Teras to be dissolved after exit of leaders

Teras to be dissolved after exit of leaders

KUCHING: Parti Tenaga Rakyat Sarawak (Teras), a state Barisan Nasional (BN)-friendly party is in the process of being dissolved, acting President Peter Nansian said today.

He said the decision was made after consulting the party’s principal central executive committee members.

“The reasons for deregistration are: Teras was formed for BN-friendly Yang Berhormat under the BN-plus concept but for the just-concluded 11th state election, three of (former) Teras YBs stood as BN direct candidates.

“When they stood (election), they pledged to join existing BN component parties only. Therefore, now they cannot come back to Teras.

“Thus, Teras has exhausted its purpose and it is pointless for it to continue,” he said in a statement here today.

Teras, a splinter of the BN component Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP), was formed in 2014 amid party infighting.

To resolve the disputes between SPDP and Teras, Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem initiated the strategy of fielding “direct candidates” in the May 7 state polls.

All direct candidates resigned from their respective splinter groups to stand in the election.

In the state election, three former Teras assembyman, namely former President William Mawan, incumbent for Bekenu, Rosey Yunus, and incumbent for Batu Danau, Paulus Gumbang, were among the BN direct candidates who won in the election.

Nansian said it was easier for the three elected direct candidates to decide which BN component parties to join.

He said joining BN component parties would strengthen the state BN as there would be fewer political parties and the members would not be spread thin among them.

He suggested that Teras members, comprising more than 20,000, join any BN component party of their choice.

– BERNAMA

DAP’s strength in S’wak lies in smaller, higher-density seats

DAP’s strength in S’wak lies in smaller, higher-density seats

PETALING JAYA: The DAP’s strength in Sarawak lies in smaller, higher density constituencies, said Universiti Malaya’s Dr Rosmadi Fauzi today.

At a forum on the recently-concluded Sarawak election today, Rosmadi, who is an associate professor from the university’s Department of Geography, said the election results highlighted this.

He told FMT that this could be due to the fact that higher-density areas were also urban ones, where national politics was more of a concern.

In rural areas and larger constituencies, local issues were especially pertinent.

He also noted that the BN won in almost all the areas where the Pan Borneo Highway runs through, signifying the importance of the project.

Rosmadi also observed that this time around, BN won with a two-third majority in most of the constituencies it emerged victorious, compared to the 2011 election, where it did not secure a two-third majority in constituencies it triumphed in.

Meanwhile, UM political analyst Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi attributed BN’s victory to “Tsunami Adenan” which hit the state.

Awang said Adenan’s popularity was the main factor for BN’s sweeping win.

“Adenan is seen as a firm, open, respectable, simple and knowledgeable leader.”

Awang also said Adenan had in a short time, resolved many of the issues used by the Opposition in the last election, leaving them with few local issues to raise this time around.

This, he said, included the abolition of tolls, reduction of electricity tariffs and more, which were reflective of Adenan’s people-centric policies.

Awang said the Opposition’s campaign in the election centred too much on 1Malaysia Development Berhad and GST (goods and services tax), which were irrelevant compared to local issues.

He, however, noted that such national issues could very well prove crucial in the next general election, when people elect their parliamentarians.

In Saturday’s state election, Adenan led BN to a sweeping victory, winning 72 out of 82 seats.

Only BN leadership can decide on seat allocation, says Ghapur

Only BN leadership can decide on seat allocation, says Ghapur

TAWAU: Kalabakan Umno division chief Abdul Ghapur Salleh said yesterday that it is the Barisan Nasional leadership which decides which party will contest which seat, not the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

A report in the Borneo Post quoted Ghapur as saying it was, therefore, ridiculous for LDP President Teo Chee Kang to refuse to “return” the Merotai state seat to Umno for the 14th general election.

“It is our right to claim the seat as the majority of the people in Merotai are members of Umno. We want their fate to be taken care of as it’s their voice and wish to be represented by Umno.

“However, we submit the claim to be decided by the BN leadership. LDP has no right to reject the claim because the party is not the BN leadership,” he was quoted as saying.

The report said Ghapur reiterated his warning that if the claim made by Umno Kalabakan was not successful, it would not help any candidate from any other BN party in the general election. It will only work for an Umno candidate.

Teo, who is the State’s Minister of Special Tasks, has ruled out the prospect of his party handing over the Merotai state seat to Umno.

He reiterated that the question of “returning” Merotai to Umno did not arise as it was a new seat created after the re-delineation exercise in 2004.

Merotai is held by Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Pang Yuk Ming.

Salvage, investigation ops begin to locate missing copter

Salvage, investigation ops begin to locate missing copter

KUCHING: The Ministry of Transport (MOT) will conduct a salvage and investigation operation to locate the still missing Eurocopter AS350 helicopter that went down in Sebuyau last Thursday.

