Sunday, November 30, 2008

PKR expects more election victories

By Adib Zalkapli
Sunday November 30 2008

SHAH ALAM, Nov 29 – Parti Keadilan Rakyat declared that the opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat expects to win more seats in Parliament.

PKR vice president Azmin Ali said the party is now preparing to face by-elections in Pensiangan and Kuala Terengganu.

An election court in September quashed Tan Sri Joseph Kurup's victory, who won uncontested in the March 8 general election and a by-election is expected pending an appeal by Barisan Nasional.

Yesterday, two term Kuala Terengganu MP Datuk Razali Ismail passed away while playing badminton.

"I believe Kuala Terengganu will become Pakatan Rakyat's seat," said Azmin at a public rally here today.

"The seat belongs to Pas. We accept the decision made by the Pakatan leadership and will fight to ensure our victory," he added.

In the last general election Pas candidate Mohamad Sabu was defeated by 628 votes. An independent candidate, Maimun Yusuf lost her deposit.

The PKR election director also told thousands of party supporters at Malawati Stadium that the party has activated its machinery to face the Sarawak state election.

He said that people's mood in the state has changed compared to during the last state election in 2006.

"We were chased out by the people then, as we are a Peninsular political party, but now they have become receptive to our struggle," he said while praising Ngemah state assemblyman Gabriel Adit who joined the party two weeks ago.

Prior to Adit's admission into the party, Dominic Ng of Padungan was PKR's sole representative in the Sarawak assembly.

Azmin also reiterated the party's stand that it would continue its struggle to topple the BN government and declared that the opposition coalition would take over Putrajaya soon.

"After March 8, the people keep asking for a change, we heard them during the Permatang Pauh by-election. We won with a bigger majority. The Malays who were threatened chose to be with us," said Azmin.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Azizah slams power transition plan

Rahmah Ghazali | Nov 29, 08 1:01pm

PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail today slammed the March transition plan of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his deputy, Najib Tun Razak, saying it would not bring any positive changes to the country.

During a policy speech at the PKR annual congress in Stadium Malawati, Shah Alam this morning, she told the 4000-strong crowd that the transition plan would only impact the nation in a negative way.

"We are here to stress that the transition plan between the prime minister and his deputy, Najib Abdul Razak will not make any positive changes to the damage that has been done to the judicial system, the police, the Anti-Corruption Agency and Parliament," she said.

Wan Azizah, who is also former Permatang Pauh MP and the wife of PKR de-facto leader Anwar Ibrahim, said the transition plan would be "no different than the old regime", referring to the tenure of Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

"It will have so much similarities with the old regime, where the Internal Security Act and corruption were widely practised. The same regime also contributed to the terrible erosion of government institutions," she added.

The transition plan, which was originally planned for June 2010, had to be pushed forward to next March after Abdullah was forced to review his departure date after losing support from Umno grassroots in the wake of the huge loses suffered by Barisan Nasional in the last general election.

Najib, who is Umno deputy chief, last month won the leadership of the ruling party unopposed, paving the way for him to be appointed prime minister next March.

Touching on the good relationship between the political parties in Pakatan Rakyat, Wan Azizah also reiterated PKR’s commitment to DAP and PAS, saying the opposition coalition would do all in its power to preserve the special position of the Malay rulers, Malays, Islam and Bahasa Melayu.

"In fact, we are willing to return royal immunity in the spirit of a constitutional monarchy. This is the real meaning of the change we are committed to bringing to the country," she said.

However, she clarified in a press conference later that she was not talking about the restoration of royal immunity per se but restoring the power of the Agong in the law-making process.

According to Wan Azizah, she was referring to restoring the Agong's power to reject a Bill in enacting a new law. At present, any bill that is not assented by the Agong will be passed in 30 days.

Growing support from Sabah and Sarawak

Wan Azizah today also vowed to pull off an "incredible performance" during Sarawak’s state election next year. She said PKR had thousands of new members, mostly from Sabah and Sarawak, a strong indication of winds of change sweeping the two states.

