Hornbill Unleashed

October 8, 2009

Pakatan Rakyat Malaysia in Sarawak – You must be joking!

By Sim Kwang Yang


So Gabriel Adit and some other like-minded people are going to form a new party called Pakatan Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) in Sarawak.  Dr. John Brian Anthony even claimed on his blog Dayak Baru that the new party had been registered with the Registrar of Societies a few days ago.

I know Gabriel personally.  A long time ago, I used to drink in the same pub in Kuching with him, sometimes every afternoon.  It is hard for me to bad-mouth him, though Internet commentators are beginning to bad-mouth him already.

Some fair comments on this latest development are still apt and possible.

First of all, it is very difficult to form a new political party in Malaysia, and Sarawak is no exception.

Years ago, I was hired to make an application to register a new political party in Sarawak.  I did all the paper work, and was invited to meet the then Deputy Home Minister, at the time when Dr. M was the Home Minister in charge of the Registrar of Societies.

The Deputy Minister told me that only the PM had the power to approve application for the registration of new political parties and new newspapers, so I had to wait.  Soon, word reached me that the PM Dr. M had rejected the application submitted by me, because of the objection of the Sarawak CM Taib Mahmud.

I wonder if they do things differently nowadays, but I doubt it.  For a new political party to be formed in Sarawak, the PM surely has to be consulted, and in the true spirit of mutual back-scratching in the Barisan Nasional, the PM would surely consult the Sarawak CM.

Therefore, for the new PRM to be registered, surely its registration would have received the blessing of the CM Taib Mahmud – for obvious reasons.

Too many instant politicians

Am I unhappy with Gabriel Adit for leaving PKR for the new PRM?  Not one bit!  In fact, when he joined PKR amidst much fanfare last year, I was worried for the PKR.  He has too much political and financial baggage, and he could become a huge liability for the Sarawak PKR.  Now that he has decided to leave PKR and go form the PRM, PKR is one toxic asset less.

 AnwarThat is why I disagree with Anwar Ibrahim’s method of recruiting instant politicians who had been with the BN.  Their political baggage is simply too tainted for comfort.  It is far better to recruit new people, young and old, from the untainted masses of middle class Sarawakians, like the retired police or army officers, former civil servants, and even new graduates.

Apart from the opposition DAP, PKR, and PAS, political parties in Sarawak depend on very strong financial backers to survive.  There is the huge cost needed in running a party structure, to pay administrative personnel and the office rental, and to fund the election war chest.

In the old days, party funding was one of the main fuses that caused the SNAP to split up in two.  Party funding also became a contentious issue with PBDS, to the extent that you could say money is the cause of all political evil in Sarawak.

Who is bank-rolling PRM?

The question is: who is funding this new PRM party?

prm boss2There is widespread speculation that Tiong King Sing is the money man behind the new party.  He has not denied it or sued anybody for saying so.  He could very well be.  He is already bank-rolling the SPDP, and with his immense wealth, even after his money in Kuala Dimensi has been frozen by the police, he can easily support another party.  It is just a matter of mere millions to him – just like a few dollars to you and me.

Still others have speculated that the financial backer could be Sng Chee Hua, looking for a party for his son Larry.

The launch of this new party in Sarawak is good news for those over-the-hill politicians who are trying to make a comeback one way or another.  They have also smelled the money.

They do not have to go and work on the ground with the rakyat during non-election time.  All they have to do is to wait for a general election to come, and hope that election funds in huge bundles will fall from the sky.  Then, they have a shot at being YBs and become rich.  Believe me! I have met my fair share of these professional political money-makers.

Prospects for Sarawak elections

Will this new political party bring anything good to the people of Sarawak?

I doubt it.  There are more than enough political parties in the Land of the Hornbill.  One more Dayak-led party is going to detract from Dayak support for the PKR, and help PBB in the divide-and-rule tactic to weaken the Dayaks’ political strength.

When I was in Kuching recently, I was asked by a reporter what I think of the next general election, at both the federal and state levels.

Frankly, I don’t see how the Pakatan Rakyat can take the state government in Sarawak next round, certainly not with DAP, PKR, and PAS squabbling over seat allocations, and definitely not with Taib Mahmud still firmly at the BN helm.  They would find it hard even to recruit all the 71 willing, capable, and credible candidates for all the state seats.

It is better for them to concentrate on grabbing 10 parliamentary seats in both Sabah and Sarawak to tip the scale in Kuala Lumpur, and even that seems impossible now.

As for the new party PRM, there is no need to get excited about this latest kid on the block.  The kid will probably fizzle out after the next round of general elections, like the STAR party.



