Hornbill Unleashed

March 19, 2011

Snap now strutting about and talking big

Stephen Tiong

After eight years in hibernation battling the deregistration order of the Registrar of Societies (RoS), the Sarawak National Party (Snap) is now acting up and talking big. 

It is rather ambitious of the party to aspire to contest more than 40 seats in the coming state election.

And questions are being raised whether Snap has the financial muscle to fight in the polls, let alone field candidates in that many constituencies as it announced. (more…)

October 11, 2010

Pakatan Rakyat battle-ready for Sarawak polls

By Chris Reubens

PKR state leader Baru Bian and DAP state secretary Chong Chieng Jen say they are ready for any snap poll.

And Baru Bian is even optimistic enough that Pakatan Raykat could take over the state government, although indications now are that it is a very slim chance.

“In an election, anything can happen,” he told reporters.

Baru Bian is confident that the Pakatan will be able to face any election called, as negotiations on seat allocation are almost complete among the Pakatan Raykat coalition, which consists of PKR, DAP, SNAP and PAS.

July 15, 2010

Survey: Pakatan has little prospect in S’wak

Filed under: Corruption — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:01 AM
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By MalaysiaKini

A mere 11.2 percent of Sarawakians are willing to vote for the opposition, according to a survey by independent pollsters Merdeka Centre in collaboration with Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas).

This may dismiss belief that the recent Sibu by-election, which saw a surprise win by opposition DAP, was a precursor for more BN defeats in the upcoming state elections which must be called before mid-2011.

The survey of 518 Sarawakians – comprising of respondents reflecting the state ethnic makeup – showed that 64.1 percent of respondents were willing to vote BN, which is an 1.1 percent more than the popular vote received by the coalition during the 2006 state elections.

June 26, 2010

Needed – clear master plan for PKR Selangor


A second PKR MP has stepped forward to voice her stand on the alleged uprising against Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim.

Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar acknowledged that while Khalid’s personal plans may be well-intentioned, they are unfortunately not always in tandem with the thoughts of other party leaders.

“This is why he is perceived to be arrogant,” she said. “On the other hand, we have parliamentary and party leaders with very good ideas but which are not harnessed in a cohesive form. This is where the gap exists.”

Nurul’s statement followed reports that a group of MPs are allegedly hatching a plot to oust Khalid. The group is said to be linked to PKR vice-president Azmin Ali, who has since denied any knowledge or involvement in the plot. (more…)

June 5, 2010

Malaysia’s democracy on trial

Chris Wright, The Australian Financial Review

Anwar Ibrahim’s trial will be a crucial moment not only for his opposition party, but also the government, writes CHRIS WRIGHT from The Australian Financial Review

But while Anwar is under pressure in court, it’s the government, and in particular the  UMNO party at its heart, that is struggling, and not just with election results. Even in a country with a largely compliant mainstream press (but a vibrant alternative media), the government and the country’s other key institutions have found themselves mired in scandal.

When Anwar Ibrahim walks into the Kuala Lumpur High Court today, (more…)

May 29, 2010

PKR must move faster or it will lose Sarawak


If  PKR continues with its “current stroll pace”, it will lose Sarawak altogether, warned veteran Sarawak politician Daniel Tajem, in the run-up to the party’s national convention which begins in Kota Baru yesterday .

“PKR must move faster and be more effective in Sarawak. It should focus on the Dayaks and spread its reach,” he said, adding that the recent Sibu by-election on May 16 had shown up PKR’s shortcomings.

Tajem, who is also Sarawak PKR adviser, said the PKR campaign in Sarawak and during the by-election had failed to reach out to the Dayak Ibans who lived in 110 longhouses in the Sibu constituency. (more…)

May 22, 2010

Surprising signals from Sibu

sibu by election polling day 160510By Bridget Welsh

The real measure of change among the electorate is how they mark the ballot paper.

This analysis explores how people voted in Sibu, drawing from the polling station results and local interviews. The results from the Sibu by-election point to major transformations in voting behavior in Sarawak.

