Sarawak and UMNO: The savior, the untouchable

There is no doubt that Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem is popular among the people of Sarawak, more so than the predecessor before him. And all seems set that, at the 11th state election, Adenan will be around for another five years; allowing him the much needed mandate to push for more autonomy for Sarawak from the federal government.

This is the unfortunate reality for Sarawak. A popular Chief Minister between the sheets with a very unpopular Prime Minister.

Not merely a safe deposit

Sarawak never has a hand in choosing the Prime Minister, which by convention is given directly to the President of UMNO. The absense of UMNO in Sarawak means that there are no representatives at the annual UMNO General Assembly hence the internal affairs of UMNO are untouchable and for the most part the delegates to said assembly do not have the interest of Sarawak in mind.

Yet, Sarawak has always been the savior for every BN-UMNO lead goverment come election season.

Sarawak is not merely a ‘safe deposit’ state for BN, instead we are king makers for UMNO to remain in power. Sarawak is the ace in the deck of cards we call the Malaysian democracy. The increased 11 new seats proposed by the Election Commission is sure to cement the BN’s hold on Sarawak and further extend the life-span of BN as a whole. With a democratic system practicing ‘first pass the post’, the more the seats in the bag, the better.

The recent meeting between Adenan and Najib in Putrajaya to discuss the devolution of power to the state, most surely will depend on the performance of BN in Sarawak.

This push for more autonomy from the federal government could not have come at a better moment. Embattered Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak needs something good to appear on his resume. And having a positive Barisan Nasional (BN) victory in the Sarawak would give him that much needed publicity gambit to show-case to his distractors, that he is still relevant. Riding on the popularity of Adenan has really become the means to an end for Najib.

“Win big and I’ll give you more sweets,” one can imagine Najib telling Adenan.

A Shakesperean tragedy

So Sarawakians are now caught in an odd predicament that sounds like a Shakespearen tragedy.

We must keep a very unpopular government in place, just so a popular leader can make a push, ala the Sarawak for Sarawakian bandwagon; to demand better treatment from said unpopular government, which has for the past 50 years have kept Sarawak on the back-burner for development and progress.

Are we relegated to begging for scraps from the dinner table, only when the opportunity is available or can we, as Sarawak, truly demand the birth-right that is ours from the onset of forming Malaysia?

It seems that for 2016, we have to prove ourselves, over and over again just so we can gain hand-outs from a federal government that is not ashamed to with-hold what is rightfully ours. Demands for increased in oil royalties and even the use of English in our fair state have been turned down and scorned on. Must we really beg for what is really ours?

This is reality. That as long as the status quo is maintained, Sarawak will have to be in an unhappy marriage where promises made today most certainly will change tomorrow. Just wait and see what happens, after the impending Sarawak state elections. – Sarawak Voice