Azmin, get a grip

Who does Azmin think he is, to tell, to warn and to set conditions to SNAP?

By Anthony Anak Ibong

The PKR deputy president, Azmin Ali’s remarks, reported on March 5th, directed to the Sarawak National Party (SNAP) are highly deplorable.

Who does Azmin think he is, to tell, to warn and to set conditions to SNAP? He appears to be intent on bullying SNAP.

On December 12 2010, he gave a fiery speech in Bintulu promising to give full autonomy to Sarawak were Pakatan Rakyat (PR) to gain power at the federal level. I am beginning to doubt if what he said that day Sarawak autonomy can be believed at all given his attitude to SNAP which is a pure Sarawakian party, unlike PKR.
Azmin should be mindful that SNAP had been established in Sarawak far longer than PKR, and in fact longer than the Malaysian federation itself. SNAP provided the first chief minister of the state. He should give it the due respect that it deserves as the party that is the traditional Dayak-based political organisation of Sarawak.
With the unresolved issues arising from the PKR party elections and high number defections of its elected representatives, Azmin should bear in mind that he is from the party that is commonly agreed to be the weakest link in the PR coalition. He ought to be more humble and circumspect before deciding to get on the high horse and start dictating what other political parties should or should not be doing and trying to impose terms.
PKR and PR should be thankful that SNAP is willing to be an ally in the impending state elections. It will be unwise for Azmin or anyone else for that matter to treat SNAP as a junior partner in this alliance.
Even Umno has been sensitive to local Sarawak sentiments and refrained from setting itself up in the state. For PKR to come in and start ordering and bossing SNAP around, that is something which will not go down well with the Sarawak electorate and may adversely impact PR’s performance in the state elections. That is why I found Azmin’s remarks so short-sighted and deplorable.

Apart from power-abuse and high level breaches of public trust, the other major and apparently intractable issues in the state are Dayak-based, such as the question of native customary rights over land. Between PKR and SNAP, surely the latter as a Sarawak-based organisation, is better placed to represent the people of the state in any sincere effort to resolve those issues.

It is best that the PR parties bear in mind that SNAP contested no fewer than 28 seats in the last state elections. To offer it just 3 seats to contest this time around is nothing but an insult to the aspirations of the people of Sarawak. All things considered, there is no compelling reason why SNAP should tie its fortune to PR if the PKR does not budge in the seat-allocations discussions.
As for Azmin, if he was not being hypocritical in his talk about Sarawak autonomy, he should be more receptive to and accepting of SNAP’s desire to contest in the number of seats it feels it deserved and stop trying to boss the Sarawak party around.