2 APRIL 2014
The new Chief Minister in his eagerness to prove he is mightier than his predecessor and more than worthy of stepping into his shoes has made some rash statements and irrational decisions lately in a show of bravado and bullying.
Adenan’s statement that “We are not afraid of Anwar” and “Sue me lah, I’m not afraid” is an amusing reminder of bygone schooldays when boys would fight in the playground. “I am not afraid of you!” they would taunt each other. In this case, the grownup response to Adenan’s statement would be “If you’re not afraid, why ban the opposition leaders from entering the state during the campaigning for the Balingian by-election?” He should not hide behind the coat tails of the State Secretary when asked why these individuals were banned. The fact is that there is no justifiable reason that can be given for the Chief Minister’s blatant abuse of power in obstructing our democratic process.
The Chief Minister should realise that the issue is not whether one is afraid of another person or of international repercussion, or even of whether one commands any influence or not. As a qualified lawyer, he should know that the issue is whether the exercise of the power to deny entry into Sarawak was carried out in accordance with the law. The opposition leaders were clearly seeking to enter Sarawak for the sole purpose of engaging in legitimate political activity, as allowed by the Immigration Act. They pose no threat to public security unlike Ibrahim Ali who espouses repugnant racist and religious bigotry. The Chief Minister has been harping on his intention to ban extremists and religious or racial fanatics but refuses to confirm or deny whether Ibrahim Ali was allowed entry 2 weeks ago. The fact of his entry or non-entry is not irrelevant, as claimed by the Chief Minister and he should not brush off the people’s concern that the Immigration office failed to prevent Ibrahim Ali’s entry while banning others who have legitimate reasons to be here. As he has given no reasons for the banning of opposition leaders, are we to surmise that he considers them to be extremists or religious/racial fanatics?
The ordinary people are aware that the current government refuses to give free access to opposition political leaders to the state to exercise their political rights because of fear. Fear that the rural folk will be awakened and enlightened as to the neglect of their rights all these years. The Chief Minister and all his ministers are well aware that the BN win was secured, not by any proven track record, but by promises of projects and money politics. It was precisely because the BN had no track record to fall back on that they had to come up with numerous promises during the campaign period. Cash was flowing freely, government machinery was employed in full force and many community leaders were ‘confined’ to ensure they toed the line. The people were threatened with curses if they did not vote for BN. Even the Chinese were threatened with non-payment of the money promised to the schools if they did not vote for BN. Nevertheless, despite the blatant corruption and the abuse of government machinery and resources, we managed to increase our votes by 47% in a top PBB/BN stronghold. More importantly, finally the people of Balingian may get the schools, bridges, roads and other facilities that they had been denied for so long. That alone, albeit at the sacrifice of the democratic process, is victory enough for us at this time.