Sunday, June 29

Larry Sng’s fate is hanging on the balance

Come 5 July 2008, the fate of Larry Sng in PRS will be decided once and for all when James Masing’s supreme council meet in Miri. During the meeting, the supreme council will receive reports from all its divisions and grassroots leaders make a decision regarding the membership of the assistant minister.

According to inside sources, Larry Sng’s membership is a foregone conclusion. “The supreme council is merely to endorse the decision. As a matter of fact, a letter has been drafted and will be sent to the Chief Minister informing him that Larry is no longer a member of PRS and his post as assistant minister should be replaced by one of PRS’ State Assemblyman,” said the sources.

Masing is therefore kicking the ball to Taib’s court with the sending of the letter. Naturally, all eyes will be on Taib whether he wants to keep Larry Sng or replaces him. Taib’s sincerity is being tested.

According to the volume two of The Broken Shield which is due to be published soon, “it was Masing who strongly recommended that young Larry to be appointed as an assistant minister. Even the Chief Minister was reported to be reluctant to appoint Larry as member of his cabinet as the ‘boy was just born yesterday’. But if Masing insisted that Larry be appointed, then Taib asked Masing to put his recommendation in writing. By asking Masing to put it in writing, Taib was actually protecting his own name. He did not want to be accused later on of giving preference to Larry.

“Masing did as advised and even showed the contents of the letter to a reporter. Masing said that Larry was recommended in recognition of his father’s contributions to the party and the Dayak community.”

Now Larry is going to be “partyless” and a “free” man and will make his move when the time comes. But whatever move he will make, his political life will never be the same again. Many see that his political life is coming to a hasty end. His greatest blunder is to challenge Masing for the leadership of PRS knowing very well it is a Dayak-based party. For sure, he will never be accepted to be the “tuai rumah” in PRS “longhouse”. Now being partyless, his seat of Pelagus where the Dayaks form more than 90% of the electorate will be taken away by Masing’s man in the next election. Unless, of course, he is prepared to contest as an independent candidate. Certainly not as a BN man. His family might be rich and his father-in-law may be a millionaire. Money alone, however, may not be enough to win votes in this constituency. There are factors that a non-Dayak candidate may have to counter.

Larry Sng is the third generation politician of his family. Sng Chin Joo, Larry’s grandfather was a councilor of Kapit District Council as well as a nominated MP for Kapit after the formation of Malaysia. Following Chin Joo’s footsteps was his son, Sng Chee Hua (Larry’s father). Sng Chee Hua used a PBDS platform to contest the Pelagus seat and served for two terms, i.e. from 1993 to 2001. He was replaced by Larry from 2001 onwards.

Could the expulsion from PRS signify the end of the Sng family’s political dominance and business influence in Kapit? ………more to come from The Broken Shield.

Saturday, June 28

Will merger between SPDP and PRS bring about Dayak unity?

IN the last few weeks or so we have heard of Abdul Taib Mahmud, PBB president, George Chan, SUPP president, and Sim Kheng Hui, SUPP secretary general talking about merger between SPDP and PRS and it appears that they are so concerned about Dayak unity.

*Talks of merger resurfaced after the 8 March 08 parliamentary elections. The talks believed to have emerged on 7 May 08 during a coffee break after the morning session of the Dewan Undangan Negeri (Council Negeri) meeting. James Masing was sitting with a PRS leader when Taib joined them. Also joining them were William Mawan and Dublin Unting. During this coffee break, Taib brought up the subject of merger between SPDP and PRS.

Masing was quick to ask Taib: “Sir, are you serious in seeing that the two parties merge?” Without hesitation, Taib replied: “Ya, ya, of course I am serious.”

Masing was said to be unsure of Taib’s intention following an earlier encounter with Taib when he (Taib) told Masing that Datuk Sri Daniel Tajem had not done anything when he was one of the deputy chief ministers in Taib’s cabinet. Masing could not understand why Taib mentioned Tajem to him. Could it mean that Tajem was useless and that PRS should keep away from him? And why did Taib keep on reminding them regarding the merger of the two parties to form a bigger union? Was he really sincere? These are some of the questions that PRS leaders are asking themselves.

In the absence of Chinese influence, PRS can become not only a strong rural based party, but can also become a very formidable Dayak party supported by people like Tajem, Salang and hardcore members of the defunct PBDS. The recently concluded parliamentary elections saw many hardcore members of demised PBDS led by Tajem lending support to PRS candidates resulting in comfortable victories by the six PRS candidates.

And by merging, the two parties will invite more troubles and create more problems for themselves. For example, the questions of leadership and the Chinese influence come to mind. Who should helm the new party? And what about Chinese members and influence?

