S'wak polls briefing adds fuel to Taib quitting talk
12:20PM Feb 7, 2014
A security briefing on the preparations for the 11th Sarawak state election is adding fuel to speculation that Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud will step down soon.
The Sarawak media has been invited to provide coverage on the briefing at the Chief Minister’s Office in Kuching at 10.30am on Monday, which will be also be attended by Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
However, Malay language daily Berita Harian reported today, the Home Ministry later sent out an amended invitation that excluded the Sarawak election briefing, but retained two other events in Kuching that Zahid will be attending later that day.
“Sources inform Berita Harian that the briefing was arranged at the Sarawak government’s request and several ministers and senior Ministry of Defence officers are expected to attend.
“It is to be a closed-door session, without press coverage,” the report says.
The report also quotes Election Commission (EC) Sarawak director Takun Sunggah as saying that he is aware of the briefing taking place, but the EC was not invited because security matters are handled solely by the police.
“The police can hold the briefing by themselves because they need to study security aspects and manpower needs. For the Sarawak EC, we haven’t done preparations yet,” Takun said.
Berita Harian on Wednesday reported that Taib is expected toannounce his retirement at a meeting of his party, Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), which will be held tomorrow.
Talk of Taib stepping down has been making the rounds since 2011 when the last state election was held. However, the long-time chief minister has refused to set a date or name his successor.