Wednesday, March 30, 2011

SNAP Explains

SNAP: WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO
By Paul Kadang, Director of Operations, Sarawak National Party (SNAP)

SNAP’s recent re-emergence to reclaim its place in the Sarawak political arena has sparked numerous allegations and prejudgements on the motives of the prime movers of the party’s re-vitalisation. Presumably made with good intentions, these prejudgements have been voiced out in the internet by political observers who seem to hold themselves out as being totally familiar with the present Sarawak political scene. Most of these, however, contain presumptions that have not been thoroughly examined.

Let me elaborate on the reasons and circumstances leading to SNAP’s re-emergence.

Background

From the beginning since its founding in 1961, SNAP  has had two important characteristics vis-a-vis its support: it has always been a multiracial party. Of equal importance has been its emphasis on Dayak interests, which is not surprising since this community forms its inner core.  

It had been the tearing and cracking of this core by its political opponents since 1970,  through their divide and rule policies, which not only decapitated SNAP as a viable political organization but also formed the first significant break in Dayak communal unity. The manifestation of these divide and rule policies has continued to this day and has been a contributing factor to the dispossession of the Dayak people of much of their properties and lands by unscrupulous people.

Since that time the holy grail of Dayak politics has been to forge their internal unity and cohesion in their search for equitable power sharing in the country. They have laboured hard towards this end but so far without success. And so to this day, Dayaks have continued to be splintered and their political representation fragmented amongst the various parties in Sarawak.

Over the past eight years, Ibans and other natives did not have any indigenous political party as their platform for democratic dissent. They gave the benefit of the doubt to SPDP and PRS and even PBB to try to regain the rightful political significance of the native population. In those eight years, the blatant disregard for Native Customary Rights and Native Customary Land as enshrined in the laws of the state, continued and became even more widespread till today. All these happened without even the slightest protest coming from legislators and political parties that claim to represent, protect and uphold native interests be they  the PBB, SPDP or PRS.  

By 2008, the natives, particularly those from the Dayak communities, were totally marginalised politically.  A new generation of native intellectuals then decided that the time had come for natives to depend on no one but themselves to fight their battles.

Answering the clarion call of Reformasi that have yielded fruits in the federal general elections of March 2008, these Dayak intellectuals began to look at PKR as the platform from which to fight their battles. Some became PKR members, while some others watched with keen interest and gave their support from the fringes.

But two years later, they slowly drifted away from PKR for reasons which in total had shown to these intellectuals that native problems are of a low priority to PKR. The instances are as follows.

PKR’s Relationship with Natives and Native Issues

The records show that PKR in Sarawak was started by disenchanted  Malay-Melanau politicians splintered from the then and present ruling elite. For ten years the main issues that made up PKR Sarawak’s political agenda were their typical infighting and their urge to find a way to replace Taib Mahmud and gang as the ruling elite of Sarawak. All the office-bearers and head of PKR Sarawak were from that group for most of the twelve years of PKR Sarawak’s existence.

It was only in 2008, with the entry of other native and Dayak intellectuals into the party that wider native issues became part of PKR’s campaign fodder to attract these native votes. Before this, there were almost no PKR divisions in Dayak-majority constituencies. Attempts were then made by personalities like Nicholas Bawin to open up branches in Dayak native-majority constituencies.

It is notable that only after twelve years, for the first time ever, a Dayak was appointed a few months ago as head of PKR Sarawak. Even then the appointment was not without vociferous protests from the pioneers of PKR Sarawak. Till now, no Iban sits in PKR’s inflated Majlis Pimpinan Pusat or its political bureau. These are ominous signs of the patronising attitude of PKR that culminated in the Batang Ai by-election catastrophe of April 2009.

The Batang Ai By-Election

The native intellectuals group, Malay Melanau and Dayak,  that supported PKR had by the end of 2008 quadrupled in number, ready to adopt PKR as the saviour of the natives. Then came the Batang Ai by-election and it was clear to most of PKR Sarawak native leaders that Nicholas Bawin was the most viable PKR candidate and was expected to be nominated. They were astonished therefore that a long time ex-yang berhormat, formerly from the ruling coalition who was not known to be associated with PKR, was appointed instead of Bawin. That was at the behest and financial lobbying of a Chinese towkay whose official affiliation with PKR was nil but who evidently held a major sway in the personal considerations of PKR’s Ketua Umum. Without consultation with PKR’s native leaders, Bawin was dropped. Such is ‘democracy’ in PKR.