On the question of leadership, there are SPDP members who do not want Masing to take over because of his involvement in the deregistration of Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak. Some senior members of SPDP are also interested in the leadership of the new entity. Similarly there are PRS members who do not want Mawan to be the leader of the merged party because of his personal characters. There will be leadership tussles and these will possibly lead to two or even three factions each to be headed by a president with separate supreme councils. Bickering is not good for the new party and for the Dayak community

The possible presence of Tiong King Sing, Larry Sng and Ting Pek Khiing in the new party frightens PRS leaders and members and may be not so much to SPDP. PRS leaders have seen how decisions in SNAP, PBDS, SPDP and PRS have been dictated by strong Chinese influence. PRS itself was almost deregistered due to the leadership struggle between Masing and Larry Sng. Currently it is trying to get rid of Chinese influence in the party.

Taib must have sensed that Masing and his party members were hesitant in forging the merger with SPDP. So once again Taib mentioned the importance of merger between the two parties, but this time around he mentioned it during an official function on 20 June and not over a cup of coffee as he did previously. He even saw beyond the merger of the two parties when he expressed the hope that the new entity would eventually join PBB to form a bigger union of Bumiputra party. ……. More to come..

* This article is taken from a chapter on PRS CRISIS of Volume two of THE BROKEN SHIELD. The book is due to be published soon.
Read comments from other blog >> What SPDP-PRS Merger?Grassroots Consulted?

Wednesday, June 25

Cold feet reactions to Taib's suggestion

The “cold feet” reactions by Masing and Mawan to Abdul Taib’s suggestion that both PRS and SPDP upon their merger should consider joining PBB were really a slap on the face on the chief minister.

Masing said: “It needs a lot of thinking, rational thinking, and not emotional thinking” and added that a marriage was not something anyone should rush into and it should be no different for political parties although the prospect of having a well-to-do spouse was very enticing.

Mawan, on the other hand, wanted to take things step by step and the obvious step was to merge SPDP and PRS and if they could merge in a peaceful manner and they could become solid, the next step would be to go a step further in achieving solidarity of the BN government with regards to Bumiputra politics as envisaged by the chief minister.

“But you have to polish yourself first, you have to get yourself united and have a lot of common stand in a lot of things” said the SPDP president.

Taib’s suggestion stunned and startled many political observers and politicians as it was not so long ago that Taib vehemently rejected the applications made by MP Joseph Salang, MP Jawah Gerang, MP Aaron Dagang, State Assemblyman Gasbriel Adit and State Assemblyman Stanley Ajang to join PBB after they were rendered partyless with the death of PBDS in October 2004. I remember the partyless five, as they were popularly known, pleading and begging to join PBB and they waited for more than three years. And yet their applications were rejected. They then joined PRS and SPDP.

In fact all along, Taib and Dayak leaders in PBB did not want other Dayaks who were educationally better qualified to join PBB. Remember they rejected Daniel Tajem and his followers after they were expelled from SNAP in July 1983. There could be many reasons, but for the Malay/Melanau group, they did not want the Pesaka wing to be too strong otherwise it would pose a threat to the Malay/Melanau hegemony. As for Jabu, he did not want other Dayaks to over shadow his leadership. He prefers the Pesaka wing to be small. Enlarged Pesaka can mean less business opportunities and smaller cakes to be divided.

So why did Taib suddenly want PRS and SPDP to join PBB after they have merged? Was Taib really serious? Or was he being influenced by other events such as the political tsunami after the March 2008 elections, the expansion of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) to Sarawak or the promises made by PKR and DAP for a Dayak to be made the chief minister of Sarawak?

Saturday, June 21

Council's discriminatory policy against Dayaks

THE exclusion of 42 Dayak jungle produce traders from Tabuan Jaya in the Stutong Community Market clearly manifests a racially biased policy towards the Dayaks by the SUPP controlled South Kuching City Council (Dewan Bandar Raya Kuching Selatan).

When confronted by leaders of Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA), the newly appointed City Council James Chan realised this “racially biased” ruling and appealed to them not to publicise it as it was very sensitive. He promised to look into the plight of the Native farmers and allowed the farmers, in the meantime, to carry out their business at the car park at Tabuan Jaya.

According to inside sources, Native farmers selling jungle produce would pose strong competitions to Chinese grown vegetables. Thus, the Native traders should not be allowed to sell their jungle produce at the Stutong Community Market and they should sell their produce at Semaraing, across river, or at 3rd Mile, 7th Mile and 10th Mile markets where they could compete among themselves.

