Monday, April 20, 2009

Is SUPP a sleeping beauty in the Barisan Nasional government?

There had been no doubt that SUPP had been marginalized in the Barisan Nasional government both at the state and federal levels. Tan Sri George Chan has his Finance Minister portfolio taken away and has been given a lesser important portfolio as Minister of Modern Agriculture with very small budget each year. The Chief Minister, Pehin Sri Taib Mahmud has taken away that portfolio from Dr. George Chan. Dr. George Chan’s one-time potential challenger, Dato’ Seri Wong Soon Koh, although was made the Second Finance Minister, was only a spokesman of the Chief Minister in respect of financial matters and when answering questions posed by Honourable Members of the august House of the Legislative Assembly, the pitiful Second Finance Minister had little choice, but, had to turn his face and look straight at the YAB Chief Minister who just sat not far from him as if looking for answers or to answer as to be directed by the YAB Chief Minister. Dato’ Seri Wong Soon Koh was always seen only to make a “sure” reply after reading the face of the YAB Chief Minster.

This showed that the YAB Chief Minister had lost confidence at the present leadership of the SUPP. At least, when Tan Sri Dr. Wong Soon Kai was defeated in 1997, the Finance portfolio was still with SUPP. Incidentally in 1997, it was also a very bad defeat of the SUPP in the hands of DAP with three seats, including that of Bukit Assek, held by Tan Sri Wong Soon Kai, who at that time was also the Chairman of the Party.

To add salt to the woes of SUPP, the state Barisan Nasional government under the leadership of the Chief Minister, Pehin Sri Taib Mahmud also did not wish to appoint the two Assistant Ministers that are vacant in Kuching. These posts of Assistant Ministers were vacant as a result of defeats of Datuk Sim Kheng Hui and Datuk Alfred Yap Chin Loi at the hands of YB Violet Yong and YB Chong Chieng Jen respectively in the recent May 20, 2006 state election. SUPP also lost the mayorship of Majlis Perbandaran Kuching Selatan to civilians after their mayor Chan Seng Khai also lost the Batu Lintang seat. At least, the mayorship post should still be with SUPP, but, why not?

Now, YB Haji Daud Abdul Rahman, the Assistant Minister of Industrial Development, has announced the state government is proposing to re-delineate the boundaries of Majlis Perbandaran Padawan (MPP), Dewan Bandaraya Kuching Utara (DBKU) and Majlis Perbandaran Kuching Selatan (MBKS) should be seen as a step to further marginalize SUPP within the state Barisan Government. The tone of the Assistant Minister was a clear indication that the huge area of Majlis Perbandaran Padawan, now currently under the Chairmanship of YB Tan Joo Phoi, the Assemblyman for Batu Kawa from SUPP will likely be re-delineated and to make it smaller. This will again be seen as another step to be taken by the state “big brother”, PBB of Pehin Sri Taib’s Party to marginalize SUPP.

YB Tan Joo Phoi’s deputy is from PBB, but, was said the man behind the Majlis Perbandaran Padawan in many policies by the MPP. It was little wonder that many problems which I brought up to MPP and also to the personal attention of YB Tan Joo Phoi, was not solved or sweet time was taken to solve them. To me, I understand the problems faced by YB Tan Joo Phoi and I personally observed that he wanted to perform his work well, but, he could not as if under some remote control!

Mistreatment by Federal Barisan Nasional

SUPP had from the first day it joined the government, then under the Perikatan and now the Barisan Nasional was in actual been trapped to surrender their sacred rights and power given to them by the people who supported them to UMNO and PBB. Their then Chairman, Tan Sri Ong Kee Hui, on 11 February, 1971 was only given a junior ministerial post. SUPP joining the government gave the Barisan Nasional government led by UMNO the two-thirds majority in Parliament to proceed with the amendment of the Federal Constitution which literally shuts the mouths of dissent voices until today. The mouths of SUPP not only that of DAP also been zipped and they had made themselves fools and unable to speak effectively for the people until now.

