Thursday, August 26, 2010

Taib: Let party, PM decide

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 10:08 Harun Jau Sarawak Tribune

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KUCHING: Chief Minister Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud says he will let the party (PBB) and Prime Minister decide whether or not he will contest in the next state election.

“I don’t know. It is up to the PM to decide my fate,” he said when asked by the media here yesterday if he was going to stand in the next state election.

Asked again if he had received any inspiration with regards to the state election during his visit to the UK recently, the Chief Minister replied, “No inspiration. Inspiration hasn’t come yet”.

Pressed by reporters whether the election would be held this year or next year, Taib simply said, “you make your pick. I don’t know yet”.

On the possibility of new faces from PBB picked for the election, Taib, who is also PBB president said, “Of course, it’s normal. I don’t want to say yet but I think it (number of new faces) is quite good.” He said that PBB had always undergone a renewal process whereby about 20 percent of the candidates was changed, sometime more and sometime less, depending on their age, expertise and experience.

“People are not rigid. For example, when I wanted to go out in 2006, they didn’t allow me. Apa boleh buat (What can I do),” he said.

When told that he was the one who should be calling the shot, Taib replied, “well, a lot of people say I am not needed. So, if I am not needed, I go out”.

On Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) and how he, as chairman of state Barisan Nasional, was going to help the party deal with its problems, Taib said, “I tell you what, it is not nice for me to comment on other party”.

According to him, all these years he had been helping SUPP.

“Whether accepted or not is a different matter.

“I have been giving them advice and how to go about their problems and so it is up to them to decide what to do with it (advice). If I do more than that some SUPP leaders may criticise me for interfering in their affairs. I have been keeping my correct distance from them, so it is up to them.” Asked if he would continue to keep his distance, even though SUPP was really in need of his help, Taib said, “well, I think, they need more help from themselves rather than from outsiders. The problem essentially is an internal problem and anybody coming from outside will be misunderstood.” The Chief Minister said he was not sure whether SUPP’s problems would affect BN as a whole in the coming state election.

“It did affect BN in the last election.

But whether we can rectify this situation now is up to SUPP,” he said, adding that the other (state component parties) were okay.

“We all have good intention towards SUPP.

In the last state election, for example, SUPP had problems in some of the constituencies and we, in PBB, went all out and mobilised our own machinery and essentially the election was won by us.

“That was how we helped in places like Lundu and Bengoh. We have loyal and steady supporters from all the component parties in the Barisan Nasional.” When asked what he thought the Chinese community actually wanted, the Chief Minister said, “I don’t know. I, too am asking the same question. We all want to help. We always want to help the Chinese.

Do they want strong representation for their own community so that they can participate in the development process?

“They have got to ask that question themselves and I can’t decide for them. As far as I am concerned, I assume that they want that and that is why we were doing very well in the last state election. They didn’t seem to justify that assumption, so I want to know. I also asked the same question right, isn’t that fair?” Taib said.

Commenting on a news reports that the Norwegian Government has excluded a timber company from Sarawak because of it alleged involvement in illegal logging in Sarawak, Taib said he was aware of the report.

“Yes, but illegal logging...the trouble with this is how do they get that kind of judgment. Is that based on real information and proof from the ground? As far as I know, Samling has been one of the most responsible companies in the state. So, if they take unilateral action like that, then, I think it is up to Samling to tackle it.

“Most licensed timber companies in state are complying with the forestry rules,” he said when met by reporters after the presentation of Letters of Offer of sponsorship from Amanah Raya Berhad to students from Sarawak to undertake special Religious Studies and Arabic Language Studies Programme at Al-Azhar University in Cairo (Egypt), at his office at Menera Pelita in Petra Jaya yesterday.

Also present at the presentation were Dato Ahmad Rodzi Pawanteh the group managing director of Amanah Raya Berhad.

Also at the function Amanah Raya Berhad presented zakat totalling RM10,000 to Persatuan Anak-Anak Yatim Negeri Sarawak (Peryatim).

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