Saturday, June 28, 2008

When In Trouble, call Sarawak!


Sarawak, the land of the hornbills, was once rich in gold and antimony and has the size of nearly that of West Malaysia. It also has vast forests, plenty of oil and gas and has many scenic tourist sites. The Mulu Cave is famous worldwide and many places in Sarawak are still undeveloped and inaccessible by roads. People in Sarawak seems to be rich, as they could travel by airplanes, which is a very expensive mode of transportation, but, in reality the majority of Sarawakians are still poor and too many are still living below the poverty line.

When Tunku Abdul Rahman wanted to form Malaysia, Tunku on 27 May, 1961 when in Singapore, wanted Sarawak to be included in his Malaysia Proposal. Why Tunku had wanted Sarawak to be in his Malaysia Plan? Was it because Sarawak was rich with land, oil and timber resources? Was it because Malaya wanted to help develop Sarawak, who was very much backward than Malaya?

When Malaysia was born, Ningkan then on 22 July 1963 became the first chief minister of Sarawak and had wanted “Sarawak for the Sarawakians”. Ningkan was a disobedient servant of the federal government led by UMNO, a party whose command, you must not oppose, saw Ningkan in trouble.

Ningkan, although a native, but, had the heart of the Chinese, malays and all Malaysian races, declared that, “……all Malaysians are sons of the soil. In the role of nation building, no one needs to be reminded constantly of one’s racial origin……..”

Not only the dayaks, the Chinese in Sarawak also liked Ningkan for his multiracialism Malaysia, but, the then federal government leaders were hurt because being a native, Nigkan also refused to promote Malay as the national language in the state. His preference was for English, a language, although taught by the colonists, was acceptable to all Sarawakians, which language also was seen by Sarawakians as a global language in which no other Malaysian languages could replace. Ningkan was then unceremoniously removed as the chief minister of Sarawak when the federal government led by Tun Razak, the father of our famous Datuk Seri Najib, who recently became more famous because of Altuntuuya’s case, flexed its muscle in mid-June, 1966 demanded under Article 7(1) of the Sarawak Constitution, that Ningkan has to resign. This brought the state into a constitutional crisis.

In a Dewan Rakyat sitting, a political leader in Sarawak was heard to say, “How alarming it is to find the extent to which UMNO in Kuala Lumpur would go – to even topple the [Ningkan] government headed by an Iban who happened to hold non-racial views……….. is Sarawak a colony…….in Malaysia? (the full text of this politician’s speech was published in the Sarawak Tribune on 31 May 1963).

The fear to oppose the federal government was always there afterwards and Sarawak politicians, especially, those in the BN seemed to talk a lot outside, but, were always very quiet in Parliament. In some issues, these BN politicians also dared not even to whisper in coffee shops and many were also seldom seen mixing around with the kaki lima people for fear of being asked their stand on certain issues affecting the people of Sarawak.

We need now examine what that politician said in parliament, “…is Sarawak a colony…… Malaysia?”

Sarawak helped Malaysia to develop and was always behind the federal government in whatever crisis the nation was facing. When the alliance government led by UMNO did not have the two-thirds majority in Parliament to amend the Federal Constitution, a Sarawak political party on 11 February, 1977 came to its rescue by joining the federal government. With this, the federal government hurriedly amended the Federal Constitution which effectively sealed the mouths of Malaysians to speak on issues considered sensitive, such as grants for scholarships, permits or licences, reservation of places in the public service and citizenship rights granted to immigrants and the control of or reservation of educational opportunities in educational institutions.

But the amendments and some provisions of the Federal Constitution, do not accord “special position” of natives to Ibans and Bidayuhs, although they are the undisputed largest indigenous races in Sarawak, as they are not categorized as “native” under Article 161A(7) of the Federal Constitution. Therefore, the safeguard of the special position allowed to natives under Article 153 read with Article 153(9A) of the Federal Constitution is not available to the Ibans and Bidayuhs although other indigenous races such as kayans, kelabits, kenyahs, kedayans, punans, lisums, malays and melanos, etc., are natives of Sarawak. No little wonder that I used to receive complaints from the Ibans and Bidayuhs in Sarawak that there are only three recognizable races are found in Malaysia, that is, Malays, Chinese and Indians and others. Who are the others? How could NEP had benefited the Ibans and Bidayuhs, then, when the Federal Constitution does not recognize them?

I had also look in the Kuching High Court Library the Sarawak Interpretation Ordinance for the definition of the word, “native” and could not find the definition to include Land Dayaks and Sea Dayaks, but only those races aforesaid mentioned in Article 161A of the Federal Constitution, although these races, Land Dayaks and Sea Dayaks appeared in the Federal Constitution. It seems that these two races, Land Dayaks and Sea Dayaks are non-existent races of Sarawak!

So this much was what the federal leaders knew about Sarawak! Maybe, they knew, but, had wanted it that way.

From then on after the Federal Constitution was amended, the UMNO led government in Malaysia was able to dictate Sarawak rights with little or no opposition at all.

With the control of Parliament, the federal government then passed the Petroleum Development Act 1974, which saw almost all oil and gas revenues went to the federal government and Sarawak until now, only got a paltry 5% of the royalty back. So, West Malaysia wanted oil, Sarawak also gave them oil and also money. Until today no BN politician from Sarawak dared to speak for more oil royalty outside or inside Parliament. What Sarawak wants is more oil money for the state. As I had said just now, the fear of the federal government was too fresh and great after the sacking of Ningkan. With the oil and gas money from Sarawak, West Malaysia had become a rapidly developed part of Malaysia, with huge international airports, federal complexes, smooth fast lane highways, public universities and hospitals with state-of-art life saving equipments and facilities. Oil and gas from Sarawak also helped their factories and cars moving, leaving Sarawak a backward state with still many too many places inaccessible by roads, but, by airplanes as if all Sarawakians are millionaires!

While Malaysia prospered steadily since Malaysia was formed which also saw West Malaysia enjoyed many cheaper goods, but, Sarawak was let to enjoy goods at prices very much expensive than in West Malaysia, because Parliament controlled by UMNO did not give a thought to have a National Pricing Act. We can earn RM10-00 a day in Sarawak, the same amount that a brother West Malaysian may earn in West Malaysia, but, ours here that RM10-00 is just nice for breakfast for two, while, in West Malaysia, our brother West Malaysian could still “ta pau” to office after breakfast with his wife or girlfriend!.

In longhouses and rural areas, the poor malays, chinese and natives were just hoping that God would be kind enough to them that they not fall sick, otherwise, if sick, the only fast mode to hospitals are by helicopters! Wah! Helicopters! How to afford this when most of those in the rural areas could not even afford generators for their electricity!

Talking about electricity, I have Bakun, in mind. To further speed up the pace of development in West Malaysia and to realize Vision 2020, the federal government wanted Bakun be sped up so that West Malaysia would benefit from the power supply from Bakun. A mammoth dam had been built and progressing well, but, if one day God wants this Bakun dam to break or earthquake like in China to happen, many people in Sarawak will die and their families, friends and relatives will live their lives in sorrow in the remembrance of the dead. The federal government may just send aids and some help, but, no amount of money can buy back the sorrows of Sarawakians if this were to happen.