Tan Sri Dr. George Chan wanted to show that he was speaking for the people and has said that he wanted very much to see YB Richard Riot, the Member of Parliament of Serian who also is from SUPP to be in the federal cabinet to at least represent the bidayuh community in Najib’s Cabinet. Now, there is no bidayuh federal minister, not even a deputy minister in Najib’s Cabinet. Najib apparently had forgotten that it was SUPP that helped his late father, Tun Razak, achieved what his late father and UMNO had wanted at that time. The late Tun Razak and UMNO dreamt of perpetuating malay political supremacy over other races, and with that “Ketuanan Melayu” was born which led to UMNO youths’ show of extremism by displaying the kris at functions in recent years.

In respect of funds for Chinese and mission schools in the state, SUPP also has little say, in actual no say at all! The matter is protected by the Federal Constitution and in actual there is no need to speak on this issue at all because once the matter is as provided in the Federal Constitution, it should be automatically provided and the rights should at all times be protected. It was a pity that SUPP being a component of Barisan Nasional, although, represented in the federal cabinet, had to rely on the courteousy of the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) to solicit funds for Chinese and mission schools in the state. During the last Parliamentary Election 2008, it was through MCA that the Barisan Nasional government distributed funds to Chinese schools in the country inclusive that of the state of Sarawak. Why not through SUPP?

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who then was the premier, when letting MCA to distribute these education funds, could not see the role played by SUPP in 1971 in helping UMNO achieved what UMNO wanted, that is, to enhance the malay supremacy over other races by amending the Federal Constitution and giving un-challengeable protection to special position of the malays and the status of the malay language as the National language.

Now, Tan Sri Dr. George Chan said of funding to Chinese schools, “… we are requesting the government to come up with a systematic mechanism for allocation of funds to these schools” (see The Borneo Post dated April 19, 2009 at page 4) clearly showed that SUPP was only a sleeping beauty within the Barisan Nasional with no power at all. To make a request clearly shows that this was an admission by Tan Sri Dr. George Chan that the voice of SUPP could not be heard at all! This treatment of SUPP put SUPP in a position worst that the Opposition. At least, we in the DAP when we shouted whether inside or outside the Parliament and the Legislative Assemblies, our voices were heard!

Pehin Sri Taib Mahumud as Chief Minister had in recent years took away many of the political rights and concessions of SUPP. Taib seemed to have forgotten the good deed of SUPP for packing the bags at midnight and turning away from SNAP and Pesaka to join Parti Bumiputera led by his uncle, Tun Rahman on early morning of 7th July, 1970. If SUPP had not made the midnight roundabout turn to cross the Sarawak River, the political scenario in Sarawak could be different which may not have seen Pehin Sri Taib as Chief Minister today. Pehin Sri Taib Mahmud may also have short memories of the Ming Court affairs in 1987 in which SUPP were firmly behind Pehin Sri Taib in overcoming the storm from his political opponents. Now, Pehin Taib had his own ways and had taken away some ministerial positions from SUPP and also some of SUPP’s positions and influence in local government.

Now, the Chief Minister could not even be bothered with the request made by SUPP to have better funds for Chinese schools and also to have a native from SUPP to be in the Federal government. The chief Minister just refused to comment and Najib just could not be heard! With that, the dayaks in the Party again felt betrayed because SUPP had not until now since joining the Perikanan and Barisan Nasional governments been able to help the dayaks through the Party.

When SUPP which claimed to represent the Chinese could not as a Party able to protect and help itself, then how could SUPP be able to help the Chinese community? If SUPP could not help the Chinese community, then, how can SUPP be able to help the dayaks? SUPP’s stay in the government was futile and SUPP’s influence has dwindled each year, neglected and unimportant. The longer SUPP stays, the more damage SUPP will cause to itself and to Sarawakians. So by not naming YB Richard Riot in his Cabinet, Najib has put a nail on the coffin in which SUPP will have to carry to the next state election.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Keep Dayaks Poor and Hungry, BN sure will rule for ever!

As long as the dayaks remain poor in the rural area, the State Barisan Nasional will rule Sarawak for long time to come. Taib will create a dynasty and Jabu will follow suit with Rentap later on. With them more dayak land will be taken away arbitrarily. At this moment, it seems the dayaks in the rural area are very contented with the ways how the State Barisan Nasional government had treated them.

