A revolt is simmering in Sarawak and is threatening to indirectly topple self-declared first lady, Rosmah Mansor, unless she manages to “pillow-talk” her husband Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak into holding concurrent polls.
Suave Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Taib Mahmud is pandering to Rosmah’s vanity and is hoping that her sweet-talk for “concurrent polls preferably in June” will save his hide.
To help Taib achieve this, is his wealthy flamboyant sister Raziah Mahmud, who is said to be very pally with Rosmah.
According to a FMT source, Taib has asked his sister to “persuade Rosmah to push Najib” into holding joint state and parliamentary polls “for BN’s own survival”.
“Taib has informed Najib of the ground situation. He believes Najib is mindful of this but there is no positive reaction.
“Now Taib wants his sister to help him convey to Rosmah the hard facts.
“Raziah will tell Rosmah that if Sarawak BN fails to deliver the parliamentary seats, then Najib will no longer be able to hold onto Putrajaya.
The source said Taib believed that by holding concurrent polls, the Pakatan Rakyat opposition pact will be stretched and resources divided.
“Being a peninsula-based party, Pakatan is going to focus its maximum efforts on retaining Selangor, Kedah, Penang and Kelantan while pushing for Perak and Negri Sembilan.
“But if we hold only state polls, then the opposition will come down on us like it did in Sibu,” said the source.
Meanwhile, another insider in Taib’s Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) party familiar with “rumours to rope in Rosmah” said the coalition was in dire need of “this particular federal assistance”.
“Umno in Sabah and in the peninsula is very divided. Najib is very dependent on Sarawak.
“We know this and unless both elections are held together there is no guarantee that BN can win a majority of the parliamentary seats in Sarawak.
“Sarawak has 31 parliamentary seats. The opposition holds two seats. We think we will lose more seats this coming general election.
“If this happens, then BN’s overall majority will be greatly reduced and it will definetly affect Najib’s bid to retain Putrajaya,” the source said, adding that if Sarawak BN failed to deliver the seats there was the “frightening” possibility of Umno muscling its way into the state.
He saw absolutely no threat in Sarawak opposition DAP, as the sole flagbearer holding a parliamentary seat.
Sarawak BN held 30 seats at the time, a nice number which helped seal BN’s grip on Putrajaya in the unexpected 2008 political tsunami.
Then blew the unprecedented Sibu wind which defied the political odds in Sarawak. DAP won its second seat.
In August last year, opposition chief Anwar Ibrahim said the Pakatan Rakyat coalition was “upbeat” about its chances in Sabah and Sarawak.
Speaking at a ceramah, Anwar had reportedly said: “They can hold on to Sabah and Sarawak. Najib has been going there over and over again and (his wife) Rosmah even went there to sing.
“But when we can wrest a seat in Sarawak (Sibu), it is a clear indication that the BN fortress has begun to crumble. All we need is less than half the seats in Sarawak and a few in Sabah, and Insyallah (God willing), we will take on Putrajaya.”
But much has happened in Anwar’s PKR, which, if truth be told, has shaken its members’ faith in the party, its policies and ability to lead.
“PKR is riding on DAP and, to some extent, PAS’ strength. On its own it can’t survive. In Sarawak, we have good capable PKR leaders but they are subject to KL’s law and that makes them useless to us.
“PKR also does not have much money, not like DAP… PKR expects Sarawak to take care of itself but long-term sustainability is not easy…” said a grassroots PKR member here.