Wednesday, March 30, 2011

PKR, DAP end seat dispute

Joseph Tawie | March 30, 2011

The issue of overlapping claims has been resolved, says Baru Bian

KUCHING: PKR and DAP have ended their dispute over seats to contest in the April 16 state election.

“The issue of overlapping claims for seats has been resolved,” Sarawak PKR chairman Baru Bian said today.

He said de facto PKR chief Anwar Ibrahim, DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang and PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang would explain the details at a press conference this Friday.

“It is good news that our negotiations with PAS and DAP have been resolved,” he added.

“I am not allowed to say more.”

Bian’s announcement should bring relief to opposition supporters who fear that the overlapping claims will derail cooperation between the two parties and Pakatan Rakyat’s objective of dislodging the Barisan Nasional government and institute reforms in Sarawak.

DAP wanted to contest in 18 constituencies, but PKR said five of those should be given to its candidates. At one point during the dispute, DAP threatened to pull out of the Pakatan alliance and contest the election on its own.

The disagreement dismayed many opposition supporters, who want to see Pakatan meeting BN in as many one-to-one fights as possible. Some even said they would boycott the polls if PKR and DAP failed to settle their differences.

Asked whether PKR had settled a similar dispute with the Sarawak National Party, Bian said the “SNAP issue” had not been resolved.

“We have already communicated with SNAP leaders,” he said. “I was told by (PKR vice president) Tian Chua there has been an offer from our side, but so far there is no response yet from the other side.

“We are waiting until the end of the week before we make a decision.”

He also said Sarawak PKR’s list of candidates for the election would be finalized tonight, but added: “I cannot tell you who will be in the final list. It is up to the political bureau to endorse.”

Bian suggested that the Election Commission allow Sarawakians living in Peninsular Malaysia to cast their votes at designated places in Kuala Lumpur, Johor, Penang and Ipoh.

“We have several thousand students and workers in Peninsular Malaysia, and it will be a good idea if the Election Commission can allow them to vote there.”

Anwar's ceramah disrupted again, this time in Kuching

PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim's public rally last night in Kuching, his first in Sarawak since the dissolution of the state legislative assembly, was cut short due to police disruption.

According to See Hua Daily News, police tried to stop the rally, outside a coffeeshop at Jalan Padungan, even before Anwar arrived.

Kuching district police chief Mun Kok Keong had tried to stop the rally on the grounds that no permit was issued and the event was disrupting traffic.

NONEMun later seized the microphone when Kuala Sepetang state assemblyperson and former Perak exco member Tai Sing Ng was speaking and demanded the latter's Mykad.

After intense negotiations with Padungan state assemblyperson Dominique Ng, the event organisers agreed to hold the event inside the coffee shop without the use of microphones.

Only a fraction of the crowd managed to squeeze into the coffee shop with the rest, numbering in the hundreds, standing outside. See Hua Daily News reported the total crowd figure at 800.

Eventually, Ng managed to address the crowd, many sweating due to the cramped conditions, for about 20 minutes before Anwar finally arrived.

Ng: Police overreacted

Commenting on the incident, Ng said the police overreacted yesterday and should not have deployed riot police as there was obviously no security threat posed by the event.

NONE“We are unlike (Peninsular) Malaysia where sometimes the crowd is a bit more boisterous. In Sarawak, political events are carried out with restraint and good manners. There was no need for the police to be alarmed,” he said.

Ng said the police had also claimed that the application for a permit for a public assembly was denied because they were not given two weeks' notice.

“The campaign period is just 10 days. How do we give them two weeks notice? They set all kinds of conditions and make it difficult for us,” said Ng.

NONEHe also lashed out at the police for demanding to see Tai's identity document and treating him as a suspect in a crime, adding that this sort of treatment would not be accorded to a former exco member from BN.

The event yesterday was also to mark PKR's 12th anniversary in Sarawak.

“We even had a birthday cake for the event. Are birthday parties now illegal activities?” he asked.

Anwar: Vote for clean government

Meanwhile, United Daily News reported that Anwar, in his speech, urged Sarawakians to support Pakatan Rakyat as the next state government to ensure equality and a clean government.

NONE“We will fight for the rights of the Sarawakians and ensure that the agreements for the state's autonomy are fulfilled,” he said.

Anwar urged Sarawakians to look at Pakatan's success in ruling Penang and Selangor, which had recorded the highest amount in foreign investments among Malaysia's 13 states, while much of Sarawak languished in poverty.

He said that, should Pakatan rule Sarawak, it would put an end to crony politics.

Ng, in his speech, said he had spent 30 years serving the people of Padungan and he would die in the constituency.

“I won't leave Padungan even if you kill me,” thundered Ng.

Will infighting break Snap out of Pakatan?

Written by Sheela Sri Jaya, Malaysia Chronicle

Infighting within Snap, one of the oldest parties in Sarawak, has been the main reason why its top leaders are still undecided on whether to stay or pull out of the Pakatan Rakyat.

"What is actually happening is not so simple. There are 2 major factions in Snap itself. One has been infiltrated by the BN and is the side that has been blaming PKR for its own troubles," PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution told Malaysia Chronicle.

Indeed, speculation has swirled that the Snap faction led by Paul Kadang wants to pull out and join forces with Salehuddin Hashim, the former PKR secretary-general who is now actively endorsing the BN.

Kadang has threatened 3-corner fights with BN and Pakatan if his demands for 27 seats are not accepted by the Pakatan leadership.

"PKR clearly disagrees with Snap wanting 27 seats. We are still open for negotiations and we will just wait for the outcome," Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian told Malaysia Chronicle.


There are 71 seats up for grabs in the Sarawak elections with BN holding 63, DAP 6, PKR 1 and an Independent candidate 1.

PKR had previously confirmed it would go for 24 seats, while Snap would go for 4. PAS will contest five seats and DAP 15. The remaining 23 will only be finalised at the end of the month between PKR and Snap.

As such, Kadang's latest statement raised eyebrows especially as the April 6 nomination date neared.

"At all times, PKR insisted that the final decision would be made by the national leadership after a negotiating position had been reached by the parties. To any seasoned negotiator, such a statement is already a deal-breaker," Kadang had said.

His remarks appeared aimed at tarnishing PKR's chief neogtiator Tian Chua's ability.

It is well-known within PKR circles that there is no love lost between Tian and Salehuddin Hashim especially after Tian refused to back another former PKR leader Zaid Ibrahim for the deputy president's post in 2010.

According to Tian, who is also PKR vice president, the Pakatan has already discounted a complete Snap withdrawal froom their coalition. Snap had joinedPakatan last year.

In such an event, the PKR leader said Pakatan would still try to negotiate with Snap on as many seats as possible where they could avoid 3-corner fights.

"Those seats we can't agree on will see 3-way fights but we will try to minismise this and will continue to try our best to come to a favourable conclusion as soon as possible - within these few days," Tian told Malaysia Chronicle.

"The old guard in Snap like Edwin Dundang tell us they are still keen to remain in Pakatan, but it is the other faction that has been making a lot of noise in the media." - Malaysia Chronicle

Weather forecast: Tsunami in Sarawak to sweep BN away

Written by New Jo-Lyn, C Celestine, Malaysia Chronicle

A political tsunami is expected to rock Sarawak in the impending elections as Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s dirty linen has been washed in public too many times for voters to ignore.

“The rakyat are responding well to us. We are confident we will at least deny BN a two-thirds majority – at least 36 seats. The news of Taib’s squandering, the Bible issue and the Penan rapes will not go down well for him during the elections,” PKR MP for Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin told Malaysia Chronicle.

The candidate set to contest against Taib himself in his stronghold is a woman, whom Zuraida said she hopes will put Taib to shame for his "rotten" treatment of ladies. She referred to the Chief Minister’s treatment of a female candidate in the previous election, where his bodyguards tried to physically block her.

Apart from the political slap in the face such a move was meant to be, PKR leaders also said it was meant pre-empt any undue and overly-harshly harassment against the Pakatan candidate by Taib and his men.

"We hope Taib will be more circumspect when he and his gang campaign against our candidate. If he wants to be rough and resort to violence, that's his problem but we warn him it will backfire and expose him even more as a dark force that Sarawakians must reject at all costs," PKR vice president Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.

Riding the wave of anger

The anger of people over land issues among other things gives this elections an upbeat atmosphere said Pakatan’s Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh.

“Sarawakians are very angry with Taib, mostly over land issues and this puts BN in a very tight spot. For Pakatan, we are riding on the wave of the best elections mood so far,” said Fuziah.

However, they have to watch out for BN’s tactic of offering goodies to voters, especially those from semi-rural and rural areas.

Sarawak voters who were mostly below the poverty line are very dependent on the financial aid given to them and susceptible to BN’s tactics. BN might even be willing, to amend policies, to make the hopeful she said, adding this campaign proves to be a challenge for the Opposition as the duration is very short and logistics are tough.

“The Ibans and Dayaks are very loyal people. They will not ride on boats bearing BN flags to transport them to polling stations if they are Pakatan supporters. Since it is very difficult for us to get our boats inside, they will wait and wait until elections are over,” she quipped.

