Hornbill Unleashed

April 29, 2011

Najib’s no match for wily old Taib

Mohd Ariff Sabri Aziz

The moment he got wind of Umno KL’s plans to replace him, he swiftly moved to consolidate his grip over Sarawak.

It’s time for the boys on our side to rethink what has happened in Sarawak. A victorious and accordingly emboldened Taib Mahmud is now a cause for more headaches to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and Umno.

Let’s replay the behind-the-scene incidents on April 16. On that night, after making sure he already had the numbers, Taib called the house asking family members to get ready.

He warned them that much depended on speed and that there was no time to lose. Taib then called the governor informing the latter to get ready by 10.30pm.

He arrived 15 minutes past 10.30pm and was sworn in as chief minister, even before the people in Kuala Lumpur could savour the win.

Taib had got wind of rumours that he will be replaced by someone more docile and favourable to Umno.

The man Umno had in mind is said to be deputy Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) president .

Abang Jo is a Sarawakaian Malay and earmarked to be Umno’s man in Sarawak. But he wasn’t the first choice. Umno had discovered Salleh Jafaruddin and much hope was now placed on him.

Raziah’s choice

Najib’s intelligence people had reported that Taib was a much despised person in Sarawak and needed to be replaced lest the “fixed deposit state” vanished.

Najib’s political secretary who had been spending months on end in Sarawak had also returned to Putrajaya with the same prognosis. Taib simply must go, if Barisan Nasional (BN) is to retain its “fixed deposit”.

While Taib may not have as yet “chosen” his successor, probably because he’d prefer to die in office, his sister Rosie Genied (Raziah Mahmud Geneid), however, had other ideas. Her own main man was Planning and Resources Management and Public Utilities Minister Awang Tengah Ali Hassan.

According to reports, while Taib was busy being a newly-wed, it was the team of Rosie and Awang Tengah who vetted through the list of BN candidates for the April 16 polls.

One of the early casualties was Salleh. He was recommended as a candidate by Umno. They saw him as a possible replacement for Taib if he had stood on PBB ticket.

For that, Salleh was given a few million ringgit. If he had won, he could always be inducted later into PBB and installed as the pliant CM of Sarawak.

But Salleh’s appearance raised suspicion within Taib’s camp.

Umno plant

All of a sudden, this chap who was linked to the infamous Ming Court conspiracy in 1987, seemed to have a reversal of fortunes of sorts.

Salleh is known as a compulsive gambler and is a man of straw. The fact that he suddenly had money to contest in the state election raised suspicion that he must be funded by some people.

Taib went along, agreeing that Salleh be fielded as a PBB candidate. He was actually buying time to uncover what earthly plot has been hatched against him.

He didn’t have to think hard. Sister Rosie and her favourite horse, Awang Tengah, smelled a rat in Salleh. They suspected Salleh to be a plant by Kuala Lumpur to eject Taib.

If Taib goes, Awang Tengah, Rosie and company will also have to go. No more land grabs, no more yachts, no more salacious soirees. This simply meant that Salleh had to be guillotined.

When it became clear to Umno that Salleh wasn’t on the list validated by Team Rosie, it was decided then to field him as an independent.

With Salleh gone, Plan B was placed on alert.

Abang Johari’s shortcomings

This time it was decided that someone deep inside the ranks of PBB must be identified. They zeroed in Abang Johari. He’s no handsome Joe, but he serves the interest of Kuala Lumpur.

Abang Johari is a Sarawakian Malay, a man who can be counted upon to further the political interests of Umno.

Never mind his facial appearance. That doesn’t factor in peoples’ minds as there are several ministers at the federal level with Down’s Syndrome looks.

Not relevant, too, are Abang Johari’s shortcomings such as being damaged by the business excesses of his friends. He is also said to suffer from the same affliction affecting Pak Lah. He sleeps through his job.

But THE most important factor is that he is MALAY. With him at the helm, Umno can move into Sarawak.

Double dealing

Having “uncovered” a possible coup, Taib’s people rushed to brief him about Kuala Lumpur’s double dealing. Politically savvy Taib would now show these KL knuckleheads who’s the “taikor” in Sarawak.

He prepared his team to campaign on local issues and if this fails, PBB will go after personalities. And if everything else failed, then cheat-to-win would be the final alternative.

Unbeknown to Kuala Lumpur, Taib had got a firm grip on PBB’s 35 seats well before the polls on April 16.

He had his people all over the place. He had the local ketua kampungs (village chiefs), the tuai rumah (longhouse chiefs) and kapitan (community leaders) on his side.

Taib has a huge war chest and most of all he had better information than the misinformation that Najib’s intelligence people were conveying to Najib.

The moment Najib boldly announced that Taib will retire, the CM knew Najib’s intelligence people had been sleeping through their task.

Perhaps they had too much tuak, gawai dayaks and so forth. But the knowledge was enough to embolden Taib.