The result of the by-election, as expected, was a major disaster to PKR’s attempts to make inroads into Sarawak Dayak native politics. PKR’s candidate was thrashed. He obviously did not enjoy the confidence of these intellectuals, who chose to stay away in protest against the evident highhandedness. As an excuse for their defeat, PKR went into its typical damage control mode in alleging, for instance, that the ballot boxes were switched while in helicopters. That’s just vintage PKR to ignore the elephant in the room.

In the post-mortem, if ever really there was one, the issue of Dayak leaders’ lack of influence in PKR’s decision-making in Sarawak was never even addressed. Batang Ai is one of the many things observed by these intellectuals which raised questions about native-issue priorities in PKR. They have since kept their distance from the party. PKR remains in their mind as a party that will perpetuate neo-colonial intentions in Sarawak. This is obvious for those who care to see.

Consequently, while those intellectuals were grappling to find a vehicle to voice out native dissatisfaction by natives themselves, SNAP’s re-registration was ordered by the courts. It is only natural therefore that SNAP became a magnet to these partyless native opposition leaders.

SARAWAK STATE ELECTIONS 2011

SNAP was and is very much in favour of an opposition electoral pact for obvious reasons. Now that the possibility of such a pact appears to be diminishing by the day, it is important that political observers and commentators are made aware of the following:

Negotiations

The opposition grouping has no chairman nor a fixed structure. Even then, it does not matter much to SNAP as to who takes the lead in convening negotiations between the four opposition parties (SNAP, PKR, DAP and PAS) as long as certain rules of political decency and civil negotiations are followed and that the management of the negotiations by whomsoever has the competency and the power to decide.

PKR took the mantle and in the same breath publicly announced that it will run in 53 seats and SNAP will be accorded only 3. It was as if the seats were for PKR to distribute. SNAP had no choice but to respond publicly that it intends to run in all of the native-majority seats numbering 29.

Negotiations commenced in a haphazard manner and much later than ideally possible. SNAP refuses to be marginalised and to underscore its seriousness and capacity to compete, declared publicly its 16 candidates for 16 named constituencies. A startled PKR came back to ‘offer’ 4 seats, instead of 3. SNAP responded to this infantile insult by announcing 11 more candidates for 11 more constituencies. Altogether totalling 27 seats.

PKR’s incompetency in leadership and management of the negotiations was obvious. There was no negotiation agenda and things were done by the seat of their pants and at their convenience. SNAP expected the first session would have been attended by decision-makers of all parties. There is no point in negotiating if the negotiators have no power or mandate to decide. Decisions from higher-ups must be obtained at the point of negotiation. That wasn’t the case with PKR. At all times, PKR insisted that the final decision would be made by KL after a negotiating position had been reached by the parties. To any seasoned negotiator, such a statement is already a ball-breaker.

We had also expected that the first order of the day was to get a consensus of the proportionate spread of the number of seats to be contested by each party in accordance to macro demographic factors which all four parties hold themselves to champion for.  It was clear that DAP would run in Chinese-majority areas, PAS in a few Muslim-majority areas and PKR in Malay-Melanau areas, where they had concentrated their efforts in the past decade for better or for worse. SNAP, being a multiracial party but traditionally a Dayak-based one, will contest in the native-majority areas. It was only in the mixed areas that overlapping claims will have to be resolved through negotiations.

But PKR having suddenly realised that native issues could be the determining issues in the coming elections, and still hung-over from the ecstasy of the 2008 electoral tsunami in the peninsular, thought that by placing their candidates in these native constituencies PKR can be the beneficiary of a Sarawak tsunami.

The opinion-makers and intellectuals who had fled to SNAP therefore fear that the beneficiary of native electoral dissatisfaction may be a national party that has shown in the last two years little sensitivity to the natives’ political predicament. They fear that Sarawak’s native problems, under PKR, will remain secondary to a grander federal plan of PKR’s national leaders. At worst, SNAP will never be able to be given back those constituencies by PKR.

If in fact PKR had made a positive impact in native constituencies and indeed enjoyed native support, by putting in hard work in building up an articulation of native dissatisfaction, the results would have been evident. But instead, PKR had never won nor come close to winning a native-majority seat in 3 federal elections and 2 state elections in the 12 years of their existence in Sarawak. In fact, a number of their candidates lost their deposits. So much for PKR’s desire to contest in 53 seats.

The second order of the day would be for the negotiating parties to consider the ‘winnability’ of their candidates as a basis for their allocation of the overlapping seats. Till this very moment, the ‘conductor’ of the negotiations themselves has not sorted out their own internal selection problems as to who runs where. They fear that if they make representations of the winnability of a particular candidate, it may incur the wrath of another party member also aspiring to be the candidate for the same area.

