Hornbill Unleashed

October 28, 2011

Masing woos and warns Dayaks

Joseph Tawie

Taking advantage of the internal strive within SUPP and SPDP, another Sarawak BN ally, Parti Rakyat Sarawak, is touting its ‘stability and vision’ to the Dayaks.
Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) is positioning itself to become the second largest party in the state Barisan Nasional after Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB).

Leveraging the ongoing leadership tussle and disillusioned members in Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP), PRS is steadfastly wooing the Dayak community with its image of stability and solidarity.

PRS, which is a comparatively new party, is in its seventh year of existence and has more than 45,000 members, with about 99.9 percent of them rural Dayaks.

It has six Members of Parliament and eight state assemblymen.

SPDP, on the other hand, has four MPs and six assemblymen, SUPP has five MPs and six assemblymen and PBB, which is the lead party in the Sarawak BN coalition, has 14 MPs and 35 assemblymen.

In total, Sarawak BN holds 55 state seats against opposition Pakatan Rakyat’s 15.

(DAP and PKR have 13 and two assemblyman. One assemblyman, George Lagong, who represents Pelagus constituency, is an independent.)

PRS’ six MPs are Joseph Salang (MP for Julau), who is also Deputy Information, Communications and Culture Minister; Joseph Entulu (Selangau), who is also Rural and Regional Development Minister; Billy Abit Joo (Ulu Rajang), Aaron Dagang (Kanowit), Masir Kujat (Sri Aman) and William Nyallau (Lubok Antu).

Its eight assemblymen are James Masing, who holds the Baleh seat and is State Land Development Minister, Alexander Vincent (Ngemah), Joseph Mauh (Tamin), John Sikie (Kakus), Mong Dagang (Bukit Bangunan), Snowdan Lawan (Balai Ringin), Liwan Lagang (Belaga) and Malcolm Mussen (Batang Ai).

Dayaks must adapt

Speaking at the party’s seventh anniversary dinner recently, Masing, its president, was very blunt and warned members that they must adapt to the changing political landscape if they want to see the party remain not only strong, but also relevant.

“We are facing very organised, focused and determined political foes who have gained public acceptance,” he told more than 2,000 members at the dinner.

To his BN partners, he cautioned them that they cannot take for granted any more the support from the rural people although they may be BN’s “fixed deposit” before.

“BN must tackle each segment of the society differently and with great care. It would be a mistake if we assume that all Malaysians want the same thing.

“We cannot lump rural and urban needs under one request, nor can we bluff and frighten our people to support us by denying them minor rural projects (MRP) funds if they refuse to heed to our requests.

“The political landscape has gone beyond MRP. Many candidates and political parties have fallen on the wayside because they failed to change with the times and meet the demands of their constituents,” Masing said, adding that more will fall in the years to come if they do not change and adjust to the new political development.

Turbulent history

Masing also spoke of the many obstacles and challenges that the party had faced and overcome in its seven years of existence.

He was referring to a leadership crisis that had almost led the party to deregistration.

It was only saved from such fate with the help of the then prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in April 2009.

Indeed it has a very turbulent history.

PRS was formed following a leadership crisis in Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) following Masing’s move to team up with Sng Chee Hua to challenge Daniel Tajem and Joseph Salang for the party’s two tops in the 2003 party election.

The determination by both sides to win the party leadership had created a deep division within the party so much so that each had its own “headquarters” with its own “president” and its own “supreme council”.

Both camps accused each other of cheating and submitting false annual returns to the Registrar of Societies, and as they did not trust each other, the two camps organised their separate “triennial delegates conferences (TDC)”.

The two camps brought their complaints to the Registrar of Societies.

As they were unable to see eye to eye on how to solve the crisis, PBDS was deregistered on Dec 5, 2003.

The fallout

Tajem and Salang met Abdullah to appeal for reinstatement of PBDS, and they were given another chance to organise another TDC.

When both sides still could not agree to the terms and conditions of holding the proposed TDC, PBDS was deregistered for the second time on Oct 21, 2004, the day when Masing’s men registered PRS.

Tajem and Salang refused to bring the matter to court.

Meanwhile, Masing’s party applied to join the Barisan Nasional and was readily accepted. Initially, PRS had difficulty in getting ex-PBDS members to join the party.

But after some time, some leaders in the Tajem camp including elected representatives joined the party.

However, PRS was not that lucky.

As it tried to regroup itself, the party was hit by another crisis when Sng, its deputy president, tried to replace Masing as the president of the party allegedly over some business opportunities.

The Sng group alleged that Masing did not share with them some of the lucrative projects and tenders given to the party.