Therefore, when West Malaysia wanted electricty power, we will supply them through Bakun, but, they have Tenaga Bhd., a very much bigger and powerful electricity supplier than in Sarawak. Why the federal government don't want to build their own Bakun and with the expertise and resources Tenaga Bhd has, supply power to Sarawak and our brother state, Sabah? If they are scared that the dam may one day collapse by the will of God, then, Sarawak people also do have that fear. Why push the fear to Sarawakians?

When a BN component political party in West Malaysia some years ago had internal squabbles and when the late Tun Gaffar Baba, the master mediator, failed to resolve the crisis, it was to Sarawakians that West Malaysia people turned to. I was told, two famous sons of Sarawak were called in to assist solved the political crisis, but, yet Sarawakians had not so much been considered in terms of projects by the federal government. The gratitude for Sarawak help seems not there.

Instead, on the other hand, many West Malaysian businessmen and companies could flock and were allowed to seek prosperity and wealth in Sarawak when Sarawak companies and businessmen had already found the goings tough. When the Rajahs and the British were in Sarawak, economic resources in Sarawak were colonial properties, but, now what happened to our resources and opportunities with the influx of West Malaysians grabbing business opportunities and competing with Sarawakians?

In the civil service, sons of the soils of Sarawak were also been deprived of the jobs and promotions with “expatriates” coming up and down the lifts of Bangunan Sultan Iskandar!

Now, when the nation is facing food and rice shortage, it is to Sarawak that Malaysia has to turn to – plant padi and other food crops, but, who will plant? Sarawakians to plant the padi or people from West Malaysia to plant? If West Malaysians and their companies come here to plant, land be given to them or just leased out? If huge chunks of Sarawak lands be given to West Malaysians, this again, will deprive Sarawakians of their natural property and Sarawakians will find themselves squeeze out.

If such lands have to go for padi and food crop plantations, our land policy will have to change and relevant laws may probably be amended to suit these developments because most lands near to civilization are native lands, which presently have no titles. Without titles to stamp their rights on, these natives may find themselves in endless woos with the authorities and companies when their lands be encroached for these developments.

When our national carrier was in trouble, sick with debts, the federal government also had to come to Sarawak for rescue. In Sarawak, the federal government discovered in the highlands of Borneo in Baram, the “gem”, Idris Jala, to revive the fortune of the Malaysia Airline System (MAS), who, prior to that many complained as, “Mana Ada Sistem (MAS)? Now, we can proudly say, “Malaysia Ada Sarawak!”. That is, when in trouble, Malaysia has Sarawak to look forward for help!.

Now, with our national car, Proton, very sick, with loss of RM590.448 millions in debts a year ago,(see The Borneo Post Saturday June 28, 2008) the federal government may also wish to look forward to Sarawak to cure the cancer in the organization from the brink of winding-up. Its scaring when the Proton Managing Director, Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin revealed the cancer, that is, poor quality of cars, with failures in power windows, doors and alarm systems and that poor quality component parts accounted to about 60% of the defects in proton cars. Watch out! How safe is your car? No wonder, proton cars were easy targets by thieves.

On top of that to strength UMNO and BN, Sarawak never failed since Malaysia was formed, to deliver almost clean sweep of all Parliamentary seats each time there was a General Election.

So, Malaysia, when you are in trouble, Sarawak are always behind you, but, are we a colony state? Please answer us!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

One Bumi party, Sulaiman will be the next Chief Minister!

Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Sarawak Progressive Party (SPDP) although multiracial, but, are dayak-based political parties and their merger will see another colourful political landscape in Sarawak. Such merger of political parties in Sarawak was not an unusual political move to stay in power. In November, 1966 Parti Negara Sarawak (PANAS) merged with Barisan Rakyat Jati Sarawak (Barjasa) to form Parti Bumiputera (a detailed account of the merger could be found in the Malay Politics in Sarawak 1946-1966) and this saw the master-politician, Abdul Rahman Yakub as the President and Chief Minister of Sarawak in 1970. Before the merger, both parties were not strong and SUPP was the only political force in the state at that moment.

The merger also saw the birth of Ketuanan Melanau and also the relegation of the Malay power in Sarawak politics. At least when in the Cabinet of Penghulu Tawi Sli, a Malay was made the Deputy Chief Minister and until now, there has been no Malay being made a Deputy Chief Minister after the birth of Ketuanan Melanau. Until now, no malay had ever became the Chief Minister of Sarawak.

Then in 5th January, 1973 Abdul Rahman Yakub strengthened his power by merging Parti Bumiputera Sarawak with Parti Pesaka led by Temenggong Jugah to form Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB). This political manoeuvring by Abdul Rahman Yakub saw the second weakening of dayak political power. The first weakening of dayak political power was after Ningkan was sacked as the Chief Minister in 1966. Ningkan was replaced by Penghulu Tawi Sli as Chief Minister on 17th June, 1966. The reinstatement of Nigkan on 7th September, 1966 by the court who successfully challenged his removal was short-lived, in which, on 23rd September, 1966 saw the restoration of Penghulu Tawi Sli as Chief Minister. Under Ningkan, the dayaks were very strong politically and the federal government under Tun Razak was very uneasy with his uncompromsing attitude in protecting Sarawak rights, but, after Ningkan was replaced, Penghulu Tawi Sli, could not restore the dayak pride.

The merger of Parti Bumiputera Sarawak and Parti Pesaka on 5th January, 1973 into PBB in actual fact was a political coup which also saw the relegation of SUPP to a weaker position in the state Cabinet under Abdul Rahman Yakub as PBB then overshadowed SUPP with 23 (Parti Bumiputera 13, Pesaka 10) seats against 12 seats in the State Assembly. So as could be seen, Abdul Rahman Yakub was able to weaken the political positions of the dayaks, malays and the Chinese before he handed his baton to his nephew, Abdul Taib Mahmud, thus, making the life of his nephew very much easier, who then until now became the longest serving monarch in Malaysia!

When PRS and SPDP merged, the dayaks are expected to be united behind the merged party with a new dayak image to regain their glory days during the Ningkan era. This will then definitely put them in better political bargaining power within the Sarawak state BN. In the long run, the new dayak image within the state BN may threaten the position of PBB led by Abdul Taib Mahmud. Abdul Taib Mahmud is smart and recalled the tricks of his uncle. Abdul Taib Mahmud, in order to perpetuate Ketuanan Melanau and to see PBB continue to be the backbone of the state BN, had in local press seems to indicate that all bumiputera parties should join into one political identity. Abdul Taib Mahmud was said spoke of the possibility of a merged PRS-SPDP entity one day “joining” PBB of which he is now President. He wants PRS-SPDP merged first into a stronger entity before negotiating with PBS. Of course, common sense always told us that if your position is weak, you have no or little bargaining power, but, I foresee a trap is there for the merged PRS-SPDP!

In that position, you think you are strong, but, when you merge further with PBB you will lose your bargaining power further! This is because the top man will still be Abdul Taib Mahmud and in PBB, the Ketuanan Melanau solidarity is unshakeable! Abdul Taib Mahmud had already built a fire-wall for them where malays within PBB itself was unable to penetrate and what say you a new comer!

