Friday, December 10, 2010

Keep off Taib's turf, opposition warned

By FMT Staff

SARIKEI: Opposition members and "independents" have been warned to stay away from areas which are the stronghold of Chief Minister Taib Mahmud's Parti Persaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB).

A PBB official said that although the view might seem negative from the top, the "situation" on the ground was different.

"Don't assume that the situation is bad for PBB. There is renewed confidence in the party and policies. We have grassroots support," said PBB Meradong division treasurer Abang Selani Abang Abdul Razid, alluding to widespread reports of Taib's allegedly corrupt ways.

"The opposition should stay away from our (PBB) areas... it only have empty promises to offer and no structured plan for change," he added.

Selani's views were shared by other local BN grassroots leaders who also believed that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's latest call for all state leaders to field candidates who are "always" on the ground as a shot in the arm for local leaders in Sarawak.

PBB Pujut branch chairman Abu Bakar Amit said Najib's strict guidelines meant that candidates who were on the ground and with the people stood a better chance than those who were busy politicking.

"The PM wants committed local individuals... he's set strict guidelines for the state leadership. If the leadership is listening, it will work well for BN now," he said, referring to the fencesitters who are either unhappy with PBB elected representatives or undecided about the coalition.

Regaining trust

PBB controls the majority of seats in the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly, with 35 of the 71 seats.

The rest is shared among the coalition partners: Sarawak United Peoples Party (SUPP) has 11 seats, and Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) eight seats respectively.

In the 2006 state election, BN won 62 of the 71 contested seats.

The onus is now on PBB, as the party ruling the state for more than 35 years, to retain all its seats in the coming election.

In 2006 state election, the opposition pried open PBB's grip and took away nine seats.

This time round DAP alone is confident of pocketing 15 seats.

Pockets of "independents" are also working the ground hoping to stake a claim as community-leaders.

Which also explains Najib's call for grassroots leaders to be fielded in the coming election to counter non-friendly BN independents.

Describing Najib's decision as "sensible during these challenging times", SPDP Batu Danau Youth chief Kungee Sandhu said: "The PM's decision will make it easier for BN to win bigger grassroots support.

"These leaders are the ones close to their constituents and they understand the local problems better.

"It will definitely have positive effects on the ground and will help regain public trust in the party.

"I also believe leaders who failed to perform should be replaced to regain the people's trust and safeguard the image of BN," he said.

From Free Malaysia Today

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