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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chinese ‘will retaliate’ against Taib’s stunt

Affronted Chinese members in SUPP likely to hold back their support for Taib Mahmud in the parliamentary polls.
KUCHING: Taib Mahmud’s divide and rule politics with the Chinese community in Sarawak may well backfire on him in the coming parliamentary elections.
His noticeable, albeit unprecedented, absence from Sarawak United Peoples Party’s (SUPP) Chinese New Year open house last Monday has angered members who believe that as the Chief Minister of the state he should not take sides in SUPP’s internal strive.
Also absent were BN component party presidents William Mawan of Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) and James Masing from Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS).
Both are Senior Ministers in Taib’s state cabinet along with SUPP’s former deputy secretary general Wong Soon Koh.
Thousands of Chinese from Serian, Siburan, Bau and, in and around Kuching were disappointed at Taib’s absence. They viewed it as an insult to both president and party.
Taib’s excuse for not attending the open house was his ‘age’ but that didn’t stop him for visiting the homes of prominent Chinese leader in Miri and Sibu with Wong and leaders of his group.
Speaking to FMT, Sarawak PKR vice-chairman See Chee How said that it was obvious that Taib was playing a “game” of trying to divide the community.
“It was so obvious right from the first day, he was playing that game. Probably he was trying to show that he was not happy with the federal government.
“But this is not the time to do it. It is not good to use festive occasions such as the Chinese New Year, Gawai Dayak, Hari Raya and Christmas to divide the people.
“These are the occasions that we should unite the people of various races,” said See, who is the Batu Lintang assemblyman.
Taib killing SUPP
He said that Taib’s stunt to further divide SUPP was actually him trying to kill-off SUPP at the end of the day.
“But in the process Taib may also lose support from the Chinese in areas controlled by PBB, SPDP and PRS, as leaders of these parties did not respect the Chinese during the Chinese New Year.
“They (the Chinese voters) will sure retaliate come parliamentary election,” he added.
SUPP is currently deeply divided. On one side is federal minister Peter Chin’s camp. Chin was elected last month, to lead a beleagured SUPP, in a contentious triennial delegates conference (TDC). On the other side is Wong.
Wong was groomed to succeeded former president George Chan who had stepped down following the party’s dismal performance in last April’s state elections. SUPP lost 13 of the 19 seats it contested.
But in the 11th hour Chin announced his interest in the presidency. It is said that Chin had the blessing of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to contest for the top post in SUPP.
A bitter dispute ensued with Wong and his team lodging reports with the Registrar of Societies (ROS) over irregularities by Chin’s supporters in branch level polls.
Wong and team then boycotted the TDC, forfeiting their right to contest in the party’s presidential polls. They are of the view that both the TDC and the elections were illegal.
So when Najib officiated at the TDC, Taib was nowhere to be seen.
No sign of retiring
His absence prompted many political observers to think that Taib was deliberately trying to embarrass Najib and SUPP leaders.
Taib could have several reasons for not attending the SUPP’s TDC.
One of them could be the numerous allegations of corruption and abuse of power against Taib by several quarters which want Najib to take action.
The other reason could be that Najib is said to have been trying to put pressure on Taib to step down as he (Taib) could be the reason why the Chinese would vote against BN in the coming parliamentary election as they did in the state election.
Taib had promised Najib to quit as Chief Minister soon after the state election. But until today, nothing is heard of Taib’s stepping down.

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