Out of this fear and indiscipline, it is PKR’s practice that their candidates list is only completed on the eve of nomination day so that those among their members who have lost out will not have options but to play along. Knowing this, SNAP decided that it would not be encumbered by PKR’s internal deficiencies. SNAP announced its candidates way ahead of time to give them a head start in going to the ground in the vast constituencies to familiarise the voters with their candidacy.

What is the Status Quo?

To date, SNAP has announced its decision to run in 27 of the 29 native-majority seats. It has refrained from contesting in the remaining 2 seats in deference to the work done by and its support for two PKR native leaders. In a gesture of goodwill and in recognition of the winnability factor, these concessions are made. The truth is that PKR has no other native leaders of their calibre and SNAP’s candidates in the 27 seats will be at par, if not better than PKR’s candidates.

As it has always maintained, SNAP will be happy to be a part of an electoral pact if it is allowed to contest in the said 27 constituencies. However, should there be a free for all, SNAP has the capacity and candidates to contest up to 40 seats. That is an option that it will take only if there is no more rules of engagement among the opposition parties.

Finances

Opposition supporters are hoping, and SNAP along with them, that the natives in a bold decisive move will act with political maturity and courage to invoke an electoral tsunami. It is indeed high expectations.

However, it is disheartening to note that while such a lofty commitment is expected of natives, the possibility that their commitment might extend to financing the election campaign that they favour is strangely dismissed by these commentators. On this premise, SNAP is maliciously accused of conspiring with BN in order to get political funding. Such accusations are insulting to SNAP and are the furthest from the truth.

These commentators underestimated and underrated successful natives as people who cannot put money where their hearts are. In the last few months, SNAP has been inundated with monetary contributions from well-to-do natives working abroad. Perhaps these commentators have stereotyped natives to the point that it is unthinkable to them, for example, that a native petroleum engineer working in the Middle East and earning US$ 25,000 a month and who is moved by the plight of his community, will contribute up to RM100,000 to SNAP’s election campaign.

SNAP needs money badly but it also realises that an efficient and honest campaign will not be too dependent on huge campaign budgets.

Quality of Candidates

It has been mentioned that SNAP’s candidates are of the quality that can be bought over once elected. It is as if there is a fail-proof formula to prevent this. At SNAP, we humbly submit that we have dealt with this issue on a ‘best-effort’ basis. It is only those who have not gone through the rigours of election management that wishfully think a watertight formula is ever possible. By the same token SNAP would like to hear those people who doubt the integrity of our candidates, if it is at all possible, to attest their supreme confidence that candidates of PKR or any of the other opposition parties will not jump ship once elected.

SNAP’s list of candidates is multiracial in nature. It comprises young professionals and also a good mix of Dayak nationalists with experience far beyond those of the commentators.

Conclusion

Let the voters decide. SNAP respects the opinions of others as their right to voice out opinions in a democracy. By the same token, SNAP reserves its right to its own political action without having to be accused of treachery and all the other tales that make interesting gossip at the teh tarek stalls.

SNAP urges that before certain presumptions are made, basic empirical research should be done that goes beyond mere rhetoric and wishful thinking.

Like everybody else in this state, we wish to unseat the Taib regime.  But we will do it in a manner that safeguards Sarawakian and Dayak control over their own affairs and destiny, and avoid jumping out of the pot into the fire. Our words are based on actual experience but we certainly welcome learned comments and guidance from armchair politicians made in good faith.

God bless the people of Sarawak.

---

The writer holds a master degree in political science from University of British Columbia, Canada. He was previously the deputy secretary-general of PKR and is now the director of elections for SNAP in the coming Sarawak state elections. 


SARAWAK NATIONAL PARTY (SNAP)Parti Asal Bansa Sarawak
SNAP Headquarters, Rubber Road,
93400 Kuching, Sarawak.
phone: +6082 230 659 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            +6082 230 659      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
e-mail: sarawaknationalparty@gmail.com

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Will Sarawakians Flunk This Test Yet Again?


 
Letter to Malaysiakini
 
Loyal Malaysian
Mar 21, 11
6:11pm

It is good for those of us who have got disgusted at the inaction of the authorities in the face of all the exposes on the corrupt rule of Taib Mahmud and his cronies. It gives hope that what is not acted on by the authorities shall be judged in the arena of public opinion. If Taib Mahmud does not get his two-thirds majority in the Sarawak state assembly it should hasten his retirement.

Good? For those of us who have been disheartened by the turbulent and stormy seas surrounding the PR coalition, this state election brings hope that it shall breathe some hope that PR will be able to put up a creditable performance come GE13.