"If we were able to gain power in Sabah and Sarawak during the previous general election, we could have formed a new federal government by now. Insya’Allah this hope will materialise when the time comes," said the 56-year-old politician.

She added that PKR was currently in the midst of strengthening the party’s relationship with the two states to "ensure a more successful future" with them.

"We are also committed to our promise - where 20 percent of petroleum and oil revenues in Sabah and Sarawak will be given back to the people.

"We also promise to give more pro-active roles to these states at the federal level if we are chosen to lead the country one day," stressed Wan Azizah -

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Out of Touch Politicians

by Khoo Kay Peng
Straight Talk - Only for the Straight Talkers.

At lunch today, I spoke to a good friend and a journalist about Malaysian politicians. He opined they are a complacent lot. I would like to add that many of these politicians are incompetent too.

We elected politicians to help us govern the country. Politicians should work hand-in-hand with the public, NGOs and businesses to drive and coordinate policies. These policies are needed to regulate social life, public safety, economy, education and others. We do not need politicians to play moral cops.

At a time when the economy is facing a risk of downturn amidst the looming global economic crisis, we do not need politicians who are fixated with a ban on yoga, alcohol and other menial and insignificant issues.

The manufacturing sector is facing a slowdown. Many factories in the country are already cutting down production, freezing headcount and implement cost cutting measures. We need to create new jobs to cater for the workers retrenched especially those working in the financial industry in Singapore and abroad.

Starting from the first quarter of 2009, consumer demand is expected to face a downturn as more households will hold back spending after the Chinese New Year festive.

Car sales, a general barometer used to measure consumption, has fallen by 26% in October. Overall, the car industry can expect a double digit contraction in 2009.

Yet, the government is still struggling to come out with the right stimulus to help sustain and support job creation and consumer demand.

Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi is more prompt in his response to a ban on yoga than the economic crisis.

Individual income tax rates are still high. The government should reduce income tax rates by 3% for all Malaysians. More money should be put in the hands of Malaysians and allow them to make their own consumption decision. The government does not have a good track record in using public funds.

Government's decision to pump prime the economy through infrastructure development is a good move. But this sector does not hire that many local workers. The government should also consider spending on infrastructure and building maintenance and refurbishment. Several parts of Kuala Lumpur, Georgetown and other major cities are worn out. Urban renewal is necessary. It will create more jobs for local expertise.

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak should not talk about winning two-thirds majority before even taking over the hot seat. He should plan how to heal the economy, social rifts and racial bigotry in the country. Not to mention his own huge political baggage.

For goodness sake, we need sensible and smart politicians. Not those who are out-of-touch, complacent and simply incompetent.

About the Author
Khoo Kay Peng is an economics graduate from the University of Malaya. He pursued his postgraduate master's in International Relations at the University of Warwick, UK. He is a British Chevening scholar. Kay Peng is a corporate consultant and an independent political analyst. He is often invited to speak at various forums, corporate events and workshops. He co-authors the book on "Non-Sectarian Politics in Malaysia: The Case of Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia". His views, articles and comments are carried by many local and foreign news agencies, newspapers, magazines, TV & radio stations. A 'Anak Malaysia', he advocates a non-racial society and a good governance. Contact Kay Peng at kpkhoo @

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sultans flex their power

Malaysian Insider
By Leslie Lau, Consultant Editor
Tuesday, 25 November 2008 11:56

NOV 25 — As disputes between the various communities in Malaysia grow, and amid the constant tug-of-war between conservatives, moderates and liberals over social and religious values, the stature and position of Malaysia's royal households have shifted upwards.

Yesterday, the Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah made it clear that his authority as head of Islam in the state would not be usurped by the National Fatwa Council.

Referring to the council's fatwa declaring yoga haram, the Sultan said he hoped future edicts which affected the general public would be referred to the Rulers Conference prior to being announced.

