Anwar Ibrahim sees Sabah and Sarawak as easy picking.He has taken over as PKR's liaison chairman for both Sabah and Sarawak.Some PKR leaders in both states are in a quandary.They think he has no trust and confidence in them to lead the party.In Sabah it was rumoured that Jeffery Kitingan, one of the vice-presidents of PKR may leave the party soon due to dissatisfaction with the leadership.Former liaison Chairman Ansari Abdullah had relinquished his position earlier and the position was taken up by Anwar.
Sarawak would be having its state elections latest by 2011 and Anwar foresees erosion of support for Chief Minister Taib Mahmud and his coalition government.He based his findings on the dissatisfaction of the Dayak and Chinese voters against Taib's administration.The same was said of Musa Aman of Sabah in the March 2008 General Elections but the result was a shocking disbelief.Most people predicted Musa and the BN would lose badly in the elections.The BN won with a huge landslide and together with Sarawak saved the Federal government from falling to the oppositions.Both chief ministers had shown their mantles and the federal leaders would be foolish to ignore their contributions to the saving of UMNO.You can only win elections overwhelmingly if you have good organisational setup.
Sabah and Sarawak are the mothers of money politics, progenitors of vote buying, political arm twisting and the ultimate money can buy anything.If words can't convince you money can and more often than not it works and Sabah and Sarawak have plenty of it during elections times.
In the 'Land Of The Hornbills' there are more money growing on trees than the legendary birds in the forests.The forests have made millionaires and billionaires.
Today, the biggest logging companies in the world are no longer the Americans or British, they are Sarawakian companies with logging activities spanning the world's rainforests from small island nation of Solomon Islands to Africa,South America and the forests of Siberia.These businessmen are the epitome of 'rags to riches' story and many owed their success to the Sarawak Chief Minister.A friend of mine once told me that in Chinese culture and more so with the Foochow 'you don't forget those who has helped you' and also 'you don't forget those that had betrayed you'.The 'Foochows' of Sarawak control most of the big businesses especially timber.
It is no use to complain about money politics, it is too much ingrained in the political system everywhere and the worst culprits are those in UMNO.Buying favours and corruptions, which is one and the same, is one of the world's oldest profession.Maybe, the government should adopt a system similar to the American and legalise money politics.
It is not that the people of Sarawak don't want any political change, but what are the alternatives? Can PKR be the right answer ? Bringing PKR to Sarawak is the same as bringing UMNO to Sarawak.Looking at the Sabah experience and if PKR or Pakatan took over the state government in the next state elections but were not able to capture the federal government, than they would become an opposition state and suffer the same fate as PBS of Sabah when it was out of the BN. In the event Pakatan succeeded in taking over the federal government than Sarawak would become a subservient state like Sabah.
Sarawakians may be faced with a Hobson's choice, stay with the status quo or trade-in state rights to the central government.
PKR and DAP might make some inroads into some disgruntled Dayak and Chinese areas in Sarawak but not enough to rein in the government.Sarawakians are still suspicious of handing over total power to Peninsula-based political party.
The biggest problem for Anwar is would his Pakatan Rakyat survive until the Sarawak state elections in 2011.The bickering between DAP and PAS has widen the gap and would get bigger as time goes by. Adding to the problem is Anwar's silence on PAS hudud law ambition, he remained muted for fear of a backlash from PAS leadership.
Would Anwar be able to capture Sarawak as portrayed in this article.
I would say he gets as far as the 'nickel and dime'
According to reliable sources, the BN could lose up to 30 seats in the next state elections, which would mean that Pakatan Rakyat just needs to capture six extra seats to win power, if the elections were held today.
(A caption for the article from Malaysian Insider 'Anwar sniffing victory in Taib’s backyard')