Granted all the exposes on the excesses of Taib, his family members and cronies, there ought to be a backlash of public opinion against his 30 years of misrule. The impounded bibles issue and the Allah controversy should open the eyes of Sarawakian Christians in particular and all non-Muslims in general that the Umnoputras do not practise what they preach!
 
Freedom to practise our religion is only in name, the Umnoputras are using every rule in the book to force their values and morals on the non-Muslims.

Bad? With the BN's immense resources, both governmental and private, it will be another buy-election on a state-wide level. The opposition shall not be able to match the candies and carrots dished out by the Umnoputras. Make no mistake about it, Taib and his cronies are Umnoputras through and through.
 
So, will the disadvantaged and development-deprived rakyat again bite the bait and return Taib and his cronies with a two-thirds majority in the state assembly? This will then demoralise the opposition even further.

Who knows? The Lord works in mysterious ways. Perhaps a bashing at the Sarawak state election will bring Anwar to his senses. Raja Petra has alluded many times to Anwar's misguided handling of the politics of Sabah and Sarawak, trying to impose leaders not accepted at the local level there.

With GE13 looming and the acknowledged importance of the Sabah and Sarawak parliamentary seats if Pakatan is to harbour any realistic hope of evicting the Umnoputras from Putrajaya, perhaps, just perhaps Anwar shall then put the PKR act together in East Malaysia.

A slight detour but I draw inspiration from the UN sanctioned actions to protect civilians rebelling against Gaddafi rule in Libya. It shows that the international community will not stand idly by when a dictator uses his control of the military might of its country to mow down opposition to its rule.

I am sure this is reassuring to many rakyat who have reservations about booting the Umnoputras from Putrajaya because they control the security forces. The Umnoputras have shown themselves as having no inhibitions to use force on unarmed protestors.
 
This action by the UN should make any Umnoputra harbouring the thought of employing the security forces to boost the regime should it lose political power to have second thoughts. Who knows?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

SNAP's Media Statement & List Of First 16 Candidates

MEDIA STATEMENT
For immediate release

Date: 15 March 2011

SARAWAK STATE ELECTIONS 2011

Sarawak National Party (SNAP) has always been, since the inception of Malaysia 47 years ago, the party that speaks out, defends and fights for the welfare of the people of Sarawak especially the interior native population. It must be reiterated that SNAP will remain so now, and in the future, in response to the popular requests and desires of the people of Sarawak. SNAP is synonymous with the political development of Sarawak and intends to play its role in positive nation building within the ambit of the Federation of Malaysia Agreement 1963. SNAP it should be remembered was one of the political parties which were signatories to the Malaysia Agreement.

The forthcoming state elections this year will be a watershed in the political history of Sarawak and it is imperative that SNAP, being the traditional party of choice among natives play a meaningful role in the shaping of Sarawak’s political future. 

In this context, the Select Committee after being given the mandate by the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of SNAP met this weekend and agreed among other things that SNAP’s participation in these elections will reflect its historic role and its presently reignited dynamic role, as requested by our membership. Consequently SNAP has decided to put up a total of 40 candidates, 29 of which will be in interior native-majority constituencies and the rest will be in areas where natives form the largest single grouping. 

To underscore our seriousness and commitment to the above, SNAP hereby announces our candidates for the first 16 seats.


They are as follows:

1. Stephen Sigar - N. 1 Opar

2. Frankie Jurem Nyumboi - N. 2 Tasik Biru

3. Richard @ Peter M. Munai - N. 16 Bengoh

4. Slyvester Belayong - N. 19 Kedup

5. Abang Othman Abang Hj Gom - N. 23 Lingga

6. Dan Giang - N. 25 Balai Ringgin

7. Joe Unggang - N. 31 Layar

8. Dayrell W. Entrie - N. 32 Bukit Saban

9. Anthony Liman Sujang - N. 34 Krian

10. Tedong Gunda @ Jamal Abdullah - N. 41 Pakan

11. Augustine Liom - N. 44 Machan

12. George Lagong - N. 56 Baleh

13. John Bampa - N. 57 Belaga

14. Johari Bujang - N. 62 Lambir

15. Edwin Dundang Bugak - N. 66 Marudi

16. Kebing Wan - N. 67 Telang Usan

The candidacies for the remaining 24 constituencies will only be finalized and announced at a later date. This is because SNAP feels that its present effort to invite other native leaders who are currently partyless or dispersed in other political parties to come back to contest under the SNAP banner in order to avoid the dilution of native votes in these constituencies, will bear positive results. The present aspiring SNAP candidates for these constituencies are willing to sacrifice and accommodate these native leaders as candidates in favour of the desire not to split native votes.