He also said the state fatwa committee would meet on the yoga issue and make recommendations to him.

In Perak, a state government official also retracted yesterday an earlier statement that the state would adopt the fatwa, saying royal consent was first needed.

The move taken by the two Sultans is seen by some quarters as taking a stand against the kind of creeping conservatism that could affect race relations in the country.

But it is also a reflection of a lack of political leadership.

Since the March 8 general election when the Barisan Nasional lost its two-thirds majority in Parliament, the Sultans have begun playing a more significant role.

In states like Perak, Selangor and Terengganu, the Sultans played a key role in determining the leadership of the state governments.

The Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Nazrin Shah, has grown in stature, especially among the more moderate and liberal groups in the country.

Last week, he made the kind of speech which is usually expected from political leaders in an attempt to calm the roiling debates over race relations.

He called on Malaysians to embrace multiculturalism and pointed out that society must reject radicalism and extremism.

Members of the royalty appear to have come forward to fill a vacuum created since March 8 in which Umno, MCA, MIC, Gerakan and other BN parties have found it rough going dealing with a much more significant opposition in Pakatan Rakyat.

The power struggles within Umno and MCA have also released a wave of strident, aggressive and more racial approaches as the two major parties try to retreat to their core support and race ideologies.

While there may still be some apprehension over a more active royalty, and their actual constitutional role, it is clear now that public support for them is growing.

The credibility of political leaders in the country has taken a severe battering recently, and their standing among the public remains low.

Ultimately they have their work cut out for them if they are to reclaim the leadership role from some of Malaysia's more socially-conscious Sultans.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

JOHAN JAAFFAR: To be strong, Umno needs to be clean

Saturday, November 22, 2008


THE secretary-general of Umno told the world "my party is sick". Perhaps he was asked to comment on the incidents of fighting and chair-throwing at the recent divisional meetings, but these are merely symptoms of the current problems bedevilling the party. The truth is, all is not well with Umno today.

Its detractors would argue that Umno has lost touch with reality and is fast becoming irrelevant. It is wrapped in a time capsule while the world moves on. Umno, the once venerable institution, is living on past glory. Umno is the party of yesteryear that refuses to reinvent itself. It does not speak the language of today's youth. It fails to understand the emergence of generations X and Y among the Malays. It has become largely a party of pakcik and makcik (uncles and aunties).

Not so, say its defenders. Umno will remain relevant forever. It is a party that has changed with time, in fact realigning itself to face the challenges of the day. It is not the myopic party that some would like to believe; it is in fact a dynamic one ferociously grounded in reality. More importantly, as long as the Malays are around, Umno will be their hope and legitimate representative.

The Malays are changing, more so their values and world views. These are not the same ones who had supported Umno in 1946. Those who fought the Malayan Union, the nationalists who were instrumental in demanding independence and the post-Merdeka generation of leaders are long gone.

Umno's policies have created a new generation of Malays -- educated, successful and more assertive. The rise of Malay businessmen and women is one of the proud legacies of Umno leaders' long-term vision and planning.

Umno is the victim of its own successes. Power corrupts, and being too long in power, corrupts indiscriminately. Power becomes an excuse for many of its leaders to become arrogant and lose their bearings. Like many established political parties in the world, longevity equals misuse and abuse of power. Umno produces leaders who are not fighters anymore. They are accidental leaders who are thrust to national prominence by default or worse.

There is no more idealism in the belly of Umno leaders, some would argue. The semangat perjuangan (fighting spirit) is gone. To be somewhere in the party, one has to play the game that others play. It is not just about schmoozing, cajoling and shedding a tear or two to win the hearts and minds of the general populace, but money, lots of money, is a critical prerequisite. Thus, politik wang or money politics is redefining the concept of trust, loyalty and patronage.

I do not know anyone in Umno today who denies the existence of money politics in the party. Some, even in Umno, believe that the coming party elections will probably be the dirtiest in its 62-year history. Everyone is aware of how money is being used to win elections even at the branch level. Someone estimated RM250 million as the "cost" of the coming Umno elections. Others think the figure is too demeaning to be taken seriously -- the amount is much bigger.

