It was reported yesterday that the Sarawak Chief Minister is mulling over the banning of DAP Secretary-General and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, myself as well as Parliamentary Opposition Leader and PKR President Datuk Seri Azizah Wan Ismail, from entering Sarawak for campaigning in the 11th Sarawak State Elections.
Why have I suddenly become an “undesirable character” to be banned from Sarawak after campaigning in seven parliamentary and nine state general elections in Sarawak in the last 38 years, going back to the late seventies?
In fact, what could be the honest and honourable reason for banning the long list of Members of Parliament from entry into Sarawak, including DAP National Vice Chairman Teresa Kok, National Publicity Secretary Tony Pua, Deputy National Publicity Secretary Teo Nie Ching, PKR National Vice Chairmen Nurul Izzah, Chua Tian Chang and Rafizi Ramli, Parti Amanah Negara President Mohamad Sabu, and even the DAP mascot designer Ooi Leng Hah, except for a gross abuse of power as the law is very clear that no one should be barred from entry into Sabah for legitimate political activities – although Sarawak state government enjoys full autonomy on immigration matters.
Sarawakians and Malaysians hope to see Sarawak as the vanguard for full and genuine democracy in Malaysia, and not the other way round, where democracy is given a fatal blow by gross abuses and excesses of power.
The Sarawak State Assembly will be dissolved tomorrow to pave the way for the holding of the 11th Sarawak state general elections.
Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem has no problem of being returned as Sarawak Chief Minister, and the only question is whether Adenan will win the 11th Sarawak general election with a two-thirds majority or not.
For the DAP, we have two challenges: firstly, whether we can retain the 12 seats we had won in the 2011 state election and secondly, whether we can make a breakthrough and win a few seats in the Dayak areas.
These are no threats to Adenan’s re-election as Sarawak Chief Minister, although they may constitute life-and-death battles for some parties like the SUPP.
Is Adenan therefore banning DAP and PKR leaders and MPs to save or at the request of parties like SUPP for their own political survival, regardless of how undemocratic and blatant the gross abuses of power?
It is indeed sad if a once-great political party like SUPP has now to survive by the most undemocratic means, as getting DAP and PKR leaders and MPs banned from campaigning in the Sarawak state general elections – but they may be grossly mistaken if they think this is their recipe and elixir to prolong their political life.
I still hope that Adenan’s democratic instincts will prevail as I still have the greatest respect for Adenan since he became the Sarawak Chief Minister.
Together with the dissolution of the Sarawak state assembly tomorrow, I hope he will revoke the blanket ban on DAP, PKR and Amanah leaders and MPs from their legitimate political activities as guaranteed by law to campaign in the 11th Sarawak state general election.
Let’s have a clean and honest campaign in the Sarawak state general election and not allow abuses and excesses to mar the Sarawak election campaign, as we owe it to Sarawak and Malaysia to ensure that the fragile plant of democracy is nurtured to grow and flourish in our land.
[Speech (2) at the DAP “Pantang Undur – Berani Kerana Benar” kopitiam ceramah in visit to 102nd parliamentary constituency Tasek Gulogor at Sungei Dua on Sunday 10th April 2018 at 1pm]