When you, the merged PRS-SPDP joins PBB into one new entity, the Chinese in PRS-SPDP, where to go? To SUPP or DAP? This again will further weaken the position of the Chinese in Sarawak caused by the new chemistry.

To SUPP, their position will be threatened further. This is because when PBB becomes stronger caused by the merger, SUPP’s political position will be weaker within the BN. SUPP by now should wake up because since 1970, especially, after 1973 SUPP’s bargaining power declined over the years. In 1974 general election, SUPP was allocated 16 state and 9 parliamentary seats to contest while PBB got 32 and 15 respectively. What a big jump for PBB! Before SUPP joined the alliance government on 7th July, 1970, SUPP was able to contest 30 out of 48 state seats and 19 our of 24 parliamentary seats. In 1978 parliamentary election, SUPP was only allocated 7 seats to contest. In 1979 state election, SUPP was allocated 12, that is, 4 less than in 1974. While both state and parliamentary seats had increased, SUPP also was not allocated more seats as expected.

In recent years, SUPP had not only unable to protect SUPP’s own interest by losing the Chairmanship of SESCo, the Finance Minister’s portfolio, the Mayorship of MBKS and two Assistant Ministers’ portfolios, to name a few. Then, how could SUPP be able to protect the interest of the people who supported SUPP, when SUPP could not maintain SUPP’s own positions and political bargaining power within the BN? Had SUPP not seen that the strong position of PBB is unshakeable within the BN and the only way to regain SUPP’s pride is to leave BN and join forces from outside BN to fight PBB, who under Abdul Taib Mahmud has greatly weakened Chinese interest, whom SUPP claimed to protect, but, in which, SUPP had not been of much help.

So Sarawak politics will see the Melanau race continue to dominate the dayaks, Chinese and the malays. When Abdul Taib Mahmud retires soon, definitely, Taib would wish his son, Sulaiman to take over the Chief Minstership from him to perpetuate the Ketuanan Melanau.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Prices of petrol in some oil producing countries (per litre)

UAE ...........................RM1.19
Egypt ........................RM1.o3
Saudi Arabia............RM0.38
Turkmenistan ........RM0.25
Venezuela ...............RM0.16
Brunei .....................RM1.26
Their oil is cheaper than a tin of oca-Cola!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Public Assembly and Procession in Protest of Oil Hike

It has been quite a number of days that an application has been submitted to the Officer-In-Charge (“OCPD”) of Kuching Police District for the issue of a police permit or licence, but, there still is no news about it. Under the law, such an application has to be made to the OCPD under section 27(2) of the Police Act 1967. Prima facie, the OCPD must issue the licence applied for. The OCPD could not in law, simply refuse such an application without assessing the security situation of the District under his control. He could, however, refuse to issue such a licence after he is satisfied with security assessment made from his sources, especially, the Special Branch and the Criminal Investigation Branch under this command, that the procession or assembly would be prejudicial to public security or that the assembly could incite a disturbance of the peace.

Meaning that, the OCPD could not refuse the issue of the licence without, first, make any security assessment at all.

The OCPD also could not simply refuse to issue the licence based on the directives from the top. This is because it is for the OCPD to exercise the power based on OCPD’s own assessment of the security situation. The OCPD could not simply listen to the directive from the top. He is expected to exercise an independent mind, without, any interference of any person in the exercise of this power.

Administratively, the OCPD requires at least a few days be given to him to assess the security situation and since time has been given, the OCPD is expected to issue the licence in soonest possible so that the organizers will have ample time to organize the assembly and to comply with the conditions set in the licence.

The OCPD could not also refuse to issue the licence if the report shows that the assembly would not give rise to security threat or disturbance of public peace. The OCPD could not be seen to unreasonably refuse the permit or licence applied for.

If he refuses the application for the licence, the OCPD should in soonest possible, communicate his refusal to the applicant. Such communication should not be made through the newspapers. If the applicant is informed of the refusal, the applicant can appeal against such refusal to the Commissioner of Police (“CP”) as the Commissioner of Police is the overall officer-in-charge of security situation in the State. The right of appeal to the Commissioner of Police of the State is allowed under section 27(7) of the Police Act 1967 and the appeal must be made within 48 hours of such refusal.

If no appeal made within the framed period, the Applicant is deemed to have withdrawn his interest in pursing a licence for the assembly.

In the event the OCPD remains silent, neglects or refuses to issue the licence, this could be deemed that there is an implied permission to hold the assembly although no licence has been issued. This is because this involves legal power and right of assembly and the OCPD should not leave the applicant in suspense. At the same time, under section 27(7) of the Police Act, 1967 the OCPD is required to state his stand on the application made by the Applicant and the refusal must be communicated to the Applicant. The OCPD is therefore, under a duty to make a decision and this is especially important as it involves public right to assembly under Article 10(2) of the Federal Constitution which gives citizens a right to assemble peacefully and without arms.

With this mind, I hope the OCPD will give his answer soon to the Applicant or organizer so that if a refusal be made, an appeal could be made to the State Commissioner of Police.

However, with or without permit, when ordered by the police officers to disperse, the members of the public are expected to disperse. Failure to disperse could make any members of the public who participated or took part in the assembly liable to arrest. At the same time, although the police has wide powers of arrest under security situation, but, they could not also abuse their power and begun to conduct unlawful arrests. Meaning that, the police are not expected to arrest an innocent bystander or an innocent person who happened to be found present in the assembly and who had no knowledge of the unlawful assembly.

If the police officer concerned could not justify the arrest, the person arrested seeking redress in court could claim damages in court for unlawful arrest, assault and detention.

Therefore, in such a situation there are competing powers or interests involving the keeping of public peace security by the police the public legal right to free movement and assembly without arms as provided by the Federal Constitution.

As far as Kuching City is concerned, the police are aware that Kuching people are peace loving people and so far in the history of Kuching we are yet in recent years heard any breaches of the peace in any assembly. With this, it is hoped that the police would grant a permit to the organizers soon.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Kuala Lumpur, Give Back Our Oil!

According to Oil & Gas Journal, Malaysia held a proven oil reserve of 3. 0 billion barrels as at January, 2007 and our oil reserves may only last us for another 20 years or so. Due to high prices of oil in the global market, the government and Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) are making lots of money.

In its financial year ending March 2007, Petronas achieved a record profit before tax of RM76.3 billion when crude oil in global market increased dramatically from under USD25 per barrel to above USD70 all within four years. Oil had made Petronas the only representative from Malaysia in the magazine Fortune 500. Due to huge profits caused by the increase of oil prices in global market, Petronas in 2007 contributed RM53.7 billion to our national coffers.

Oil revenues are of national secret and it seemed that only the Prime Minister could have access to the accounts the country could make from oil production. Taken into consideration that there are only three states in Malaysia that produces oil, that is, Sabah, Sarawak and Terangganu, it could be said that the east Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak could have contributed two-thirds of the country’s oil revenues since the passing of the Petroleum Development Act 1974, but, in return Sabah and Sarawak, each after the passing of the Act, could only get a paltry 5% of the oil money back.

