moggie, Minister of Telecommunications, Posts and Energy and president of PBDS, Datuk Daniel Tajem, the deputy Chief Minister II and deputy president of PBDS, other PBDS and Dayak leaders were present at the function.

Datuk Moggie, according to some observers, was seen very uncomfortable. Datuk Tajem, however, looked calm. To many of the Dayaks present at the function, Taib’s remarks were clearly aimed at chiding PBDS leaders especially Tajem, a member of his cabinet.

There was also another instance when Taib directed Jabu to officiate at an agricultural conference in Sri Aman organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Community, of which Tajem was the Minister. The reason was obvious and clear, that is to belittle Tajem.

According to Tajem, Taib began to change when he (Tajem) questioned him as to why Taib changed a number of decisions already agreed to by the cabinet without referring back to the cabinet. Usually Taib changed cabinet decisions after Wong Soon Kai allegedly met him privately. If such a cabinet decision had been made, which affected his ministry or the Dayak community or that it was made as a result of his ministry’s recommendation, Tajem would certainly ask Taib why such a decision had to be changed and why the whole cabinet was not informed of the change.