Will wily old Taib Mahmud, who has kept Sarawak out of Umno’s greedy clutches all these decades, outmanoeuvre Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak?Joseph Tawie and Pushparani Thilaganathan, Free Malaysia Today
Speculations of covert conversations between “cornered” Chief Minister Taib Mahmud and Sabah State Reform Party (STAR) chief Jeffrey Kitingan gained ground in Kuching following Jeffrey’s call to Sarawakians to “support local parties”.
During a recent visit, Jeffrey advised Sarawakians not to support peninsula-based Pakatan Rakyat but instead to give their backing to local parties.
The call, while confusing to some, has lent credence to rumours that Taib was keen on Jeffrey’s Borneo Agenda and had met with him to discuss an “alliance”.
Local parties in Sarawak are Taib’s Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu, Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP). All of them are currently aligned to Barisan Nasional in the federal capital.
However, in recent months this “allegiance” has become suspect, partly due to the goings-on in Sabah and the peninsula.
Within Taib’s PBB and BN coalition itself there appears to be those who have sold their souls to Putrajaya and who are working below the line to ensure he is forced out “once and for all” and this “includes using the occult”.
But a PBB insider said Taib was well aware of these moves and the people involved.
“He has his own plans and finds in Jeffrey and [Pakatan's Opposition Leader] Anwar [Ibrahim] a common agenda.
“Both want to get rid of Najib [Tun Razak] and Umno-BN.
“It works for Taib because now all three have a common agenda. Taib has nothing to lose at this point,” the insider said, adding that it was a bonus for Jeffrey and Anwar that Taib could be a “generous man” when the need arose.
The insider also said the latest rejection by Kuala Lumpur to his demand to be appointed Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak (head of state) in return for stepping down was pivotal to his decision to engage Jeffrey.
“Taib wants the head of state’s post but Kuala Lumpur has again rejected his demand.
“By becoming the head of state, he can control state affairs, appoint the chief minister he wants, and escape the long arms of the law,” said the insider.
Jeffrey’s remarks, which incidentally also had PRS president James Masing’s reported support, came at time of great political confusion. Never before have so many political players been in so tight a race.
According to FMT’s sources, Taib is fully aware of a federal-funded attempt to oust him before the 13th general election and making use of his deputy Awang Tengah Ali Hassan to execute the plan.
“The plan is to cut him off at every turn,” said a source referring to Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s declaration that only (federal) BN-sanctioned candidates and incumbents can contest in the general election.
This, the insider said, spoilt Taib’s plan to field his own men and outmanoeuvre Najib who is trying to pick his own PBB lineup loyal to Umno-BN and not to Taib personally.
“Najib wants to ensure that Taib does not play a double game so he [Najib] wants to have his ‘loyalists’ in PBB fielded. But Taib wants his men on the ground. He is ready to field his own people who are aligned to him but are currently independents.
“Najib wants Awang Tengah and his boys to remove Taib before 13th general election to ensure support for BN in Sarawak is intact and ensure the other BN components will remain loyal to Kuala Lumpur,” said the source.
Read more at: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/02/08/is-taib-jeffrey-alliance-in-the-making/