Therefore, in the year 2007 Sabah and Sarawak contributed a whopping RM35.8 billion to the national coffers, but, poor Sabah and Sarawak could only got back for each state RM895 million.

The oil money had in the past years since 1974 helped West Malaysia, at the expense of Sabah and Sarawak, to become a more developed part of Malaysia with better airports, huge and tall skyscrapers, LRTs, fast lane highways and other infrastructures. The federal government could not deny that oil money from Sabah and Sarawak had not only stimulated the economy of West Malaysia, but, investments from the oil money through airports, seaports and other infrastructures had produced huge profits to federal coffers. West Malaysia had made enough from Sabah and Sarawak, and with that in mind, it is time that we should get back our oil.

Oil revenues from Sabah and Sarawak should no more be used to save sick government linked companies (GLCs), but, instead be used as medical funds for Sabahans and Sarawakians suffering from chronic diseases and for pension funds for senior citizens of these two east Malaysian states.

Therefore, I urge all politicians in Sabah and Sarawak, irrespective of either in the Opposition or in the BN to leave their political differences aside and not to lose sight of our own oil rights as oil in these two states belong to all of us Sabahans and Sarawakians. Sarawak People’s Organization (SAPO) under Raymond Szetu Mei Thong in 1978 Parliamentary Election had asked the State government to pursue the Federal Government to give back at least 50% of our oil revenue. Now, there is no reason for any politician or political party in the state to have asked for anything less than 100% of our oil back. This is because once our oil wells dries up, to give 100% back our oil would by that time be useless.

I regret that SNAP in its recent resolution passed by its Central Executive Committee (CEC) had only wanted the oil royalty to be increased to 20% (see The Borneo Post dated 8th June 2008)
The call by PKR of 20% of oil royalty to Sabah and Sarawak is also not acceptable. If Datuk Seri Anwar is sincere, he should call for the surrender back of our oil rights back and stop this legal plundering of our Sabah and Sarawak oil rights.

If all political parties and politicians in Sabah and Sarawak could work together to negotiate and demand our oil rights back, there is no reason why the federal government would not concede to our demand. After all, both states in almost every parliamentary election, contributed to about one third of all seats won by BN. This time around with the weak position of UMNO, both Sabah and Sarawak should work out a plan to step up pressure on the federal government to give back our oil and gas rights.

We must also not forget that we in Sabah and Sarawak had been paying dearer prices of petrol and diesel than those in West Malaysia before the prices were streamlined recently.

Since Malaysia is an oil producing country, the government should instead of comparing prices of petrol and diesel with non oil producing countries like Singapore, should have the political courage to compare the price hike with oil producing countries in the Middle East, in Africa and in South America.

In a recent statement, Opposition leader, Datin Seri Dr.Wan Azizah Wan Ismail disclosed that petrol per liter in Egypt is RM1.03, Kuwait 67 sen, Saudi Arabia 38sen, Nigeria 32 sen and Venenzula 16 sen while petrol in Malaysia now has rocketed to RM2.70 per liter.

I met the Consul of Brunei in early March 2008 and at that time I was told petrol in Brunei was B$ 0. 57 per liter, that is, RM1.38. Now price of petrol in Brunei decreased to B$0.51, that is, RM1. 24. If Brunei could decrease its prices of its oil when oil at world market increased, there is no reason why Malaysia could not do so. Instead, Malaysian government chocked our throats each time oil at world market goes up and told Malaysians that this was global factor in which every country including Malaysia were helpless.

Diesel per litre in early March, 2008 was B$0.37, that is, RM1.38 and now decreased to B$B$0.31, that is, RM0.75.

In Kuching, a tin of Coca-Cola is priced at RM1.80 while a piece of roti canai is RM1.60. This shows that these oil producing countries are enjoying petrol much cheaper than a tin of Coca-Cola or a piece of roti canai at the Indian stall! Their oil is also cheaper than our car parking fees, nasi lemak and mee jawa or kolo-mee!
Now, like all Malaysians, I have to miss many mornings for my favorite roti canai and kolo-mee so as to save for subsidizing petrol to my car.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Are Ibans and Bidayuhs Natives of Sarawak?

June is the month for Gawai Dayak and like all other natives, Ibans and Bidayuhs in Sarawak do celebrate Gawai Dayak and although Ibans and Bidayuhs join other natives to celebrate the Gawai Dayak, are they natives of Sarawak as provided under the Federal Constitution? By asking this question, I meant no offence,insult or disrespect to the Ibans and Bidayuhs in Sarawak. I respect them and their cultures and like any other Malaysians I do care and is concerned about the welfare and the rights of the Ibans and Bidayuhs in this country and also other indigenous races in Sarawak. In fact, it is out of concern that I posed this question.

If we look at clause 6 of Article 161A of the Federal Constitution, it states as follows:

“In this Article “native” means –

(a) in relation to Sarawak, a person who is a citizen and either belongs to one of the races specified in Clause (7) as indigenous to the State or is of mixed blood deriving exclusively from other races; and

(b) …………………….............................................................................................................................................................
(7) The races to be treated for the purposes of the definition of “native” in Clause (6) indigenous to Sarawak are the Bukitans, Bisayahs, Dusuns, Sea Dayaks, Land Dayaks, Kadayans, Kelabits, Kayans, Kenyahs (including Sabups and Sipengs), Kajangs, (including Sekapans, Kejamans, Lahanans, Punans, Tajongs and Kanowits), Lugats, Lisums, Malays, Melanos, Muruts, Penans, Sians, Tagals, Tabuns and Ukits.”

Therefore, under the Federal Constitution, a person is a “native” only, if firstly, he is a citizen of Malaysia and second if he falls under the description of one of the races in clause (7) of Article 161A of the Federal Constitution.

Then how could some ibans and bidayuhs who were born and raised in this soil be a citizen if he or she possesses no identification papers? A person could not be a Malaysian unless he possesses the Malaysian identity card. The issue of identification papers, birth certificates and identity cards had been debated or raised in all, if not, almost all sessions of the sittings of the Dewan Undangan Negeri. We could see expression of frustrations in the faces of many Yang Berhormats in the august House each time they raised this issue because until today there are still many ibans and bidayuhs and other indigenous races who had not in their possession of any identification papers so as to identify themselves as Malaysians. Without identification papers, these people will never be able to open bank accounts or to pursue tertiary education. They may also not be able to register their marriages. Their future will be very bleak and how could we expect them to compete with the outside world?

Now, as could be deduced from clauses (6) and (7) of the said Article 161A of the Federal Constitution, “natives” do not include ibans and bidayuhs although we know for the fact that all natives celebrate the Gawai Dayak Festival. Therefore, although Ibans and Bidayuhs do celebrate Gawai Dayak, they are in my humble understanding of the Federal Constitution been excluded as natives of this soil. This is because the said clauses (6) and (7) of Article 161A of the Federal Constitution do no say ibans and bidayuhs are “natives”.