The Select Committee having decided on the above also reiterates that it is SNAP’s fervent desire that there will be throughout Sarawak one-to-one contests against the ruling coalition. Common wisdom tells us that it is wise not to split the anti-BN votes to ensure opposition victory. 

SNAP does not see any problem towards an electoral understanding with the Democratic Action Party (DAP) of Sarawak. We are urged by our membership to go further than electoral pacts and work towards greater understanding and mutual support with the DAP. Our leadership has been and shall be meeting DAP leaders over these matters in due course.

We also do not see any problems in our relationship with Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS). 

However, sadly, we have been informed that Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has on its own initiative, and without mandate, took on the role of the leading opposition party by announcing that they intend to contest in 52 seats and leave SNAP a miserable 3 seats to squabble over. We also note that PKR has overlapping claims with the DAP. The very recent announcement by PKR that an agreement has been reached on the opposition electoral pact in Sarawak is totally inaccurate. PKR’s attempt to gloss over this major problem and ride roughshod against SNAP is unwarranted and unbecoming. There has been no agreement, no attempt to negotiate and PKR’s lackadaisical attitude towards native political issues is now becoming obvious.

We reiterate that such presumptuousness on the part of PKR is unwarranted and unmandated. We believe that PKR after reviewing its influence in Sarawak for the last 12 years should only concentrate in the mixed areas where we feel they can do better than SNAP. It is worthy of note that after 12 years and participating in 3 federal elections and 2 state elections over these years involving 74 candidates which they have put up, PKR has only managed to win 1 state seat. It is also a fact that can be verified that PKR has had little impact in native-majority areas ever since it first contested in Sarawak. 

With that background, we hope that PKR will co-operate to ensure the opposition electoral pact will be a reality based on actual representation of the various political groupings. Its problems over overlapping seats with DAP should also be solved as fast as possible.

The above has been communicated to PKR in the various meetings but to no avail. It is sad that at this eleventh hour, PKR still insists on contesting in 52 seats at our expense, and without substantive grounds to support their insistence. 

In this state elections of 2011, SNAP is taking back its rightful role as the leading opposition voice in Sarawak. 

SNAP is conscious of its role and intends to fulfill it without reservation.

God bless the people of Sarawak.



EDWIN DUNDANG
President
Sarawak National Party (SNAP)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Is this Anwar & Azmin's Promised "Autonomy" For Sarawak?

March 05, 2011
The Malaysian Insider
Comments by Sarawak Headhunter in red.
 
SNAP should not consort with PR’s rivals if it intends to remain part of the pact, said Azmin. — file pic 

Who SNAP consorts with is entirely up to SNAP and none of Azmin's or any other Malayan's business. SNAP will do what is best for Sarawak and Sarawakians, not for Malaya and Malayans.

If the cost of "privileged" membership is having to be dictated to by Anwar and Azmin, who know or care absolutely nothing about Sarawak and Sarawakians, SNAP should forgo it.
 
KUALA LUMPUR, March 5 — PKR deputy president Azmin Ali has told Sarawak National Party (SNAP) to subscribe to Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) policies if it wanted its demands accommodated in seat negotiations for the coming state polls. 

What are PR's policies, poll manipulation like seen in the recent PKR polls? What does PKR or PR know or care about Sarawak, other than as a stepping stone to Putrajaya? Why should a pure Sarawakian party like SNAP have to subscribe to PKR or PR's Malayo-centric policies which are totally irrelevant to Sarawak?
 
The leader also warned the local party against rubbing shoulders with PR’s rivals in the state, claiming that the pact was growing “uncomfortable” with reports of such occurrences.

This is exactly what Malayans don't understand about Sarawak and why PKR/PR is so short-sighted. Sarawakians, no matter what the rhetoric of their politics, don't regard fellow Sarawakians as enemies in the manner that Malayans do their fellow Malayans who may be of differing political opinions or parties. 

To a large measure, this kind of polarisation of Sarawak politics was fostered by the Malayans and taken full advantage of by Taib and his cronies in a completely non-Sarawakian way totally alien to Sarawakians.

All Sarawakians know this and do not wish to see a repeat, whether by BN or PKR/PR. Is this so difficult for Malayans to understand?

Does Azmin think that everyone in the Sarawak BN supports Taib?
 
“They (SNAP) have to decide the future of the party. If they want to be a member of PR, then subscribe to our policies.

SNAP must and will remain independent, even if pro-opposition. In the face of the colonial mindset of Malayans like Anwar and Azmin, this is imperative. Who else will remain to protect the interests of Sarawak and Sarawakians if all opposition parties were to subscribe to policies of PKR/PR that are not beneficial to Sarawak and Sarawakians?

