By Abdul Hakim Bujang
It never rained like this in August for so many years. It took many of us by surprise. Perhaps, the rain is tell-tale sign of the unexpected.
Blessed with friend on both divide of politic, I have access to news long before they hit the newsstand. Inside stories, cover up and most interesting of all are “almost” truth rumours.
Let us start with the rumour about Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) rumour of quitting Barisan Nasional (BN).
The issue was heard not only last week but four or five years ago. The SUPP Youth under the losing Bandar Kuching candidate, Alan Sim Yaw Yen was vocal over this. They wanted quit BN long ago but the top leadership refused.
From the talks, whisper, murmur and rants made by SUPP grassroots leaders, they are not happy because the party is not getting equal share from BN partnership.
“How do you expect us to move forward with BN when we are always being sidelined and not getting what others are enjoying?
“Do you know that our party, ever since the defeat of candidates in Kuching are depending on grassroots leaders to finance our existence? We are no longer getting allocation to operate.
“If there is any MRP funds for the NGO, the amount are halved of what our branch leaders use to distribute making it very difficult for us,” a grassroots leader told me.
So I asked him frankly, where have all SUPP friendly super-rich gone? Are the SUPP linked conglomerate not helping SUPP? What happened?
“There is something fishy going on,” he replied.
My friend alleged that these big companies are now working closely with SUPP rival, and one of the companies were rumoured hiring Sarawak’s Democratic Action Party (DAP) top leaders as its legal advisor.
Wow! Very interesting. Sound like somebody will be closing shop and DAP ready to take over the role once played by SUPP. Moreover the same source told me that DAP is ready to talk and keen to join BN as a ruling partner if a particular leader is becoming new Chief Minister replacing Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.
The love hate relationship between SUPP and Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) leadership is an open secret. When SUPP want Tun Abdul Rahman Yaakub removed as Chief Minister, he retaliated. (*Malaysiakini commentary appended below for details of 1978 crisis)
Everybody is not satisfied
Over the years, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad had been repeating the same quotation again and again until he sounded like a pirated DVD. Mahathir tried very hard telling all BN components that it was impossible to please everyone not at the expense of the others.
If you give more to the Malays, the Chinese and Indian will be not happy, and vice versa, he always quipped.
Honestly, I personally could not understand what more the Chinese in Sarawak want from the government when they are controlling the State economy.
The only thing left not in the hand of the Chinese is the Chief Minister seat. I presume that is the ultimate goal.
The Chinese of Sarawak now want total control of the State. Nothing less. If we go down to every nook and corner of Sarawak, 99.9% of business, trading and commercial buildings are owned by Chinese.
The only Bumiputera named appearing prominently in Kuching city centre would be Bukhari Cafe but that shop is far from being owned by a Bumiputera.
If we want to do in depth investigation on government projects awarded to Bumiputera companies, 99.9% of such deal are going straight into Chinese pocket. It is an open secret in Sarawak but the local Bumiputera are very tolerant and believed in sharing.
The-so-called Bumiputera companies owned and operated by the Chinese are creating job for the Bumi’s and help to produce many entrepreneurs.
Bumi’s who started as salesman or front liners for these Chinese venture normally learn the trade and graduate as businessmen themselves.
That is why Sarawakian rarely complained about their Chinaman friend taking away the Bumiputera pie because more than often many of us would benefit indirectly from it.
Unfortunately, many Chinese choose to ignore these facts and prefer to harp over sensational issues. More than often, accusations were being hurled without thinking of others sensitiveness.
I personally noticed it is okay for “some” Chinese to talk bad about others but they would be very emotional when their issues are commented by others.
Probably some of the “old school” Chinese feel they are of higher stature and it is common to hear some calling other ethnic group with unpleasant names.
On a personal note, I do not think that SUPP leaders would quit the BN. If they quit, it will make work much easier for DAP to wipe them out. Other BN components would be happier too because they will be getting bigger shares.
Given if SUPP quit, BN Sarawak will be much more stable as the only Chinese-based party will be closed down. The extra seat once allocated to SUPP can be distributed between PBB, Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP).
This will also automatically erase SUPP dominance over local council in urban areas and other component parties of BN would be more than happy to take over.
Furthermore, PRS and SPDP will not be having problem to recruit ambitious and more open-minded Chinese youth as a candidate to fight on a level playing field with DAP or PKR.
SUPP “old school” leadership that overly depending on strictly Chinese speaking voters are steadily going into oblivion. There is no way the trend will change because the existing Youth Chief, Sih Hua Tong openly said they are only focussing on Chinese-speaking voters.
DAP on the other hand, are aggressively promoting their ideal among the non-Chinese by going into Malay kampong for breaking of fast during Ramadan, conducting ceramah in longhouse and fighting for the small Rakyat problem via the media.
DAP ability to create issue and solved Rakyat problem by highlighting injustice through the press make them very popular among the people.
Instead of trying to emulate DAP success formula, SUPP leadership issued a gag order and prevent their supporters, members and leaders from talking to the press.
Since Datuk Sim Kheng Hui, the strictly Mandarin speaking Senator saying the party needs one month to decide, I hope Chinese newspaper readers will notify me the outcome of the party decision. I doubt SUPP will be making statement to non Chinese papers.