Saturday, July 3

Election: Watch out for Taib’s beard

By Joseph Tawie

(This story was first published by Free Malaysia Today and is updated, rewritten and published for the readers of The Broken Shield).

KUCHING – As election is approaching, Sarawakians start talking – talking not about the date of election, but about Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud’s beard. As usual the date of Sarawak election is being determined by the length of Taib’s beard after he has started sporting it. Once it reaches a certain length, he will then be looking for “ilham” or inspiration.

Even though the election is about 13 months away, Sarawakians are watching the growth of his beard whenever he passes by or whenever his pictures appear in the Press.

All parties in the State Barisan Nasional or in the Pakatan Rakyat are making their election preparations because they do not know how fast is his beard is growing or when Taib will have the inspiration; nor do they want to be caught with their pants down.

Party leaders from both sides of the divide have started to criss-cross the length and breadth of the State, busily organising various functions. For the Barisan, its State representatives have started to announce funds for various development projects and to distribute funds for the village and longhouse development and security committees’ ‘gotong royong’ projects.

As if not to be left behind, the election commission has also identified election personnel and has started to train them to carry out election duties.

While watching the growth of Taib’s beard, and with all these intensified activities, many are predicting the election is to be held some time towards the end of the year; some even suggest it is going to be September or October. There are others who say the election will be held in March or April next year.

According to hotel sources: “Many of the star hotels in Kuching have been fully booked around October apparently for officials of the election commission and for federal ministers who will be coming in droves to assist in the campaigns.”

A political secretary to the Chief Minister, who refused to be identified said that the government’s five-year 10 MP (10 Malaysia Plan) starts in July this year during which time massive development funds will be dished out throughout the nation with special attention to Sarawak’s Corridor of Renewal Energy (SCORE).

Tenders for mega projects such as the Bakun Road to the proposed Murum Dam, the Bintulu/Tunoh/Baleh/Kotai road and Kapit/Song/Sibu road will be out soon. The three trunk roads are expected to cost close to RM2 billion.

There are also several major projects which are to be implemented under 10MP in other parts of Sarawak, for which funds amounting to RM3.4 billion had been announced by the Rural and Regional Development Minister Shafie Apdal.

Every BN Member of Parliament is being given an extra RM500,000 this year making a total of RM1.5 million and this sum will be distributed to the state constituencies which are under the parliamentary constituency.

The State Barisan Headquarters has reminded the four component parties – Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB), Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) and Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) - to get their machinery ready.

“These are not only the tell-tale signs that the election is indeed around the corner, but also an overall effort of the State Barisan to ensure the voters do not run away from them” said a veteran politician who is very close to the Chief Minister.

Little doubt BN is expected to win the state election. “But we cannot be complacent. We need to work harder to ensure we will win the election in a big way,” said Shafie Apdal when he visited Sarawak recently.

His fears are understandable after he had heard briefing on the state of affairs regarding the persistent problems affecting political parties in the State and they have been told to make their houses in order and stop infighting.

While PBB and PRS are almost free from any internal problem, SPDP and SUPP have some “inside” problems that may undermine their performances in the coming election.

The problem in SPDP is more about clash of personality, policy implementation and broken promises. Grumbles and grouses have been heard as early as March last year when certain leaders wanted to extend SPDP’s wings to West Malaysia, but stringently opposed by another group which wanted to ensure that the party’s grip on the local scene be strengthened.

“Why should we go to West Malaysia when we are weak in the State?” asked Sylvester Enteri who was then the secretary general.

Another important factor that led to the squabbles in the party was the rumoured intention of the party’s deputy president Peter Nyarok who wanted to relinquish his post to pave the way for Tiong King Sing, treasurer general to take over at the party’s triennial general assembly in December last year.

At least half of the party’s supreme council members did not wish Tiong to be the deputy president, so they came up with another list to challenge President William Mawan and those in the president’s list.

However in order to avoid being challenged, Mawan called for status quo. They all agreed and Enteri was to remain as secretary general. But after the party election was over, Enteri was sacked as secretary general. This triggered the walk-out by four State assemblymen including Enteri and one MP from the party’s supreme council meeting.

Until now they refuse any reconciliation; in fact they do not want to come back as long as Mawan, Nyarok and Tiong are still with the party. That is a very tall order. Now they want to be merged with another BN party, PRS.

Whatever and however you look into the SPDP problems, they are bound to have some multiple effects on the coming election.

For SUPP, it has been bogged down by a power struggle and jealousy within the party. The “Dudong branch” issue for example has been a thorn in its flesh for the past three years without any sign of it being solved. In fact it has gotten from bad to worse.

While one section of the party wanted to form the branch, another group opposed it. When SUPP president George Chan failed to solve it, some 28 branches of the party have asked for extra ordinary meeting to help solve the problem, but their request has been turned down, setting a major clash between supporters of Wong Soon Koh, State Assemblyman for Bawang Assan and Soon Choon Teck, State Assemblyman for Dudong.