“They should not discuss matters with rivals. They have done it quite in the open, too, and we are sending a strong message to them that if you want to be a part of PR, then certainly you have to adhere to our policies,” he told The Malaysian Insider yesterday.

Sarawakians do not hide things like the Malayans do. Those who are our rivals today may not be our rivals tomorrow. Which Sarawakian (let alone those in SNAP) gives a flying pig's arse about Azmin's "strong message"? He can shove it where the sun doesn't shine! (With Sarawak Headhunter's unrepentant apologies for the "strong" language).

Azmin added that once SNAP was willing to establish its commitment to PR, the pact would be willing to “accommodate” the party’s demands in seat negotiations for the impending state polls.

All Azmin's talk of "accomodation" is mere hypocrisy and a sheer lie. What happened to the promises of "autonomy" for Sarawak and Sabah? Begin NOW! There should be no comment or interference from Anwar or Azmin. Let the State leadership of PKR/PR decide. 

Rumours have placed Sarawak’s next state elections as early as the first week of April with talk that Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud will likely dissolve the state assembly by March 19.

The Sarawak government’s mandate expires in July this year.

“But they have to decide... then, we can accommodate. Then, we are open to discussions,” he said.

Actually, it's the other way around. Show some sincerity and less hypocrisy and maybe SNAP will be more open to discussions and more amenable to cooperate.

The Sarawak-based SNAP, PR’s newest ally in the east Malaysian state, and the coalition’s three core parties of PKR, DAP and PAS, are believed to have reached a deadlock in negotiations over how to divide the 71 state seats up for grabs among themselves in the looming contest.

This is only because of interference from the Malayans. Does anyone think that even Najib/UMNO or the Federal BN will dare to interfere with Sarawak BN's (Taib's) choice of candidates? Why should the Sarawak PR opposition have to listen to any Malayan then? Are Malayans the masters of Sarawakians and are Sarawakians their slaves? 

The Malaysian Insider understands that PKR hopes to take the lion’s share by fielding 52 candidates while SNAP is now demanding to contest in at least 30 constituencies, up two seats from the previous 28 it had contested during the 2006 polls.


DAP is seeking to field 20 candidates while PAS is content with about four or five seats.

Even accommodating the bulk of SNAP's requests (not demands as mischievously put by The Malaysian Insider) say up to 26 seats, PKR will have at least 22 seats, DAP 20 seats and PAS should not have more than 3 to contest, if winnability is to be the main factor.

Of these seats, Sarawak Headhunter predicts the outcome to be 37:34, whether in favour of PR or BN, with up to 8 seats which can go either way. DAP may win up to 12 seats, PAS 1 or 2, PKR 11 and SNAP 12, (total 36 or 37) giving a very bare majority for PR to govern.

In such circumstances, PR will need not only to hang on to all its ADUNs but also to attract a significant number from BN to be able to govern comfortably. In other words, PR will need all the friends it can get and so does not need Azmin's "advice" about not discussing matters with rivals.

Tedwin Ngumbang's independent faction must also be taken into account. This group could be the one to tip the balance either way. 

But Azmin also stressed that negotiations would be based on consensus among all four PR parties and focus would be on the “winnability” of the candidates.

This "consensus" must not be forced upon Sarawak by Malaya.

“We have to look at the seats and at the candidates. There must be a formula for winnability because this is of paramount importance to us in the elections,” he reasoned.

Azmin revealed that he would be flying to Sarawak today to meet with local PR leaders on the issue.

“There are presently some overlapping seats and we need to discuss this. This will be the main agenda of my meeting with the state leadership and hopefully, I will be able to bring back some good news to the PR leadership.

“What is important is that we are able to conclude this whole exercise quickly and amicably,” he said.

Hopefully more amicably than the PKR polls.
 
Azmin, however, claimed that his presence in Sarawak was not to dictate terms to the state leadership but to obtain feedback to update PR’s national leadership.

Ya lah tu!

“We always try as much as we can not to intervene in their process, but of course, certainly we will have a role to play if there is an overlap in any seat.

You don't have any role to play, period!

“Then, we will provide assistance and advice,” he said.

Who believes this guy?

However, Azmin expressed confidence that the matter would be resolved in time for the pact to ready itself for the crucial polls.

“I believe in the wisdom of the Sarawak leadership. I am sure we will be able to strike a balance,” he said.

Only without interference from Anwar or Azmin and other Malayans.

In an interview with The Malaysian Insider earlier, Azmin had said that SNAP should contest in fewer seats.

PKR has many more unwinnable candidates, unlike SNAP. Why should SNAP give way on this? It is PKR and PAS who should contest in fewer seats.