They show swings among voters of all the different ethnic communities toward Pakatan and consistent youth disenchantment with the BN.

The results also reveal a crack in the rural-urban divide in Sarawak voting. Even the composition of the low voter turnout under close scrutiny points in Pakatan’s favour. (more…)

May 21, 2010

‘Sibu miracle’: Money doesn’t talk

NONEBy Wong Teck Chi and Joseph Sipalan

If Pakatan Rakyat’s currency during election campaigns is ideals, promise of good governance and accountability, then BN’s currency is plain cold hard cash.

But if results of the Sibu by-election were anything to go by, pork-barrel politics ought to be brought to an end.

This was particularly evident in the voting district of Rajang Park, a Chinese majority suburb within the Pelawan state constituency.

On the eve of polling, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak told voters there during a rally that he would approve a RM5 million flood mitigation project to resolve frequent flood problems in the area. (more…)

May 16, 2010

Sibu voters could make history

NONEBy Kim Quek

Amidst the intense election campaigns of the Sibu parliamentary by-election, there is one way to help the besieged electorate make a sound decision. And that is by asking the following question:

Which political coalition – Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat – is more likely to fulfill the wishes of the Sibu people, if given the chance to run the federal government and the Sarawak state government?

The simple reason for asking the question is that only the federal government has the power and resources, and to a lesser extent, the Sarawak state government, to solve their problems and fulfill their aspirations. (more…)

May 15, 2010

Will the SUPP ever speak up for our religious freedom?

By Pak Bui

The Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) and the state Barisan Nasional (BN) have failed at every turn to speak out for Sarawakians, against suppression of religious freedom.

When the UMNO home minister Syed Hamid Albar banned the use of the word “Allah” in the Catholic Herald, he must have had the support of UMNO. When the UMNO home minister Hishammuddin Hussein allowed the seizure and retention of 15,000 Christian bibles containing the word “Allah”, he must have enjoyed the approval of his party.

When the UMNO Prime Minister Najib Razak allowed religious fanatics to protest in contempt of court against the High Court ruling that Umno’s ban was unconstitutional and illegal, he must have won lusty cheers from his party. (more…)

May 2, 2010

Dayaks hold the key to Sibu by-election

NONEBy Joseph Sipalan

Barely days after the heated by-election of Hulu Selangor, and Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat are gearing up to lock horns again, this time over the Sibu parliamentary by-election.

Although the official campaigning period only starts in 10 days, neither side is taking any chances.

Election Commission rules forbid open canvassing for votes before nomination day, which falls on May 8. However its silence on “social” visits or gatherings gives parties a handy loophole to jump-start the race. (more…)

December 20, 2009

The three-headed hydra

isa samad 061009 smile

By Sim Kwang Yang

The thumping landslide win by Umno’s Isa Samad over PAS in the Bagan Pinang may have been somewhat expected, but it does expose serious shortcomings within the Pakatan Rakyat coalition, to the extent that the rakyat has the right to ask: can it take power at the centre in the next general election, and if so can it rule with competence?

The Pakatan campaign in Bagan Pinang was disorganised and uncoordinated, lacking the kind of effective urgency that we witnessed in Permatang Pasir and elsewhere.

Even if Isa (right ) was not the candidate, Umno would probably have won easily still.

In a sense, it is good for Pakatan to lose this by-election. If they had won, it would’ve given PAS the impression that voters from all ethnic persuasions owe this Islamic party their die-hard support without question; it would’ve given PAS impetus to entrench their delusion that they are invincible without having to try hard to win the hearts and minds of the people.

The Pakatan coalition has been floundering for months in their public image. While one may argue that they are more democratic than BN in that all parties are free to express their different views in public, their constant public squabbles over very petty issues can only erode the confidence of the people, especially the fence sitters. (more…)

November 10, 2009

When will the 13th General Election be?

By Kenny Gan

pakatan-rakyat-stateEver since the epic 12th general elections, which saw a realignment of the political landscape, the average Malaysian,  normally apathetic to politics due to the boring regularity of BN’s sweeping victories, have started to take an interest in elections, especially the next general election.