Where do they go from here? If money determines who gets the votes and who doesn't, what good is the party to the very people they say they are representing? Has its members become oblivious to what is happening to the party that has become the backbone of the Malays? Are they condoning the practice just for the sake of ensuring the party's continuity? Money will divide and eventually kill Umno. It will be a party fractured and fragmented.

Perhaps, more importantly, party members -- believed to be 3.2 million-strong -- ought to ask themselves what has become of their party. Is this the party that has gone through tough times fighting for the interests of the Malays? Is this not the party that has for more than six decades defended the Malay rights and ensured its dominance, politically or otherwise? Is it not the party that has produced some of the finest, outward-thinking and rational leaders the country had ever known? Is it true that Umno equals openness, tolerance and goodwill? And its leaders are respected by all Malaysians regardless of race? Are Umno leaders not just leaders of the Malays but also leaders of all Malaysians by virtue of their positions in government?

Perhaps things have changed. The political culture in Umno has changed. Umno used to be the party of Malay teachers and the common people. It is now a party whose members are businessmen and the rich. Uppity Malays are jostling for position and power with the royalties and the aristocrats. Lesser mortals, too, want their share of the spoils.

Little wonder that it matters to be rich in Umno. Wealth is the insurance policy everyone is looking for. Money matters. Money talks. And money is a surefire way for one to get elected. One aspiring vice-president cynically came out with a suggestion -- tender all the supreme council posts. May the highest bidders win. He was annoyed at how easily Umno members are swayed by the ringgit sign. Election year is musim menuai (harvest time) for the pecacai dan balaci politik (political operators). And the delegates as well.

Let us pray that what we hear are merely urban legends. I am sure there are many who still believe in honour and fair play. Umno depends on these people. Umno leaders must walk the walk and talk the talk. Making noise about curbing or crusading against money politics makes good news, but noise does not solve problems. Actions do.

For the sake of Umno, there must be enough members who have the audacity to say no to money politics and to choose only the worthiest among the leaders. Umno must take a strong and uncompromising stand to rid the party of rogue leaders and corrupt members. To be strong, Umno needs to be clean. Or at least seen to be clean.

I dread the day when the secretary-general will have to advise Umno members to look in the mirror and ask, "Mirror, mirror on the wall, am I not the dirtiest of them all?"

Read more story here

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Taxpayers' paid holiday

Deep Throat in Putrajaya
Tuesday, 18 November 2008 11:13

Informed sources in Putrajaya told me that the great Pretender to the throne, Najib Tun Razak, accompanied by aspiring ‘First Lady’ Rosmah, are heading for a grand trip abroad the government's VIP Jet to the APEC meeting in Peru on 22-23 November.

After the two-day meeting they will proceed for a week-long taxpayer-paid holiday in Washington DC, from 24 to 29 November to take advantage of the Thanksgiving holidays. This, as everyone knows, is the peak holiday shopping period in the US! The couple will therefore be making a great contribution to the recession-plagued US economy.

It is also possible that Rosmah may skip Peru altogether and go straight to Washington while Najib travels to Peru. Sources close to the Rosmah say that she has researched Peru and discovered that there is little by way of shopping as there no big malls -- and hence the preference for Washington and its well-known malls and outlets.

It will be all play and no work for the Finance Minister while he is in Washington, as no meetings or exchanges have been scheduled. Most interesting is that while almost all governments are seeking opportunities to interact with the incoming Obama Administration, Bolehland chooses to ignore the new Government of the most important country. It is also interesting that neither the Finance Minister nor the sidekick Second Minister attended recent IMF and World Bank Meetings.