  1. […] Pakatan Rakyat Malaysia in Sarawak – You must be joking! […]

    Pingback by BN pimpinan Najib Razak tak de idea kreatif positif…selalu suka mengelirukan rakyat « Rodziah Ismail Ticker's Blog — October 9, 2009 @ 8:11 AM | Reply

  2. […] Pakatan Rakyat Malaysia in Sarawak – You must be joking! […]

    Pingback by Sime Darby Bhd component party of BN, too? « Rodziah Ismail Ticker's Blog — October 9, 2009 @ 1:20 AM | Reply

  3. I had once a comment from my Iban friend, in a rather sacarstic way that the Dayaks have the biggest number of political party presidents in Sarawak. When will they wake up and realise that separate arrows cannot garner strength, but together they will make miracles?

    Comment by Hope — October 8, 2009 @ 10:13 PM | Reply

  4. There are plenty of willing, capable and credible candidates for the states seat. It is just that the leaders of PKR are blind sided by the has-been, the opportunist or shall i say ‘parasites’ that are in just for the business connection, award of tenders or even planted there to create havoc . Just look around there are plenty of young graduates or professionals Sarawakian that are not happy with this current administration. These people are being denied an opportunity of being heard. Educate the young first because the old voters are hopeless. If we are to wait for the next GE then i am sorry to say there wont be much left for the next generation especially at thus current rate of ‘politics of development’. Change we can.

    Comment by Angkau — October 8, 2009 @ 4:57 PM | Reply

  5. Good article SKY. It would be most ideal if Sarawak and Sabah is governed by state-based political party respectively rather than depending on KL-based party even to determine our political future. However, the leaders of the respective state-based party must be sincere, upright and not tainted as you say. It is hard to find angelic leaders but as long as they are consistent in their struggles for our Lands,to me they are acceptable.

    Comment by mangofruit — October 8, 2009 @ 2:07 PM | Reply

  6. Woseh! You guys!

    Taib just played his hand ler! With Pakatan Rakyat Malaysia feeler.

    He just told KL to f**k off! 🙂

    Comment by Salak — October 8, 2009 @ 12:53 PM | Reply

  7. When i name caling the dayaks(a name used by most sarawakians),one HU writer was fumed with fire and exploited my narrow mind.
    I respected all HU writers,youngs and olds.They are learned,intellectual,smart and widely read.Be respectful takes both side,and respect must be earned.
    The fact remains that dayaks constitute 50% of sarawak populations.They are the majority race in sarawak.Ever wonder why are they govern by a majority race in sarawak,namely the melanau(3% of sarawak population).the dayaks are digging their own grave yards.
    When is the day of awakening?i am not very hopeful now.But like everything else,there is a beginning and there is an end.
    Your sarawak CM is a shrewd and seasoned politician.He always emerges as Champion in this political game.Snap,PBDS and now Supp political woes.If he didnt give his blessings,would anyone dare even to whisper?

    Comment by Akai — October 8, 2009 @ 11:43 AM | Reply

  8. Dear SKY,

    I suspect the sole purpose of the registration for Pakatan Rakyat Malaysia is to deprive the Pakatan Rakyat coalition of this name in Sarawak in the event that the Pakatan Rakyat does try to register themselves as a single coalition party. It follows similar practices in the registration of domain names or trademarks in businesses. What will PR use then? If they are not careful, the same thing will be done in P Malaysia and they will lose this well recognised branding.

    Comment by Bert — October 8, 2009 @ 11:42 AM | Reply

  9. Actually a political party approved by Taib would be great. It is no less if you don’t have one since registering for one is like rolling a dice and, like Mahathir, Najib will dance if Taib sings.

    It would be terrific after being formed, that Party Rakyat Malaysia having designed its incorporation aims, enables a person or organization to be a constituent member. But you might have to roll out the dice again! 🙂

    Let’s see the next couple of weeks what may bring, Gabriel having denied anything to do with this stunt.

    He sounded a little sour in the interview with Mkini but we all know, the game is up for BN and they seem to totter at the precipice. If they don’t Malaysia will be another Zimbabwe, a vassal state of Mahathir! 😉

    But one thing is clear – PR has to dictate events as this rumor might suggest.

    Comment by Salak — October 8, 2009 @ 10:02 AM | Reply

    • Seems like some fat misundertanding clouded this Coalition registration issue! Bernama carried a statement by ROS as follows:

      Opposition Eligible To Register As Single Party – ROS

      KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 8 (Bernama) — The opposition parties are eligible to register as a coalition as the requirement of having at least seven component parties does not apply to them, said Registrar of Societies (ROS) director-general Datuk Md Alias Kalil.

