In war, when the enemy is strong, take a back step and attack when the enemy is not ready.
In war, hero dies first and with victory, enemy will rejoice!
Dewan sitting has just ended and it was the last sitting in the present building as the next sitting will be in the new building. Only eight days were allocated for the sitting. Presently, Sarawak Legislative Assembly has 62 YBs from BN and we in the Opposition are very much out numbered. The BN was still too powerful for us and with their numbers, only a guerilla warfare tactic could be effective against their strength. When they wanted you evicted or suspended out of the Dewan, standing orders and reasons were inapplicable in such a place. Justice could not be achieved with legal arguments as with numbers, their show of hands will just get you booted out of the Dewan. Justice is by show of hands!
YB Johnical Rayong of Engkilili, although an Opposition member, spoke like a YB from BN and never supported the Opposition in the Dewan which prompted me to tell the Speaker in the recent sitting to remove him from the Opposition bench. My request was turned down.
As usual, the first three days was for question time, motions and introduction of government bills. Question time was only allocated for one hour each day. Debate on supplementary budget started after question time on the third day and when too many wanted to participate in this debate, the Speaker, ruled that a member could only speak for 30 minutes, but, given such a short time, members who got the opportunity to speak first, managed to get some “injury time”. The “injury time” had taken much time of those who waited to speak. The Speaker then curtailed the speaking time of each member further to twenty minutes and later to ten minutes only!
This time, BN was smarter. Wherever possible during question time, some ministers gave lengthy answers to a question and the some answers included a lot of irrelevancies. In one question during question time, YB Sylvester Entri, the Assistant Minister for Public Utilities, took about twenty minutes to answer an issue, thus, leaving many questions allocated for the day unanswered. They just wanted to avoid sensitive questions! Clever tactic!
Another smart thing BN played well this time was to move motion against our State Party Chairman, Sdr. Wong Ho Leng, for word, “camouflage” spoken by him, which was not pleasing to their ears. The word was not seditious, not defamatory, not uttered with any ulterior motive and also was not to incite hatred among the people of Sarawak. They were simply not happy when our State Chairman refused to withdraw the word, “camouflage” in the speech. With their numbers, they voted to refer him to the Privilege Committee. The argument on the word, “camouflage” also took much of our Dewan and this tactic worked well for the BN. Again, we were deprived of our precious time in the Dewan debate.
Then came Dominique Ng, the Honourable Member from Padungan, who did not tuck in his shirt as a sign of protest of the recent expulsion of YB Chong Chieng Jen of Kota Sentosa from the Legislative Assembly was himself expelled for one day. Sdr. Wong Ho Leng was expelled together with Dominique Ng, after Sdr. Wong Ho Leng spoke on the issue of Dominique Ng’s dressing got heated up. The just wanted to provoke us with the hope that we would utter some unpleasant words to their ears and to take action against us from there. The debate on this alone took us nearly one day. It was a stupid one day for all of us! What a sheer wasted time for such an act of heroism! In protest, we all had to walk out.
People elected us to the Legislative Assembly with the hope that their voices and problems could be heard, but, this time, this was not the case. Talking too much sometimes, not good, and at times we had to be economical and careful with words and action so that our own words and action will not lay a trap against us and so that we would not waste the little precious time allocated for us to speak. In the Legislative Assembly, my observation was that BN was not afraid of heroes from the Opposition, but, was afraid of Opposition members who were able to stand up and speak their minds and debate on the issues at hand eloquently and clear. That was the reason why, this time, they were better planned to disrupt us from speaking as they knew our capability.
The antics of some of our members, unfortunately, then gave the rest of us very little time to debate on the supplementary budget. As a result I only managed to speak for twenty minutes. The text of my speech was about thirty pages and I had to stop after the Speaker rose up from his Chair and got out of the Dewan and within the twenty minutes, there were also a lot of interruptions from the BN backbenchers when I touched on NEP as a failed policy and dayaks and some malays as marginalized people.
We came to the Dewan well prepared and it took me about a month to prepare for the recent sitting. I had to do research, prepare speech and frame all questions properly, hoping that I could lay traps to get the mouse out, but, I regret that my effort was wasted. Only one question out of ten of mine was answered. It was answered because it was a simple question. The question was on the possibility of having a government clinic in Batu Lintang Constituency. Even that, the Assistant Minister who answered the question did not know his stuff well. He could only say, “I think….” This showed the minister was not prepared with the answer. We should despise the attitude of such ministers and should vote them out of office in this coming election. Jabu, George Chan and Soon Koh were never forgetting politicians and in each sitting used to recycle their attack on the opposition on alleged past events with too many unkind words. They all spoke too much on attacking the opposition rather than addressing the issues faced by the people, thus, defeated the ultimate purpose of us attending to their speeches. We again, walked out half way speeches of Jabu and Soon Koh. For George Chan, we still gave him a bit of respect because he was the leader of his Party.
Ministers like Masing, Abang Joe and Mawan, although they at times attacked the Opposition, but, they limited their words on us and went on to address the relevant issues affecting the people.
In between our speeches, the BN backbenches also never stopped interrupted and shouted abuses at us. This was to make sure that we could not deliver our speech and by the time we continued with our speech, time allocated by the Speaker to us was already taken up and the Speaker has to tell us to sit down.
So, people of Sarawak, in your hands the destiny of this land will be and if we as people of Sarawak continue to make mistakes, we will for a long time to come, never achieve our dream of an equal and just society.