According to Fuziah, sentiments are high but it was difficult, to translate sentiments to votes, to predict how Pakatan will perform this season.

Machang MP Saifuddin Nasution said PKR will be announcing the seat allocations and the 10 to 12 focus areas, which it considers to be winnable. The identity of Taib’s contender will be confirmed, today, in the presence of PKR top guns in Kuching.

“They think they can fool people, especially those who live in the rural areas in Sarawak because of their poor living conditions. But what now, the relevant issue, related to these people is the land exploitation,” he told Malaysia Chronicle.

This was said in reference to Nazri Aziz’s comments that handouts and goodies in the form of financial assistance, to voters during elections cannot be considered as corruption. He has never before seen such a blatant misuse of government funding, Saifuddin said.

Tipping the scale for BN

Known to be the largest electorate in the state, Dayak voters accounted for 41 percent or 401,716 registered voters, followed by Chinese voters at 31 percent (303,737) and Malay/Melanau at 28 percent (274,343), it would be interesting to know if the Dayak will tip the scale in favour of Sarawak BN with the dirty laundry that is being washed.

As the smallest number, the Melanau was given the chance to lead when the Dayak was the one who should have led the state. Being rural voters, the Dayak community, is a challenge for the Opposition to break from the BN and get them to favour them. Thus far they have held 29 seats from the 71 state constituencies.

Having a loyal mindset they feel let down on the extent to which the government was able to develop rural projects and settling their traditional rights, which will determine the loyalty votes.

Political analysts believe BN would be able to retain most of the seats but in some areas it would find it difficult to defend the seats due to the delay in providing the much needed development in an area.

The Opposition could also play up the thorny native customary rights like the NCR land title ownership, to convince the people but it maybe too difficult for them. Some areas like Ba''kelalan, Balai Ringin or even Kedup are the "grey'' areas the BN was predicted to have a tough time. Effective strategy to win the hearts and minds of the people had been providing clean water, tarred roads and electricity supply, now read as the Internet, to connect the towns and villages.

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) senior political science lecturer Dr Ahi Sarok told Bernama "It is safe for me to say that in some areas, the opposition will make significant inroads but not enough to win and in some Dayak-majority areas, the majority will be reduced."

As far as the NCR land issue was concerned, he said, the question was whether the land owners were being paid compensation by the government based on the market value, including the Bidayuh villagers affected by the Bengoh dam project near here.

Dr Ahi said the issuance of NCR land titles on areas not affected by land acquisition for development purposes would have some positive impact, especially among the state BN coalition while the opposition might exploit the provisional native customary rights (NCR) land lease issue to their own advantage.

For Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association (SDGA) president Dusit Jusit, "Land issue is the heart of all issues." A lot of rationalisation needed to be done depending on how effective both sides could penetrate these affected areas to resolve and rectify the issue.

It is commonly known the Sarawak Land Ordinance was utilised under the reason of development for the state government to seize, NCR land and allow companies to carry out plantation projects and logging related activities without the owners permission. However, Taib’s leadership did take measure to implement the perimeter survey for NCR land under the New NCR Initiative of the Tenth Malaysia Plan (10MP).

"Sentiment is one thing but translating it into votes is another thing," Dusit, adding the people were better educated nowadays besides having access to information.

The youth was exposed to the world, where a lot of self and national developments motivated people globally especially in the political sphere. This bodes well for them to make informed decision when it comes time to exercise the right of freedom, to vote according to their conscience and liking.

Nominations have been set for April 6, and polling on April 16. The dissolved Sarawak state legislative assembly has 71 seats with BN winning 63 seats through Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) (35), Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP) (12), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) (8) and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) (8).

Opposition party DAP has six seats while Parti Keadilan Rakyat and Parti Cinta Malaysia (PCM) account for one each. - Malaysia Chronicle

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Anwar: Focus on S'wak, ignore diversions

Jimadie Shah Othman & Lee Long Hui

A combative Anwar Ibrahim last night urged Pakatan Rakyat supporters to not be swayed by the latest sex scandal allegation against him and focus on the coalition's goal in the Sarawak elections.

NONESpeaking to thousands at a rally at the Melawati indoor stadium in Shah Alam last night, Anwar said the latest allegation - that he was caught on film with a prostitute - was another concerted attempt to derail the opposition's advances.

He cited how in 2008, sodomy accuser Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan took an oath at a mosque on the eve of nominations for the Permatang Pauh by-election.

NONE“It's a scheme that is very cunning and dirty... Every time there is an election, there is a new allegation against me,” he said.

Putting his case further that he is a victim of a high-level conspiracy, Anwar insinuated that the producers of the scandalous video clip appeared to have Putrajaya's backing.

“This the first time in history that you can distribute a pornographic film and be defended by a minister (and even) the prime minister. There is no crime!

“This means that in this country, they can kill, rape, indulge in graft and show pornographic films and all tutup kes (case closed). Why? Because they are in power,” he thundered to hoots of approval.

Newspaper slammed

Anwar then turned his attention to media organisations who are attacking him over the sex clip, alleging that they, too, are part of the conspiracy.

NONE“There are desperate editors, including those linked to (MCA president Dr) Chua Soi Lek, who are trying to hurt my family.

“Apparently (in one article), when Anwar spoke, (the author wrote) Wan Azizah didn't even smile (while) Nurul Izzah was bowing her head throughout.

“What kind of human being expects a wife to smile when the husband is accused like this? They are stupid,” said Anwar, triggering shouts in agreement.

He said that there was only one thing that the Pakatan coalition can do for now which is to rally its forces and not lose sight of its goals in Sarawak.

'Oust Taib'

Likening Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud to ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak - as both have held their post for 30 years - he said Pakatan has the duty of getting rid of a leader who had outstayed his welcome.

He alleged that the Sarawakian first family had amassed billions of ringgit from ill-gotten gains while the people are languishing in poverty.

“Prime Minister Najib (Abdul Razak) is trying to divert attention from murder, rape and corruption... They want to raise the issue of the video clip and the court case (Sodomy II).

“Don't be tricked... Our agenda to bring change to this country must continue,” he said.

NONEAnwar was speaking at a PKR-hosted rally which also served as a special mass prayer session in response to the latest allegation of sexual misconduct.

Speakers during the rally included PAS spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat (right), PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang and PKR supreme council member Johari Abdul.

Can BN Still Secure The Dayak Votes?

(Bernama) - KUCHING -- As rural voters, the Dayak community generally are quite predictable in their voting trend to tip the scale in favour of the Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.

But to what extent the BN is confident of retaining the 29 predominatly Dayak seats out of the total 71 state constituencies in the April 16 state election with a bigger majority remains to be seen.

Based on the latest Election Commission (EC) statistics, Dayak voters accounted for 41 percent or 401,716 registered voters, followed by Chinese voters at 31 percent (303,737) and Malay/Melanau at 28 percent (274,343).

By and large, the Dayaks depended on the government to bring rural development projects but the extent to which the state government had been able to pacify the growing sense of frustration and unhappiness among them wil certainly determine whether it will continue to gain their loyalty and votes this time.

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) senior political science lecturer Dr Ahi Sarok said the BN would be able to retain most of the seats but, in some areas, it would find it quite difficult to defend the seats because of the delay in providing the much needed development in a particular area.

With the native customary rights (NCR) land title ownership remaining a thorny issue at every election, he said the BN would need to convince the people otherwise and, for which, the opposition would use to woo the voters.

"It is safe for me to say that in some areas, the opposition will make significant inroads but not enough to win and in some Dayak-majority areas the majority will be reduced," he told Bernama here.

Citing Ba'kelalan, Balai Ringin or even Kedup as some of the "grey' areas that the BN was predicted to have a tough time, he said the provision of clean water and 24-hour electricity supply and tarred roads to connect the scattered longhouses and villages were a simple but effective strategy to win the hearts and mind of the people.

As far as the NCR land issue was concerned, he said the question was whether the land owners were being paid compensation by the government based on the market value, including the Bidayuh villagers affected by the Bengoh dam project near here.

Dr Ahi said the issuance of NCR land titles on areas not affected by land acquisition for development purposes would have some positive impact, especially among the state BN coalition while the opposition might exploit the provisional native customary rights (NCR) land lease issue to their own advantage.

"Land issue is the heart of all issues," said Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association (SDGA) president Dr Dusit Jusit.

As a strategic management trainer, he said a lot of rationalisation needed to be done depending on how effective both sides could penetrate these affected areas to resolve and rectify the matter.

While the state government should be lauded for taking proactive steps to implement the perimeter survey for NCR land under the New NCR Initiative of the Tenth Malaysia Plan (10MP), it was a common perception that the Sarawak Land Ordinance was used under the guise of setting up plantation projects to seize NCR land and allowed private companies to carry out plantation and logging activities without the owners' agreement.

But for now, he said, it looked like the ruling coalition had the upper hand in dealing with the people's sentiment, which varied from place to place, if one was to travel from Lundu in the state's south-western tip to Limbang in the north.

"Sentiment is one thing but translating it into votes is another thing," he said, adding that the people were better educated nowadays besides having access to information.

He said the youths were being exposed to the outside world, where a lot of developments recently had motivated people globally especially in the political sphere.