Pakatan Rakyat supporters who can’t wait to see BN swept out of power are notably impatient for the next general election, even though the last one was held a mere 20 months ago. As general elections are held every 5 years, the next one is not due until March 2013.

However it is the usual practice for the incumbent government to hold elections earlier, rather than wait until its term expires. This allows it to choose an opportune time, such as a booming economy, when its support may be higher. To wait until the last months deprives it of the freedom to choose a favourable timing or the ability to wait for scandals to cool, if any should pop up unexpectedly.

Another reason for holding early elections may be to clear the way to institute an unpopular policy which may harm its chances in the next election. Abdullah Badawi held the 2008 elections a full year before his term was to expire in March 2009, because he wanted to raise the price of oil drastically. True enough, Malaysians were hit with the steepest ever increase in oil price barely 3 months after the election.


November 1, 2009

Sarawak PKR’s new chief faces BN mud-slinging

By Maximus  Kho

baru-bianFinally, it is done. Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) or the People’s Justice Party, has appointed a Sarawakian to head its Sarawak Chapter. Yesterday, at a press conference at the Telang Usan Hotel, Mr Baru Bian, a well-known, well-liked, and widely-respected Land Rights lawyer, announced his assumption of the leadership of PKR Sarawak.

This is after much clamouring from within and without the party for a local Sarawakian to head the party. Amongst the most frequently expressed views was the concern that Sarawak’s interests demand the leadership of a Sarawakian. Even George Chan ventured in with his two cent’s worth, when he was quoted as saying that the PKR could not represent Sarawak’s interests because it was headed by a West Malaysian.

Baru’s appointment therefore comes as a breath of fresh air to many. However, not all is well in Sarawak.


October 16, 2009

One Sarawakian’s view of Bagan Pinang and the Umno revival

By Pak Bui

isa-sept30The newspapers are full of Umno triumphalism. Umno’s ecstasy is overwhelming: you’d think they had managed to take back Perak by a popular vote.

Umno’s victory in the Bagan Pinang by-election has put some spring back into Umno’s goose-steps at their 60th General Assembly.

Many pundits have argued that Umno is winning back the trust of the Chinese and Indians. There may be a tiny kernel of truth in this.

Since Pakatan Rakyat (PR) have been bickering publicly over beer raids and municipal councils, a proportion of the Indian and Chinese population may, indeed, have voted against PAS to show their displeasure with certain pea-brained squabblers. But a vote against PR’s loudmouths is hardly a vote for Umno.

Throughout Umno’s ongoing General Assembly, speakers have tried to capitalise on this perceived swing among non-Malay voters, back towards Umno and the BN. (more…)

October 13, 2009

UMNO victory in Bagan Pinang – what now?

Filed under: Corruption,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:01 AM
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By  Sim Kwang Yang

isa-samadAs expected, BN candidate Isa Samad of UMNO defeated Zulkefly Mohamad Nor by a thumping majority of over 5000 votes, with a 2920 postal vote majority contributing to the BN victory.

I have expected this result from the way the campaign has been conducted all along.  Isa Samad is the local favourite.  He was MB for Negeri Sembilan for 22 years, and he must have built up a vast network of social contacts and political patronage.  Many locals of various races must have felt indebted to him personally.

The PAS campaign was apparently badly managed.  This is what Raja Petra Kamarudin has to report in his latest posting in his Malaysian Today website:

“In Bagan Pinang, the opposition is so disorganised. There are allegations that Kuala Lumpur has taken over the Bagan Pinang election campaign while the locals from Negeri Sembilan are being sidelined. It was not until the fourth day after Nomination Day when PAS invited the other component members from Pakatan Rakyat for a meeting. In the end, PAS did their own thing while PKR and DAP, who were left out in the cold, organised their own programmes independent of PAS. PAS did not even arrange for the Wakil Rakyat from PKR and DAP to speak at the ceramah.


