from Batang Ai by-election
De facto leader of Parti Keadilan Rakyat Anwar Ibrahim will arrive in Lubok Antu today (1 April) to give the Batang Ai by-election a big push. He has three programmes for Lubok Antu – one at a longhouse, second at a Malay kampong and third at Lubok Antu itself where he expects to address a crowd of 3,000 or more people.
Anwar’s visit will further enhance the chance of Jawah Gerang winning the by-election and at the same time to stop speculation that Anwar is not serious in the Batang Ai by-election.
Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Barisan Nasional campaigners have been telling voters that Anwar is more interested to see by-election victories in Bukit Selambau and Bukit Gantang.
2. BN campaigns are still in low key
A disgruntled member of PRS told The Broken Shield that BN campaigns are still in low key. Everything is still in disarray. Even PRS operations room at one time was left unattended. Except for visits of ministers and deputy ministers, campaigns have not begun in earnest.
This is a normal strategy of Barisan Nasional. First, they appear to be indifferent towards the campaigns so that their opponent will be lulled into complacency. Secondly they want their opponents to exhaust their resources.
They will go all out three days from polling. This will be the time they will announce more election projects or instant “noodle” projects. Each one of the Tuai Rumah will be called to the district offices where they will be coached to say “election words”. After the coaching has been done, they will bring with them “angpaus” to be distributed to their respective voters.
And the amount of “angpaus” given to Tuai Rumah is not the same, depending on the number of doors of the longhouse. On arrival at their own longhouses, the Tuai Rumah will call each one of the voters to his “bilik” and it is here that the voters receive the “angpaus” and told them to vote for the BN candidate. How can we beat this system?
3. Mussen’s shyness is confirmed
PRS secretary general Wilfred Nissom said that Malcolm Mussen, the PRS candidate for Batang Ai by-election was “smart” and carried with him years of experience in agriculture and that he would let action do the talking.
He said his shyness should not be interpreted as being lazy because Mussen “walks the talk”.
Most of our Dayak YBs are shy and when you are shy you are “malu” to ask something from anyone, in their case, from the government. Does it mean anything to you that most of the Dayak constituencies are lacking in development as compared to Malay or Chinese constituencies? So if the shy Mussen is elected, do we expect much from him as YB? Think about it.
4. PKR gets lukewarm response at Rumah Jubang
It is reported that a group of 15 men from Parti Keadilan Rakyat last Sunday evening was said to have received a poor response from Rumah Jubang Bin, Sebangkai Panjai. A resident who told Utusan Borneo said that the group had come with a loudhailer and flyers at 8.15 pm at a time when the residents were relaxing and chatting with each other.
“We saw them coming in vans and cars, and they immediately made their way to our longhouse. They went into a living room of one of our residents to hold a campaign for their party.
However, not many of us were interested to listen to them because majority of us are Barisan Nasional supporters. So, we just minded our own business and went to our respective rooms.”
Sebangki Panjai is the longhouse of the late Dublin Unting. In 2004, this longhouse was partitioned into two with one section having its own Tuai Rumah who was appointed by the late Unting.
The other partition with the original Tuai Rumah supported Jawah Gerang of PBDS during the parliamentary election. William Nyallau, an independent candidate, was supported by Unting, PRS and BN. Jawah defeated Nyallau with a 2,035 vote majority.
5. Masing says Jawah has no authority
James Masing has put the blame on Jawah Gerang for the lack of development in Lubok Antu because as an MP for 22 years Jawah did not lobby hard enough for development.
“Of course as an ordinary MP, Jawah has no authority to call or decide on the development programmes in Lubok Antu, but he should have lobbied hard for development in his area,” he said.
But Jawah refused to be blamed for not delivering development to Batang Ai in his five terms as Lubok Antu MP. If there is anyone to be blamed for lack of infrastructure projects in Batang Ai it should not be him.
“I did not hold any ministerial post when I was MP. The ministers in Sarawak could have done something to develop Batang Ai instead of focusing on their own areas like Mukah, Betong and Kapit.
“If Batang Ai or Lubok Antu is not well developed, these ministers should be the ones to be blamed. Don’t blame Jawah,” he said.
Abdul Taib Mahmud spent billion of ringgit to develop Mukah. Although we have hydro-electric dams to produce electricity, yet Taib proposed the construction of coal-powered electricity.
This alone costs the people’s money to the tune of RM800 million. A road is also being built to link Mukah with Nanga Merit, Kapit where there are found coal deposits. In terms of road construction, ‘siapa untung’? In terms of taking coal deposits, ‘siapa untung’?