Snap: Seat talks with PKR on the brink

Stephen Tiong

Negotiations for an opposition pact for the upcoming Sarawak elections look to be heading for a total breakdown with the Sarawak National Party (Snap) voicing its frustration with PKR's 'infantile offer' of four seats.

It wants 27 seats at the very minimum.

NONESnap is very much in favour of an opposition pact for the April 16 elections, its director of operations Paul Kadang (left) said today.

However the possibility of such a pact appears to be diminishing by the day, he said in a lengthy statement.

He put the blame squarely on PKR for the failure to reach agreement on the allocation of seats, with several involving overlapping claims.

"The negotiations on the seat allocations commenced in a haphazard manner and much later than ideally possible," he said.

"Snap refuses to be marginalised and to underscore its seriousness and capacity to compete, declared publicly its 16 candidates for 16 named constituencies.

"A startled PKR came back to 'offer' four seats, instead of three. Snap responded to this infantile insult by announcing 11 more candidates for 11 more constituencies."

'Incompetency' in leadership

He said PKR's incompetency in leadership and management of the negotiations was obvious.

"There was no negotiation agenda and things were done by the seat of their pants and at their convenience.

"Snap expected the first session would have been attended by decision-makers of all parties."

He also said there is no point in negotiating if the negotiators have no power or mandate to make decisions.

azlan"At all times, PKR insisted that the final decision would be made by the national leadership after a negotiating position had been reached by the parties. To any seasoned negotiator, such a statement is already a deal-breaker," he noted.

Kadang said Snap expected that the first order of the day was to get a consensus of the proportionate spread of the number of seats to be contested by each party in accordance to macro-demographic factors which all four parties - PKR, Snap, DAP and PAS - hold themselves to champion.

He added it was clear that DAP would run in Chinese-majority areas, PAS in a few Muslim-majority areas and PKR in Malay-Melanau areas, where they had concentrated their efforts in the past decade for better or for worse.

He said Snap, being a multi-racial party but traditionally a Dayak-based one, would contest in the native-majority areas.

"It was only in the mixed areas that overlapping claims will have to be resolved through negotiations," he said.

"But PKR having suddenly realised that native issues could be the determining issues in the coming elections, and still hung over from the ecstasy of the 2008 electoral tsunami in the peninsula, thought that by placing their candidates in these native constituencies, (it) can be the beneficiary of a Sarawak tsunami."

He said that, if in fact PKR had made a positive impact in native constituencies and indeed enjoyed native support by putting in hard work in building up an articulation of native dissatisfaction, the results would have been evident.

"But instead, PKR has never won nor come close to winning a native-majority seat in three federal elections and two state elections in the 12 years of their existence in Sarawak. In fact, a number of their candidates lost their deposits. So much for PKR's desire to contest in 53 seats."

Winnability of candidates

Kadang said next thing the negotiating parties should consider is the `winnability' of candidates as a basis for allocation of overlapping seats.

He said that, as has always maintained, Snap would be happy to be a part of an electoral pact if it is allowed to contest in the 27 constituencies.

"However, should there be a free for all, Snap has the capacity and candidates to contest up to 40 seats. That is an option that it will take only if there is no more rules of engagement among the opposition parties.

"Snap respects the opinions of others as their right to voice opinions in a democracy. By the same token, Snap reserves its right to its own political action without having to be accused of treachery and all the other tales that make interesting gossip at teh tarik stalls.

NONE"Snap urges that, before certain presumptions are made, basic empirical research should be done that goes beyond mere rhetoric and wishful thinking.

"Like everybody else in this state, we wish to unseat the (Abdul) Taib (Mahmud) (left) regime, but we will do it in a manner that safeguards Sarawakian and Dayak control over their own affairs and destiny, and avoid jumping out of the pot into the fire.

"Our words are based on actual experience but we certainly welcome learned comments and guidance from armchair politicians made in good faith," he added.

Tian Chua: PKR-Snap talks still on

Joseph Sipalan

PKR today denied claims that seat negotiations with Snap are on the brink, stressing that discussions are still going on between the two parties.

PKR vice-president Tian Chua said both parties are still comparing their 'wish list' to determine whose candidates from the two parties have the highest chance of winning.

“Who said (negotiations have) broken down? Negotiations have not broken down yet, we are still discussing (seat allocations) today,” he said when met in the Parliament lobby.

azlanSnap director of operations Paul Kadang today claimed that PKR had given them an “infantile offer” of four seats, when the Sarawak-based party is gunning for at least 27 of the 71 state seats up for grabs.

Snap's account of the seat negotiations differs from what PKR deputy president Azmin Ali told the media yesterday, when he said it was agreed that four seats will go to Snap while discussions are still in porgress for another 23 Dayak-majority seats.

This is the latest case of conflicting statements from leaders of both parties since negotiations officially started at least two weeks ago.

Hardly a week earlier, Snap had accused PKR of being “arrogant” for allegedly wanting the lion's share of the seats.

Azmin, who heads PKR's negotiating team, had at the time come out to pacify Snap leaders, holding two separate meetings with Snap senior leader and former deputy chief minister Daniel Tajem and secretary-general Edmund Stanly Jugoh to work out the kinks in their discussions.

The BN factor

Chua said both parties held an hour-long lunch meeting yesterday over the seat allocations between PKR and Snap, and that he expects an announcement on the final list to be made any time from now till nomination day on April 6.

He said however that they are concerned over Snap's unclear position regarding its relationship with BN - of which it was once a component party.

“I admit a problem is whether Snap will stand together with us or go their own way. We are worried with Snap's attitude towards BN.

“If we give up seats to Snap and they choose not to contest come nomination day, it will be a problem for us,” he said.

In view of the uncertainty, Chua said PKR will prepare back-up candidates as a “preventive measure” if such a situation actually happens.

'PKR needs Chinese-majority seats too'

Kuek Ser Kuang Keng

While PKR, DAP and PAS have finalised seat allocations ahead of the Sawarak polls, PKR is still hopeful of making a last-minute swap with DAP.

PKR would like to contest a seat in three of Sarawak's biggest cities - Kuching, Sibu and Miri.

But there is a catch. Chinese Malaysians make up the majority of the electorate in urban seats, hence prompting the DAP to lay claim to most of these seats.

The DAP is only willing to let PKR contest Senadin in Miri and Padungan in Kuching. PKR has asked for Dudong in Sibu, but DAP is unwilling to give in.

tian chua 03 240505PKR vice-president Tian Chua explained that PKR needs to maintain a minimum presence in Chinese-majority urban areas to reflect the party's multi-cultural agenda.

"The current outcome is clearly unfortunate and it will impede PKR development as a party representing multi-racial Malaysia,” he said when contacted yesterday.

“At the same time, it reinforces the perception that DAP is a duplication of MCA or SUPP."

Chua stressed that - while PKR recognises DAP's strength in Chinese-majority urban areas and accepts its continuing prominence in its traditional strongholds - the Chinese-based party should expand its influence into non-Chinese areas.

"Since last year, we have been encouraging DAP to expand and contest in areas where the indigenous groups make up the majority,” said Chua.

“We are willing to cooperate and support DAP so that they can have a share of non-Chinese majority seats and truly project itself to be multi-racial party.”

However, during negotiations last Sunday night, the Sarawak DAP leadership was not agreeable to let PKR contest in Sibu, claimed Chua.

He pointed out that PKR's starting point is to maintain the status quo of the 2006 state election, contesting four Chinese-majority seats - Senadin, Piasau in Miri, Padungan and Batu Kawah in Kuching.

"After a long process of negotiation, we have unfortunately been left with only Padungan and Senadin. DAP insisted on contesting the rest of the Chinese-majority seats.

"My task of negotiating with Sarawak DAP has come to an end. I can only hope that the DAP national leadership has the wisdom to intervene and rectify the situation.”

Chua's statement sparked another round of argument between the two parties.

NONEIn an immediate response, DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua (left) dismissed Chua's request, also describing him as a "little Napoleon" who has become a stumbling block to the negotiation.

"We do not want to waste our precious time or negotiate with little Napoleons in PKR, or it will never end. As far as we are concerned, the top leadership have arrived at a decision on seat allocation and DAP will abide by the decision," Pua said in a statement.

"This is despite the fact that there is unhappiness among our leaders and grassroots that we are only contesting in 15 seats. DAP will remain disciplined to protect the wider interests of Pakatan Rakyat, Sarawakians and Malaysians at large."

PKR's 'burden'

Yesterday, Pakatan Rakyat's top leadership had announced that they had resolved some issues concerning seat allocation, with DAP and PAS to contest 15 and five seats respectively.

The remaining 51 seats are still being discussed between PKR and Snap.

A comprehensive breakdown of the seat allocation will only be announced in the next few days, giving room for further negotiation or last-minute swaps.

azlanIf only Padungan and Senadin are given to PKR, DAP would be allocated 13 out of 15 seats where the Chinese either make up the clear majority or almost half of the electorate.

A senior PKR leader, who did not want to be named, said the DAP has refused to share the party's “burden” of seats where the bumiputera make up the majority and is sticking to Chinese-majority seats to increase its chances of winning.