Sarawak Police Commissioner Muhammad Sabtu Osman, in announcing this to the media here today, said police participation in the Search and Rescue (SAR) operation would end by 4pm today since all six passengers on board had been accounted for.

“However, should the MOT require our assistance, we are ready to help,” he said, adding that a more sophisticated sonar metal scanner had arrived for the search.

He said the remains of the Filipino pilot, Captain Rudolf Rex Ragas, found at 10.35am on Monday, had also been positively identified.

“We are awaiting the arrival of his relatives for the body, which is now kept in the mortuary of the Sarawak General Hospital. The body will be cremated in Bau later today. After the cremation, the ashes will be brought back to the Philippines,” he said.

Sabtu said the usage of the scanner was more appropriate at this stage as Batang Lupar is a crocodile-infested river.

“We have also been advised against using any explosive as Pulau Seduku in the area is a crocodile sanctuary.

“With the scanner, the lives of all those involved in the salvage operation will not be at any risk,” he said, thanking all those who had helped, including the villagers.

In the incident on May 5, the helicopter, with six people on board, went missing after it left Betong for Kuching at 4.12pm.

Those on board were Deputy Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Noriah Kasnon; her husband Asmuni Abdullah; and Kuala Kangsar MP Wan Mohammad Khair-il Anuar Wan Ahmad.

Others on board were Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry Secretary-General Sundaran Annamalai; bodyguard Ahmad Sobri Harun; and the pilot.

– BERNAMA

DAP’s Superman promises to be ‘decent’ in future

DAP’s Superman promises to be ‘decent’ in future

PETALING JAYA: Fiery DAP politician Hew Kuan Yau, who drew flak over a crude and allegedly racist speech when campaigning during the Sarawak election, has promised to refrain from vulgarities in future.

“My politically-oriented ‘stand-up comedy’ will now be clean,” he vowed in a Facebook post, adding that his speeches often contained humour, facts and were peppered with metaphors.

Hew, attracted controversy after a video surfaced online in which he urged Chinese voters in Batu Kitang to back DAP’s Abdul Aziz Isa, so the latter could “screw the Malays”, and “screw the corrupt Malay officials” when he made it to the state assembly.

He also got a ticking off from party supremo Lim Kit Siang for being vulgar although the latter claimed there was nothing racist about Hew’s speech.

However, Hew, known as the “Superman” of DAP after his penchant for wearing t-shirts with the Superman logo, accused Umno cybertroopers of distorting the subtitles of the speech he made in Mandarin to make him look like a racist.

Hew said nowhere in his speech had he asked Sarawak Chinese to vote for Abdul Aziz so that he could “screw” the Malays.

He also said he was only referring to the “corrupt” PBB (Sarawak Barisan Nasional’s anchor party) and not the Malays per se.

In a related matter, MCA Central Committee member Jason Teoh said Lim aggravated the situation by refusing to acknowledge that Hew’s speech was racist.

In a statement, Teoh also wondered if the Gelang Patah lawmaker had suddenly lowered the bar on what is considered racism.

“Why is Kit Siang suddenly defending the indefensible?” he asked.

DAP’s Superman promises to be ‘decent’ in future

DAP’s Superman promises to be ‘decent’ in future

PETALING JAYA: Fiery DAP politician Hew Kuan Yau, who drew flak over a crude and allegedly racist speech when campaigning during the Sarawak election, has promised to refrain from vulgarities in future.

“My politically-oriented ‘stand-up comedy’ will now be clean,” he vowed in a Facebook post, adding that his speeches often contained humour, facts and were peppered with metaphors.

Hew, attracted controversy after a video surfaced online in which he urged Chinese voters in Batu Kitang to back DAP’s Abdul Aziz Isa, so the latter could “screw the Malays”, and “screw the corrupt Malay officials” when he made it to the state assembly.

He also got a ticking off from party supremo Lim Kit Siang for being vulgar although the latter claimed there was nothing racist about Hew’s speech.

However, Hew, known as the “Superman” of DAP after his penchant for wearing t-shirts with the Superman logo, accused Umno cybertroopers of distorting the subtitles of the speech he made in Mandarin to make him look like a racist.

Hew said nowhere in his speech had he asked Sarawak Chinese to vote for Abdul Aziz so that he could “screw” the Malays.

He also said he was only referring to the “corrupt” PBB (Sarawak Barisan Nasional’s anchor party) and not the Malays per se.

In a related matter, MCA Central Committee member Jason Teoh said Lim aggravated the situation by refusing to acknowledge that Hew’s speech was racist.

