Tony Thien | October 28, 2008
The Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) is abuzz like a hornet’s nest that has been disturbed, following an accusation that Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) has been ‘bullying’ component parties.
Another Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) division leader has come out in support of the claim - Simanggang division publicity chief Nanta Chaku cited three examples in a statement to Malaysiakini.
On Saturday, the party’s Baleh division publicity head Beginda Minda had revealed two instances of alleged bullying by PBB, led by Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud (right), as well as by Umno.
Nanta said: “To support Beginda Minda’s contention… three other examples come to mind immediately:
1. Since 1981 other component parties in the Sarawak BN have been required to send two to three names of candidates for each constituency held by them, for the PBB leadership to pick the ones to contest. In other words, the final selection is subject to PBB’s decision.
2. A certain high-ranking Iban personage in PBB who fancies himself as the paramount chief of the (community) always insists on appointing his favourites as Penghulus, Pemancha and Temenggong (even) where PBB does not have elected (representatives).
3. In the contest for top posts in component parties, the election is dependent on close (connections between) the candidates (and) the PBB leadership. In other words, candidates perceived to be supported by the PBB leadership always seems to win. Social and economic issues doesn’t seem to matter, but closeness to the PBB leadership does.”Nanta also said ‘big boys’ in Sarawak BN deny ‘small boys’ any say in the final selection of candidates, whether for a general election, appointment of community chiefs or party leaders.
Since this is subject to final approval by PBB leaders, it makes a mockery of the original concept of the BN power-sharing concept in Sarawak, he said.
“It is perhaps more accurate to say that PBB is not only all too dominant but also domineering in attitude vis-a-vis smaller component parties.”
‘Explore other options’
Nanta urged members of other component parties to examine their options.
In the two examples cited by Beginda, reference was made to selection of candidates for the Sri Aman and Lubok Antu parliamentary seats, held by PRS in the March general election, and to a particular candidate selected for the 2006 state election.
Beginda had reminded the BN top leadership that the coalition must wake up to current political realities and stop being in a state of denial.
“Before, there was only BN which could provide the national leadership. After March 2008, it is clear that PRS has other, perhaps better, options,” he ended with a veiled warning, without elaborating what these options might be.In an immediate reaction to this, Masing - the state assemblyperson for Baleh - distanced the party from the claim, describing it as Beginda’s personal stance.
Masing said he could not stop members from expressing their views but felt that they should not go overboard in their criticism. He also said he would initiate an investigation.
Beginda is one of Masing’s right-hand men and his comments have irked Taib, who is the state BN chairperson.
It is learnt that Taib has told Masing to take disciplinary action against Beginda.
Rumours are circulating that the latter may already have been sacked, but this could not be immediately verified.