Being very honest and simple people, their demand was always easy to be fulfilled by the state BN leaders. Being poor the dayaks depended very much on subsidies, especially, fertilizers because it was through agriculture that they have to survive. The political bribe of few packets of cap dacing fertilizers was just enough to make those hard pressed dayaks to remain loyal to the Barisan Nasional. So until now, many dayak areas which came under the Barisan Nasional flay could not compete with many areas now held by the Opposition. The BN government just was afraid not to develop areas won by the Opposition. This is because it would make the people angry with the government.

The dacing is a branded political symbol of the Barisan Nasional which the Barisan Nasional had used since Tun Razak, but, was used in fertilizers shows that it became a cheap symbol and effective way to entice the rural dayaks to stay loyal to the Barisan Nasional. Therefore, there is no need for the Barisan Nasional to bring the dayaks the progress that they should deserve. The dacing symbol has already been embedded in the dayaks’ mind. At the look of the dacing, the dayaks may just love it and vote for it no matter what people says and what happened.

The poor dayaks in the rural at this moment are at the mercy of the government and it is now left to the more educated dayaks to tell them about their democratic rights and the need to have a fairer deal from both the state and federal governments who had until now had failed to do things more positively for them. If no elections, the dayaks were forgotten, but, when elections come, ministers will fly with helicopters to see them. The Opposition had no helicopters, but, had to do with foot, bicycles and cars to fight the BN’s might.

See what had happened in the just concluded Btg. Ai by-election. With the announcement of the pumping of about RM70 million into the constituency, the dayaks were “bought over” by the state BN government. Dayak may need be informed that it was the upbeat in popularity of Opposition at urban areas plus the hard work of Jawah Gerang and Nicholas Bawin, to name a few that caused the state BN government to announce the RM70 million for Btg. Ai. The fact that such a huge sum would not be possible had the Opposition was weak.

It will take another generation of dayaks to wake up to fight against the might of the BN government who until now had not done much for them.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


All Opposition Parties in the Sarawak has to work a bit harder if the Opposition harbours the dream of capturing the state government in the coming state election in 2011. I felt the might of the Barisan Nasional was everywhere in this Batang Ai By-Election. They not only got the manpower, but, their firepower was powered by MONEY. The money the BN had, fell faster from the sky than the leaves that fell from the trees! With money the Barisan Nasional leaders could fool the people. An Assistant Minister told me that BN only got the money but lacked the issues. So they had no choice but pumped in money! We in the Opposition only have ideology and principles to fight on. We need to work harder.

I was involved in the campaign and was also was together with Nicholas Bawin for some brief moment. Nicholas was very tired but he was a true iban fighter and worked well with Jawah Gerang. In this by-election, what I could observe was that we got the issues, but, had failed to properly exploit the issues. Land issue was always important, but, this issue could not been exploited to the maximum for lack of data and coordination among the campaigners of the Opposition. The Opposition needs to form an Election Committee and with the Election Committee only then heads could be put together to tackle the issues more forcefully.

I was impressed with the speeches of Tan Sri Khalid and Jawah Gerang, but, my humble observation, the presence of Tan Sri Khalid could help, but, Jawah Gerang, hard working and gave his best seemed lacked the punch. I regret that I could not lend much punch to him because this was the first time I campaigned in dayak areas. My iban may have captivated some of the dayaks there, but, this was also not enough.

Whatever it is, maybe, Jawah was yet able to tune himself well to be a more forceful Opposition fighter because it was not always easy for him to go against his former masters. It may take a bit of time for him, but, I saw Jawah as a fighter. Just pray the best for him and may the new dayak generation rise to the occasion to help people like Jawah Gerang and Nicholas Bawin.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Enter Prime Minister Najib with Garbage!

Dr. Mahathir handpicked Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to take over as Prime Minister in October, 2003. He was a Mr. Clean and had dreams to tackle corruption as his top agenda. Hopes on Badawi in leading Malaysia to a clean and incorruptible government was very high, but, it was corruption within his Administration that also led to his down fall. Badawi had tried hard to clean his government, but, he was fighting an uphill battle. He wanted to reform the Judiciary, strengthen the police and to bring all people together. Instead, under his administration there were too many high profile trials before the court, scandals implicating Najib, corruption and money politics. These led to his downfall. He simply could not control those around him and many openly wanted him out.