At the same time, who are the “sea dayaks” and who are the “land dayaks”? Are we going to say that ibans and bidayuhs who lived near the riverbanks and the seas are classified as “sea dayaks” and that those lived in the interior country as “land dayaks”? Or are we going to say ibans as “sea dayaks” and bidayuhs as “land dayaks”? We need to understand that Ibans are Ibans and bidayuhs are bidayuhs. It is like Hokkien people are Hokkien people and Hakka people are Hakka people although both are Chinese people. We should have no more terms like “sea Chinese” and “land Chinese” because if we say “sea Chinese” this could be rude or be wrongly construed as privates of Chinese race while "land Chinese" could be a slang to refer them as barbarians!

In local usage, we know Iban and Bidayuh are also Dayaks and Dayaks is a term used to identify all indigenous people of Borneo and not only a reference to Dayaks in Sabah and Sarawak alone.

Nowadays, we could even find other native races besides ibans and bidayuhs living near to the riverbanks and the seas. So, how to define them? Are they also be called as “sea dayaks”?

The failure of the Federal Constitution to clearly define “natives” or to include Ibans and Bidayuhs as “natives” of Sarawak, shows that despite already achieving 45 years of independence, the identity of the ibans and bidayuhs and many other indigenous races in Sarawak are yet settled and many of them could not even be identified as Malaysians, due to the failure of the relevant authorities to issue identification papers to them. I touched on Ibans and Bidayuhs, because they are the larger native races, but, I am also not neglecting or forgetting other native races, like Lun Bawangs, Berawans, etc., who are also equally not been considered natives of Sarawak, because they are not categorized as such in the Federal Constitution.

In all respect, Article 161A of the Federal Constitution has to be amended to make the term, “natives” to include ibans, bidayuhs and all other natives races and the terms, “land dayak” and “sea dayak” be abolished. At the same time, the term, “Dayak” should also be properly defined.

I am afraid that, the end effect is that if those who are natives but not categorized as natives in the Federal Constitution, the special privileges as provided under Article 153 of the Federal Constitution to these missed out natives, that is, Ibans, Bidayuhs, Lun Bawangs, Berawans, etc.) could legally be refused to be accorded to them.

Article 153 of the Federal Constitution provides for reservations of quotas in respect of services, permits, etc., for Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak. This Article 153 of the Federal Constitution mentioned two types of people, that is the malays as one type and the other, the natives.

Again while Malays as a race is considered “natives” in Article 161A of the Federal Constitution, then, what is the reason behind the Federal Constitution that gave special mention of the Malays alone and not other native races in the said Article 153 of the Federal Constitution? The malays being natives as classified in Article 161A of the Federal Constitution should be treated the same as other natives and there should not be any difference and all natives irrespective their races should have corresponding rights to each other. Meaning that, the rights enjoyed by other natives should not be lesser than the rights enjoyed by the malays.

This is because both malays and other indigenous races in Malaysia are politically termed as “bumiputeras” and they are all natives for the purpose of special rights or protection accorded to them under Article 153 of the Federal Constitution. Therefore, this could be deemed to create two classes of bumiputera, that is, malay as natives being one special class of its own and the other natives mentioned in the Federal Constitution as the other class of bumiputera.
Since Ibans, Bidayuhs, Berawans, Lun Bawangs, etc., although we all know as natives, but, not classified as natives in Article 161A of the Federal Constitution, could they be said are bumiputera?

Recently, I was told there was a bidayuh whose application for a loan of RM 5 million from a government agency to start a bumiputera entrepreneurship was rejected because he was said not a bumiputera. The father of the said Bidayuh youth who confided the matter to me was very annoyed that such right was not accorded to his son! The matter was then brought to Parliament by a leader of the then Opposition Leader, Lim Kit Siang.
Another effect is that for the purpose of the Malaysian race, I was told that some government forms only refer to Malays, Chinese, Indians and Others.... Why this was so? Who are "Others"? Meaning that, in Malaysia, only three races are recongizable, that is, Malay, Chinese and Indians! If there were such forms, this already showed that there was a smell of discrimnation against other natives and especially natives that are not included in Article 161A of the Federal Constitution and this could go against Article 8(2) of the Federal Constitution. As a Malaysian race, at least the Chinese and Indians are recongizable along the Malays! Where do the natives stand?

May Iban and Bidayuh MPs raise this matter in Parliament to amend the Federal Constitution so as to make clearer the races that fall as “natives”.
I call for public awareness of this matter and invite comments.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


MALAYSIA is rich country, but, many of its people are still poor and could hardly earn enough to eat. The earning power of the people could not compete with the spiraling costs of living. In the last few months we witnessed the sharp increase of rice and other essential items in the markets. There has been shortage of food and panic buying by housewives. Price of rice has gone up 76 percent in the past five months from December last year to April this year and prices of overall food had increased by 83 percent in the last three years while oil prices had quadrupled during the last six years. A packet of 10kilograms fragrant rice previously sold at RM18-00 now is sold at RM38-00. Now, where went wrong with our economic policies?

The government had lacked foresight of what could happen in world economy and how our economic policies could affect the people in the nation. We had been so blind to what our leaders had said and there were very few politicians, especially those in the government who dared enough to critically criticize the policies of the government, so that the government be put on their toes and to improve. We talked so much of vision 2020 to make Malaysia an industrialized country. To realize this dream, the BN government had went aggressively to promote multi-billion projects, like Bakun Dam, Multi-Media Super Corridor and even sent a Malaysian to the outer space spending millions of ringgit on him.

Even though there was a need to see Malaysia to become an industrialized country, but, we also should not when we launched Vision 2020 lose sight of making Malaysia a food producing country. With Vision 2020 in mind, we had forgotten that Malaysia, which was endowed by God with fertile land had neglected to pursue a more balanced agriculture policy.

There had been so much stress on commercialized agriculture on few crops only, especially, oil palm plantations. To pursue oil palm plantations, we forgot about the development of rubber estates, cocoa, maize and rice, in which, in the next few years could be of great global demand.

In Sarawak for instance, the state has been independent for the past 45 years, but, the padi fields are yet to be properly developed to cater the needs of the state. Dr. George Chan, the Minister for Modern Agriculture, had said that a few areas in the state had been marked for huge padi plantations and that it seemed that this was a recent study of the needs of huge padi plantation in the state.

The question is why there was no padi plantation policy under taken before this showed that our government lacked the vision to foresee the problem or rising prices of rice and other foods in the local and global market.

Malaysia should learn from China about its economic policies. China in recent years had gone strongly on industrial sector, but, the “Dragon” had never lost sight of developing its agriculture sector in the interior parts of the country. This could be observed by China’s strong export of its agricultural products to neighbouring countries including Malaysia. Malaysia have huge lands still wasted and uncultivated and we hardly export any food product. Had the government at the time of launching Vision 2020 could foresee this, today Malaysia would not be very much affected by the shortage of rice and other essential goods.

Had we made use of our gift our fertile land and had a planned agriculture policy that could foresee the needs of the nation, people would not suffer that much by the recent increase of oil prices as they still could “balance off” their expenditure by able to purchase cheaper food products from the market. It is a shame that we have to import rice from war torn countries like Vietnam and Cambodia where their padi fields at one time were full of mines, making it dangerous to plough.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Taib’s Cabinet Reshuffle, a Political Convenience?

