To maintain his hold on power, Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud has fine-tuned his ability to control and utilise targeted people including Umno's top brass.
As Chief Minister of a state within Malaysia, Taib Mahmud has limited powers at his disposal, unlike his counterparts at the federal level who control manifold power buttons.
However, the paradigm of political ignorance prevalent among the rural people in Sarawak, and the massive corruption among the national leaders with the exception of PAS and DAP party stalwarts in Malaysia , provide Taib with the right ingredients to pursue his craze for power.
The politics of deception and money politics thrives very well in such an environment.
Hence, Taib’s success in holding on to power all these years is his ability to control and utilise targeted people through the art of deception and the power of money politics.
That he has willing parties – the ignorant rural poor who live in poverty and are in dire need for hard cash, Bumiputera politicians and cronies who want to have a share of Taib’s riches and the Umno top brass who are mega spenders – makes his job easier.
Their desperation fuels his desire to be one of the most powerful and wealthiest men in Malaysia.
Taib will buy the voters during every election season with illicit cash and dispensing of business “crumbs” to Bumiputera political leaders, henchmen and cronies to ensure they toe the line.
He also buys loyalty when he acts as a banker to the personal needs of the Umno elite.
According to his game plan, over a period of time these people would become very dependent on him and invaribly will have to live with the Taib Dependence Syndrome (TDS) scourge.
This is the modus operandi that enables Taib to buy the hearts and minds of many Malay, Melanau and Dayak voters, leaders and supporters.
He corrupts and tackles Umno politicians with money, making them subservient to his lusts.
Taib’s power over federal leaders
Men who sell their souls, principles and values to a power-crazy man are men without dignity and morals, and are traitors to their own religion, people and country.
Through this successful twinning of deception tactics, Taib has been able, firstly, to ensure that the voters will support all his Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) candidates no matter who or what they are in every state or general election.
Secondly, he has managed to tackle and control the federal leaders and the heads of relevant federal agencies.
Thirdly, he has managed to break up the Dayak parties and lastly, he has gone on to build a pool of henchmen and cronies who will operate and support his power-abusing network system.
With these in place, Taib can now enjoy the wealth and riches of the state with ease. Taib has been on this despicable job for a long time and with limited resistance.
Like I said earlier, unlike a responsible government, power abusers do not care to tackle the real national and state challenges.
They choose to simply ignore them.
However, when these challenges turn against them in the form of major national and state issues, then they are forced to deal with these matters – not to solve them, but to defend their embattled personal position and power.
This is exactly what Umno and PBB leaders have been doing since coming to power in 1981.
Awang Abdillah is a political analyst, writer and FMT columnist.