The odd thing is that while there are Chinese traders who do not wish to trade at the Community Market are being “forced” to carry out their business at the market, and there are those who wish to carry out their business there are disallowed. As we found out today, some traders occupy two or three lots and the question is why the empty lots are not given to those traders who are keen to conduct their business at the market such as the jungle produce sellers?

When this market was constructed, its intention was to bring all kinds of traders selling vegetables, fruits, fish, chicken, pork, foods and drinks into one roof so to speak. Thus it is named Stutong Community Market to enable every one irrespective of his race to trade there. This is one way how nation building and racial integration can be enhanced and harmonized.

And the one man who should see this racial integration developed is Michael Manyin who is the Minister in charge of Local Government of which the City Council is under his jurisdiction. He should be the one who should speak up against this biased policy against these poor Dayak vegetable sellers. After all, he is a Dayak and should fight for Dayak interests.
Note: Please visit the following links from for additional information about this issue:

Tuesday, June 17

Is PKR the answer to Dayak unity?

FOLLOWING the good performances by parties, which espouse multi-racialism at the March 2008 elections, many hold the views that racially based parties like UMNO, MIC and MCA are no longer relevant in today’s politics. Thus, focus has been centred on Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

When the defacto leader of PKR, Anwar Ibrahim visited Sarawak a couple of months back, many so-called Dayak leaders jumped into the PKR bandwagon honestly believed that multi-racialism “is good for the Dayaks”. Even those closely associated with the formation of Malaysian Dayak Congress (MDC) have given up the idea of pursuing the registration of the congress.

“MDC is a communal party. It is not good for the Dayaks. PKR will look into the interests of the Dayaks,” they said and added: “Dayak problems will be treated as National problems.”

But is multi-racialism good for the Dayaks? Or for that matter is PKR the answer to Dayak unity and woes?

Recently the author of The Broken Shield was with Datuk Sri Daniel Tajem and two MDC leaders trying to find out the opinions of Dayak leaders in Sibu, Bintulu and Miri regarding their stand on application to join PKR. What we found out was that there are two schools of thought.

First, there are those who are too eager to join PKR because they believe that they would automatically be made leaders of their respective areas and their responsibility was to recruit as many Dayaks as possible. And as leaders they believe they will be given the first choice to be selected as candidates.

Second, there are Dayak leaders who are cautious before committing themselves into joining PKR. Because if they are too eager how would Anwar Ibrahim look at them or Dayaks as a whole? Further more, if anything goes wrong, it will not be an easy thing to make amends. For the Chinese in PKR, they have DAP to fall back to and the Malays, they have PAS. But what about Dayaks?

As Tajem told them, he neither encouraged them nor stopped them from joining PKR. But what he wanted them to know was that after in politics for nearly 40 years, he had fallen into sweet promises of politicians, many of them were his close friends. He felt cheated and worst of all being betrayed. There were therefore lot of disappointments, frustrations and unhappiness.

Anwar Ibrahim may be a good person. But what about other leaders especially those who come after him? Little doubt PKR is a multi-racial party, but are the Malays readily conceding their rights such as the sovereignty and supremacy of the Malays in order to give equal rights to the Dayaks? Are they prepared to give up their “ketuanan Melayu”? As long as this is the Malay attitude, there is always the master/slave syndrome; and as such how can we be equal to them in terms of opportunities?

Two things we must make it very clear to the Dayaks. One is joining PKR as an individual, and the other is joining the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) or People’s Alliance through a political party.

Joining PKR on an individual basis has more disadvantages than advantages. You are merely adding to their number, playing peripheral role with Dayak unity being further undermined and Dayak political power severely weakened. Whereas joining Pakatan Rakyat is like becoming a member of Barisan Nasional. Indeed PR is an alternative to BN. In our opinion, it is necessary that we pursue with the registration of Malaysian Dayak Congress or through the existing parties like SNAP. Not only MDC or SNAP will be able to present a formidable force of unity in the People’s Alliance, but the chance of a Dayak becoming the Chief Minister of Sarawak is there.

Monday, June 9

The author of The Broken Shield in Bintulu from 13-15 June 2008

The author of The Broken Shield will be in Bintulu from evening of June 13, 2008 to June 15. He is bringing with him several copies of the book. Each book is being sold at RM60.00. He can be contacted at HP 019-8763222.

Meanwhile, the editing of the second volume of the book is ready and is about to be sent to the printers. The book, which has about 350 pages, contains lurid details of power struggles in SNAP, PBDS and PRS. The last chapter of the book is on Dayak Agenda - the creation of new breed of Dayaks upon them the future of the community will lie.