Both of them have been in the centre of the crisis with neither one is prepared to give way, resulting in the problem being dragged on and on affecting not only SUPP branches and members in Sibu, but also State wide. As a result of the infighting, SUPP lost the Sibu parliamentary constituency in the May 16 by-election.

The effect of this divide may result in State seats in the midst and lower Rajang basin in jeopardy. Seats like Repok, Dudong, Pelawan and Bawang Assan are sure to face an uphill battle in the coming election if the previous election results have any indication. SUPP has already lost Meradong and Bukit Assek to DAP in the last election.

Elsewhere, SUPP also lost Kidurong, Batu Lintang, Kota Santosa, Padungan, Pending and Engkilili.

These are the problems that Taib has been pondering while waiting for his beard to grow or while waiting for an inspiration to come. Nevertheless, election must be held in June 2011 whether the beard has grown or whether an inspiration will come or not.


Uchu aki Biat said...

Taib can shave his beard to make him looks younger if he wants to. The question is, whether Pakatan Rakyat is ever ready should Sarawak state election is to be held in October this year?

BN final goodbye said...

This is the mentality of those who subscribe to caveman circus.He fancy leading us to wild thinking and telling us that he needs inspirations. This are all signs of a desperate man who is afraid to lose.
We all know this time for sure BN will be badly beaten, it's just Taib's way of diverting attention.
Whether it's the beard or his hair or his mustache, there is no way out. The failure is on the horizon and he is just counting how many loses he will have to take home.

Irene Kana said...

Did the press put words in their mouths or these Tuai Rumah have always been as stupid as they always have been. Why are these Tuai Rumah still harbouring fear that their homes and that of the poor, isolated and neglected Dayaks would not be getting a road and other basic amenities connected to their rural constituencies?? Under 48 years of UMNO controlled BN government and led by Taib for the last 29 years, if all these roads and basic amenities were not developed in their areas 20 years ago it should have been already constructed ancd completed since yesterday!

The BN model of government initiated by Tunku Abdul Rahman had been been totally modified from its original nobility since the Mahathir regime. Since then the political system has been designed and systematicall implemented to keep the rural poor isolated and “stupid” and forever beholden to UMNO controlled BN government.

After 48 years under BN, Dayaks YBs and goons are still hoping for a road linking Naga Poi through Ngemah, Song, Jagau and Kapit. YB like Alexander Linggi, educated, intelligent and who did not have to be a BN politician, hoping to be millionaire should be ashamed for mistreating and not fighting for the rights and dignity of his own people.

The rest of the Dayak Ybs and aspirants are with BN because they hope to get rich by at least becoming the main contractors of their own constituencies or brokers for NCR land . That is what and why they are there for their own self interests and not for the rural poor.

It is also most insulting and disgusting that an Iban leader in the like of James Masing was arrogant to proclaim rural Sarawak as fixed deposit of BN and that supporting Opposition was an obstacle to development.Did the Opposition ever prevented the BN government from developing the country or inciting hatred against the government for constructing roads, bridges, schools, hospitals and bring socio-economic development to the stae and country?

Malaysians are not stupid and rural voters are no longer uninformed. Every single Malaysians want a government that practise good governance, accountability, transparency and protecting the constitution from being abused. We all want a caring, fair and just government. Do we see all that in our present UMNO controlled government? NO. NO , NO !

Time for change. Make no mistake, Vote for change!

Vote Pakatan Rakyat.

Willie said...

Dont reject James Masing to miss out on the opportunity to drink “sampai mabuk”. RM200 can buy many crates of “cap apek” brandy! Vote james Masing to stay happily drunk till you cant see where your NCR land are!

apai irau said...

I couldnt agree more with Irene and Willie.Iban is the majority but having" minority" power,why?The answer is simple,basically our so-called leaders or rather self-proclaimed leaders are not the real leaders we used to see in the 70s and early 80s.Resources were limited those days but there were steady development,at least in areas represented by our Dayak YBs.Now,even in areas represented by Jabu since the 70s many longhouses do not have electricity,treated water or roads.He has been DCM for a long time and yet he could not "bark" for his own people,needless to say anything about Masing,Mawan and other self-proclaimed leaders.As i said,they are not the real leaders,they only interested in self glory and fill their own pockets.Mawan feels himself so big just because he had almost killed SNAP and Masing thinks himself big just because he killed PBDS,the party that 'gave' him a ministerial post,the datukship and etc.So to all our Dayak voters,the Iban in particular,please change our mindset.Dont get easily intimidated by these crooks.Today you may be happy,but tommorrow you might cry in court begging for justice.Mind you,Taib has been so successful in dividing us so dont let this thing goes further unchecked.It is not for our self-proclaimed leaders to do so,for they would definitely not,its us as the voters who should do it.ENCHELAK,DINGA lalu BERUNDING.

apai irau said...

taib can keep his beard as long as he wants to,i dont bloody care.its only the coward dayak politicians that are afraid of his beard.just observe,however,once his beard has 'kutu',he will say bye bye.