by Lian Cheng
As a group of friends who are political news moguls were seated in a coffee shop, the topic of discussion slowly turned to seat allocation within the state Barisan Nasional (BN).
These political news mogul friends are professionals who have made quite a comfortable living for themselves. They know how much politics inevitably impact all facets of life and thus could appreciate the necessity of understanding politics.
They knew political imbalance in the state is in the making. Yet, if the presidents of the component parties refused to speak up, what else could anybody do?
Then the only Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) member among the group suddenly spoke up with a statement — “If PDP (Progressive Democratic Party) were to lose seats to the opposition, one day, it may be able to wrest back the seat. But when the seats are lost to PBB, it is permanent. There is no way for PDP to get back the seats.”
A long silence followed. That night, all went back with a heavy heart. Even the conclusion of “Let’s continue to make more money to secure our own security” did not manage to bring much comfort.
Where is the state BN heading? In which direction is its new chairman Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg going to bring state BN towards? Is he going to right the wrong, or is he going to stop and things will remain status quo from now on, or is he going to continue with the practice of pinching elected representatives (and thus the seats) from its component parties to make itself stronger?
And when the next state election comes, who should stand in Pakan, Batu Danau and Bekenu? Should PBB conveniently take the seats or the seats be returned to fellow BN Sarawak component party PDP, the party traditionally allocated the seats to contest?
Under former PBB president Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, the practice of “frog-jumping” was forbidden. Frog-jumping or changing party loyalties, if allowed, will shake the core of all state BN component parties and at its worst, will open a crack for United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) to enter the state. Sabah is a good example. So-called jumping frogs and the practice of taking in BN elected representatives from fellow BN parties had caused Sabah to lose its political autonomy. Is Sarawak willing to see that happen?
Human beings are like moths. While moths are attracted to light, human beings cannot resist power. If having to choose between a powerful PBB and a PDP which has been going through much political turbulence and undercurrents, it is understandable that most would prefer PDP to PBB. Such is only human.
Yet, we are not moths. Moths have no intellectual capabilities to resist their instinct or inherent biological programming which leads to them to charge towards light. Men on the other hand, are intellectual beings who can make informed decisions.
Sadly but truly, we all know the fact that some if not most of our elected representatives are not very smart individuals who lack the farsightedness to comprehend the long-term consequences of their own actions.
How many of them stand firm on principles? How many give priority to the voters’ interests over their personal ones? How many of them can resist the promise of power and wealth? How many are intelligent enough to see that they have a place in history if they allow it? How many of them know that they can make a difference? How many of them are politicians who make calls according to their intellect and not giving in to their base instincts?
If PBB opens its invitation to leaders of all component parties and state BN-friendly parties, perhaps more than half of the elected representatives of each component parties (except for Chinese leaders in Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) as PBB does not take in any Chinese members) will choose to join PBB. You and I know who these “moth politicians” are. This is the reality that Sarawakians need to face.
On the other side of the coin, another reality now is that we have no one to count on but only Abang Johari to make things right again. We count on him to be astute and fair. We count on him to be someone who has the insight to set up and enforce a set of unwritten rules and principles for the state BN and that he has the wisdom and the humility to subject himself to the same rules and principles which he sets. Just like Taib did.
It is lamentable that Sarawak which is a democracy should be governed by a group of highly intelligent and well-informed individuals and yet, the future of Sarawak BN and the state still ends up depending on the words and decisions of one individual.
However, this is the political reality that we can’t escape and this is the best solution that we have in view of what is happening now. Sad, yes, but we have no other choice, at the moment! — DayakDaily