Many political parties in Sarawak claimed to be multi racial meaning that any Sarawakian irrespective of race or religion can join the respective party but more often than not the leadership is reserved for a particular race. This morning I happened to meet a member of such party. He was commenting on the remarks made by his minister from Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) which by its own Party constitution is a multiracial party but actually practicing the fact that it is a DAYAK-based and must be led by an IBAN leader. Now they are in a dilemma as they now have two Presidents – one IBAN and the other Chinese, with two sets of Supreme Council members. Now with a coming general election, each will have its own list of candidates hoping that BN, both State and Federal Chairmen will accommodate their candidates.
But what is new in Sarawak politics?
I was suspended indefinitely from SNAP, a multi racial party based on the the accusation that I cannot “get along with BN leaders” in Sarawak. James Wong used to refer to me as “a BULL rushing into a China shop”, apparently referring the fact that many of our National Council Members of SNAP have privately asked him to step down and hand the “BATON” to me because he was considered by them as “weak and too old”. H e must have thought that I was lobbying for the Presidency of SNAP not knowing the fact that I have repeatedly told my supporters that there was no need to do it. Even when Adenan asked me to do to get rid of him in one of our golfing sessions, I told him point-blank that if James Wong is “TOO OLD” to do the job then the Chief Minister can ask him to step down and get me to take over. Even when the late Datuk Edward Jeli challenged James Wong for the Presidency, I made sure that the late Datuk Peter Tinggom re-nominated James Wong as President and James Wong re-nominated Peter as his Deputy to avoid a split and be seen as again the Dayaks getting rid of a Chinese as President as in 1982 SNAP debacle leading to the birth of PBDS later on.
Of course later, multi racialism was used to get rid of me out of SNAP because ‘BN leaders could not work with me’, and I was too much “BIDAYUH” to those who are not happy with my meteoric rise in politics. Even this morning, the friend from PRS, Larry Sng faction, I met this morning as many do see me “as a BIDAYUH leader only”. Even Anwar’s wife, President of KEADILAN remarked to my former Deputy President, Mr. ERIC LEE now residing in England, that ” Ah Patau is only a TRIBAL leader” to which my friend replied, ” Oh at the very least, you acknowledged him as a leader.” It kept her quiet but in the last state election, KEADILAN still worked with SNAP and MDC group to isolate me. It was all right with me but the Opposition who could have won at the very least twenty seats in the last election if they were willing to accommodate our supporters- at least three to four Bidayuh majority seat would have fallen given the right candidates plus more, only succeeded in winning nine seats. In 1996, if SNAP didn’t suspend me indefinitely but supported me as their leader, we could have won 20 to 30 seats if we had a free fight against BN! SNAP was strong then but now, as Jabu correctly said at KROKONG during the last Parliamentary election, only an empty shell. SNAP won Engkilli last election, but the winner is MDC Deputy President now wanting to join any BN party when his intention to join SPDP, multi racial and IBAN- led, was blocked by SUPP, another multi racial party CHINESE-led! KEADILAN professes to be multi racial but will not allow the ONE Indian even to run as Deputy President. Of course he left KEADILAN and formed his own party. An IBAN convert, was not allowed to be Executive Secretary because the post is “TOO high for him” and when he wanted to contest the Youth leadership he was told “not to”. He too left and joined SNAP and becoming its Executive Secretary. So much for multi-racialism in Sarawak and Federal politics.
After Ming Court, I was repeatedly courted by a PBB Malay leader to leave SNAP and joined PBB as SNAP according to him is “a mosquito party and a sinking ship” until in frustration maybe he blurted out,” Look!, SNAP is an IBAN based party and the IBANS in SNAP will never support you to become its President! just like we,MALAYS in PBB, which is a MALAY based party, will NOT support JABU (an IBAN, of course) to be PRESIDENT of PBB.” I just smiled and looked at him. Sheepishly realizing his slip of the tongue, he coolly said, “Let ‘s eat”. I ate lunch with him in his office that day. No one should wonder if he would tell the Chief Minister that he could not work with me when later he was told by James Wong in Normah Hospital that I would take over SNAP if he could not continue and not Peter, the Deputy President. James was in there after he fell and hit his head at his island house at Karangan island. He was like the other, I presumed, did not expect me to have much IBAN grassroots support to become President of SNAP.
Multi racialism was tested in SUPP when SNAP lobbied for the Kidurong seat. It was communicated to me that Kidurong seat can be SNAP or SUPP, if Micheal Sim, then Resident of MIRI Division, agrees to join any of the two parties. During the negotiation, I was shouted down that “Kidurong should given to SUPP as it is a Chinese majority seat and that SNAP has no business in Chinese area.” I looked at him and said “Ok, if we used that rational, can you give up either Tajong Datu, Bengoh or Serian to SNAP?” He shouted to me and said many things and I left him alone. Would you be surprised then if he also told the Chief Minister that he could not work with me?