It seems that these dudes have no time to engage themselves in serious consultations at a time when the Malaysian economy is in deep trouble. The Treasury's website reports that the MOF Secretary General Tan Sri Dr Wan Abdul Aziz represented Malaysia at this important meeting to discuss the global economic crisis. In contrast, the IMF/World Bank meetings were attended by almost all finance ministers of the world. It also seems that Putrajaya has not concerned itself with coordinating economic policy measures with other nations.

The weeklong stay in Washington for Najib, Rosmah, the aircrew and the entourage would probably cost taxpayers more than a million ringgit if we calculate the cost of hotel rooms, cars and food. Even if the trip requires a stopover, should it be for more than a week when there is a severe economic crisis unfolding in our country for which our citizens have been told to brace themselves? Should the rakyat be spending millions of ringgit for Najib’s and Rosmah's holidays while the country faces an uncertain future?

It is time that the engagements of our leaders, in particular their overseas travel, be posted on their website so that the rakyat can know how their money is being spent. We hope that Najib would do this as a new trend under his leadership to prove that the leadership is indeed "prihatin" about the rakyat.

Other khabar …… Ghazali Sheikh is rumoured to be heading for Washington on a private visit in pursuit of his shameless lobbying for the post of Malaysian Ambassador. Question is, will the lame duck Bush Administration agree to accept him or will the Obama Government want a tainted envoy?

Stay tuned !!

Deep Throat in Putrajaya

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bitter race politics still prevails, says Dr M

Dr M's diagnosis: Racial politics getting more bitter and blatant than ever before.

Malaysian Insider
By Shannon Teoh

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 17 - Malaysia is witnessing an explosion of racial politics that is more bitter and blatant than ever before, says former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed.

Writing in his blog, he claimed that "even the least observant cannot fail to notice how Malaysian politics now is more about racial inequities than about liberalism, human rights and openness."

"Malaysian politics have not been decoupled from racial sentiments and loyalties. And it is going to remain so for as long as the different races prefer to be separated and divided, prefer to strongly uphold their languages, cultures and their historical origins and links," he said while claiming that talk of reforms and liberalism was mere lip service.
While he conceded that there is now discussion on the Internal Security Act, the most bitter and angry debates were on Malay privileges, the social contract, the Deputy Prime Minister and Prime Minister being Malays, UMNO bullying, Chinese being immigrants and about Malay dominance.

"Even the criticisms regarding the way judges are appointed or promoted have elements of race that is hardly disguised," he added.

He wrote this in yet another attack on his successor Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi's leadership of Barisan Nasional.

He rationalised that the losses suffered in the March 8 general election by the governing coalition were not due to a rejection of racial politics but due to PM Abdullah's weak administration.

"Foreign observers and many in this country were jubilant because they claimed that it marked the demise of racial politics and racial parties in Malaysia.

"If it is because the Malaysian electorate had rejected racial politics, why did they vote for such parties as PAS, a very Malay Muslim party, and DAP, a Chinese dominated party?

"Even PKR is made up of Chinese dissatisfied with the MCA's representation of the Chinese in BN, self-serving Malays who could not find a place in the other Malay parties and violently racist Hindraf

Indians," he said referring to the recently outlawed Hindu Rights Action Force and adding that PKR were "anti-Malay" racists.

Dr Mahathir, who was Prime Minister for 22 years, instead said that the opposition's success in the general elections was due to "the defection by BN party members which resulted in the opposition parties, regardless of the quality of their candidate, getting the large number of votes to win so many more seats than they or anybody else expected."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sarawak state rep leads 12,000 into PKR

Tony Thien | Nov 15, 08 8:08pm

About 12,000 people in Sarawak, including 6,000 supporters of Ngemah state rep Gabriel Adit, have applied to join PKR.

Their application forms were submitted to PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim at a huge dinner gathering in Sibu tonight which saw more than 4,000 people in attendance.

Also signing up with the opposition party is controversial former PRS Balleh division publicity chief, Beginda Minda.

He was forced to leave the state BN component party following his call on the chief minister and his deputy to step down.

Adit, 58, claimed that he had submitted the application forms for PKR membership from 6,000 of his supporters tonight.