He also said that negotiations with the local party would begin with “nothing more than three seats”.

What an insult! If this represents PR's "accomodation" and sincerity, then SNAP will be justified to reject it outright.
 
It is likely that SNAP will clash with PKR as both are eyeing constituencies with Dayak and Iban majorities, while DAP will move in on Chinese-majority urban centres.

There will be no clash if PKR acknowledges the reality on the ground, that SNAP has a better chance in many of the constituencies with Dayak and Iban majorities (especially against PRS and SPDP) that PKR is under the mistaken impression it can win.

Sarawak Barisan Nasional presently holds 63 of the 71 seats in the Sarawak legislative assembly.

Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) holds 12 seats while its BN partners Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and the Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) hold eight seats each.

Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), helmed by Taib, holds the majority with 35 seats.

An English-language daily reported earlier this week that speculations have now indicated that the state assembly may be dissolved as early as March 19 while nominations would likely be set for April 2 and polling day on April 9.

Taib has four months until the assembly is automatically dissolved on July 23.

Taib's political life and that of BN Sarawak is at an end, provided the State PR does the right thing without any interference from Malaya.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Let The Baram Be Dammed?

BARAM DAM A GIFT FROM GOD TO THE PEOPLE OF TELANG USAN?

My dear brothers, sisters, anak-anak, cucu-cucu from the Orang Ulu communities and the Dayak Iban and Bidayuh.

My name is LAKE’ JARO’. Nice meeting you all again to listen to this old Penan rumbling from deep in the jungle.

BARAM DAM A GIFT FROM GOD TO THE PEOPLE OF TELANG USAN:
According to our Yang Bohong Lihan Jok, ADUN Telang Usan.

The location of the dam across the Baram River will be between the inflows of the Sungai Patah and Sungai Kahah from the left and Sungai Hit from the right, as going upstream.The height of the main Baram dam would be 162 m (520 FEET) above foundation level. The closest longhouse to the dam will be 520 feet under water. The dam structure across the Baram River has a crest length of 685 m and the crest level is 180 m above sea level. The construction would be designed as a roller-compacted concrete (RCC) gravity dam. Due to the topographical conditions in the project area, a 70m high Saddle dam will be constructed approximately 5 Km south-west of the project site.

Who are affected by the Baram dam?

At least 20,000 indigenous peoples will be affected and displaced by the dam. These peoples are the Kayans, Kenyahs and Penans whose longhouses and villages are situated along the course of Baram River valley, locally known as Telang Usan. Their settlements are well located on below, above and around of the project site.The downstream longhouses/villages are Long Laput, Sungai Dua, Sri Kenawan, Uma Bawang, Long Miri (Daleh Pelutan), Long Pilah and Long Kesseh.

In the upstream and within the dam reservoir area are Long Na’ah, Long Liam, Long San, Patah, Long Selatong (Kiri & Kanan), Long Apu, Long Julan Asal, Long Julan Pelutan, Long Anap, Long Palai, Long Je’eh, Long Moh, Long Sela’an and Long Semiyang as well as some villages in Akah River that are Long Beku, Ba Abang, Long Tap and Long Tebangan.

The Baram dam would submerge an area of 38,900 hectares (389 sq km) (note by Sarawak Headhunter: more than half the size of Singapore) of land and forest. The area is 90%  native customary land, and consists of pulau galau, pemakai menoa, temuda, cultivated lands, gardens, villages, churches, graveyards, community forests and sites of historical significant. The people are going to lose their longhouses, villages, properties, way of life, their pride their very soul.

This mean that more than 50% of the Kenyah Longhouses and people, 45% of the Kelabit longhouses and people and 80% of the Penans in the Telang Usan area are going to be relocated like animals to a holding area like Sungai Asap. Imagine the chaos, the destruction of their life and the misery the displaced people will suffer. The Dam will be built very soon and YET THERE IS NO PLAN FOR THE AFFECTED PEOPLE PUT FORWARD BY THE GOVERNMENT UP TO THIS DATE.

The construction of Baram dam will create a catchment area of 896,600 hectares (8,966 sq.km) (note by Sarawak Headhunter: more than 10 times the size of Singapore) for an installed capacity of 830 MW. Within the catchment area are some major settlements of indigenous communities: the Kayans, Kenyahs, Kelabits, Sabens and Penans.

The dam will submerge the existing government schools, Medical clinics, airstrip and other building facilities.