October 12, 2009

The biggest winner of the MCA EGM is ………………DAP!

By  Sim Kwang Yang

CSL VS OTK all outWhen the voting results came out in the afternoon of October 10 (Saturday), I was in the neighbourhood coffee shop with my neighbour Jimmy.

Jimmy is a retired teacher from Penang.  Though his son-in-law is the treasurer of a local MCA branch, he is himself non-partisan.  But like many Malaysian Chinese, he hates pandemic corruption in high places.

When he learned that the MCA EGM had carried the motion of no-confidence against Ong Tee Kiat as party President, he was very upset.

He said he had no goodwill towards the MCA, but he has tremendous respect for Ong because of his work in unearthing the massive abuse of funds in the PKFZ.  He said Ong is the only MCA leader who could reform the party and the government for the good of the people.  He was thinking of joining MCA to help Ong, but now the delegates’ rejection of Ong means there is no chance of salvation for the MCA.

I narrate this little story because I suspect many of the non-partisan Chinese probably share Jimmy’s view.


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.


October 7, 2009

THE REAL PAKATAN RAKYAT IN SARAWAK: Sarawakians’ Victory in sight?

By Apang

pakatan rakyatIt is here with us again: the hype among ordinary Sarawakians about the impending state election. Yet it is clear the publicity only highlights Sarawakian voters’ feeling of helplessness, and their conviction that nothing fundamental will change, beneath the cosmetic surface of politics.

The rhetorical pledges, fake concern, and high-ranking “support” touted by the Barisan Nasional (BN) should be viewed in the light of the governing coalition’s abysmal track record in Sarawak.

BN’s record is especially foul when it comes to Native Customary Rights (NCR) lands and development. The BN uses its might, threats, bribes and the people’s own money to arrange for the select few to be elected to form the government.

This provides the BN the “legitimacy” to first deny the indigenous communities their NCR lands. Then the ministers and elected “people’s representatives” go about “representing” their own selves and their families, partnering up with corporate elites to rip their fortunes from the stolen lands. (more…)

October 1, 2009

Bagan Pinang: the crucial uniformed factor

By Sim Kwang Yang

husamisa_1Finally, the stage for the Bagan Pinang by-election has been set, and the names of the two fighting cocks have been announced.  There may be an independent, but he will be the mouse deer between the two warring elephants.

Former Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar for two decades and Head of the UMNO Teluk Kemang Division Isa Abdul Samad will take on the PAS Negeri Chief Zukefly Ahmad Omar.

ISA is a tainted candidate, having been found guilty of money politics and vote buying during UMNO party election in 2004, and his party membership was suspended until June last year.

So what does the UMNO candidate selection in the Bagan Pinang by-election tell us about UMNO? (more…)

September 14, 2009

Bagan Pinang buy-election: the old UMNO to the fore?

By Sim Kwang Yang

AussieMoney_Getty_400The Bagan Pinang by-election will surely be won by UMNO, and give them a reprieve from the long record of seven losses in West Malaysia in the past year and six months.

Bagan Pinang is quite a mixed seat, with nearly 70% Malay votes, 10.5 %  Chinese votes, and 19.9% Indian votes.  By right, it should be a good seat for Pakatan Rakyat to win handsomely.

But there are 5000 postal votes in Bagan Pinang, and we all know about postal votes.

When I used to contest many elections long ago, I would be visited in my office by some uniformed personnel still wearing their uniforms.  They told me that they have been offered RM100 per vote by my BN opponent, but they would happily vote for me for RM30 only. (more…)

August 20, 2009

Permatang Pasir: a milestone in the long march against racism

By Sim Kwang Yang

unite against racismThe Malaysian government is thinking of doing away with the category of “race” in all official forms.  I have been filling those forms all my life and I have always hated that particular category.  When the forms do not really matter, I just fill in “human” for my race.

But removing the category “race” from forms will not begin to eradicate racism that is so entrenched and institutionalised in Malaysian national life.  It has its deepest roots in party politics.  As long as political parties find that racist sentiments are the most effective tool in mass mobilisation of populist support, racism will continue to colour all our daily judgements.

