PKR, better don’t fool Sarawakians with Sarawakians!

Jimmy Adit

Jimmy Adit, The Ant Daily

When Selangor Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali called for a halt to labelling PKR as a West Malaysian political party, he probably did not realise that he was on raw nerves.

Sarawakians can be very parochial, protective, in fact, when it comes to what belongs to them as much as they are honest about admitting what isn’t theirs.

In this case, PKR is not theirs; it belongs to Malayans, so when Azmin, whether in good faith or out of political convenience, said it is not a peninsula party, he caused an uproar.

If like me, you are born a Sarawakian, understanding the Sarawakian sentiment is as easy as breathing is natural. Sarawakians don’t make false claims, but they will defend till their last breath what is theirs.

Which is why they are adamant that PKR does not belong to them; and also which is why they insist Putrajaya give the Malaysia Agreement a serious relook.

And that is also why Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem insists the oil and gas royalty must be increased: “The oil and gas resources, as long as it (extraction) is situated in Sarawak waters, belong to us. We don’t care about Kelantan or Terengganu. That is their business. As for Sarawak, five per cent is not enough. I will pursue this matter until we get an increase.”

PKR is and always will be a Malayan party.

No doubt in Sarawak it is headed by Sarawakian Baru Bian, but the PKR people, Azmin included, know too well the hazard of getting a Malayan to become the Sarawak PKR chief.

Besides, Sarawakians know too well how PKR operates. The party appears to give Baru a free hand in Sarawak, but the fact is that in PKR only Baru knows Sarawak and Sarawakians, and that is because he is a Sarawakian.

Therefore, whether Baru’s Malayan counterparts like it or not, in Sarawak he must be the chief and he should be given a free hand. That is for as long as it is okay with his Malayan bosses.

You see, Sarawakians know that Baru is answerable to his Malayan bosses, and as bosses it is within their right to censure or overrule him. Which they did in the last general election when his bosses picked candidates without care for his views and recommendations.

Truly, Malayans don’t know much about Sarawak and Sarawakians, and so Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and company picked a fair number of Tom, Dick and Harry as candidates.

One of these Anwar-chosen candidates was a former one-term MP who had made a decade-long disappearance both from the political and social scenes.

The day after he was named PKR’s candidate, he was going round the market-place shaking hands with shoppers and traders, when someone shouted out: “YB (in Sarawak, once a Yang Berhormat always a Yang Berhormat – out of respect, of course), saya pikir lu sudah mati (I thought you are long dead).”

The PKR candidate replied: “Anwar suruh saya berdiri (Anwar asked me to stand as candidate).”

That someone shouted back: “Suruh Anwar undi lo (Then ask Anwar to vote for you).”

The guy lost his deposit.