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.

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