Who will benefit from the Dam?:

The chief minister and family and cronies. Their company will team up with the Chinese company to construct the dam. Taib Mahmud's company will supply all the materials for the dam while collecting and selling all the timbers within the 896,600 hectare catchment area. Selling the timber will give Taib Mahmud and family hundreds of million of ringgits. Taib will also use our money to construct the access road to the dam. OUR YBs Lihan Jok and Jacob Dungau Sagan will get the crumbs and the right to stand as BN candidates during the coming elections, for their roles in helping Taib to ROB and “KILL” the Kayans, Kenyahs, Kelabit and Penan of Telang Usan. Sadly for US we chose  to lose everything for helping to Vote YB Lihan Jok and YB Jacob Dungau Sagan. So I think the Orang Ulu and the Dayaks deserve to be poor by their own choice.

To construct the dam the government will borrow money to the tunes of Billions of ringgit. People like us will pay for the loan through increased taxes, cut in subsidies etc. Taib Mahmud and family has grabbed all and put their monies overseas as exposed by Sarawak Report.

YB LIHAN JOK's area will not be affected physically by the DAM. His Longhouse at Long Bedian will not be flooded even though the PATAH area will be flooded. However he will be very happy because all the wild animals such as the Babi, Kijang, Rusa etc..etc will move to the Apoh area as the animals escape from the 38900 hectares of flooded area in Baram. So he can organize hunting trips with Jabu, James Masing and William Mawan.

So to conclude, the Baram Dam is a gift from God to YB LIHAN JOK and cronies BUT A DEATH PENALTY FOR THE PEOPLE OF TELANG USAN. OUR ONLY WAY OUT IS TO VOTE THE BN OUT IN THE NEXT ELECTION. HIDUP PAKATAN RAKYAT!......

I am,  yours sincerely Lake’ Jaro’
Penan Lung Late’

Please listen to www.radiofreesarawak.org

Open Letter From "Pemancha Lun Dayeh"

BE STRONG, BE COURAGEOUS!!!

To all my anak-anak Lun Dayeh,

After more than half a century of so called independence, finally I see some glimmer of hope for my people. Finally my people are beginning to wake up albeit only a handful. May I encourage those who had contributed to these email loops, people like Buraksem, Bujang Tugun, Penghulutg, Lake Jaro, Tua Kampung Long Kavuk, Bavui Uve, Dick Bala, Bit, Ding and the others to continue to give inputs into these loops. As the Sarawak General Election draws ever closer, let us intensify our efforts.

Do not be discouraged, be strong and be courageous. After the prophet Elijah had that dramatic confrontation with the prophets of Baal, and Jezebel was after his head, he fled to the wilderness. While totally exhausted and lonely, he cried out to God to take his life as he thought he alone was left to make a stand for God, and God told him "there are 7000 people, which He reserved, people who had never bent their knees to Baal. Thus in this struggle one can often feel lonely - remember YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!

For the majority in these email loops allow me to gently remind you, STOP being so passive, STOP being so comfortable in your little corner, in the comfort of your home, STOP that indifferent attitude. START becoming more active and proactive. When we all do our little part, it will make it much easier to achieve our target - positive change, justice and fairness, progress and prosperity for our people. Martin Luther King said "the thing that hurts the most is not the laughter of our enemies, it is the silence of our friends".

Over the last few days the papers have been full of strange statements from the powers that be, specifically the Sarawak state leaders. Maklumlah TOK Uban baru kahwin, he even equates politics to men courting beautiful girls. In his version BN is the honest, sincere man while PR is the manipulative, insincere man who only wants to take advantage of the beautiful girl. However in many people's mind, the fact that all the top leaders are having mistresses and girlfriends every where is not because they are honest, sincere, or attractive - it is mainly because of money, glamour and power.

Tok Uban also talks about his "shock" at the deprived state of the people of Pulau Bruit. And he "pleaded" with the relevant authorities to do something to ease their suffering as many of them were and are malnourished - is he not "the King" of Sarawak? Is it not that his word is law? Besides that he and Jabu have been telling the whole world that Sarawak is the top three most developed and richest state in Malaysia.

When he says "yes" who in the government would dare to say "no"? He also said he could not resign because he could not find a suitable qualified successor. My goodness, what  is wrong with this guy? Nobody in this world is indispensable. One thing is certain, he is too "shok" with his new bride, that he is still in dreamland. There are many more things under my observation, due to time constraints, I will share with you all another time.

In the mean time let us be aware, and consciously remind ourselves that this is the season where wickedness and lies will spread like wild fire and be uttered by the very people that our poor people trust and look up to. This is the season where the powers that be will promise  the sky, the moon, and the stars. And this is the season where people with itchy ears will again choose to believe those empty promises. To all anak-anak Lun Dayeh I urge you all to think clearly, rationally, and wisely. Your future and the future of our people is in your hands. So vote wisely!!! God bless us all.

Pemancha.