“Bumiputra seats are tough seats, if not strongholds of BN, but we still need to field candidates because Pakatan does not want to let BN win uncontested in these seats,” said the PKR leader.

"But DAP has refused to share this burden with us. It just wants to contest the winnable seats."

However, Pua rejected the allegation.

"It is completely baseless and malicious to claim that DAP is not willing to share the 'burden' of contesting in rural Dayak/Iban seats. PKR is not even willing to concede Iban seats to Snap, what more to DAP."

PKR, DAP and PAS confirm seats with each other, only Snap unresolved

Written by Malaysia Chronicle

Less than 10 days before nomination for the state’s election, PKR has yet to resolve its dispute with the Sarawak National Party (SNAP) over seats in Sarawak.

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced today that DAP would contest 15 seats in the April 16 Sarawak elections, three short of the 18 it demanded as of last Friday when its Sarawak state leadership said negotiations had broken down.

PAS will contest five seats while PKR deputy president Azmin Ali said it has 24 confirmed and SNAP, four.

But the Gombak MP said that the remaining 23 will only be finalised at the end of the month between PKR and SNAP.

“The negotiations with SNAP have only just begun and they are still ongoing,” said Anwar, who is PKR de facto leader.

The opposition leader said Azmin had been in discussion with SNAP this morning and vice president Chua Tian Chang was still locked in negotiations this afternoon.

SNAP and PKR have been at odds over seat allocation for months, with Azmin first stating that PKR would begin negotiations at nothing more than three seats for the Sarawak-based opposition party.

It was also reported that PKR was seeking to contest in 52 of the 71 seats in the assembly.

SNAP then responded by naming 16 candidates and demanding 40 seats, following up with another 11 last week.

Anwar also told a press conference today that the national leadership of PKR, PAS and DAP has only rubber-stamped the decision of their Sarawak leaders.

“It is not true that the national leaders have interfered. We only formalised what was decided by the state leaders,” he said.

DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang refused to comment on his party’s previous claim over 18 seats, stating only that “whatever it is, it has been overtaken by events and this is the final decision.”

The Sarawak state assembly was dissolved a week ago, paving way for state polls where the opposition expects to reduce Barisan Nasional’s (BN) majority.

Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud currently leads a bloc of 63 BN assemblyman.

Taib declares he never lied and was not involved in dirty politics

Written by Mariam Mokhtar, Malaysia Chronicle

For years Sarawak Chief Minister (CM) Taib Mahmud did not have a credible opposition to challenge him. He did not see the need to fight corruption and improve transparency in all parts of the government. He brushed aside opposition leaders who dared highlight the importance of a vibrant political arena where all voices are heard.

But this is 2011.

Yesterday, March 26 saw 30 years of rule under Taib Mahmud.

Taib knows his days are numbered but he is keen to hang on, just like Prime minister Najib Abdul Razak. If one of them or their Cabinet goes down, the chances are that they will all go down.

Sarawak has been pumping oil and gas out of the ground for over 100 years. In addition to that, it has the spice trade, jungle produce, mineral wealth, logs and now oil palm.

By right, Sarawak should be one of the richest states in Malaysia. But it is not. It is recorded as having one of the most hard-core poor people in the nation.

The people are poor, unlike their CM.

Taib says he is paid a decent RM20,000 salary; however, he is a multi-billionaire, with assets worldwide which are looked after by his daughter, Jamilah, and her husband and his family, the Murrays.

Last week, Taib entered the cyber-world to engage with those whom he believes are out to undermine him.

In particular, he is doing battle with 'Sarawak Report', whose author, Clare Rewcastle Brown, has listed all of Taib’s corrupt practices and ill-gotten wealth.

But the cyber-world is unfamiliar territory for Taib. He is feeling the heat from the pressure of the Opposition in Sarawak on othe ground, and also from the revelations of ‘Sarawak Report’, in cyber-space.

In a flurry of of staged ‘on-line interviews’ arranged by Taib’s advisors, which were then launched across numerous BN-controlled websites, hilarious results have been produced with Taib making serious mistakes and contradictions.

First, Taib contradicted his son-in-law, Hisham (Sean) Murray about Sakto, the first company in the group set up by the Taibs in Canada. Jamilah is married to Sean.

Last year, Sean’s cousin, Christopher Murray, who manages Ridgeford Properties (another of Taib’s properties) in London, told a journalist that Sakto was in fact begun by his father and Sean’s father, who were twin brothers.

In a sign that it is not just Taib Mahmud who is feeling the heat, the Murrays have apparently hired one of the UK’s top lawyers Mishcon de Reya, to make a statement to newspapers in which they declared: “Sakto, Sakti and Ridgeford are not and have never been funded by Mr Taib Mahmud….Should this allegation be made, our clients will sue you without further notice”.

Contrast this with a recent online video, which recorded Taib admitting that he had started Sakto by giving his own money to Jamilah.

He said: “It started 20 to 30 years ago. I gave money to my daughter because I was resigning from Federal Government. I got a gratuity and gave some money to her to start a new business, it thrived… It is a property development company… It got successful and from successful they go to do business in London”. [Taib 22/03/2011]

Second, Taib implied that his cousin Hamid Sepawi has been misleading the authorities in his applications for Planted Forest Licences.

In a front page article in the Borneo Post, titled “State Open To Forest Verification”, Taib declared that “70% of virgin forest .remains intact in Sarawak”. He challenged NGOs to “come and check for themselves”.

Did Taib not know that Hamid Sepawi’s own company, logging and plantation conglomerate, Ta Ann, when applying for a series of Planted Forest Licences had produced statements which provided a devastating contradiction of Taib’s claims?

Ta Ann’s Environmental Impact Statements claimed ‘so little remaining natural forest that artificial plantations are necessary’.

Back in 2006 when the company made its application for an enormous 200,000 hectare Planted Forest Licence in Kapit, it presented a situation that is in stark contrast to the one the Chief Minister is alleging now.

Ta Ann’s Environmental Impact Statement pointed out that: “most of the natural forests of Sarawak have been logged at least once”, that “the sustainability of such logging activities has become questionable” and because of excessive logging, what remained was too expensive because “good stands of commercial timber have become increasingly hard to access because of their remoteness and the associated rough terrain”.

In 2008 Malaysia’s own Auditor General made similar damning remarks, which were reported in Bernama, when he criticised Sarawak as one of the four States with “poor management of forests, leading to river pollution, erosion, landslides and destruction of flora and fauna”.

And yet, Taib asserts that 70% of Sarawak’s virgin forest remains intact.

Unsurprisingly, Taib had announced, in ‘The Star’ newspaper on 22 March 2011, how he was a man of integrity: “You look at my behaviour over the last 30 or 40 years. I’ve never lied to the people, I’ve never been playing dirty politics”.

Sarawakians go to the polls in a few weeks time. Should they trust their Chief Minister who says that “I’ve never lied to the people and I’ve never played dirty politics”? - Malaysia Chronicle

Sunday, March 27, 2011

PKR leaders return fire at Kit Siang over vague S'wak seats claim

Written by Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

In a rare and telling standoff, PKR leaders scoffed at a statement from DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, accusing him of not telling the full story about a seat allocations spat in order to shield his Sarawak leaders although it comes at the expense of the PKR and its members.

“We state categorically that from the start, we only wanted to maintain four seats out of the 19 SUPP seats. These were the four seats that we fought for in 2006 and we want to maintain that equilibrium,” PKR vice president Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.

“In the process of negotiations protracted by Sarawak DAP’s stubborn and unreasonable refusal to agree to this, we made several offers to swap the seats. We did not have to do so but we did it in the spirit of esprit de corps. But whatever the combination that PKR offered, it was rejected by DAP. Throughout negotiations, we wish to stress in no uncertain terms, the total number of seats that PKR requested never exceeded four.”

Tian declined to comment further, saying the matter would be escalated to the top national leadership.

Stand firm

But rumblings are growing within PKR and no doubt in DAP as well.

Initially confused by several news reports from Sarawak DAP leaders including Wong Ho Leng and Chong Chieng Jen, PKR supporters maintained a worried silence as the spat worsened and their party got the brunt of the bad publicity.

Amid deep-seated concerns over the future of Pakatan's multiracial identity, the latest facetious accusations from Chong that Sarawak Pakatan might collapse due to PKR's greed was the last straw.

“We urge Anwar to stand firm. Don't let these political roughnecks get away. They must be taught a good lesson in manners and co-operation,” Eddie Wong, a PKR stalwart told Malaysia Chronicle.

“What has happened and made us really upset was the way Sarawak DAP manipulated the media and used the Datuk T sex video scandal to create a bad impression of PKR and Anwar to the Sarawak Chinese. If that is the case, most of us in PKR will tell you straight off, Sarawak DAP should be booted of Pakatan – Lim Kit Siang or no Lim Kit Siang.”

Multiracial - never Chinese, Malay or Indian dominant

Indeed, Kit Siang may be deserving of their wrath. In his statement released on Saturday, he urged Pakatan not to be deflected by the Datuk T sex video scandal and to maintain focus on Sarawak.

Yet he himself has issued several statement on the mess that has boomeranged on BN, the Home Ministry and the police.