Same thing happens in Betong, the home town of Alfred Jabu. Betong gets its funds through virement of funds from other projects in other areas, resulting in these areas left with little development or no development at all. As for Kapit, Masing, although a minister, has little authority to decide on development. Just like Jawah.
6. Sng’s statement
The Broken Shield has received a statement from Dato Sng Chee Hua:
“With reference to recent articles in the local Chinese dailies, I would like to make it known that I have already retired from politics. As such I no longer involve myself in party matters and I support the Government of the day.
“I am aware that certain Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) leaders who have ill-will against me, from the fall-out in the party, are trying to accuse me of working against the interests of Barisan Nasional in Batang Ai. This is a lie. I am a BN man and I believe that BN will deliver the seat.
“I am compelled to issue this press statement in the light of the recent allegations which have no basis whatsoever against me in the media.”
Dato Sng Chee Hua
31 March 2009
7. Ng appointed as advisor to PKR candidate
A Chinese newspaper, United Daily News, reported erroneously that PKR State assemblyman Dominique Ng has replaced Nicholas Bawin as PKR director of operations for the Batang Ai state by-election.
The correct position is Ng has been appointed party advisor to the PKR candidate in Batang Ai, Jawah Gerang, and also as the coordinator for the Batang Ai by-election matters while Bawin remains as director of operations.
Selangor menteri besar and PKR national vice president Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said on Sunday that Jawah and Bawin would be campaigning separately across the 156 longhouses in the sparsely populated state constituency.
Bawin told The Broken Shield that he and his group would continue campaign in the lower Lemanak area while Jawah and his group would be covering longhouses in the upper reaches to counter the propaganda campaign by the BN groups such as JASA, KEMAS and Agriculture Department.
Next he would move into Engkari before rounding up the campaigns in the Batang Ai resettlement areas where there are 21 longhouses.
8. SNAP to rejoin BN?
News being circulated in Batang Ai is that Sarawak National Party (SNAP) is to rejoin BN after it left the coalition in 2002 following a leadership crisis. That crisis led to the formation of Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP).
SNAP’s rejoining the BN is to be announced by UMNO president and in-coming Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak when he visits Lubok Antu in the next few days to campaign for the BN candidate.
Sources from SNAP say that making the arrangement for SNAP’s return is former Bintulu MP and SNAP deputy president Ting Ling Kiew.
But SNAP president Edwin Dundang and secretary general Stanley Jugol, according to the sources, are likely to join the Pakatan Rakyat. Relationship between Dundang and Ting has suffered a setback after Dundang did not agree to SNAP taking part in the Batang Ai by-election. Ting is also known to be anti-PKR extending its base to Sarawak especially among the Ibans.
If SNAP is really serious in returning to the fold of the Barisan Nasional, the party is expected to undergo another crisis which may finally lead it to self-destruction. In fact, the sword of Damocles is still hanging over its head.
Even if Najib is going to announce SNAP’s re-entry to the BN in Lubok Antu, it is going to have a minimal effect on the on-going by-election. After all SNAP is almost left with its “tulang” (bones) only.
9. YB William Nyallau hospitalized
News reached The Broken Shield that YB William Nyallau anak Badak has been hospitalized at the Normah Medical centre. It is due to fatigue after a strenuous campaign for the BN candidate, Malcolm Mussen.
How serious is it, no one knows.
But whatever it is Batang Ai is a hot seat where two State assemblymen had died in office, Sylvester Langgit (died in a road accident) and Dublin Unting. So is the Lubok Antu parliamentary seat and an MP was killed in a road accident. Only Jawah Gerang, the five-term MP has survived, because he is guided by unseen hands. Strange but it is true.
10. Masing and Jabu argue over PRS billboards
James Masing and Alfred Jabu were reported to have a heated argument over certain billboards which feature only the photographs of PRS leaders and not PBB, SUPP and SPDP photographs.
When Jabu saw these billboards, he was furious because his photograph and the photographs of other leaders were not included. So he confronted Masing over this.
Masing tried to explain that since this is PRS war, some of the billboards need only to feature the photographs of PRS leaders, because their pictures are more appealing to the voters.
Masing knows that the people of Batang Ai especially those SALCRA participants just hate Jabu and the more Jabu tries to be present in any political campaigns the more the BN candidate will lose the votes.
But will the heated argument between Masing and Jabu affect the outcome of the by-election or even the PRS membership in the BN?
More to come…stay tune to www.thebrokenshield.blogspot.com