In a statement, Teoh also wondered if the Gelang Patah lawmaker had suddenly lowered the bar on what is considered racism.

“Why is Kit Siang suddenly defending the indefensible?” he asked.

Respect choices made by Sarawakians, says DAP rep

Respect choices made by Sarawakians, says DAP rep

PETALING JAYA: A Sarawak DAP assemblyman has called for those criticising and condemning Sarawakians for voting in the Barisan Nasional, to respect the choices of voters in the state.

According to a Borneo Post Online report, Wong King Wei, the assemblyman for Padungan said the democratic system had to be respected.

“For whatever reasons, Sarawakian voters made their decisions. Whether to support DAP or BN, this is their choice.”

A barrage of comments harshly criticising Sarawakians for choosing BN over the Opposition, surfaced on social media sites following last Saturday’s Sarawak election.

On the allegation by DAP National Publicity Chief Tony Pua of money politics in the state election, Wong said that if at all it was true, it was just one of the factors for the loss of support the Opposition suffered.

“One of the factors, of course, is money politics, but I believe it is only part of it.

“A larger part of it is, we in DAP have to reflect on ourselves on what we are lacking and how we can do better in the future.”

He noted that it would not be correct to assume money politics which was allegedly rampant in some areas, was also rampant in others.

“In some of the areas, we got quite good support from the Dayak voters. However, in some Chinese areas, we lost support. How do you interpret this?” he was quoted as saying, adding that it was time for reflection.

Superhuman ability needed to deny Hew’s racist remarks

Superhuman ability needed to deny Hew’s racist remarks

PETALING JAYA: Ti Lian Ker of MCA has challenged DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang and the party to walk the talk on accountability and take firm action against its firebrand leader Hew Kuan Yau.

Ti said he was baffled by Lim’s defence of Hew over the latter’s controversial racist remarks made in the run up to the May 7 Sarawak election.

While Lim had slammed Hew over his use of vulgarity, he however denied the latter’s remarks were racist as alleged.

“It takes superhuman ability to deny what Hew had said was racist. Does the ‘D’ in DAP stand for ‘Denial’?”

Ti said Hew could have got his point across that the DAP Batu Kitang candidate, Abdul Aziz Isa, would be able to take on “corrupt” PBB leaders if elected without dragging the word “Malay” into his argument.

“Let’s face it, if an Umno politician had inserted the race of someone he or she was chastising, DAP would make a meal out of it and slam leaders who say it is not racist,” he said, adding that it was highly likely that Lim would even demand Prime Minister Najib Razak be held accountable.

Ti, a Central Working Committee member of MCA, said if Lim and DAP were sincere about standing against racism, then more stringent action must be taken against Hew, with the least being banning him from speaking publicly.

Ti also questioned why the controversial figure had not shown any remorse and said, “If Hew really believes what he said was not racist, I dare him to repeat what he said in Malay and English.

“When International Trade and Industries Minister Mustapa Mohamed joked about a new building being like a new wife, he apologised after it ruffled feathers.”

Ti said if Hew had an iota of decency in him, he would apologise, unless the ‘A’ in DAP stood for “Arrogant.”

He added that Hew’s speech was similar to the kind of thrash talk spewed by other frustrated netizens, who spoke in condescending tones to Sarawakians after Barisan Nasional won the state election with a landslide victory.

Hew attracted controversy after a video surfaced online, in which he urged Chinese voters in Batu Kitang to back Abdul Aziz, so the latter could “screw the Malays”, and “screw the corrupt Malay officials” when he made it to the state assembly.

However Hew, known as “Superman” of DAP after his penchant for wearing Superman T-shirts, accused Umno “cybertroopers” of distorting the subtitles of the speech he made in Mandarin to make him look like a racist.

Hew said nowhere in his speech had he asked Sarawak Chinese to vote for Abdul Aziz so that he could “screw” the Malays.

He also said he was only referring to the “corrupt” PBB (Sarawak’s anchor party) and not the Malays per se.

Sarawak win indicates BN likely to keep Putrajaya in 2018

Sarawak win indicates BN likely to keep Putrajaya in 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: The Barisan Nasional’s victory in Sarawak gives the coalition a chance to win in the general election that must be held by August 2018, according to a Forbes report.

The BN won 72 of 82 state assembly seats in the Sarawak state election last Saturday.

While the Sarawak win is promising, it does not ensure a win for the BN in the general election.

However, Forbes reported, Najib needs to rebuild his name if he is to continue leading the coalition and the country.

The report said: “He has been suspected since last year of moving about US$700 million from government-run development company 1MDB to his personal bank accounts. The 62-year-old leader faces no formal charges, but based on suspicion alone a lot of people want him out after seven years as prime minister.”
It said the Sarawak win, the BN’s first electoral contest since the 1MDB issue erupted, gave Najib a narrow margin to grapple his way back to good standing before the nationwide vote.