“Why did Kit Siang do that if the sex scandal is not a worthy cause to alert Malaysians to and fight against? It does not mean we forget about (Sarawak Chief Minister) Taib Mahmud, but Malaysia is full of scandals and corruption. So far, PKR and Pakatan has been able to attack BN on multiple fronts. It will be the same in Sarawak. Life goes on in the rest of the nation. What is Kit Siang trying to insinuate?” said Eddie.

“We are not over-reacting but it is time to call DAP's bluff or we become like BN. In BN, because Umno is dominant, the coalition is dominated by the Malays. But PKR is staunchly multi-racial ... we are not so sure about the DAP anymore. But if we allow DAP to get away with this, then Pakatan will seen as the Chinese BN, where the coalition is dominated by the Chinese because DAP mistakenly thinks it is the dominant partner. Is such a coalition partner worth having?”

PKR is also extremely disappointed

In his statement, Kit Siang also expressed his disappointment over the failure of Sarawak DAP and PKR to come to terms on Thursday. There was an agreement to keep the dispute out of the press so as to avoid the BN media creating a circus of out the matter.

But after Sarawak DAP’s Chong went public and warned of a collapse, few PKR leaders were willing to maintain their silence.

“We wish to tell Kit Siang that we are also very disappointed. We would also like to inform him that it was not PKR’s fault and that it takes two to tango. We hope that Kit Siang will give more information about the six seats he mentioned so that the public will not jump to the conclusion that it was PKR who was being greedy. Certainly, we hope that was not the insulation he wished to make,” PKR Sarawak chief Baru Bian told Malaysia Chronicle.

In 2006, PKR contested four seats namely N9 Padungan, N13 Batu Kawah, N63 Piasau and N65 Senadin.

Two other seats were brought into the picture as part of negotiations because Sarawak DAP wanted to claim all of the 19 seats contested by SUPP. The SUPP are deemed to be the most “winnable seats”.

But at all times, PKR said it made clear it only wanted a total of four Chinese-dominated seats. It also offered to give up rural constituencies to Sarawak DAP but they did not wish to take up the challenge.

According to PKR leaders, Sarawak DAP initially refused to give up any of the 19 SUPP seats. At one point, Sarawak DAP even claimed to the press that they had already ‘conceded’ Padungan to PKR, yet PKR was dissatisfied and wanted more.

The more gullible of DAP supporters may have swallowed this explanation, perhaps in part also because most people in the peninsula find the names of East Malaysian constituencies still difficult to recognize.

But Padungan is already held by PKR, which won it in 2006. How could Sarawak DAP pass that off as a “concession”, PKR leaders asked.

Chinese overlord?

Maybe Sarawak DAP leaders did not tell Kit Siang the full story. But would be extremely hard to believe. A seasoned veteran like him would be able to put two and two together straightaway.

Yet in his statement, Kit Siang said:

“Thursday’s seat negotiations broke down however when DAP leaders found that instead of five contentious seats to be resolved, another seat was added increasing the list to six,” said Kit Siang.

This hit a raw nerve within the PKR.

“Kit Siang owes it to PKR and to the public who have been reading about the spat to detail out the 6 seats he mentioned so casually. He must also state who held which seat in 2006 and what is Sarawak DAP’s rationale to deny PKR the same quantum of Chinese seats it contested in 2006,” said Eddie.

“Otherwise, it will look like the BN speculation is true - DAP does have an ulterior motive to be the Chinese overlord in Pakatan. PKR and PAS must tread carefully and not allow themselves to used. It must be reiterated and accepted by all three parties all over again – Pakatan is a multiracial party. Malaysians vote Pakatan because it is Pakatan and not because of individual prima donna parties or politicians."

DAP and Sarawak PKR resolve spat

DAP national Secretary General Lim Guan Eng today announced that the recent spat between the party and PKR in Sarawak has been resolved.

NONELim, who is Penang chief minister, said details of the matter would be worked out soon.

He added that the outcome of the resolution will be announced by top Pakatan leaders as soon as possible.

"Every delay will cost us a seat... it is time to work as one," he told reporters after attending a Japanese donation drive in Straits Quay, Penang.

"The odds are against us... We need to concentrate our resources together to deny BN the two-thirds majority,'he added.

Lim said DAP leaders in Sarawak had said all they had to say. "They have nothing more to add."

'I have spoken to them and they have agreed not to say anything for now," he said, adding that further details of the about the allocation of seats would be announced soon.

It had earlier been reported that DAP and PKR were at loggerheads over insistence by the latter that DAP only contest 13 of the total 71 state seats in Sarawak.

DAP had wanted 16 seats.

Of the 18 seats which DAP is now claiming, 14 are Chinese majority seats while the rest are mixed seats. The party contested in 12 seats during the 2006 general elections.

A breakdown ensued after negotiations failed to reconcile differences over the four seats of Batu Kawah, Balai Ringin, Dudong and Piasau.

With the surrender of Padungan and Senadin to PKR, it is believed that DAP now has 15 seats in its bag to contest in the state polls to be held next month.

All is not well for BN in Sarawak

Stephen Tiong

Just before the 2006 Sarawak state elections, the federal government reduced the subsidies of fossil fuels across the board.

The increases in the prices of fossil fuel products led to the increases in the prices of other products.

It affected all consumers, especially the lower income groups so badly that they had to drastically adjust their monthly budget.

"The price increases hit us like a Mike Tyson blow to the head," recalled John Leong, a supermarket supervisor.

The consumers had to pay more for goods and services, from small things like a cup of kopi-o to to kolok mee, laksa, and school bus fares.

The State BN leaders, especially from SUPP, described the increases in prices of fossil fuel as an act of betrayal, while the opposition exploited the price increases to the fullest.

The SUPP leaders swore and cursed. The timing was wrong. They were aghast.

Already facing issues like unfair land premiums and leases, corruption and nepotism and lack of business opportunities, SUPP knew that the urban voters would hit back at the government.

And SUPP, being the party contesting in the urban seats, would be hit the hardest.

When the results of the 2006 state elections were out, SUPP was humiliated. The dissatisfied and unhappy urban voters had their revenge.

sibu by election 070510 george chanThe party lost eight out of the 19 seats it contested. In the seats they won, the party just managed to scrap through. Even party president George Chan (right) nearly lost.

The BN as a whole could have lost its power base in the rural areas had it not been for money politics.

The rural voters, especially the Dayaks, were especially susceptible.

They forgot that they had to pay more for the goods they required.

They forgot that they had to defend their native customary rights (NCR) lands against the raiders in the forms of the state government and plantation companies.

Land grab

While the issue on fossil fuel might have become dormant, the NCR land grab issue is very much alive and kicking.

In fact, the NCR land issue is gaining momentum, thanks to the likes of Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud and Second Minister of Planning and Resource Management Awang Tengah Ali Hasan who both deny that any land grabbing is going on.

But at the same time, they are continuing to issue provisional leases on NCR land to plantation companies.

The NCR land issue is essentially a rural issue and will continue to be so as long as the landowners know their rights.

Christian wrath

Then comes the stamping of the Indonesian Language Bible by the Home Ministry, which is now a much-debated issue in Sarawak. It has become the number one issue, so to speak.

The Christians have held their prayer gatherings in large numbers, asking God to show those responsible for the stamping, the right path.

For the April 16, 2011 state elections, not just SUPP, but the other component parties of the BN have to face the wrath of the majority Christians.

The ministry has stamped 30,000 copies of the Bible with "For Christians Only".

The Bibles have been kept by the ministry at its office in Jalan Satok since January 12, this year. The consignee meant to distribute the Bibles, mainly in Saratok and Betong.

Ever since Christianity set foot in Sarawak from the era of the First White Rajah - from 1841 to the end of the British colonial rule in 1963 - the Christians, especially the Dayaks, have been using "Allah" as the name of their God.

The Iban Language Bible was banned by the Home Ministry in 2003 just because of the word "Allah".

Ban lifted

The ban was lifted by Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, in his capacity of Acting prime minister as well as home minister, after then federal minister Leo Moggie reminded him at the federal cabinet meeting that the Iban have been using the word long before Malaysia was formed in 1963.

NONEThe Iban language Bible was first printed during the time of the Rajah Brooke.

The Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) has been using the Indonesian language Bible to spread Christianity among the Orang Ulu long before 1963.

There was no history or record of protest ever received by the White Rajah or the Colonial Government.

So, when the ban on the use of the word "Allah" in the Iban and Malay Languages Bibles was imposed in Sarawak, it came as a great shock not only to the Christians, but also to the Sarawak Muslims.

Sarawak and its people are known for their high religious tolerance.

They feel that what happened in Peninsular Malaysia should not be spread to Sarawak, and this sentiment was shared by George Chan.

A SUPP Youth member, commenting on the stamping of the Malay Language Bible, suggested that Sarawak might not be a fixed deposit state anymore for the BN, if the issue on the Bible is exploited to the maximum by the Opposition.

The coming state elections will tell if he is right.

PKR makes late appeal for Sarawak war chest

March 27, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, March 27 — With nominations for the Sarawak election just nine days away, PKR is now making an 11th hour appeal for financial donations.

During the launch of the donation drive today, party de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, stressed that the Sarawak campaign will require a larger than usual financial outlay.

