I can’t meet your needs, Taib tells Chinese

The Chinese in Sarawak have got SUPP chief George Chan on his knees begging for a ‘second chance’

(Free Malaysia Today) – KUCHING: “Don’t hold me for ransom!” seems to be the stand Chief Minister Taib Mahmud has taken with the state’s Chinese community.

He said the Chinese in Sarawak cannot expect the government to give in to their demands.

“The government cannot give the Chinese 100% because it means that the others will not get anything. We cannot give the Malays 100% because that will also mean somebody will be left out.

“I cannot say that we give all the Dayaks 100% because that again means the others will be deprived.

“This is the reality of a multi-racial society and we have to remember that,” he said.

Taib is facing an uphill battle with the Chinese community in the state. Despite his many overtures, Taib has been unable to break through to the disappointed community.

For the first time in his political history, he is unable to lean on his anchor man George Chan, president of Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP).

SUPP, which has traditionally been the beacon for the Chinese, failed Taib miserably in the 2006 polls.

SUPP was literally washed out in the Chinese urban areas where they won only 11 out of the 19 seats.

This time round a much stronger DAP has threatened to thrash SUPP, declaring that it had 15 seats “in the pocket”.

Persistent rumblings

Yesterday, Taib reminded the community that the “Chinese in Malaysia had a good future compared to others in other countries”.

“For this very reason, the Chinese here must have a good representation in the BN government to ensure its communal requests and interests are heard.

“It would be a sad, sad thing if BN did not have good, sober and well-thinking Chinese leadership,” he said.

Whether he likes it or not, Taib needs to secure the Chinese voters.

This time round the BN coalition in Sarawak is facing issues within and outside its walled-up fortress.

In its backyard are squabbling sibblings Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) and Taib’s own Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), and the persistant rumblings of discontent among the rank and file.

Already there are speculations of tough fights in several PBB-held seats, with strong likelihood of BN losing its constituencies.

SUPP, meanwhile, is still unable to convince the Chinese that it hasn’t compromised “its soul” to Taib.