In short, race-based political parties and their race-based nation-building policies are the real cause of racism in Malaysia. (more…)

August 10, 2009

Umno, the Malay heartland and the Winds of Change

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:01 AM
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“”  Election after election, UMNO expects the rural Malays to vote them back into power and they have fulfilled that expectation. Beneath the peace and the tranquility, the sleepiness and the simplicity, the rustic countryside holds the key to the real political power in the land. “”


By Kenny Gan

Bright sunshine pours out of a glorious blue sky and bathes the rustic scene of wooden stilted houses set among coconut palms and banana trees close to the winding ribbon of bitumen road.

Padi fields stretch into the distance on both sides like a sea of fresh, vibrant green stalks waving in the gentle breeze.

The deep grunt of a water buffalo penetrates the still air as it waddles in a muddy pool and contented cows rest under shady trees as all around flows the shimmering heat, encompassing everything in its benign embrace, keeping people indoors. (more…)

July 24, 2009

What is a Royal Commission?

By Pak Bui

Teo-Beng-Hock_CandleTeoh Beng Hock’s political martyrdom is another catastrophe in the barely hundred-day-old infancy of Najib’s malformed administration.

Prime Minister Najib has bowed, finally, to public demands to set up a Royal Commission to review the interrogation tactics of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). But he has refused to allow the royal panel to probe the harrowing death of the Selangor political aide.

Teoh died during, or following, MACC interrogation. He died after the MACC denied him his basic human rights. This was labeled the first “political death” of the Najib regime by 17 civil society groups, including the Bar Council, Jamaah Islah Malaysia, the Centre for Independent Journalism, and Suaram. (more…)

June 17, 2009

PKR Should Woo Tengku Razaleigh

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 5:35 AM
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By Kenny Gan @ hueditor

Zaid IbrahimDatuk Zaid Ibrahim’s (right) entry into PKR has given a boost to the opposition party. The reform minded moderate had been wooed by both PKR and DAP even before he resigned from the BN government in September last year over the use of ISA on civilians. Zaid was subsequently booted out by Umno for his presence at opposition functions. Well respected by both PAS and DAP, Zaid is expected to play a role in strengthening ties between the three Pakatan Rakyat parties.

Datuk Zaid was a prime target for the opposition’s courtship because it was clear that his reform minded personality made him a misfit in the Badawi administration and better fit for the social justice ideology of Pakatan Rakyat. Zaid is indeed a good catch for PKR but there is another prominent Malay leader who can also be said to be a “misfit” in Umno and whom the opposition should court assiduously. The person I’m referring to is none other than Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, also affectionately known as Ku Li. (more…)

June 15, 2009

What ought we expect from an MP in Parliament?

By Sim Kwang Yang

Wan Junaidi Tuanku JaafarDeputy Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (right) has stirred up a hornet’s nest by criticising Sarawak MPs for being less than vocal in the parliament.  That riled up his parliamentary colleagues from Sarawak, who called his words “sweeping statements”.  The Batang Sadong MP Nancy Shukri was particularly unhappy.

Some credibility has to be given to Wan Junaidi because he is the Deputy Speaker who helps the Speaker in chairing the house proceedings.  He would know.

I served in the Dewan Rakyat for three terms as MP of Bandar Kuching from 1982 to 1995.  With some exceptions, including Wan Junaidi, Sarawak MPs were indeed a meek quiet lot.  That trend has probably not change since then.


June 12, 2009

Can PAS dance with Umno?

By Kenny Gan

PAS-1-kalendarAfter the 55th PAS Muktamar, Umno has indeed grabbed hold of the weak spot in Pakatan Rakyat and exploited it to their advantage. The weak spot is PAS and the opportunity came in the form of the apparent readiness of certain leaders in PAS for talks with Umno, purportedly on a unity government.

As these leaders include the newly elected President and Deputy President a worried outcry is has been raised on PAS’ intention and its commitment to the Pakatan Rakyat coalition.