“Sarawak needs a big budget. There is the expense for boats to travel along the Rajang river; I know that would be a problem,” he said.

PKR treasurer general William Leong told reporters that about RM820,000 has been collected but the party will need between RM3 and RM5 million as the bare minimum to campaign effectively in the hornbill state.

As for the next general election, the Selayang MP said they will need about RM10 million to RM15 million.

“RM10 million, like I said, we will be giving our people rice and sardine cans to eat. Of course, if we can, we’ll give them better, that depends on how much we can raise,” he said, adding later that he is confident that those goal can be met.

Lending her voice to the plea, party president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the fight against the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition will be daunting, and that every extra ringgit mustered would help her party take up the challenge to bring change to the country.

“It has not been easy... we are facing the BN machine which has reigned in power for such a long time until every citizen feels that whatever they do is being watched by the authorities and when they side the Opposition, they feel that they will be hunted down and that only those who are daring, can fight this battle.

“I can’t stand it anymore. Enough; we can commit by a giving the little that you have, or more if you have more, to this fight.

“Enough is enough and we can bring change,” she said.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat 11050014518059#

Signatories: Baru Bian (State Liaison Chairman), Abang Zulkifli Abang Engkeh (State Secretary), Wong Huan Yu (State Treasurer).

Time to terminate Taib’s terrible temper tantrums

Written by Mariam Mokhtar, Malaysia Chronicle

The battle for Sarawak’s hearts and minds moved up one gear when its Chief Minister, Taib Mahmud, entered the cyber-battle arena with a proliferation of near identical sites about Sarawak, all praising himself and BN.

This is Taib venturing to do battle with Clare Rewcastle Brown, the author of ‘Sarawak Report’. ‘Sarawak Report’ is a website which is dedicated to listing Taib’s billions, which he sequestered from the state, through three decades of rule.

Taib’s sites have a two pronged effect. The first is to present soviet-style propaganda items about Taib ‘developing’ the state. The second aims to discredit ‘Sarawak Report’.

It is alleged that the master-mind of Taib’s cyber-war campaign, is Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu’s (PBB) Information Youth Chief, Abdul Aziz Adenan Satem. Abdul Aziz is the son of Adenan Satem, Taib’s PBB Information Chief – once married to Taib’s sister Zainab. This is Taib’s trademark. He keeps matters all within the family.

One of Taib’s websites, set up within the past few days, exploits Clare’s ‘Sarawak Report’ by producing a cheap knock-off, of the original. Everything Taib does for the Sarawak people and for Sarawak is of poor quality, unlike what he manages to achieve for himself.

Unsuspecting people eager to learn about Taib’s corruption may have inadvertently typed in this knock-off site. This imitation site will only promote Taib and BN’s achievements in Sarawak. Nothing will be mentioned of the land grabs and abuse of the Sarawakians.

Taib is a bully and likes to get his own way. He is trying to undermine Clare’s disclosures about Taib’s corruption. Taib is also desperate and is trying to distract attention from the detailed list of Taib’s crimes against the state.

Taib’s cyber-war has received its first casualty - the proof-reader on the Borneo Post payroll. He was sacked in accordance with a directive which originated from Taib’s office.

It appears that the employee had made a genuine error, and mistakenly corrected the knock-off title, thinking it was a spelling error perhaps. He then renamed the website to, which is Clare’s website which exposes Taib’s corruption and abuses.

Taib’s efforts at cyber-weaponry, to promote himself were undermined as online readers flocked to the original ‘Sarawak Report’.

No employee should be treated in such an offhand manner. But Taib is not a normal employer. Taib is ruthless, with a family and cronies who are willing to defend him. They will use physical and verbal assaults, if neccessary.

Last August, the veteran editor of the Sarawak Tribune who published the damming article on Taib, called “Is Taib Mahmud testing the waters?” received a blistering reprimand from Hanifah, Taib’s daughter, which lasted till the early hours of the morning.

In addition to the verbal onslaught, Paul Si was suspended for a couple of weeks with rumours that he was possibly sacked. Hanifah had no official designation with the paper.

People like Taib are not just addicted to power, they are also vain and are desperate to learn what people think of them. Unfortunately, they only like to hear nice things being said about them.

A few months later, in November, the ‘Sarawak Report’ photographer was assaulted by an employee of Taib’s family. The photographer was taking pictures of people entering and leaving their posh apartment in London’s uptown Hyde Park.

The Taib family’s driver came out of Taib’s black Mercedes and grabbed the photographer by her neck and forced her to erase the photographs contained in her camera until she was rescued by an onlooker.

The Taibs do not appreciate their whereabouts or possessions being publicised. Violence and intimidation also inhabit their personal lives.

‘Sarawak Report’ is doing a good job in unnerving Taib. Taib is used to tangible forms of opposition where he can slur, discredit, intimidate, imprison or eliminate if necessary.

Taib seems lost when it comes to fighting in cyber-`space. He looks like a tired, mangy old horse which should have been put out to pasture a long time ago.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Taib Steals His Electricity – Exclusive Expose!

Sarawak Report

Taib's residence in Demak Jaya - his sister and son Abu Bekir have houses next door

At a time when people are struggling to cope with the rising electricity costs, Sarawak Report has established that the Chief Minister thieves electricity to keep down his own bills !

This astonishing information came to us from senior insiders, who are in a good position to know what is happening in Taib’s household. We have subsequently obtained corroborative evidence from the chief technician in charge of maintenance at his grand residence at Demak Jaya.

What we have learnt is that the Chief Minister has deliberately installed a secret, subterranian electricity cable, which by-passes the meter outside his house. The cable links the mains directly to the line entering the house. This means that while some of the supply still travels through the meter at least half of it does not, thereby slashing Taib’s electricity bill!

How mean is greed?

Huge residence, means huge electricity bills!

Given the legendary wealth of Taib Mahmud, the idea that he should go to these lengths to avoid such a relatively small outlay as the monthly electricity bill seems staggering.

But, as Taib has pointed out himself, he is not used to paying out money or even bothering to have it on his person. All his family deals are funded by others in return for his political patronage. Since the Taibs expect to take, not give, it must make regular bills like the rest of us pay seem something of an outrageous imposition!

However, we should bear in mind that Taib has already compensated for the annoyance of having to pay for electricity. There was plenty of comment some years back when the State Parliament voted through a handsome annual allowance to assist in the Chief Minister’s electricity bills, presumably on the understanding that he has to do so much entertaining in his huge house.

By contrast, Sarawak Report is mindful of the many people throughout Sarawak who suffer from the harsh policy of the State-owned Sesco electricity monopoly, which is to ruthlessly cut off those people who cannot afford to pay the escalating costs being charged.

Far from free electricty! The poor communities of Sungai Asap often face electricity cuts

The policy is particularly galling for those displaced families who were moved into ‘resettlement’ areas to make way for hydro-electric dams. Part of the incentive that people from both Batang Ai and Bakun dam areas were given to move was that they would get free electricity as part of their compensation. However, both communities are now being asked to pay the full price for their electricity and many are regularly cut off by Sesco, because they can’t afford it.

The Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sesco, coincidentally, just happens to be Taib’s own superbly wealthy cousin, Hamid Sepawi. The son of the Deputy Chief Minister, Alfred Jabu, is also on the Board. Sepawi and the Jabus have been given so many jobs and concessions by the Chief Minister that there is certainly no need for them to worry about such basic bills. And, while he is stern to his poorest customers, Sepawi is clearly lenient to his wealthy relative, since the fraud that his cousin indulges in is fairly easy to detect !

What the technical manager confirmed

Too grand to pay his full electricity bill?

In order to confirm the almost unbelievable information we had received about such petty pilfering, we thought we should seek corroboration from the man who was reportedly in charge of installing the by-pass system.

This was the head technician in charge of Taib’s estate at Demak Jaya, Jong Ka Chin. We were told that Jong had also helped out Taib’s sister next door, Raziah Mahmud, who had heard about the device and wanted one too! Raziah is also fabulously rich, but clearly does not see why she should pay the same bills as everyone else.

So we decided that it was time to request if he could do a similar favour for Taib’s older son Abu Bekir. After all Abu Bekir has just settled his wife’s divorce claim of RM 400 million, so he must be looking for ways to save some money! We called the technical head, Jong Ka Chin, on his personal mobile in the guise of Abu Bekir’s secretary to ask him to come and discuss the matter with the Datuk:

I am calling from the office of Abu Bekir is about the electricity bypass that he wants to instal for his house tomorrow …

Yes, yes …

You can do it right?

Yes, yes … I know

You know what it is right?

At Demak Jaya …[location of Chief Minister's house]

Ah … can you come to the office at Titanium Management tomorrow?

What time? What time?

10:30am … you know where it is right?

10:30am yeah, Datuk wants to see me?

Yes, yes, Datuk Seri wants to see you …It’s about the electricity cable bypass system … to be installed in his house …

The house at Demak?

Datuk Seri wants to instal the electricity bypass cable system in his house. The same one done in Pehin Sri’s house.

I am at the house here, now …

Which house?

Demak, Demak….Tomorrow I go to the office or to Demak?

Go to his office first; meet with Datuk Sri first at his office at Titanium Management.