Backstabbing Sng

As if history was repeating itself, whatever happened to PBDS between 2003 and 2004 happened to PRS in 2006.

Again two factions sprouted within PRS and they each organised their separate TDC, and in the process the two camps elected their own “presidents”, with two “headquarters” and two “supreme councils”.

Masing was “elected’ president of his camp, while Larry Sng, who took over from his father, was “elected” president in his group.

Larry Sng “sacked” Masing from his party; likewise, Masing “sacked” Larry Sng and all those who supported him from his party.

The two leaders, however, brought their case to the Registrar of Societies to decide which one of the group was legally elected.

It was only in April 2009 that the registrar recognised Masing and his supreme council as a legally elected entity.

Vocal Masing

Now as the party celebrates its seventh anniversary, many Dayaks, especially former members of the defunct PBDS who have remained partyless, are still harbouring suspicions over Masing’s motive and are unconvinced of his efforts to fight for the interest of the Dayaks.

They still remember what he did to PBDS which had then become the household word among the Dayak community.

Lately, however, Masing seemed to project himself as the spokesman of the Dayak community when Alfred Jabu, PBB deputy president and Deputy Chief Minister and William Mawan Ikom, SPDP president and Social Development Minister, appeared to be quiet on issues that concerned the Dayaks.

Masing is very vocal on issues such as the lack of Dayaks in the state civil service and the number of Dayaks holding high and important posts in government and government-linked companies.

He has also expressed his views on the perimeter survey of native customary rights (NCR) land, the definition of NCR land, dams, the resettlement of displaced natives, oil palm plantations in native lands and the excessive timber operations and logjam issues.

On some of the more sensitive issues, he privately told BN leaders of his concern and fear that these issues might be exploited by the opposition.

PRS backs court rulings on NCR

It is understood that his party does not agree with the state definition of NCR land which comprises only temuda land (farming land), but agrees with the court definition that NCR includes pulau galau (communal forest), pemakai menua (territorial domain), grave ground, tembawai (land where the old longhouses had been built), farming land, and gardens.

In a recent seminar on NCR land, Masing proposed a new strategy to develop the NCR land such as urging the natives to go for smallholding under government supervision.

“Masing’s biggest problem is to convince the Dayaks, especially the young and educated ones, to support him in order to make PRS the platform to fight for their interest within the BN.

“And if he is able to convince them, then Masing may be able to get the ears of Taib.

“Otherwise, it only remains as Masing’s rhetoric merely for the consumption of the public particularly the Dayaks,” said a former PBDS Member of Parliament.

5 Comments »

  1. By democratic & transparent standards, Taib should have been in jail some 30 years ago! End of the story!
    NZ’s parliamentarian Taito Philip Field is now in jail for corruption in the region of a few thousand dollars.

    Comment by Alan Newman, NZ — October 29, 2011 @ 10:21 PM | Reply

  2. Masing has become a 2-headed snake. Insincere and without principles.
    All the Taib’s cronies are only interested in self-enrichment. Useless, mindless,
    boneless boot-lickers.

    Comment by Alan Newman, NZ — October 29, 2011 @ 9:33 PM | Reply

  3. “…“Masing’s biggest problem is to convince the Dayaks, especially the young and educated ones, to support him in order to make PRS the platform to fight for their interest within the BN.

    “And if he is able to convince them, then Masing may be able to get the ears of Taib….”

    What’s wrong with the “educated” or the “intellects” of the Dayaks and Malays and Chinese?

    Don’t get his ears …get his balls lah! He’s got yours !!! :((

    These must be the intellectually dishonest” Dayaks, Malays and Chinese! 😦

    Comment by Nonok District — October 28, 2011 @ 3:38 PM | Reply

  4. Better warn the Dayaks just how quick a Taib rebel become Taib apologist in no time
    _________________________

    Accept reality, group tells CM
    Sarawak Tribune, 12 March 1987

    KUALA LUMPUR – The group of 28 elected representatives of Bersatu yesterday welcomed Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir’s advice to the Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud, that the present crisis be handled within the bounds of the State constitution.

    Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir was reported as having told the Chief Minister this on Tuesday when he met a delegation of Barisan Nasional leaders from the state at Seri Perdana.

    The group also described as “unwise” the calling of a snap state election to solve the crisis.

    A spokeman for the group, Dr James Masing of Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS), said that “in the period of political turmoil, uncertainty and the emergence of polarisation in the state, there is no guarantee that issues detrimental to racial harmony and stability will not be brought forth during an election campaign”

    Dr Masing said this in a statement issued at a hotel here which is the group’s temporary base in the city.

    The statement was issued after one of its delegations met Umno Youth head Anwar Ibrahim.