Taib’s countermand

Each time Najib reassured Sarawakians that Taib would go, Taib would come out in open defiance countermanding Najib. “I will deliver the coup de grace,” said Taib and so he did!

Taib had done sterlingly in the highly charged polls. He retained all the 35 seats PBB contested.
Other than Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), which lost most of its seats, his other coalition partners won splendidly. Najib’s own BN over in the peninsula did dismally.

MCA had 15 seats in 2008 general election. Gerakan was all but wiped out – saved from extinction by the sad presence of its president Koh Tsu Koon, who incidentally also lost his seat.

MIC, meanwhile, is going around with bowl-in-hand chanting ritualistic assurances that the Indians are back in BN.

So, now comes the pain for Najib. How can Najib expedite the exit of Taib? He can’t force Taib out of office by using corruption as an issue.

If he does, then people will come back and ask him: “If you knew all along that Taib is corrupt, then why did you agree for Taib to stand as candidate? Wouldn’t that be like deceiving the people?”

Sarawakians are not Malay

The fact remains that Najib is powerless to deal with Taib and for many reasons. To begin with, there is the general sentiment of the Borneo people. They are not Malaya people. Sarawakians are not Malay people!

Sarawakians resent the dictates and high-handedness of the Malaya people. Secondly, Taib is not an Umno member and therefore not subject to any arm-twisting or enforcement of discipline. He doesn’t answer to the Umno president.

Thirdly, he has the numbers behind him. He won all the 35 seats his party contested. That’s more than what Umno can ever counter.

But the most important deterent to Najib’s possible voyage into Sarawak is what Taib holds – the key to Najib’s fixed deposit state.

Sarawak has 31 parliamentary seats. And Taib controls at least 25 of them. Can any of the boys on our side comprehend the implications of this awesome power?

Taib owns 25 parliamentary seats which he can deliver in any direction he so wants. If Taib decides to abandon ship, Najib becomes the opposition leader in the next Parliament. So indeed, a victorious Taib is no joy coming to town.

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5 Comments »

  1. Why Dayaks don’t want take over the rule of Sarawak as a leader?WHY “KEEP QUITE” DAYAKS?Why don’t want move and progress?UMNO sure will “NOT ALLOW” enter in SARAWAK and sure don’t want see Taib control the whole SARAWAK another few years ahead.Najib and UMNO have their plans,Taib and cronies have their plans,…but do Sarawakians think they have their plans too?

    Comment by babai — April 30, 2011 @ 9:53 PM | Reply

  2. WILL TAIB DIE FOR SARAWAK? THAT’S THE QUESTION

    The colonised Sarawak mindsets especially in the power elites whether government or opposition parties enjoy the Malayan style politicking.

    However, no matter how clever we are, we are still colonial subjects and UMNO or whichever KL party in power will call the tune and our politicians will dance to it.

    Some times the puppet shows a bit of independence and tugs back at the master hand behind the scenes. No matter how hard the puppet can resist the strings his fate is sealed. The KL master can stop playing the game and easily replaced him with a new puppet.

    This analogy is easy to understand our Sarawak/Malaya colonial relationship.

    A R Yakub was once the favoured son and KL allowed Taib his nephew to replace him. Taib served KL well for 30 years in the rape and pillage of our country.

    He also kept any local dissent under control and fooled and cheated the natives of their land and made them poorer than before 1963. But he was such a good operator that the natives end up worshiping the ground his stands on instead of taking his head (metaphorically) as shown again in every election.

    The other aspect that could be looked at is will the Rosie Mahmud cabal conspire with KL and make a deal to preserve their stolen wealth and put up their own candidate to replace Taib. This can happen in politics where for money people will betray their own family as Taib did to his uncle 30 years ago!

    If this happens will Taib go further to rally his network of village heads, taui rumahs and kapitans to rebel against KL. Will the sleepy people fall in line as usual?

    Will he die for Sarawak?

    The answer is most likely no. He will call it a day and spend the rest of his life cuddling his lovely young wife in some paradise faraway.

    Comment by Hamlet — April 29, 2011 @ 12:32 PM | Reply

    • When the life of all Sarawakians were threatened in the 1997/1998 haze the coward Taib Mahmud flew out in his private jet to Singapore and then to Switzerland. That incident was enough to answer your question, ” Will Taib die for Sarawak” ?

      Comment by Asri Rahman — May 1, 2011 @ 11:22 PM | Reply

  3. It is like playing chess. Najib was wiped off table on the first round but do not under-estimate PM and UMNO, many things can happen in either way, and MACC is one of the key tool in Najib’s hands

    Comment by Kidurong Man — April 29, 2011 @ 11:49 AM | Reply

  4. Sarawak is not Malaya. The PM is indeed been outmaneuvered by the CM.

    Comment by colin — April 29, 2011 @ 9:03 AM | Reply


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