Saturday, December 11, 2010

BN under serious threat in S'wak, says Adenan

By FMT Staff

KUCHING: The organised assault by a "cancerous" opposition could leave several Barisan Nasional candidates on the losing end in the soon-to-be held state polls, according to a senior member of Chief Minister Taib Mahmud's Cabinet.

Sounding a serious warning, special adviser to Taib, Adenan Satem, said the voters would not vote for a party anymore.

"The situation has changed. People have easy access to information and are more politically aware. The people's mindset has changed and BN cannot afford to rest on its laurels," he said.

In what is seen as the first confession of BN politics in Sarawak, Adenan said the current scenario was less favourable to BN.

He said frustration among dissatisfied voters coupled with structured campaigns by an empowered opposition and widespread allegations of abuse over the Internet had filtered down and would affect the party's standing.

He said that voters today were more inclined to support individuals who were committed to serving them.

"The best advise to BN candidates now is to stay close to the people and attend to their needs.

"Don't take voters for granted. Nowadays people don’t vote along party lines...the personality of the candidate also matters and could contribute to a defeat or victory.

"So candidates need to be convincing, open to criticism and must listen to the grouses of the people,” Adenan told newsmen at the recent pre-Christmas gathering organised by the Bidayuh Graduates Association.

Adenan, who is also Tanjung Datu assemblyman, pointed out to cases where local BN candidates were not supported by their own party members and in the end "these members themselves campaigned against the candidate."

Eroding voter-bank

Adenan's confession speaks of the seeping fear among BN of cracks within and that even its 'fixed deposit' of native voters, once considered a savior, is also eroding.

It is common knowldge here that BN has lost much of the Chinese support despite denials by the Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP).

Opposition DAP has openly stated its confidence in wresting 15 seats fuelled by its victory in the Sibu by-election in May.

PKR, in the meantime, is steadfastly working on land issues, which is the core concern of native voters.

The latest 'directive' by Sarawak’s Minister of Infrastructure Development and Communication Michael Manyin to community leaders not to endorse native customary land (NCR) saying they have 'no authority' has also riled locals with many seeing it as yet another puncture in BN's vote-bank.

A former deputy president of the Council of Native Customary Laws, Nicholas Bawin has lambasted Manyin for his ignorance with regards to the customs and adat of Dayaks (natives).

“Under the adat, the Tuai Rumah, Penghulu, Pemancha and Temenggong are custodians of the adat. They are appointed because they have substantial knowledge of the land," Bawin said adding that by virtue of this knowledge their appointment came with 'authority.'

Sarawak PKR chairman Baru Bian, who is also a well-known NCR lawyer, said that forbidding headmen (community leaders) from carrying out their role was a "serious abdication of responsibility".

"Headmen (should not) shy away or be prevented by certain political powers or individuals from discharging their important duties. It is irresponsible of them not to exercise their rights," he said.

Meanwhile a realistic Adenan has admitted to 'weaknesses' in the system and is urging the people to give BN time to change.

Admitting to the four 'ailments' outlined by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak during the recent BN Convention 2010, he said: "People are not as appreciative as before. Now they believe it is the government's job to look after them. The government, they say, is paid (by taxpayers) to do so.

"But we are realising our weakness and shortcoming.

"Give us (BN) time to change and we will change...but it will take time," he said, adding that in the 'final analysis' BN was still the only party who could bring development to the rural areas.

From Free Malaysia Today

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