Taib set to sacrifice Baram, retain unpopular dam project


Joe Fernandez

I am surprised to receive a text message from an Orang Ulu friend in Sarawak confiding that he would be voting for the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) in Baram although all indications are that the Opposition would sweep the seat.

The message goes:

“Boss – in OU Oiltown here wen ask abt Baram they flatly say KALAH!! And Miri again they say KALAH oso. Y v pessimestic? Hw like dat Boss? No choice now must hv to pour $$$… And lots n lots of it.. Unlike b4 BN went to war wit 110% of winning but nw it’s 50:50 chance wic s no gud news. Hw boss?”

“DLW -vs- Sahabat Alam Harrison Ngau logging n land issues. Now d bloody damned Dam issue. My vote is for BN but I’m betting wit d CKPs for pkr at rmxxxK… Hw boss?”

The main issue is the proposed Baram Dam project which has run into stiff opposition from the Orang Ulu people.

Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud is unlikely to back down on the dam project. He would prefer to sacrifice the seat.

However, if the Opposition takes Baram as expected, the Taib Dynasty has no business going ahead with the dam project in that seat. He will be asking for real trouble if the dam project proceeds.

It’s surprising that the text message sender, an MBA and former banker, wants to vote BN.

BN has been in power for 56 years in Malaya and 50 years in Borneo.

So, we need to throw it out and get the new Government to conduct due diligence and an audit of the 56 years and 50 years to know what monkey tricks the BN has been up to over the years behind the people’s back.

The due diligence and audit will facilitate the new government bringing wrongdoers from the BN to book to make an example of them.

There’s no doubt that the BN politicians have been stealing the people’s money over the last half century. In desperation, for self-preservation, unelected caretaker Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak keeps throwing goodies including cash at the people, bribing them with their own money. The people, who are being insulted in this manner, know better.

Henceforth, no party or coalition should be allowed to rule in Putrajaya or any state for more than two or three terms or 12 years at the very maximum.

This will help reduce the number of politicians that the people will have to lock up every time there’s a change of Government.

We cannot allow a situation where the more things appear to change, the more they remain the same. That’s self-preservation.

We need to mature as a democracy. That will not happen as long as BN is in power. However, there’s nothing to prevent BN returning to power in Putrajaya after a spell warming the Opposition benches for a change. They eat to eat humble pie for two to three terms.

Taib himself has been Chief Minister of Sarawak, the second poorest state in Malaysia according to the World Bank in Dec 2010, since 1981 and shows no signs of stepping down despite a bout with colon cancer and the loss of his wife to lung cancer. Even as his wife laying dying, suffering for many years before succumbing to the disease, Taib was busy shacking up with a Lebanese lady, forty five years his junior.

His predecessor was his maternal uncle Abdul Rahman Yakub who was Chief Minister for ten years until a Sarawak United People’s Party (Supp) rebellion against him, during Hussein Onn’s premiership, forced him to step down. Hussein was firm that Rahman Yakub should go despite the latter hosting a massive 50,000 strong rally of Malays at the old airport to demonstrate his strength.

Taib, a Melanau Muslim grandson of a Christian, never forgot how his uncle was humiliated and forced out of office by the Chinese.

So, he made it his mission to destroy Supp and the kingmaker role of the Chinese in Sarawak politics.

In that he has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.

So, the Sarawak Chinese see little point in backing a BN Government where they will have no influence whatsoever.

Taib has become Public Enemy Number One to not only the Chinese but a substantial number of the Orang Ulu, Bidayuh and the Melanau, all better-educated Dayaks, unlike the Iban who still lag behind in literacy rates, and many Malays in the urban areas.

The Sarawak Malays are mainly coastal-dwelling Bidayuh and Iban who became Muslim several hundred years ago. Sarawak Malay is an Iban dialect.

There are no local opposition parties to challenge Taib.

So, the field has been left wide open for Pakatan Rakyat (PR) to take on the BN in a one-to-one fight. The people of Sarawak have put the Borneo Agenda, mooted by Sabah strongman Jeffrey Kitingan, on the backburner as they wrestle with the immediate task of ending Taib’s rule. The Borneo Agenda stands against everything that the parti parti Malaya in Borneo and Putrajaya stands for.

Taib has historically never done well in a straight fight. In 1987, he was almost defeated by an alliance made up of the Malay-based Permas and the Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS).

Polls over, Taib was quick to invite PBDS to rejoin the state BN in order to break its alliance with the Malays.

He then put his machinery into motion and had PBDS deregistered several years later using rogue elements and his massive financial resources.