The other 6,000 new applications were believed to be from former PRS members and non-party members.

In his speech, Adit, a four-term assemblyperson, told the crowd that the main reason for joining PKR was due to the “political castration” of the Dayaks under the BN state government.

He added that PKR was the best vehicle to address the plight of the Dayaks. Adit also declared that Anwar was the most suitable and acceptable leader to become prime minister.

“Enough is enough of BN. Now change is coming to Sarawak,” he said, adding that there are many BN members waiting to join PKR.

With Adit’s entry, PKR now has two seats in the Sarawak state assembly. The other is Dominique Ng representing Padungan.

Adit first won the Ngemeh seat on the now-defunct Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak ticket in 1991 but in the 2006 state elections, he stood as an independent.

His entry is seen as a major boost for PKR which is gearing up for the next state polls, due in 30 months.

Ready for state polls

The party is banking on the support from the Dayak communities who are increasingly disgruntled with the state government’s management of native customary rights land issues.

The dinner at the Sibu Trade and Exhibition Centre was organised by ‘Friends of PKR’ with Adit chairing the organising committee. The gathering is believed to be one of the largest political dinners ever held in Sibu.

Present at the gathering were Ng, national PKR leaders Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, Tian Chua and Sallehuddin Hashim, state DAP leaders Wong Ho Leng and Chiew Chin Sing.

Earlier, Anwar was given a big welcome at Sibu airport upon his arrival at this central Sarawak town.

He was said to be visibly moved by the huge crowd who turned up to welcome him.

In his speech tonight, he described Adit as a “true people’s representative” and that he would help PKR bring change to Sarawak.

He urged everyone to work together to ensure Pakatan Rakyat take over Sarawak at the next state elections, which is due in two years’ time.

Anwar also said that a number of other elected representatives in Sarawak will follow Adit’s footsteps in joining the opposition front.

More news from Malaysiakini here:

Thursday, November 13, 2008

State rep Adit's entry to boost S'wak PKR

Tony Thien | Nov 13, 08 12:31pm

Independent state assemblyperson Gabriel Adit’s decision to join PKR is expected to give a big boost to the opposition party as it prepares for the next state elections due in 30 months.

Adit, 58, is a four-term representative who retained the predominantly-Iban Ngemah seat in the 2006 state election on an independent ticket.He will officially hand over his membership application form as well as those from his supporters during a 300-table dinner organised by ‘Friends of PKR’ in Sibu on Saturday. Adit is the organising chair of the event.

It is learnt that many members of a Dayak-based state BN component party will also be handing over their application forms to PKR advisor Anwar Ibrahim, the guest-of-honour, for the evening.

Several top Pakatan Rakyat leaders from PKR, DAP and PAS as well as their state leaders will be present to witness the event.

Malaysiakini also learnt that Beginda Minda (left), the ex-publicity chief of PRS president Dr James Masing-led Balleh division who made the news recently with his call on Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud and Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu to resign, and his supporters are also expected to join PKR at the function.

Adit is one of the two Independent assemblypersons in Sarawak. Now that Adit is joining PKR, Dr Jonical Rayong, who contested under the Sarawak National Party (SNAP) banner but quit the party soon after, will become the sole Independent state representative.

Although several leaders of state BN component parties have been reported in a national daily as saying they are not perturbed by the news of Adit’s impending move to join PKR, it has come at a time when there are also reports of groundswell support for PKR, especially in the rural areas.

‘Most popular party‘ among Dayaks

An opinion poll conducted after the March 2008 general election among the Dayaks in Sarawak indicated that their most popular party is PKR.

There are several reasons why this is so, and among the concerns to Dayaks is the way the present Sarawak government handle the Native Customary Rights (NCR) land issue.

This has seen growing conflict on the ground between NCR landowners and plantation and logging companies and the government and increasing cases of litigation brought before the courts in Sarawak.

Adit (left) was first elected to the state assembly in 1991 and has retained it successfully ever since.