When I raised the issue concerning Taib’s impending cabinet reshuffle during the last sitting of the Dewan Undangan Negeri, as to whether it has to be done as a political convenience, I observed that the State BN backbenchers were making a lot of noise. Why should there be a Cabinet reshuffle now when the Cabinet was already formed after the State Election of May 20, 2006? Was the present Cabinet not efficient or were there deadwoods in the team that caused Taib wanting to reshuffle the Cabinet? Or was it for a political convenience given the fact that there were too many problems facing the State BN?

SUPP had lost two Assistant Ministers in Kuching and until now the posts had not been fulfilled. Should the posts be filled soon and if so, by whom from SUPP? SUPP also has a headache. Should the Party recommend to Taib someone outside Kuching? If this be done, Kuching people would not be happy. Talks were that Dr. Jerip Susil from Bengoh may be promoted to one of the Assistant Minister’s post. It was also speculated that Tan Joo Phoi, the Chairman of Padawan Municipal Council (“PMC”), the incumbent ADUN from Batu Kawa is also in the running. If the post be given to Dr. Jerip, could this be fair to the Chinese community in Kuching? If the post be given to Tan Joo Phoi, this would also be seen not fair to Dr.Jerip as Dr. Jerip, being a second term assemblyman is senior than Tan Joo Phoi. Then, Ranum from Opar, who is considered as an outsider could also be in the running.

If I am not mistaken, so far, there had not been any Bidayuh Assistant Minister from SUPP and Dr.Jerip and Ranum may work together to ensure that either one of them may get the post to represent their community. They may put a strong case to their leadership and say that their community had been neglected or been overlooked by the Party all these years since the days of Siyium ak Matit. Siyium ak Matit was only an assemblyman for just a few months before he was forced to vacate his Lundu-Bau seat in 1971.

So, who should Taib now chose? Dr. Jerip or Tan Joo Phoi? If not, Taib has to choose Ranum of Opar. Another alternative available to Taib is that, the post be put in the shelf hoping that Datuk Alfred Yap could make a comeback in the next state election. If this would be in Taib’s mind, would Tan Joo Phoi and Dr. Jerip’s camps see Datuk Alfred Yap win again in the coming state election? Taib recently was said to tell the press that he was ready for elections at any time and Alfred Yap definitely would like to enter the fray again, given the fact that he is still young, but, DAP will surely give him a run for his money again!

Another problem faced by the State BN is that, PRS are still in turmoil and the infighting are still continuing with two camps, that is, one headed by Dr. James Masing while the other by Larry Sng. Larry Sng, although still young, was a respected leader within the PRS and has a pleasant personality, whose father-in-law was an influential businessman and who was always solidly behind the BN. At the same time, Dr. James Masing, who was soft spoken, was also an equally approachable person to whom many Dayaks had seen could guide their community into a better future.

Dr.James Masing’s camp had voiced the removal of Larry Sng from the state Cabinet and from the Party, but, it seemed that Dr. James Masing was not in favour of this and had wanted to give Larry Sng, in his own words, a chance. James is really a kind man! So, Taib is now put in a headache. Although, it was widely seen that Taib was on the side of Dr. James Masing, Taib could not simply remove Larry Sng as to do so will only cause further crack in the State BN as Larry’s father is also an equally influential person in the Central Region. At the same time, Taib may still need the services of Larry Sng’s father-in-law, Tan Sri Ting Pik Kiing, and may wish to maintain their relationship as usual.

So, how to solve this puzzle? Recently, in the recent DUN sitting, Larry Sng was seen busy with Dr. George Chan and Wong Soon Koh. Both of them are heavyweights in SUPP. In past sittings, Larry Sng was seldom seen with them. So why Larry Sng suddenly appeared more interested with them recently? Could there be new development in state BN politics? Was there any negotiations going on? Is Larry Sng preparing himself to join SUPP? If this could be the move, it would be likely that one of the vacant Assistant Minister’s posts allocated to SUPP be retained by Larry Sng in Taib’s coming reshuffled Cabinet. Would PRS ready for this loss? This would be a crucial question to answer and in the event if Larry Sng could no more find PRS as his home, anything could happen. Then, PRS may just demand that Dr. Johnical Rayong, the ADUN member from Engkili who had indicated to join SUPP, be “swapped” with Larry Sng. This may fit the State BN as the move could save face of both sides. In the event if it was agreed by the parties that Larry Sng be “swapped” with Dr. Johnical Rayong, will the Assistant Minister’s post allocated to PRS held by Larry Sng be re-allocated to PRS? The “swap” could be seen as having “taken away” from PRS the Assistant Minister’s post and PRS may just want the “taken away” post vacated by Larry Sng be given back to PRS. But, who in PRS could fit in the post left by Larry Sng in the event Larry Sng be forced to leave PRS?
Politically, the “swap” may create a bit of problem to Dr. Johnical Rayong, who had preferred to join SUPP. Soon after being elected, Dr. Johnical Rayong indicated his interest to join BN through SUPP. The reason behind of his choice of SUPP probably was guided by the factor that Engkilili was always SUPP’s stronghold and in that instance, it was more appropriate for him to join SUPP. The other party that had strong followings in Engkilili area previously was SNAP and PRS was never there. If Dr. Johnical Rayong be “forced” to go to PRS, can he retain the Engkilili seat as Engkilili was never a place for PRS, but, SUPP and SNAP?

Dr. Johnical Rayong will be caught at a crossroad and if not careful will also see the end of his political career there. SUPP and PRS may have to think hard of this formula and Taib may be put in a fix! This is because, recent political development in the area has seen PKR moving quite deep into the area and Dr. Johnical Rayong may face a strong candidate from his former “political friend” Nicholas Bawin, who previously was Dr. Johnical Rayong’s Protem Chairman in MDC in which Dr. Johnical Rayong was the Deputy. Recent indication is that Nicholas Bawin may likely to join PKR before the next state election in the event that his MDC would not be registered.

Now, another problem faced by the state BN is that the Deputy President of PRS, Dublin Unting, is still in comma, believed have been caused by a stroke. If anything goes wrong with him, PRS may have a daunting task to replace him as Dublin Unting is also an Assistant Minister in the Cabinet. With Dublin Unting still in comma, Larry Sng may probably rethink his next move. This in the last few days could give much headache to Taib because Taib must see that his Cabinet could keep going with least problem.

In the end, there may be no Cabinet reshuffle, not until the next state election which is just about two and half years away.

SUPP should not fool itself!

There is no reason why SUPP should still remain as a partner of the Barisan Nasional government when the Party itself could not protect its own interest and had no or very little bargaining power within the government itself. After SUPP formed the State government with Parti Bumiputra on Tuesday 7th July, 1970, their left wing then accused the leadership of selling out the Party, which caused their then Party Chairman during the 7th Delegate Conference held on December, 1970 to deny this and said that they joined the government as co-equals, but, how correct was this? We have witness that all these years SUPP’s influence in BN government, both at the State and Federal levels, had not only dwindled, but, also showed that the Party could no more advance and protect the interest of its own Party members and supporters.