“His continuation in power would mean more economic development, his thing all along. The well-off Southeast Asian nation of 30 million people relies mainly on resources such as gas and rubber but faces risks from drops in fuel prices and oil-related taxes that the World Bank says account for around 17% of public revenues. So it’s building up an Islamic finance sector, manufacturing (up more than 20% in 2014) and even a film industry.”
It quoted Merdeka Center Programme Director Ibrahim Suffian as saying the Sarawak win was no guarantee the BN would do well in cities, especially in the peninsula, as the mostly rural voters in Sarawak normally favoured the BN.

Meredith Weiss, associate political science professor with the State University of New York at Albany, US, was quoted as saying that the Sarawak win came on the heels of “heavy-handed patronage politics” that might not apply to the rest of the country.

“Barisan Nasional’s strong win in Sarawak breathes some life into the ailing coalition, and Najib has been quick to claim credit for and vindication in the coalition’s success there,” Weiss said. But she cautioned that “Malaysia’s economy is far from strong at present, so it is not clear whether his coalition could sustain such electoral largesse at the national elections, were elections to precede an economic rebound”.
Ibrahim said with economics a top concern before the national vote, the BN could be expected to add funding for social welfare services and try for increases in the minimum wage and salaries for public sector employees.

Najib would also leverage the Sarawak win to vie with opponents in his party, perhaps by offering them senior government jobs, he added. To crush rivals all out would stoke public sympathy for them. “My sense is that he’s planning either to coopt them or split the opposition,” the Forbes report quoted Ibrahim as saying.

Jambun: Lessons for M’sia in UK referendum on EU

Jambun: Lessons for M’sia in UK referendum on EU

KOTA KINABALU: There are lessons for Malaysia, especially Sabah and Sarawak, in the imminent referendum in the United Kingdom (UK) on the country’s continued membership in the European Union (EU),” said human rights advocate Daniel John Jambun in a telephone interview. “The British people see some apparent contradictions in the UK remaining an ‘open, democratic and liberal society’ in charge of its own destiny and the country’s present membership in the EU.”

Jambun, who heads the UK-based Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (Bopim), added that the British people may not be able to reconcile their aspirations with the fact that the EU has emerged as a bureaucratic state whose priorities are driven by centralization in Brussels, Belgium, and not the ideals that they have in mind. “Malaysia, likewise, has degenerated over the years from a Federation into a unitary state, not what the Founding Fathers in Borneo and Malaya envisaged.”

If the UK referendum is all about the relationship between Britain and the EU, continued Jambun, patently the nature of the relationship between Sabah and Sarawak on the one hand, and the Malayan Government, now the Malaysian Government, remains to be worked out. “Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak indicated in an interview on TV on Tuesday night that progress has been made on this with the Sarawak Government in the devolution of powers in 13 administrative areas.”

As in the case of the UK with the EU, reiterated Jambun, Sabah and Sarawak need to work out the nature of their relationship with the Federal Government in Putrajaya. “This is a matter for the Sabah and Sarawak Assemblies to consider and decide and the Sabah and Sarawak Governments and the state secretaries to follow up with the Chief Secretary and the Prime Minister as a matter of formality, decency and courtesy.”

Jambun was commenting on Najib conceding that there needs to be further engagement between the Federal and Sarawak Governments on whether there were any state powers which had been usurped by the former over the years. “If so, we will return such powers, in line with the aspirations of the people of Sarawak, as demonstrated in the just concluded state election,” the Bopim Chief quoted Najib as saying.

The bottomline, said Najib, is that “Sarawak has chosen independence through Malaysia and the question of that nation leaving the Federation does not arise”, Jambun further quoted the Prime Minister as saying.

Needless to say, reminded Jambun, the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) governs the relationship of Sabah and Sarawak with Putrajaya. “MA63 is an International Agreement and Trust Deed lodged with the UN Secretary General.”

“The question of a referendum along the lines in the UK on the EU does not arise.”

Since MA63 was above the Federal Constitution and the Malaysian Parliament, he does not see how the Federal Government could have usurped powers that belong to the two Borneo states. “The Prime Minister virtually admitting this during his TV interview was a dramatic moment which puts the rest of his remarks in the shade.”

Najib’s statements on Sarawak, while at the same time not mentioning Sabah which is “in the same boat”, was driven by “collective amnesia”, charged Jambun. “Sarawak was independent on 22 July 1963 i.e. before Malaysia on 16 September 1963.”

“Sarawak being independent through Malaysia is a misnomer.”

Again, said the human rights advocate, Sabah was independent on 31 August 1963, before Malaysia.