A Canadian graduate in sociology and political science and closely related to former PBDS president and former federal minister Leo Moggie, he is respected within his own community and is known to be patient and not afraid to criticise the state government.

This personality has not endeared him to some top leaders in Sarawak, including the chief minister.

It was hardly surprising that the state BN leadership did not pick him to contest in the last state election which forced him to defend the Ngemah seat as an Independent.

He defeated BN-PRS candidate Alexander Vincent, a Masing relative, by a majority of more than 500 votes.

With Adit joining PKR, the party will now have two state assemblypersons. The other is Dominique Ng who represents the Chinese-majority seat of Padungan.

Adit conceded that there is a limit to what he can do, but by joining PKR he hopes to open the doors for other BN representatives to fight for change which he says looks inevitable, given the growing discontentment among Sarawakians against the state government.

He would not want to say more except that once he is officially in PKR, he will help his colleagues at state and national levels to build up the party’s grassroots where it counts most ahead of the state elections.

Twenty-five minutes too late

Adit told Malaysiakini that over the past several days during the sitting of the state assembly, he was approached by a number of BN representatives who tried to dissuade him from joining PKR after news of his intention leaked.

“I quoted to one of them the title of a Michael Learns To Rock (MLTR) song Twenty-five Minutes Too Late and that I have made up my mind,” he added in jest.

Apart from the opinion poll findings on responses in rural constituencies to PKR, many state BN leaders, especially from the Dayak-based parties, acknowledge the growing anti-BN sentiments on the ground, sparked by issues such as land and certain policies on education and economic opportunities.

But that change may not come easy, with almost everyone acknowledging Taib’s strong and powerful grip on Sarawak’s power politics but one of his senior party colleagues has warned that unless the NCR land issue is resolved, it could potentially become a dynamite to create a political tsunami in the next state election.

But it has been noted that many state BN top leaders appear to be still in a state of denial, believing that under Taib’s leadership the state BN will remain formidable and should be able to remain in power for some time to come.

However, if Adit and more BN elected representatives who, to quote him, have a bitter-sweet experience inside BN, follow him to PKR, that might change the perception.

There are 29 Dayak-majority seats, 27 Malay/Melanau (Muslim)-majority seats and 15 Chinese-majority seats in the 71-seat state assembly.

Presently, DAP has six seats, all Chinese-majority, PKR one Chinese-majority seat and Independents two Dayak seats.

BN’s Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) could end up even worse in the next state election with the DAP expecting to make further inroads.

PBB’s Malay/Melanau-majority seats may be tough to crack but PKR is confident of giving PBB a run for their money given the known dissatisfaction within the Malay community against the state leadership over a number of issues.

The opposition will have to win half or more of the Dayak seats plus a majority of Chinese seats as well as a number of Malay/Melanau seats to topple the state BN government.

Remove personal differences

PKR’s prospects have been bolstered by a growing number of bumiputera professionals joining the party. It does not lack potentially good candidates to fill the many seats.

Supporters are urging PKR state leaders to remove personal differences and close ranks as well as for the party at the state level to forge a better working relationship with Sarawak DAP.

It’s not clear what role the other state opposition parties Snap and Star will play.

It is possible that if a broader understanding can be reached they will get to contest some seats if the right candidates come around, without opposition parties taking on each other for the same seats.

Learning from past electoral experiences and the need to avoid a clash among themselves, DAP and PKR are likely to agree on seat allocation, especially in Chinese-majority areas.

Sources said that the PKR national leadership want to see the party’s state organisation further strengthened, after Adit’s entry into the party, with strategies more focused on the objectives it has set out to achieve in Sarawak.

The question ahead of the huge Sibu gathering is after Adit’s entry and that of his supporters applying to join the party at the same time, what significant impact will it have especially in the rural areas.

Will, as the Ngemah state representative hopes, it open the doors for not just more BN reps but also the grassroots of other Dayak-based parties to join PKR?