SUPP’s decision in joining the Federal government on 11 February, 1971 saw the amendment of the Federal Constitution by Tun Razak’s government and this was a big blow to Malaysians who believed in equal economic opportunity to all races, fairness in promotion and recruitment into the civil service and equal opportunity to pursue education. These three fields of opportunities were of paramount importance in a developing country and in Malaysia, the UMNO led government had exploited this to UMNO’s advantage at the expense of many other races and also at the expense of many bumiputera themselves. If one had no connection with people at the top, it seemed that job and business opportunities were scare and licences applied for not only delayed but, a lot of “funny things” went on before one could get them. Now, we could see there is a trend towards a one race civil service due to four to one ratio policy in recruitment policy. This policy was revealed in a book by a SUPP politician.

By joining Tun Razak’s government, SUPP’s five Members of Parliament at that time allowed the bare two-thirds majority needed in helping UMNO led government to amend the Federal Constitution prohibiting any questioning or criticism of the special position of the malays and the granting of citizenship rights to immigrants. IF SUPP had not joined Tun Razak's government, the UNMO led government at that time, could not not the two third majority in Parliament to amend the Federal Constitution. After the amendment, even Members of Parliament could not refer these matters in Parliament. So SUPP helped UMNO to achieve what UMNO wanted.

The amendment of the Federal Constitution had made Sabah and Sarawak a heaven for immigrants from neighbouring countries and now Sabah and Sarawak are faced with the problems of illegal immigrants and rising crimes. SUPP leaders now condemned the Police for its ineffectiveness in curbing crimes and many accused that foreigners caused crime rates to rise up sharply. Many of these foreigners later on managed to be issued with the Malaysian identity cards. People in the streets cursed the government, but, who in actual fact had allowed this to happen? Had not SUPP played a part to make this happened?

Being helpless, SUPP had also allowed leaders of UMNO led government to manipulate the New Economic Policy to the advantage of certain group of people and we could in recent years heard dissent voices against the implementation of the New Economic Policy which tend to benefit the few people at the Corridors of Power. The amendments to the Federal Constitution blend well with the Economic Policy to such an extent that no one should voice any dissatisfaction about these. Dayaks whom SUPP had once aggressively championed are still left far behind in terms of economic advancement and opportunities. Likewise, the many malays who have no connections with PBB and UMNO only had to be satisfied to stay at their kampong lands, hoping that God would be kind to keep them healthy always. The rich malays are very rich and are confined to the very few although the living standard of many malays are much better now.

Deterioration of SUPP’s Influence began With Rahman Yakub’s Time

During the time of Rahman Yakub, it was an open secret that SUPP was not happy with the leadership of Rahman Yakub as it was said that many important decisions were made without reference or discussions with SUPP. It was said in 1971 there was a party resolution that SUPP could leave the coalition government if it was not happy. There could not be such a resolution if there was no suspicion or unhappiness about the matter. It was also that in mid 1977 some SUPP’s branches passed resolutions calling SUPP to leave the BN government if many issues, including land issues of the Chinese community, which SUPP raised could not be solved in its favour (see International Times 16 October, 1977). Until now, some 38 years in the government, SUPP could not solve this land problem for the Chinese community! What a long wait! Should we wait for another 38 years when Perak government could do this within weeks! Now, Penang government under Pakatan Rakyat also moved fast in giving better land rights protection to Penang people.

The Peace Agreement at Sri Aman on 4th March 1974 also saw SUPP’s Stephen Yong conspicuously absent in the signing ceremony although Stephen Yong was said involved in the negotiations for the peace agreement. It was said Bong Kee Chok even wrote a letter to Stephen Yong of the possible surrender of himself and his jungle comrades. There was no reason why Stephen Yong was not around when 482 of these new found friends who returned to society met state dignitaries to sign the Peace Agreement. The issue was very important to SUPP and the Chinese community. Instead, the issue brought prominence to Rahman Yakub and SUPP was sidelined. This showed that SUPP had very little influence in the government and it was not something that SUPP had wanted to be.

The Party’s influence later on further deteriorated as could be seen from the allocation of seats during the 1974 General Election. SUPP was only allocated 16 state constituency and 9 parliamentary constituency seats to contest while Parti Bumiputera which later merged with Parti Pesaka on 5th January, 1973 to form PBB was given 32 state and 15 parliamentary seats respectively.

In 1970 Rahman Yakub’s Party only won 12 seats while SUPP won 11 state seats, but, PBB got many more seats than SUPP to contest in 1974. Did SUPP not learnt from this as a big slap on its face? Before joining the alliance government in 1970, SUPP was able to contest 19 out of the 24 parliamentary seats for grab and 30 state seats out of 48.

To add salt to the wounds, when Stephen Yong lost to a political unkown in the Bandar Kuching Timur seat in 1974, the State BN led by Rahman Yakub disagreed to a proposed by-election by SUPP by having a SUPP state assembly resign from his seat so that Stephen Yong could contest and if won could go back to the State Cabinet. This already showed that SUPP had already begun their role of a crying baby in the alliance government. SUPP should get the cue of the defeat of Stephen Yong that Sarawakians, especially, the Chinese community at that time had already sent a strong signal of their unhappiness of SUPP joining the government. Many already felt that the party had “sold out” and its leaders entirely self-serving. To many, SUPP had joined the wrong team!

During the 1974 state election, it was realized that although Stephen Yong was a Deputy Chief Minister at that time, Stephen Yong was unable to solve the intrusion of foreign fishermen into Sarawak waters. The people of Bintawa at that time was very angry because although SUPP was in the government, SUPP was helpless and could not do much against foreign fishing vessels competing with local fishermen. I still could remember that a Thai vessel caught at that time was subsequently released which brought much protests from the fishing community in Bintawa.

In 1978 Parliamentary election, there was no reason for Tun Hussein Onn to turn down the request of SUPP to use its own three ring symbol in the election. This was also another slap on SUPP’s face and to cause further pain to SUPP why should SUPP remained silent when in 1974 it was only allocated 7 parliamentary constituency seats to contest, a short of 2 seats from 1974. The Party was a lame duck in seat negotiations and this showed that the Party’s influence declined each year within the BN. Not only that, the Chinese community in Sarawak again sent a signal to SUPP that their stay in BN government was not what the people wanted when SUPP was made to lose the Miri Parliamentary seat to Raymond Szetu of SAPO.

The Miri people was not happy when Miri which was under SUPP could not all the years voiced better protection of our Sarawak’s oil rights. SAPO had asked for 50% of oil revenue, but, SUPP had to keep quiet and was satisfied with the payment of 5% royalty by the Federal government as allowed under the Petroleum Development Act 1974 and until now this matter had remained the same. Soon Koh was cornered by me in the Dewan, and could not give me a straight answer about increment of oil royalties for Sarawak. Should SUPP wait until the oil well in Miri dries up before asking for more from the Federal government? SUPP should make a demand as Miri has been under SUPP since independence. By the time the Federal government wants to give our oil royalty 100% back it would be useless if our oil well dries up. If we could get our oil back, Sarawakians, especially, Miri people would definitely be happier as oil revenue could be used to accelerate development in the State.

