Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Aug 13, a showdown not to be missed : Taib Mahmud vs MoCS

August 13th will be the date to watch if you happen to be in Sarawak.

It is the date the Movement of Change, Sarawak (MoCS) has ear-marked for a street demonstration to demand the resignation of Taib Mahmud, Chief Minister of Sarawak.

MoCS coordinator Francis Siah has made it clear that if Taib does not live up to his word to step down, then the people will demand it ala massive street demonstrations on August 13th.

In response to this the Parti Pusaka Bumiputra Bersatu Youth Kuching zone has lodged a police report, and in this report, the police were asked to investigate claims MoCS made in their blog concerning the August 13th street demonstration.

The PBB Youth also wants the police to investigate if MoCS is receiving funding from off-shore sources. A most intriguing request that needs closer scrutiny no doubt.

And to add to the police report, the PBB youth also drew up their own ultimatum - MoCS is to abandon its plan in seven days or else, the Youth wing will take their case to the federal government Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.

It’s a show-down not to be missed!

Enough to make Taib tremble

Despite its relative newness, MoCS' voice is strong enough to make Abdul Karim Hamzah, chief political secretary to Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud come out and brand Francis as a “soldier of fortune” and “loner”.

Abdul Karim went further to call MoCS “security threats” and urge the police to investigate it.

Obviously, PBB Youth and the Chief Minister are rattled somewhat by MoCS and bringing down its leader would surely be a priority. Yet, what does Taib Mahmud have to fear?

Did not the people of Sarawak want Taib Mahmud to remain Chief Minister? Was not the recent state election an indicator that the protest the MoCS is organising destined for failure?

One has to look beyond the official media spin to understand why the Chief Minister is worried. In the recent state election, the Barisan Nasional garnered 55 per cent of the popular vote to the Pakatan Rakyat’s 45 per cent.

PBB won all the seats it contested in - 35 seats. This alone ensured that BN would win by simple majority. 35 seats translates to a total of 192,785 voters, and these seats are spread through out Sarawak.

DAP won 12 seats and this translates to 134,847 voters but DAP seats are concentrated in urban areas, and Kuching alone has 5 seats going to the opposition camp (4 DAP and 1 PKR). These 5 seats translate to 59,600 voters within the Kuching zone alone.

Imagine the disaster for BN, if just half of the voters who voted to remove the Chief Minister turns up at the MoCS' proposed street demonstration. For sure, Francis Siah would not be a “loner” at the event, he will definitely have a lot of friends with him.

Who is giving Francis the money?

The PBB Youth’s insistence that MoCS' sources of funding be investigated points to the fear that the outfit and its leader may be proxies for Putrajaya.

Despite the smiles and warm handshakes for the cameras, there is deep distrust for Putrajaya and the Najib administration amongst many of the PBB stalwarts.

Prime Minister Najib Razak is seen as the architect for bringing about Taib Mahmud’s down-fall and the MoCS may be a mere proxy for the federal leader.

A police investigation is a convenient means to test and see if the strings lead back to the federal administrative capital.

Whether or not, MoCS can pull off the street demonstrations on August 13th or will its leaders be hauled up within the 7-day deadline remains to be seen.

But if action is taken against MoCS, then Malaysians all around and not just in Sarawak must question why. Is MoCS more deadly a threat than ultra-Malay rights group Perkasa?

- Malaysia Chronicle

Written by Maclean Patrick, Malaysia Chronicle

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