To add to his woes, Dr. Mahathir many times condemned him and wanted his successor to step down. Dr. Mahathir then “anointed” Najib to take over and made his moves. Now, Najib is our 6th Prime Minister.

The new Prime Minister carries with him a lot of garbage. He has in the years been accused of complications with the Mongolian beauty, Altuntuya and also the purchase of submarines. Will he become a respected Prime Minster? He entered his office as 6th Prime Minister with some garbage. Can he leave the garbage behind him?

Najib always respected him mentor, Dr. Mahathir and never at once he had any disagreement with Dr. Mahathir over government policies. Najib was always close with Dr. Mahathir and Dr. Mahathir knew Najib since he was young and the relationship between them grew and bonded well. Now, with Dr. Mahathir throwing his weight around can Najib get off the shackles from Dr. Mahathir. Can Najib stands on his own feet without any interference from his Mentor?

Doubt, I guess because Dr. Mahathir will be in the Prime Minister in shadow directing Najib what to do. Another baggage!

Batang Ai By-Election – Window to Determine Next State Government

Opposition parties and Opposition leaders in the state in the last few years had worked hard to find a common solution and platform on how to topple the State Barisan Government led by Pehin Sri Taib Mahmud. Things seems very encouraging when leaders of all Opposition Parties, except, STAR, were seen mingling around in Lubuk Antu during the Nomination Day. I had asked Dr. Patau why his Party was not present. His answer was simple. He told me that they never invited him and saw the Party as a “mosquito” and could not contribute. If this was the attitude of some Opposition parties and Opposition leaders, trying to sideline one another or to show who is stronger or to identify who is weaker, then, only God could get us together. Mind you, a mosquito sometimes can kill!
Before Nomination Day, I had sent message across to some Oppostion Leaders, that an Election Committee need to be formed to tackle Batang Ai By-Election, but, no such Committee had been or could be formed. So this seems should be the way Opposition should work in the State. So, let it be.

Despite the absence of STAR, I could see during Nomination Day that the Batang Ai By-Election could lead the Opposition in the State to pull themselves together. Although there were still heads among the Opposition that still seems not focused on their common enemy, but, still some on each other, but, this seems could be trashed.

I was too happy to see all of us could group ourselves together, but, I was a bit discouraged after the shout of Pakatan Rakyat was sorely missing after the Nomination was over. I went to Lubuk Antu town, walking behind PKR leaders and their members that afternoon and I felt something missing. The leaders of other Opposition parties were not called to join them and some of their leaders only sold their Reformasi alone to the public. I had wanted to give an improtu speech, but, the lack of organization had caused this not to happen.

I felt lonely although they noticed me there, but, still I harboured some hope that the Opposition could pull together.

However, my heart sank after when coming back to Kuching after Nomination Day, I read about the political antics of veteran politician, Ting Ling Kiew, of SNAP who appeared in the local press, giving full support to the Barisan Nasional.
People had wanted change, but, if politicians among the Opposition were still thinking of personal gains and try to project themselves as heroes alone, then, no where the dream of toppling the State BN government in the next state election will be a reality. It will be a very painful thing if we could not make it this time.

Opposition leaders should have been getting rid of internal party politics and should focus on tackling the BN and be steadfastly focus on this mission alone. There is no room for disagreement and this takes a lot of discipline to do so. I am now very worried as to who to trust and how to trust these politicians that hit at each other and their own comrades. We should no more betray each other and compete with each other, but, to show strength together and compete and fight BN's power.

We have to stand and fall together and should not let ourselves survive alone and see others around us die. We must swim and sink together and this should be the way how we should build our esprit de coup against BN. Pehin Sri Taib will be just gentleman enough to step down and admit defeat if we can work together and he is there to test our strength. We should not blame Pehin Sri Taib to stay a bit longer, but, ourselves if we could not make it this time. If Pehin Sri Taib could command his men to hold on, but, we in the Opposition could not, then, how could be better than Pehin Sri Taib in managing the affairs of the State if we be entrusted by the people to be the government?

Come on! Wake up! We should not destroy this opportunity to take over the state government. The success of Batang Ai will only see us capture the state government, if not, we will not make it and our supporters will have to suffer for a long time to come.