COMMENT "If the people don't need me, then I will step down." And with that, Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud has set into motion the oldest political trick in the book. Scan the local newspapers and you will catch the outpouring of support for Taib to remain as the chief minister and leader of the state Barisan Nasional (BN). A fervour of support seems to have erupted from the masses for Taib. They all want to keep Taib at the helm.
It seems without Taib, Sarawak will go the way of the Titanic; without Taib, Sarawak is doomed.
Or so we are made to believe.
Read between the lines and you will see a pattern. The ones who are dancing round the totem of Keep-Taib-In-Power are those directly involved with the many political parties in the state BN.
The leaders are making the statements, and passing these statements off as a blanket opinion that the state's voters are of the same mind too.
The state leaders cannot voice the true sentiment of the people. To do so would mark the demise of their own political reign. And rightly so, since it was Taib who put them there in the first place. As said by Mahathir Mohamad, "What we give, we can also take back."
BN candidates are nominated by the various political parties and endorsed by Taib. The candidates then are voted in by the people and hence are now indebted to Taib for their very existence. There is something wrong with this and it is a fundamental flaw.
The people's vote should be the most powerful element in any democratic government. The whole government is indebted to the mandate given by the people. It is the people who have full ownership of the government. What the people give, they can rightfully it take back. The elected candidates owe the people (not Taib) their allegiance.
So when Taib said, "If the people don't need me, then I will step down," it should be the people who have the right of say on whether they want him or not. The BN component leaders and their various Youth wings should just keep their mouths shut and allow the people to have their say.
Have a referendum and put the vote to the people. Let the people choose the government they want. Let the people decide in an out-right vote if they still want Taib to remain as chief minister.
Time for change
Tall order indeed, especially in Sarawak. The current administration will never allow the people to blatantly speak out their views. Instead, we are treated to cowardly party members making the assumption that ALL the peoples of Sarawak still want Taib in power.
And all this in light of revelation after revelation of Taib's covert activities -- amassing riches for himself and his associates; stripping natives of their customary land rights and Taib's total monopoly of every business deal in Sarawak. It is an open joke in Sarawak that the Taib establishment has its tentacles in every industry conceivable except the funeral industry.
It is high time that the people of Sarawak made it clear that it is time for change. It is time for Taib to leave the scene and for his underlings to accept it. Nothing last forever and this also includes Taib.
It is interesting to note that Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP) has yet to issue a statement (as of the writing of this article) in support of keeping Taib in power and rightfully so.
As seen in Sibu, the Chinese have had enough. Would this translate into a bigger picture when the state election comes round? It would surely be a death note for SUPP to endorse Taib for another term because clearly the thoughts of the Chinese are different from that of their leaders.
But if BN thinks that by winning the Chinese over it has a clear shot at winning the coming election, then it is in for a surprise. The kingmakers for the next election, the ones that can topple Taib, do not belong to any exclusive ethnic group.
The kingmakers are the youths of Sarawak -- educated, young Sarawakians who are capable of judging for themselves what is right and wrong and are not afraid of voicing their opinions.
And it is clear that Malaysian politicians do not have any inkling of the impact of this “hidden nation”. It is a nation of citizens sophisticated in social networking systems, readers of alternative media and who communicates via SMS and chats.
It is one that is fuelled by information, a nation that longs for the ideals of democracy after witnessing the mockery that Malaysian politics has become.
Suffice to say, the growing voice for reform will come from this hidden nation. It will be loud and clear.
Yes, the people do not want Taib. Yes, it is time he stepped down. And to think otherwise, to think that retaining Taib for another term would be beneficial to Sarawak would be pure mockery of the entire democratic process.