      “The condition does not apply to political parties as they enjoy a national status. Only state-level organisation aspiring to become a national entity needs to have seven members from the states,” he said when contacted by Bernama.

      He was commenting on a call by the Election Commission (EC) that opposition parties register Pakatan Rakyat as a legal entity like Barisan Nasional to enable them to campaign as a coalition and put up their parties’ flags.

      Md Alias brushed aside a claim by the opposition that ROS’ conditions were rigid and as such it was difficult to formalise the alliance.

      “There are normal conditions, which should be adhered to, such as they must have a constitution like that of Barisan Nasional (BN). This is not a big issue and until today, we have not receive any applications from them,” he said.

      The opposition is made up of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, DAP and PAS.


      Comment by Salak — October 8, 2009 @ 10:06 PM | Reply

  10. If it is true that YB Bintulu is the ATM machine for PRM, I guess he is in it for the money. It is an investment to him and definitely he expect good return. With SPDP and now PRM share in the BN big cake of wealth, he is looking into doubling his income. Another political party to finance for him is just like setting up a new company for a business man. More business opportunity.

    For Adit, this will be the end of his political career.

    Comment by Jimmy — October 8, 2009 @ 9:57 AM | Reply

  11. Another excellent and well defined piece of write-up, SKY. You hit the nail right on the head again.

    Personally I’m very disappointed with the politics in Sarawak. Where have all the good men gone? These days we get recycled politicians who should be retired long ago still trying to make a comeback. In fact they are lucky to live this long. Some have retired with a lot of money in the bank so I don’t understand why they are still trying so hard to make a comeback. With those old croaks in power hanging on to their positions, these wannabe comeback grandpas have no chance except to throw away good money and depriving the younger generation of having a go at governance. It seems that in Malaysia, old politicians don’t fade away but die. It’s so exasperating. I now regret that I did not migrate when I had the chance. Sigh….

    Comment by Ah Beng — October 8, 2009 @ 8:38 AM | Reply

  12. Dear Mr Sim,

    Your observation of the political reality in Sarawak is always spot-on and realistic. Would you be able to tell us then, why till date, DAP, PKR, and others couldn’t form an united front in Sarawak?

    money? Principles? or personal egos?

    Comment by Kami — October 8, 2009 @ 8:01 AM | Reply

    • Actually I know the reason why, but if I tell you publicly, the mess will be worse. So we just wait patiently, unless you put more pressure for them to straighten out their act.


      Comment by Sim Kwang Yang — October 8, 2009 @ 10:14 AM | Reply

    • This is indeed a good question. The Sarawakian public who are the voters are hoping for a united front of the oppositions to give Taib and BN a good fight comes the next election. But the parties are dragging their feet.

      The opposition parties were at loggerhead in Sabah and Sarawak at the last general election and they blew the chance to help change the Malaysian political landscape. Lessons not learned?

      It certainly appears that all political parties meaning their top leaders are detached from the public or should I say aloof and arrogant and they are the ones who decide what the people wants or what to give to them, not the people deciding what they want.

      A topic for SKY to share with us his thoughts?

      On our part, maybe we should be calling our friends to call those so-called political leaders and press them to forge a united front AS WE WANT IT !

      Comment by Loh NK — October 8, 2009 @ 11:52 AM | Reply

  13. I don’t quite remember STAR. But do I know about Nalla’s party with BN blessing after Ijok by-election? Or, Makkal Sakti? The self proclaimed Indian representative. I don’t know if Mahaatma Gandhi see them “representing” Indian (the red type included) may he go for another round of non-violence resistance.
    Oh, this divide and rule tactic works time and again, it will divide for definite reasons. But then, one of my favourite novelist begins his Romance as such: The divided world will unite after sometimes; the united world will divide after a while.
    My dear fellow world dwellers, let us not blinded by this simple-complex existence call power, even if it is power to be.

    Comment by Liumx — October 8, 2009 @ 5:58 AM | Reply

  14. “They (Pakatan Rakyat) would find it hard even to recruit all the 71 willing, capable, and credible candidates for all the state seats.”

    The most if not the only realistic observation I have come across.

    “It is better for them to concentrate on grabbing 10 parliamentary seats in both Sabah and Sarawak to tip the scale in Kuala Lumpur”

    The only sensible and realistic suggestion I have come across.

    Comment by ong — October 8, 2009 @ 5:40 AM | Reply

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