    Dr Masing said the group wanted to “get down to the business of the government without delay, for any further delay is bound to afffect the welfare of the people.”

    He said that since 28 of the 48 state assemblymen had expressed their loss of confidence in Datuk Patinggi Taib, the Chief Minister was constitutionally bound to tender his resignation and allow the group to form a new government.

    He reminded the Chief Minister of the meaning of Article 7-1 of the State constitution which states: If the Chief Minister ceases to command the confidence of a majority of the members of Dewan Undangan Negeri, then unless at his request the Yang di-Pertua Negeri dissolves the Dewan Undangan Negeri, the Chief Minister shall tender the resignation of the members of Majlis Mesyuarat Kerajaan Negeri.”

    Datuk Taib and company must accept this because this is what the State constitution provides. The Chief Minister should not cling to power when he knows for certain that he has ceased to command the majority support in Council Negeri. If Datuk Taib truly cares for the people of Sarawak, then he must resign forthwith,” he said.

    “Bersatu does not wish to wash dirty linen in public nor involve in mud-slinging because this will only bring about bitter recriminations and will not help to solve the problem. We want to get down to the business of government without delay for any further is bound to affect the welfare of the people.” he added.

    He said Tun Rahman has denied an allegation that Tengku Razaleigh and himself are the prime movers in the move by Bersatu. “This allegation is part of Datuk Taib’s effort to pit Bersatu against the Prime Minister,” he added.

    The Bersatu group and Tun Rahman fully support the leadership of the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister, he said.
    ________________________

    Masing believes Taib clean
    Borneo Post, June 23, 2011, Thursday

    CENTRE OF MEDIA ATTENTION: Reporters crowd around a speaker in the Media Room as Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud delivers his personal statement regarding the investigation by the Swiss Federation into his alleged assets in Switzerland.

    KUCHING: Land Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing said he believed Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud is innocent of all the corruption allegations hurled at him.

    The Baleh assemblyman also lauded Taib for being brave enough to tackle the issue head on yesterday.

    He said this when asked to comment on Taib’s explanations to the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) yesterday that he does not own a Swiss bank account or assets and investments in Switzerland.

    “It is very good for him (Taib) to tackle the issue straight on.

    “That is what I expected a leader to do. As a politician you must not hide anything. If you have nothing to hide then go straight on because we are judged by public perception,” Masing said.

    Masing added that he was “impressed and satisfied” with the Chief Minister’s answer and he eagerly awaits the Swiss authorities to respond.

    “The onus of proof is from the other side,” Masing stressed.

    Asked whether the public would be convinced of Taib’s innocence, Masing lamented that members of the public always make judgement based on emotion and not the law.

    That, he added, represented one of the toughest obstacles which all politicians have to endure.

    “We are not judged by the fine lines of the law. We are judged by allegations, half truths and lies.”

    Meanwhile, Second Minister of Finance Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh said what Taib did yesterday was to make it known to the whole world that the graft allegations were unfair to him.

    “Of course once the allegation is made and published in the press, not only the image of the Chief Minister but the state government of Sarawak may be tarnished,” he lamented.

    Therefore, he added, it was important for Taib to make the statement in DUN to redeem himself and to clear his name.

    “I think it is the right thing to do,” Soon Koh said.

    Meanwhile, the Chief Minister’s statement failed to impress PKR leaders.

    State PKR liaison chief and Ba Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian said it was “quite unfortunate” that Taib’s statement was not put up for debate.

    He pointed out that there was no mention of whether the Chief Minister’s letter had been replied to and that PKR would be interested to know what Taib wrote and the reply, if any, to it.

    “As it has been reported that this involves MACC, we hope that the whole investigation will continue on in spite of the explanations he (Taib) made in the Dewan…as it is only an explanation. If there is really truth in it, then of course it is of concern to the public at large, especially Sarawakians,” said Baru.

    When asked whether the Chief Minister’s denial would help to assuage public concerns, Baru said he did not think so as there was nothing particularly significant about the statement.

    “You need to have concrete facts and evidence and decisions made either by the Swiss President or authority of Switzerland, or even from MACC. The report we hear is about an ongoing kind of investigation, so as for now, we’ll leave it as it is.

    “Unless they come up with a conclusion, it’s nothing that would wipe out any doubts or anything for that matter.”

    Comment by Dayakologist — October 28, 2011 @ 3:05 PM | Reply

  5. For as long as Dayak based party like PRS and SPDP remain in UMNO controlled BN which has been corrupted to the core and depriving the rural voters of due developments and prosperity, PRS , like all BN component parties, will become irrelevant sooner than later.

    Comment by Irene Kana — October 28, 2011 @ 2:06 PM | Reply


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