Ah …ok

He wants you to advise him on the electricity cable bypass system … you know what it is right?


The same one that was done at the house of Pehin Sri …

Yes, the same.

The same as the one you had done before?

Yes … so tomorrow I go to the office to see you …

Ah … go to the Titanium Management office to meet Datuk Seri ..ok, thank you. God night.

Yes, yes, good night.

From this call it was clear that Mr Jong was actually working on site at Demark Jaya at the time we were calling and he acknowledged several times that he had fitted an electricity by-pass system for the Pehin Sri’s (Taib’s) house.

When we put the story past a senior Sesco operative about the scam. His observation was “so you know about that do you?!” Sesco has recently been criticised for hiring a swathe of highly-paid foreign managers. The new Norwegian Chief Executive Officer, Torstein Dale Sjotveit, is paid RM 4 million per annum and receives 10 return air tickets home on top each year. Under him are 20 other foreign engineers, who are also paid way over the normal Sarawak salary levels.

One of those for me too please! - Taib's sister Raziah Mahmud put one next door as well.

YB Chong from Kuching DAP recently also complained to parliament about the huge charges being demanded from customes for the installing of obligatory new meters.

Customers are being asked to pay RM 650 for the fixing of the so-called up-dated meters and people who can’t pay the extra on their bills are being cut off!

However, the even more damning complaint against Sesco by the majority of the people of Sarawak is that in Malaysia’s richest state 80% of the people of the interior have yet to be connected to any form of electricity at all!

On behalf of Mr Jong, Sarawak Report confirms that when we rang back to gain further details of his work on the by-pass he told us that he had since spoken to Abu Bekir’s office and ascertained that Taib’s son is not in actually in Kuching or wanting work done. He then also denied that he had installed a by-pass after all. Perhaps Taib Mahmud would like to clarify the situation and confirm or deny the very well-sourced information that we have received?

Cyber-war casualty

As an addendum to this article we wish to express our concern over the sacking yesterday of a well-regarded staff member at the Borneo Post. The firing was carried out in accordance with a directive that had come straight from the officer of the Chief Minister The reason, we have learnt, was that the staff member, who is a proof-reader, had made an understandable error that was seen to have undermined the Chief Minister’s belated attempts to get ahead in what BN are describing as the ‘Cyber-war’.

The Borneo Post had devised an article designed to promote one of the Chief Minister’s dozens of new sponsored websites. Its name is almost identical to the name of this website, Sarawak Report, however it contains an extra letter! The poor proof reader read the copy and assumed that a mistake had been made and altered the naming of the website to the far better-known, which is of course this website’s address!

As a result the carefully placed Borneo Post article ended up promoting us, instead of promoting the Chief Minister’s new ‘cyber-weapon’, which exploits our name! This clearly did not go down well!

We wish to say, however, that we deplore such treatment of a loyal employee, who like most of us, relies on his salary. Why should a professional be fired for failing to be sufficiently quick-footed at such dirty tricks that the Chief Minister has been attempting to play? It is surely high time that Sarawak caught up with the rest of the world with rules to protect people with fair employment rules, so that high-handed dictators like Taib do not think they can just fire decent ordinary people like this in moments of anger and bad behaviour.

Don’t forget you can’t sack everybody, Taib Mahmud….. but they can sack you in just 3 weeks' time!

Pakatan S’wak seat spat: Who’s greedy? PKR or DAP

Pakatan S'wak seat spat: Who's greedy?

The current hot news is the ongoing seat negotiations between DAP and PKR and how it has broken down. The story is that DAP wants 18 seats, mainly Chinese-majority and that PKR wants to reduce it to 13 by demanding 5 of their seats.

It will be instructive to look at the situation during the 2006 Sarawak State Elections.

Of the 5 seats in dispute (N9 Padungan, N13 Batu Kawah, N25 Balai Ringin, N63 Piasau and N65 Senadin) 4 were contested by PKR and 1 by SNAP (N25 Balai Ringin).

Even then, both the candidates who contested in Balai Ringin are now PKR members. Hence PKR’s request for the 5 seats. The issue here is DAP demanding 5 seats, 4 of which were contested by PKR previously.

The principles of seat negotiations have always been:

1. Incumbent seats to be contested by the incumbent party. Eg N9 Padungan was held by Dominique Ng Kim Ho (PKR),

2. Seats contested by a particular party in the past, gets to contest again in the same seat unless there are exceptional circumstances warranting a change. This principle has been respected in all the by-elections since Mar 2008.

In the seat negotiations, it is clear that PKR has respected those principles. They have not demanded any seat that DAP contested in the past, not even N27 Simanggang that was contested by SNAP.

The only dispute are with seats that PKR stood for in 2006 plus N25 Balai Ringin where Ibi Anak Uding previously from SNAP, is now with PKR. DAP wants those seats.

Behind the numbers game in Sarawak: What's really going on in Pakatan.

Written by Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

The Pakatan Rakyat national leadership will meet on Monday to help finalize seat allocations in Sarawak, where temperatures are rising and wild allegations hurled around as component parties try their best to swing the most “winnable” seats, egged on by arch rival BN which is only too happy to stir the flames higher.

But time is running out and the Pakatan is already a step behind. BN will be announcing their candidates on Saturday. Nomination day is on April 6 and balloting on April 16.

So what exactly is going on in the Land of the Hornbills?

Beware the swollen-headed syndrome

According to Pakatan insiders, the problem is two-prong. First, Snap is widely expected to pull out from the coalition but while PKR can expect to be hit with the full brunt of negtive publicity when this happens, Snap is unlikely to prove much of a votes-spoiler.

Second, Sarawak DAP is at the same stage that its peninsula counterparts were at in 2008 after newly sweeping into power with never-before-seen electoral gains.

“Remember the constant bickering and gamesmanship between DAP and PAS in Selangor and Kedah and even Penang. Remember that guy Thomas Su who stunned everyone by pulling Kedah DAP out from the Pakatan? Even Guan Eng used to take weekly pot shots at PAS and PKR,” the Pakatan insider told Malaysia Chronicle.

“They were actually quite unbearable because they were swollen-headed, but in the end, all three parties realized their mistake and formed a Pakatan secretariat to thrash things out and come to a common stand. So far, it has worked and this is a lesson that Guan Eng and Kit Siang must share with Sarawak on Monday.”

According to the insider, Guan Eng amongst all the Pakatan leaders should realize the need for mutual respect and true co-operation the most.

His Penang administration has been under ceaseless attack by the BN since day one, but both PKR and PAS have supported him unswervingly, helping the DAP to boost its hold on the state government despite the BN onslaught.

“If PKR and PAS were to pull out of Penang Pakatan, Guan Eng would straightaway find himself the head of the opposition. If DAP retaliated by pulling out from Selangor, Kelantan and Kedah, PKR and PAS would still retain control of the states,” the insider continued.

“As they say pride comes before a fall and the uninitiated are often blind. So it behoves elders like Kit Siang and Guan Eng to counsel their Sarawak leaders to work towards the same sort of co-operation that PAS, PKR and DAP share in the peninsula. That is no fake or accident. Trust can only be built by sheer hard work and effort.”

Numbers that deceive and the SUPP-19

It is understood that an 11th hour quarrel has broken out between Sarawak DAP and PKR. DAP only wants to contest in 18 seats out of the 71 that are open for contest. It has made full use of this number to attack PKR, which has agreed to contest in 52, as being greedy.

But from day one, the 18 seats demanded by DAP are the choicest and most winnable of the crop. Furthermore, 3 of these plus another in Padungan were allocated to PKR in the 2006 election.

In 2006, PKR contested 4 Chinese-dominated constituencies and won one through Dominique Ng Kim Ho. It wanted to retain this status quo but later agreed to swap with the DAP on the condition that at end of it all, it must still have access to contest in 4 Chinese areas.

“Sarawak DAP is using the numbers to gain public sympathy. When Azmin Ali came down, they were quick to blame him for everything. They portray him as the devil and Baru as the saint but the fact is Baru and Azmin are on the same wavelength. Azmin takes advice from whom else but Baru in Sarawak, remember that,” the insider said.

Indeed, not only DAP but Snap has accused PKR of being territorial and of insisting on contesting 52 seats. Yet PKR says it is ready to come down to 20 seats any time.

“The fact is PKR has the worst deal. No doubt, Baru has made a lot of headway but the rural and Muslim areas are Taib’s stronghold. It is the 19 SUPP seats that are the most vulnerable. But if PKR doesn’t contest, then Taib gets a walkover in all the rural seats. Don’t Sarawakians deserve better?” said the insider.

Pakatan must stay multiracial and reject prima donnas

A check with Sarawak PKR leaders confirmed that they willing to relinquish more Dayak-dominated and other non-Chinese seats to DAP and even Snap but neither party wished to accept.

DAP wants only the Chinese constituencies, while Snap is believed to have already brokered a deal with BN. Former PKR secretary-general Salehuddin Hashim is actively helping Snap to shift out of Pakatan.

“We will cross the Snap bridge when it comes. It is actually not a problem. As for DAP, it only wants the Chinese-dominated seats. That’s fine if their decision is to focus but they cannot take away the Chinese seats that originally belonged to the other parties. Even PAS wants to contest in Chinese areas now. Who doesn’t know Pakatan has the best chances of winning these constituencies,” the insider said.

