Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Today is EXACTLY one week after the Global Witness exposé video hit the news and rocked the world of Malaysian politics – a game-changer, as the Americans say. The Chief Minister is denying the existence of the mammoth elephant in the room, the lawyers have allegedly left the country, and the famous sisters have gone missing. The whole of Sarawak is in uproar, coffee-shops and secluded private rooms in expensive restaurants are bustling with the talk of “tax evasions” and “squatters”, BN’s Dayak leaders are dumbfounded and have lost their tongues (and dare we hope silently fuming at the audacity of some cousins of the Chief Minister?), the rest of the country is asking questions and the spin-doctors from BN are in overdrive trying to shift the blame. What a week!

Besides fingering his cousins, Taib has also pointed the finger at Anwar Ibrahim, suggesting that the Opposition Leader has worked with Global Witness to “frame” him. So Taib, are you saying that Uncle Rahman Yakub sat down with Anwar Ibrahim and the environmental chaps from Global Witness and concocted this complicated story to “frame” you?

Alvin Chong, who is one of the legal representatives of the Lands and Survey Department, substantiated all that the sisters had said and more. His cock-sure confidence caught on camera was an award winning Oscar performance. Then there is the Hii family. The Hii family representative, lawyer Huang, admitted more than he should have. Best Supporting Actor award goes to him, if we are to believe the spin doctors.

So why would these lawyers want to “frame” the hands that feed them, kill the golden goose that lays the golden eggs and destroy their respective reputations all at the same time? Were all these different people, political opponents and NGOs and cronies and cousins and lawyers working together to “frame” Taib? Would it not be simpler to just accept the truth which is that his cousins, the lawyers and the businessmen were all indiscreet towards a person they thought they were doing a business deal with and in their bloated over-confidence spilled the fat beans, lifted the lid on Taib’s Pandora’s Box and opened his platinum coated can of worms? 

My simple mind says YES. My political mind which attempts to deconstruct Machiavellian plots says MOST DEFINITELY YES.

Now that the whole world knows and Taib and his lawyers are desperately trying to pick up the pieces as they go into crisis management mode, one cannot but be intrigued by the apparent lack of public support that other Barisan Nasional leaders are expected to show him. Should they not be closing ranks and falling over themselves to come to his defence?

In the past, sycophants would be competing with one another to come up with the most credible counter-spin to protect their lord and master, but a week has come and gone and all we hear is TOTAL SILENCE. Except for some yelps from insignificant politicos and the youth wing of PBB condemning reports on the internet (and not an outright defence of their Chief Minister, mind you) in the last two days. 

Where is Taib’s Chief Political Secretary, the ever-faithful Karim Hamzah? Is it not his first duty and responsibility to immediately rally the troops and sound the trumpet and lead the charge and demonise Global Witness in every newspaper in Sarawak? Not a squeak from him.

Where is Awang Tengah, the supposed right hand man and heir apparent? Well, he did squeak a bit today in the Star but in no way was his whimper an outright rebuttal of the exposé and in defence of the Old Man; just a passing comment on how foreign NGOs are not to be trusted and how Sarawak will be re-forested. Political analysts would read his statement as more a personal defence, almost like a manifesto promising Sarawakians that under his watch, Sarawak would be re-forested.

Where is Jabu, the most loyal Dayak devotee there has ever been and ever will be of the ‘beloved’ Old Man? Absolute silence from Jabu of all people? What has this self-proclaimed ‘Paramount Chief’ of the Dayak has to say about being called a squatter by his beloved’s cousins?

Both factions in SUPP are also withholding their tongues. Smart.

Masing, are you silent because deep in your heart you are disgusted that Taib’s cousins called your own people squatters on their own lands, and you see this as a golden opportunity to let others roast the goose that has been laying the golden eggs so that you can walk in and take its place?

Mawan, are you silent because you too want to play the ‘wait-and-see’ game and close your eyes and ears? Would this not be the best opportunity to get back into the Old Man’s good books and earn some much needed brownie points? Or are you finally accepting the fact that your and your party have been used and abused so that we are all but mere squatters?

Never mind all these Sarawakians – the silence from Kuala Lumpur is deafening! What happened to BN comradeship and solidarity? The mighty warlords of UMNO, what’s left of MCA, the ‘new’ leadership of MIC…all silent.

It would seem that on the evidence we have before us (see NST, Utusan, Berita Harian, Harian Metro, Borneo Post, Utusan Borneo, The Sarawak Tribune, The Star, TV1, TV2, TV3 et al) Taib is on his own this time. 

Taib is having to speak out for himself and is making all the denials and counter-claims without the usual backing of a harmonious chorus of BN leaders, politicians and its vast and awesome machinery singing his glorious innocence and praising his indomitable efficacy as the ‘Father of the Politics of Development.’ 

An injured animal that is cornered is mighty dangerous and will have a long memory, especially when its friends are just watching by the wayside. (And probably placing bets.)

I wonder why no one has come to Taib’s rescue openly, publicly and with practised gusto. And I am certain, many of you are wondering why too. But the ultimate question on my mind – is Taib himself wondering why his own people have not come to his aid yet? After all, a week has come and gone since the exposé and a week is a very long time in politics. I suppose we will all have to wait and see as another week unfolds and the drama intensifies.  

Who’s framing who now?

No comments: