Chief Minister Taib Mahmud is desperately in need of a political successor to safeguard his and his family's empire in Sarawak.
I have regular meetings with the someone whom I would like call the “Oracle of Syed Putra.” I first started penning my meetings with the Oracle way back in 2008 in my blog.
The “Oracle” is the alter ego of Tun Daim Zainudin. They grew up together. They knew each other’s siblings. They played together and did things normally done by the young and old alike. They were inseparable.
I already had an appointment with the Oracle, when I saw Daim’s picture in The China Press. I called M, the Oracle’s long-time personal assistant, and asked if he could get the Chinese report translated. There would have been a translated transcript for the Oracle. The Oracle must be a keeper of sorts for Daim. He is a treasure trove.
Anyway I got the translated copy on the day of my meeting with the Oracle.
Knowing that I can be fastidious about the written language, M quickly pointed out “that’s the English translation done by the Press people. That’s not the English of the Oracle or Tun Daim.”
I ran through the translated copy. It contained many things that I had written about in my blog sakmongkolak47 since I began my regular sitdowns with the “Oracle of Syed Putra”.
The Oracle once told me that Daim reads my blog.
Anyway, when my time came, I entered into the Oracle’s inner sanctum. I immediately asked about Sarawak.
Question: What is your take about Sarawak, O Oracle?
The Oracle: You know what’s the problem with Toib? (Incidentally, the Oracle has this peculiar way of pronouncing the name. The Oracle comes from Kedah. The way they pronounced Taib is Toib – the “T” is the “tho” of the Arabic alphabet. Hence “Taw-ib”.)
He (Taib Mahmud) wants to stay as long as possible because he hasn’t got a succession plan. He knows he is breeding an uprising in Sarawak. He wants the son to succeed. But the son seems to have lost all interest since the mother passed away.
You remember the Islamic Fashion Show in Monaco? It was bankrolled basically by Taib’s people. The whole soirée was financed by Taib. It was his way of getting into the good books of Rosmah (Mansor).
So he got some Sarawakian fashonista who talked to that Raja Shahreza (organiser) fellow who talked to Rosmah (Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s wife) and who talked to… and they all got to sing along with Prince Albert, the Playboy of Monaco.
And do you remember after that, the PM came back and urged all parties concerned to support Taib. Even though earlier, he thought it was time for the silver-haired one to go.
Now he’s trying to persuade Najib to hold simultaneous parliamentary and state elections. For that he sends his sister to bond up with Rosmah.
Everyone now seems to realise that it’s Rosmah who exerts paramount persuasive powers over the husband. And the husband is the PM of Malaysia.
Taib’s reasoning is, if elections were to be held at the same time, the opposition’s forces and resources will be thinly spread. That way, he can be more certain Sarawak will prevail.
And by suggesting that the fortunes of the federal government are tied to how Taib performs in the state elections, Najib may just be persuaded.
Everyone knows that Najib has got this phobia. Tell some scare stories and he will wilt.
You know, TDZ (Daim) met up with this Taib feller. He tells the latter, it’s time to go. Mahathir has left. Ling (Liong Sik) has left. You may be overstaying. Taib tells Daim that he needs time to plan for a succession.
Why is the right succession important?
It’s essential for self-preservation. Taib practically owns the whole of Sarawak. If some wrong person were to get into office, can his interests be protected? Can the future of his children be guaranteed?
He needs someone who can guarantee safety over his interests and the future of his family.
I went on to the next question. It’s itching and eating me up.
Question: When do you think he will hold the Sarawak election? Will it be done concurrently?
(The Oracle): Not good. Better to have it done separately. Taib will lose many of the urban seats. The Chinese are not going to vote for the BN. Do you think the Chinese will get intimidated by Taib’s warnings that he won’t be able to help the Chinese? Certainly not.
The Chinese help themselves basically. The lesser you interfere, the better they like it. They can run a parallel economy, you know.
The best strategy for Najib is to carry out a containment policy. If Sarawak were to lose more state seats this time, let that losing trend be contained there. Don’t let them get over here in peninsula.
The biggest problem in Sarawak is Taib himself. He has stayed too long and accumulated too much resentment alongside the fabulous wealth that he has amassed. Sarawak can lose more seats based on the public revulsion of him alone.
It’s like the flow of current. You hold hands with a man about to be electrocuted, you get zapped too.
Najib will be ill advised if he holds the general election together with the Sarawak election.
Mohd Ariff Sabri Aziz, a former state assemblymen, is a columnist for Free Malaysia Today. He will, from time to time, share the Oracle’s wisdom with readers.