Khamis, 14 April 2011

Kit Siang: Will Taib’s reluctance to leave cost BN Sarawak?

KUALA LUMPUR, April 14 – DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang put forward today the possibility of Barisan Nasional (BN) losing the Sarawak state election if its longest serving Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud refused to resign soon.
It was reported earlier today that that former PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had suggested that the Sarawak CM be reminded of previous electoral defeats suffered by BN when its leaders refused to quit.
Although he stopped short of saying whether Taib should stay or leave, he made reference to BN’s losses as a result of state leaders refusing to quit.
“There was one MB who insisted he should continue, and lost the whole state. If we learn from history, we won’t do it again,” Dr Mahathir had said at a press conference after launching an Islamic tourism conference in Kuching, Sarawak.

He did not specify the mentri besar he was referring to, though Lim (picture) assumed that he was pointing at a former Terengganu MP who helmed the state for 25 years, and had lost it to PAS.
“Mahathir was of course referring to the case of Tan Sri Wan Mokhtar Ahmad who was Mentri Besar of Terengganu for 25 years from 1974 to 1999 and was ignominiously evicted from office when Barisan Nasional suffered an electoral rout of 4 – 28 state assembly seats to PAS in the 1999 general elections,” Lim said in a statement.
The Ipoh Timor MP said that there is no doubt that getting Taib to step down as Chief Minister is the “single most potent weapon and burning issue” against the BN in the 10th Sarawak state general elections.
“... uniting Sarawakians regardless of race or religion throughout the state not because of Taib’s age, [or] the length of his tenure as Chief Minister, but because of the lack of accountability, transparency and good governance under Taib’s Chief Ministership illustrated by the mountain of allegations on abuses of power and rampant corruption under his rule which he has not been able to rebut.
“It is not that the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is not aware of Sarawak Barisan Nasional’s Achilles heel but even he is impotent as far as getting Taib to step down as Chief Minister,” Lim said.
He said that Najib’s attempts to “tie Taib down” to an early date to step down had been “fobbed off and foiled” by the Chief Minister, as Najib promised Sarawakians that Taib will step down, although there were reports saying that the Chief Minister will only resign in about two years time.
“For instance, when Najib ‘closed down’ Putrajaya for six days and led his entire Cabinet to Sarawak to campaign in the Sarawak state general elections on Sunday, his first message was  to assure Sarawakians that a change in the state leadership was imminent.
“But Taib refused to ‘play ball’ and made it very clear in Najib’s presence the next day that he was not planning any ‘imminent’ stepping down as Chief Minister, as his time frame is ‘in a few years’ time’,” he said.
Taib had announced on Tuesday that he had identified his successor as Sarawak Chief Minister and that he had been grooming his successor for 20 years but did not reveal the identity of his successor.
“Yesterday, Taib vacillated talking at first about ‘two, three years’  and later ‘two years’ as the timeframe of his stepping down after Saturday’s state general elections.
“Clearly, it is still very elastic to Taib as to the timeframe of his stepping down as Sarawak Chief Minister and depending on the outcome of Saturday’s polls, it could still range from two, three to four and even five years,” Lim said.
The outspoken Opposition leader pointed out that there is no question about Taib’s position if Dr Mahathir’s warning come true on Saturday, and BN loses power with Pakatan Rakyat (PR) winning more than half of the 71 State Assembly seats.
To deny the Barisan Nasional two-thirds majority in the Sarawak State Assembly, PR must win at least 24 out of the total of 71 State Assembly seats in Sarawak.
“The goal of denying the Barisan Nasional two-thirds State Assembly majority is eminently achievable, which would in fact be the worst defeat in the history of Barisan Nasional.
“There is no way Taib could continue as Chief Minister if he loses two-thirds state assembly majority on Saturday as this would impact most adversely on Najib’s political future and in particular for the long-delayed 13th national elections,” he said.
Lim said that although the electoral prospects for the 15 seats contested by the DAP are “ever optimistic and positive by the day”, he warned and cautioned all the 15 DAP candidates and election workers that it cannot be assured of victory in any one of the seats until the votes are counted on Saturday evening and the results announced.
He said in the one-and-a-half days to polling, BN will go all out to “steal” the 10th Sarawak state general elections with their department of “dirty tricks” working 24/7.
In Kuching, the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) leaders have declared that they are confident of winning in all the four state seats contested by DAP – Padungan, Pending, Kota Sentosa and Batu Kawah.
“We must not take SUPP and Barisan Nasional boasts lightly and I call on all the four DAP candidates in Kuching as well as all the 15 DAP candidates in Sarawak and all voters, supporters and well-wishers to adopt a common approach – that no victory in any constituency is assured until the votes are counted and victory declared, and till then, an all-out effort must be launched to get out every single available vote on Saturday to usher in political change in Sarawak and Malaysia,” Lim said.

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