The Battle for Sarawak in the 11th Sarawak State General Election with the dissolution of the Sarawak State Assembly on April 11 is the Battle for Malaysia for future generations, in Sarawak as well as rest of the country.
Never before have the Sarawak state general election been so important in the 53-year history of Sarawak, for what happens on Sarawak polling day is not just about Sarawak, about how big a majority Chief Minister Datuk Adenan Satem will have in the new State Assembly, but even more important, how it will affect Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s tenure as sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia and his ability to deflect or to continue to disregard the national and international furore over his RM55 billion 1MDB and RM4.2 billion “donation” twin mega scandals.
In fact it is no exaggeration to say that the forthcoming Sarawak State General Elections is even more important to Najib than to Adenan in determining the fate of the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia.
This is the reason for Najib’s cryptic remark in Kuching yesterday that he was fighting fit for the crucial Sarawak state general election, with the symbolic reference of his choosing between two T-shirt sizes – XL and XXL.
He chose the XL and he said he could wear it, and the message is clear: “I am fighting fit and I will take on anyone”.
In Miri yesterday, Najib said he had visited Sarawak as Prime Minister 49 times already, and not just because of state elections but because he sincerely want to see Sarawak’s development catch up with other states in the peninsula.
Has Najib visited Sabah 49 times since becoming Prime Minister, and if not, is this because he did not want Sabah’s development to catch up with other states in the peninsula?
The people of Sarawak and Malaysia are not children, for it is obvious to all that Najib had visited Sarawak 49 times since becoming Prime Minister precisely because of the impending Sarawak state general elections and not so much about his wanting Sarawak’s development to catch up with other states in the peninsula.
May be Najib can give a breakdown of the number of his visits to Sarawak before and after the May 5, 2013 national general elections.
As there is nothing wrong about the Prime Minister’s visit to Sarawak, why should Najib try to camouflage it under some hifalutin ground when all know that all these “noble motives” are untrue and the real reason is the impending Sarawak state elections?
The Sarawak state general election will be a most extraordinary state general elections, for at stake is not so much the future of Sarawak Chief Minster Datuk Adenan Satem but the fate of the Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Nobody disputes that the Adenan will be returned as the Sarawak Chief Minister in the 11th Sarawak state elections.
The question on polling day is not whether Adenan will win the simple majority to form the new Sarawak State Government, but whether he will be able to secure a two-thirds majority in the Sarawak State Assembly – i.e. winning at least 55 State Assembly seats or ensuring that the Opposition in Sarawak do not collectively win a total of 28 seats.
The position of Adenan as the Chief Minister of Sarawak is very safe, secure and unchallenged, and the only question is whether he will have two-thirds majority in the State Assembly.
One lesson from history, including Malaysian history, is that two-thirds majority whether Parliament or the State Assembly without proper checks and balances is vulnerable to gross abuses of power, which gets worse with the passage of time.
It is in the interests of the people and to the system of parliamentary democracy that such checks-and-balances against abuses of power are strongly and effectively put in place.
The issue in the Sarawak state general elections is not whether Adenan will continue as Sarawak Chief Minister but whether the Sarawak Barisan Nasional should be given a two-thirds majority in the 11th Sarawak polls.
The most powerful reason why the Sarawak Barisan Nasional should be denied a two-thirds majority in the Sarawak State Assembly is to provide the necessary checks-and-balances to avoid abuses and excesses of power. This is not in the best interest of promoting the state autonomy rights and powers as spelt out in the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
Furthermore, a two-thirds majority victory for Sarawak Barisan Nasional in the Sarawak state general election will be taken as a vindication of the Najib premiership, especially Najib’s RM55 billion 1MDB and RM4.2 billion twin mega scandals, and as a mandate for the Najib administration to resort to undemocratic and repressive policies to stifle democracy, human rights as well good governance principles like the National Security Council Bill.
The Battle for Sarawak in the 11th Sarawak State General Election with the dissolution of the Sarawak State Assembly on April 11 is not just about Sarawak but is the Battle for Malaysia for future generations, in Sarawak as well as rest of the country.
(Speech at the Official Commemorative Book Launch of “Impian Sabah & Sarawak: A Malaysian Dream”, and forum “Battle of Sabah & Sarawak, Battle for Malaysia” at the KL-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH), Kuala Lumpur on Monday, 4th April 2016 at 8 pm)