“But PKR and PAS must hold firm to their stand or Pakatan will become just another BN – a race-denominated coalition. DAP, Chinese, PKR, Dayak, PAS, Muslim. Pakatan is multi-racial and it must ensure that it is so throughout all the states.

On Monday, all eyes will be on Anwar Ibrahim, Guan Eng, Kit Siang and Hadi to make it clear that the coalition has no place for prima donnas.

Kit Siang sounds alarm over Sarawak seats row

March 26, 2011
The DAP parliamentary leader says public confidence in Pakatan Rakyat has taken a beating in the last fortnight.
KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 — The DAP’s Lim Kit Siang urged his Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition today to resolve its Sarawak seat allocation dispute urgently and not allow itself to be distracted by the sex video scandal.

The DAP parliamentary leader said PR must not let “the worst case of gutter politics” distract the opposition just 10 days before nomination for Sarawak state polls, which will take place next month.

Lim said he was “very disappointed” that discussions between DAP and PKR on Thursday had not only failed to resolve the seat allocation dispute, but even added one more to the five already in contention instead.

The Malaysian Insider understands that the six seats in question are Padungan, Batu Kawa, Senadin, Piasau, Balai Ringin and the newly added Dudong.

“It would be a great disaster if there should be multi-cornered contests involving the DAP and PKR in five or six constituencies in the Sarawak general elections, for it would gravely undermine public confidence in Pakatan Rakyat, not only in Sarawak, but in Malaysia,” Lim said in a statement today.

He stressed that it was necessary for the two parties to resolve overlapping claims over six seats without further delay to restore public confidence in PR, which he said had taken a beating over the last two weeks.

The DAP stalwart urged his party and PKR to approach negotiations with greater urgency to ensure a one-on-one fight with Barisan Nasional (BN) in “the most important state general election in the history of Sarawak and Malaysia”.

“Every day counts,” he warned.

DAP Sarawak has “full autonomy” to finalise seat allocations and the party’s national leadership is confident that Sarawak DAP leaders are committed to ensuring that PR secure a “major breakthrough” in the state elections, he added.

PKR admitted yesterday that opposition parties were deadlocked over seat allocations in Sarawak after talks between the party and DAP broke down on Thursday following the addition of Dudong.

Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian said he expected his party to settle its disagreement with DAP over the six seats and with SNAP over several Dayak-majority areas by March 29.

He told reporters in Kuching that PKR, which wants to contest 52 seats, had yet to reach a compromise with SNAP, which had expressed its intention to contest 40 mainly Dayak-majority constituencies.

Earlier, Sarawak DAP chairman Wong Ho Leng had said that his party was prepared to concede the two Chinese-majority areas of Padungan and Senadin to PKR even though it had the best chance of winning.

But he said DAP, which is planning to contest 18 seats, is unwilling to give up Batu Kawa, Dudong and Piasau to PKR.

DAP aims to contest in 18 seats — Padungan, Pending, Batu Lintang, Batu Kawah, Kota Sentosa, Simanggang, Balai Ringin, Bukit Assek, Pelawan, Dudong, Bawang Assan, Repok, Meradong, Kidurong, Senadin, Piasau, Pujut and Bukit Kota.

MoCS gives 30 reasons why Taib must go

FMT Staff | March 26, 2011

MoCS asks Taib to ponder over the 30 reasons why he should step down on his 30th anniversary in power.

KUCHING: There is no joy in the air among Sarawakians as Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud celebrates his 30th anniversary as Sarawak’s chief executive today.

“I doubt the people of Sarawak are in the mood to celebrate with their chief minister although Taib has achieved the historic milestone as the country’s longest-serving CM,” said Movement For Change, Sarawak leader Francis Paul Siah.

“Taib’s legacy is one of blatant abuse of power. To Sarawakians and Malaysians, he will be remembered as one of the nation’s most corrupt political leaders who perpetuated money politics and the politics of patronage, nepotism and despotism. He is also the grandmaster of the politics of fear and intimidation,” he said.

Siah pointed out that Taib’s alleged acquisition of enormous wealth through illegal and dishonest means has caused a lot of suffering to Sarawakians.

“Business opportunities are almost zero for those not linked to Taib or his family and cronies. The massive land grabs have caused untold sufferings to the people, particularly the Dayaks. The fraudulent destruction of Sarawak’s forests has created an environmental disaster for the state,” he said.

“With all these negatives stacked against the chief minister, who is in the mood to celebrate with him? In fact, Taib should have stepped down long ago.

“With his declared intention to stay on, it is now clear that people’s power is the only way to remove him. If the April 16 state election fails to do that, then Sarawakians will have to take other courses of action,” Siah said.

The MoCS leader reminded Taib of the movement’s deadline for him to go – Aug 13 this year.

“If he is still around by then, we will know what to do,” Siah added.

MoCS has also compiled a list of 30 reasons why Taib must step down in conjunction with his 30th anniversary today:

1. He has been chief minister for 30 years, overstaying his welcome.

2. He listens to nobody except himself.

3. He creates and perpetuates himself into a dangerous, cultish image of invincibility.

4. He does not hesitate to let all know that he is all powerful, almighty and untouchable – glaring images of a dictator.

5. He is out of control. Nobody can control him, not even the prime minister, perhaps not even God. A person who is beyond control is dangerous.

6. He is not in the best of health to administer a state. He said he has colon cancer.

7. He spends more time outside Sarawak than inside. Over the past six months, he was hardly in the state for one month. That means he has no more time for Sarawak.

8. He is paid a salary by the state as chief minister. But he is not working at all, preferring to spend his time overseas looking after his business empire, or continuing his perpetual honeymoon.

9. His politics of development is one big farce.

10. He lied to Abang Johari, Adenan Satem and Effendi Norwawi, telling them they were being groomed to take over. After 30 years, they are still not groomed yet and incapable of taking over as chief minister.

11. He does not want anyone to succeed him. A leader without a successor is no leader at all.

12. He is incapable of tolerating dissent. He will not hesitate to sack members of his cabinet, even at the slightest provocation.

13. He is a very hot-tempered man with a short fuse. On one occasion, he had created a public scene by kicking a flower pot and had thrown books and files at people in a rage.

14. He is vindictive. He will leave no stones unturned to ensure that those who oppose him suffer in his hands for the rest of their life.

15. He dabbles in “bomohism” and black magic. His uncle, Abdul Rahman Yakub, the first person to accuse him of believing in the occult and the dark side, should know better.

16. He practises favouritism in the Sarawak civil service. Officers he favours can jump several notches to be departmental heads, side-stepping other more senior and deserving staff. The state civil service has become a very demoralised institution as a result.

17. He is the grandmaster of the divide-and-rule game. As chief minister, he should be forging unity among the people of Sarawak. Instead, he takes great pleasure in dividing them.

18. He keeps the main ministerial portfolios for himself, unwilling to designate power and authority to his cabinet colleagues. With the portfolios he gives himself, he is virtually in control of all resources in Sarawak.

19. He does not believe in transparency and accountability in handling government development funds and projects.

20. He does not understand the meaning of “open tender”. Public contracts become his personal business, grabbing the projects for himself. All he knows is “This is me, mine and myself.”

21. He is seen as a bully of the highest order among component parties in the Sarawak BN.

22. He is unable to improve the living standard of Sarawakians, especially the Dayak communities. Instead he misuses his power to make them subservient towards him.

23. He pays no attention to the plight of the indigenous groups in Sarawak, alleged to have robbed them of their NCR land via plantation companies owned by his family and cronies. He never said a word after the Penan girls were raped by loggers.

24. He continues to “prostitute” Sarawak resources to the federal government and has never fought for Sarawak’s interests in Peninsular Malaysia. His failure to pursue a review of the Petroleum Agreement is an example.

25. He has failed or not done enough to develop Sarawak to be at par with Peninsular Malaysia, resulting in the state being consistently 20 years behind the peninsula.

26. He allows Umno policies to prevail and dominate nationally with total disregard of the rights and interests of the state’s minorities. And Umno is one party which many Sarawakians do not want to see in their state.

27. He treats the opposition unfairly in and outside the State Legislative Assembly. He controls the whole House and ensures that the allegations about his dubious dealings are not recorded in the assembly’s hansard.

28. He favours skewed delineation of electoral boundaries to ensure that he has the numbers to keep him in power. Gerrymandering is rampant in every new delineation exercise in Sarawak.

29. He is well known for leaving Sarawakians in a lurch in times of natural calamities like the haze occurrences and great floods. He leaves the state whenever it is enveloped by haze but he is also responsible for the destruction of Sarawak’s forests.

30. He is extremely wealthy beyond comprehension. His enormous wealth is believed to have been amassed through illegal and dishonest means. He has not given a single response to all the accusations and allegations against him as contained in the Sarawak Report website, Bruno Manser Fund and other whistleblowers despite the overwhelming evidence.

MoCS has declared him guilty of all the accusations labelled at him on March 13, this year.

MoCS asks Taib to ponder over these reasons why he should step down on the 30th anniversary of his chief ministership.