When unhappiness about SUPP’s participation in the government was raised up in the December 1978 Delegates Meeting, SUPP should have at that time begun to think seriously of the ill-treatment it got from the BN government and should leave the government gracefully and fight for their rights from outside. It was clear that many of its Party members were already not happy and at the same time, their Dayak leaders were also a disgruntled lot because the Party no more could protect their interests in the government. The end result of SUPP’s politics is that, Dayaks are now parked or split into many groups or parties. Previously, SUPP was the Party that the Dayak was looking at to protect their interests. Now, Dayaks are still looking for a strong leader to re-group them and all these years Dayaks are left in the wilderness, although, BN claimed that the Dayaks had been in their good hands. Think! How many percent of Dayak people had achieved university education and how many percent Dayaks are millionaires ever since SUPP could no more be their political umbrella? The Dayaks in the Party had accused SUPP of neglecting them since Charles Linang crossed over to another political party in its early days. Likewise SUPP’s Dayak parliamentarian, Sinyium Ak Matit, resigned from the seat it won in 1970.

I could not understand why SUPP was always clinging on power despite the Party could not do much to protect its interest. Ever since SUPP lost its Dayak base, SUPP had tried to consolidate its power and influence in Chinese dominant areas, but, when the Merdeka University issue was brought to Parliament, SUPP’s six Members of Parliament at that time betrayed the trust of the Malaysian Chinese community by voting against the setting up of the Merdeka University! SUPP leaders at that time, like, the present one, had just wanted to enjoy the privileges of being in the government, then decided to betray the Chinese community by not backing the motion put by DAP in Parliament although SUPP together with DAP were among the 4, 234 Chinese organizations who in early 1978 signed a Memorandum to the King seeking His Majesty’s consent for the setting of the Merdeka University.

SUPP under Taib Mahmud
Taib Mahmud came into power in the State in 1981, replacing Tun Rahman Yakub and SUPP claimed they could work well with Taib to protect their party’s interest. So far, it looked good, but, in reality, the same story goes on!

SUPP continued to rubbed shoulders with BN political colleagues and although in 1982 the Education Minister was from PBB, a close partner of SUPP in Sarawak, SUPP could not stop to get the Education Minister from implementing the 3M syllabus in our education system. SUPP should realize that the voters had taught it a good lesson again in 1982 Parliamentary election and had wanted them to rethink of their position in the BN government when DAP through Sim Kwang Yang and Ling Sie Ming won in Bandar Kuching and Bandar Sibu and SUPP also nearly lost in Sarekei, just by winning 81 votes!

Since Taib Mahmud took over from Rahman Yakub, SUPP claimed that PBB had backed the Party then, if so, there was no reason why the Party fared badly in 1986 Parliamentary election either. This is because in 1986, SUPP could only win 4 out of 7 constituencies it contested. This again reflected a decline of support the SUPP had in 1982 as at that time the SUPP won 5 out of 7 SUPP contested. So the political maneuvering by SUPP within the BN had all these years not so much in SUPP’s favour and at each election, SUPP was always taught a lesson by the voters, but, why SUPP still wanted to rot inside?

During the 1987 State Election, SUPP again showed its colour of insincerity in order to cling to power by criticizing Tun Rahman Yakub, that is, the man that they respected when he was Chief Minister. Why should they chose to be with Tun Rahman as early as in 1970 in the first place; and in that 1987 election, a political leader of the Party then came out to accuse Tun Rahman’s government as corrupt? (see The Borneo Post 6 April, 1987) SUPP leaders also went on to accuse Tun Rahman Yakub and PBDS as anti-Chinese. Was SUPP not in the same Tun Rahman’s government? Soon Kai was one of those who were with Rahman Yakub’s government and he also went on to criticize Tun Rahman Yakub during the campaign! Now, we see SUPP leaders in the same government with James Masing and Dublin Unting! Both James Masing and Dublin Unting were from the disbanded PBDS.

Who are anti-Chinese?
SUPP leaders are a bunch of convenient politicians, out there just wanted to enjoy ministerial positions for personal benefits and had forgotten their tasks in keeping the trust the people had with them. They had forgotten that their support also came from the Chinese although in recent years the Chinese support for them had dwindled sharply. Did they not ever betray the Chinese?

Now, with Taib, SUPP still sing the same song they sung when with Tun Rahman Yakub. They praised Tun Rahman before, stayed in his Cabinet and enjoyed being Ministers. Now, Tun Rahman Yakub, no more, and Taib came their way, they now sang the same praise to Taib! Before they joined Rahman Yakub on Tuesday 7th July, 1970, they said Rahman Yakub was good! Now, with Taib, they say Taib is good! What had SUPP got by saying good to Taib? The answer is SUPP got the same as what they got from Tun Rahman Yakub! They still enjoy ministerial posts with chauffeured driven cars, but, same as in Rahman’s administration, nothing much SUPP could do in Taib’s government to protect the Dayak and Chinese interest as expected out from them. Now, SUPP is helping Taib’s Empire to grow and this could be seen when SUPP leaders dared not to fight against PBB recently for the allocation to SUPP of a newly created Parliamentary seat in Northern Sarawak before the recent 12th Parliamentary Election.

In Kuching, SUPP got Kota Sentosa in 2006 just because it was within SUPP’s previous constituencies of Batu Kawa and Batu Lintang and also just because bumiputera voters of the newly created Kota Sentosa Constituency were few.

If one day Taib no more their boss, SUPP may probably also wish to come hard like what they did against Tun Rahman Yakub, on Taib’s administration. So Taib, better be aware of what SUPP could be capable of once you will no more their boss.

Now under Taib, SUPP had lost the Chairmanship of Majlis Luar Bandaran Sibu and Sri Aman to name a few. SUPP also lost the Finance Minister’s portfolio to Taib and Chairmanship of the Board of SESCo to Awang Tengah from PBB. What more? Now they lost the Mayor of MBKS and Taib until now refused to give the two Assistant Ministers posts back to SUPP and had held on to the reshuffle of his State Cabinet.

Instead, of holding on the Finance Portfolio, George Chan was just made the Modern Agriculture Minister, where not much allocation of funds had been made to his Ministry. With Modern Agriculture, what could George Chan do to the agriculture sector in Sarawak, when to develop agriculture, land is needed and land is under the control of Taib. There are native land issues hovering George Chan’s head, and how could he acquire these native lands for the development of agriculture? George Chan also could not also help the natives much and could only confine himself to do small things, like, giving some fertilizer subsidies to these natives.

So, George Chan is holding a “show case” portfolio like what Tan Sri Ong Kee Hui once held, if I still could remember, as a Minister without Portfolio. With no Portfolio what could Tan Sri Ong Kee Hui do?

Therefore, SUPP’s much used slogan of “Participation in the Government” was meaningless given that SUPP had itself claimed that during Rahman Yakub’s reign, SUPP could not even promote Chinese interest and what more, the Dayaks interest, taking into consideration that in its early days, SUPP got massive support from the Dayaks.

In the last few days there were calls made openly in the press from SUPP’s own members that the Party should leave BN after the Party could not secure the mayorship of MBKS. SUPP’s leaders please don’t betray the trust of the people in you. You had been in the government for so long, yet, not much could you do to protect your own interest and how could you be able to protect the interest of Sarawakians that had all these while been faithful and been blindly supporting you?

You should now reconsider your position seriously to leave the BN government and fight your cause from outside BN like the DAP now is doing!