First of all, we must ask, “What unity government?” Umno has never warmed up to PAS President Hadi Awang’s call for a unity government when it first surfaced last year nor are they likely to now. (more…)

June 7, 2009

SKY Counters George Chan – on a lazy Malaysian Sunday!

By Sim Kwang Yang

George Chan Hong NamThe public political conversation in Sarawak can only be described as primitive at best.  How I know it!  I was engaged in frontline politics for nearly 20 years in Bandar Kuching, trying to elevate the level of political narrative in my home state.  It was near impossible, because the media was all closed, and the weight of the Internet had yet to be felt.

Thanks to the Internet, I can read the Borneo Post online everyday these days.  Living in Cheras on the edge of Kuala Lumpur as I do, it is my way of touching base with my home state, so to speak.

On June 5, in a story headlined Pakatan Rakyat cannot bring progress, this is what I read about what George Chan has to say. (more…)

May 24, 2009

What next in Perak … on a lazy Malaysian Sunday?

By Sim Kwang Yang

PALACE-OF-INJUSTICEThe Appellate Court decision yesterday to restore BN’s Zambry as the Perak Mentri Besar should not have surprised too many informed Malaysians.

We have lived through the constitutional crisis in 1988, when judicial independence was stripped through constitutional amendments rammed through the Parliament by the BN two-third brute majority.  We have lived through the Lingam Tape scandal before the 2008 general election.  We have seen half-past-six attempt on judicial reform after the 2008 political tsunami.  It is judicial business as usual, Malaysia style.

Even if Nizar gets his written judgement, and he appeals to the Federal Court against the decision of the Appellate Court, what do you think the final decision of the Apex court will be?  You want to bet, even for a cup of coffee? (more…)

May 12, 2009

So Nizar is Perak MB, again. What next?

By Sim Kwang Yang

nizar at cthWhat has given me hope for Malaysia always is that, just when you think the night is darkest, a silver lining always appears at the edge of the dark clouds.

Whenever politically sensitive and highly-controversial cases are brought before the Malaysian courts, I tend to expect the worst. There must be many Malaysians who share my pessimism in the integrity of our judges at all levels.

Then, a judge here and a judge there would come out and make a judgement that completely takes me by surprise. The judge who freed RPK from his ISA detention was one. The judge who ruled that Mohd Nizar was still the legitimate menteri Besar of Perak on May11 is another. (more…)

April 17, 2009

Shadow cabinet – a fulcrum for a two-party system

by  Sim Kwang Yang (SKY) @ MalaysiaKini

Last week, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim announced that the Pakatan Rakyat coalition would form a shadow cabinet in Parliament. The move is one year overdue, but it is better late than never.

The immediate reaction of the newly installed Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin was that this was a “power grab”, and “designed to topple the government”.

The DPM’s knee jerk reaction is a left-over of the old political narrative in our country. Its implied ramification is that the opposition parties and their shadow cabinet are like terrorist entities trying to topple the legitimate government of the day.

His Majesty’s Loyal Opposition
Muat learn governing very quickly

Article Link : – Shadow cabinet – a fulcrum for a two-party system

March 29, 2009

I am a member of the human race!

By Sim Kwang Yang/SKY

One of the most virulent toxins in Malaysian politics is racial and ethnic politics. Politicians and activists of various ethnic origins still dream about the unity of their race.

I can understand their aspiration for unity, though I disagree with them. They think that once their race is united, they will have greater political representation, and their race will enjoy greater socio-economic benefits.

But 46 years after independence, the facts speak for themselves in Sarawak. Despite the dominance of PBB in more than four decades within the Barisan Nasional, the ordinary Malays and the Melanaus in the coastal regions of our vast state are still dirt poor. Although the Dayaks are well represented in the ruling coalition by the four Dayak components, the Dayak people are still dirt poor, by and large. In sharp contrast, how many of these ethnic representatives in the state assembly and the state cabinet have not grown opulently fat? (more…)

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