Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian is laughing at a so-called “admission” by Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud that he is willing to step down – provided there is a qualified person to take over.
“I think this is shameful of Taib and it reflects badly on him to say he has not found anyone qualified enough to take over as chief minister,” Baru said today.
He said Taib had been chief minister for the last 30 years, but yet admits he has not groomed anyone to succeed him.
“I think there are two possibilities for this. Either he is not visionary or he purposely did not groom a successor,” Baru (left) suggested, referring to Taib’s admission yesterday that he would like to step down, but the right successor was not forthcoming.
“His deputy, Afred Jabu, has been saying that Taib is a good visionary and development-oriented leader, but yet Taib has overlooked the most important aspect of leadership by not grooming someone from his party, Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB), to take over,” he said.
Baru believes that Taib deliberately refused to groom a successor so he could continue clinging to the post for as long as he wanted.
He said there were a few leaders in PBB qualified to take over as PBB president and chief minister.
Person with high moral integrity needed
“You don’t need someone who is highly qualified, like holders of doctorate degree, but someone with high moral integrity, incorruptible and who has the interests of the people at heart,” he said.
Since it was very difficult for Taib to “sort out his problem”, the best solution would be for the people of Sarawak to elect Pakatan Rakyat into power in the next state election.
“This way, the people will also solve his problem, since he does not know to go about it,” Baru added.
Speaking at the launch of a community leadership seminar in Betong yesterday, Taib said he and Jabu had wanted to step down a long time ago, but none of the second echelon PBB leaders were qualified enough to take over from them.
“We are both getting old and if there are people who are truly qualified to lead the state, we are more than prepared to go, but we cannot let go of our responsibilities just like that,” Taib had said.
The multi-billionaire Taib had a number of times since the late 1980s named Housing and Urban Development Minister Abang Johari Openg and former federal ministers Adenan Satem and Effendi Nowawi as his potential successors.
When Effendi disappeared from the scene, Taib put Second Minister of Planning and Resource Management Awang Tengah Ali Hasan in the list.
By saying now that none of the current crop of second echelon leaders in PBB are qualified enough to be PBB president and chief minister, Baru said, Taib wanted the people to believe that he was the indispensable leader for Sarawak.
There has been speculated before that Taib wanted his son, Sulaiman Abdul Rahman, to take over, which was why he “forced” Sulaiman to contest in Kota Samarahan in the 2008 parliamentary election, hoping to groom him for bigger things to come.
“But Sulaiman was proved to be a flop as deputy federal minister of tourism,” said a local politician.
On Dec 4, 2009, Sulaiman announced his resignation as deputy minister and has reportedly never attended to his constituency matters since quitting the federal post. No one knows where he is now, apart from the Taib family,.
Of late, there has been speculation that Taib would nominate a close relative, Norah Abdul Rahman, who is the MP for Tanjung Manis, to succeed him. Norah is the daughter of his uncle Abdul RahmanYaakub, a former chief minister of Sarawak.
It was Rahman who nominated Taib, then a federal minister, to be his successor as chief minister on March 26, 1981.
Will it beTaib’s turn to nominate Norah this time?