The battle for the Deputy CM’s chair

You may have been aware of the current talk that the current Deputy Chief Minister of Sarawak Alfred Jabu is not going to contest the Layar seat at the upcoming 11th Sarawak General Election. The changing of the guard is normal in politics, whereby politicians move on and allow others to steer the ship.

And although in other countries the changing of the guard happens frequently, at times several times in the lifespan of an elected government, the same cannot be said about Malaysian politics in general and Sarawak specifically.

Alfred Jabu’s political career stretches 43 years and he has held the Layar seat in 1973 before switching to Betong in the 1974 state election.

With the non inclusion of Alfred Jabu in the upcoming election the post of Deputy Chief Minister would be vacant and the throne is up for grabs.

The name tounted around is that of Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Douglas Uggah, who will have to sacrifice his federal post and also his parliament seat to return to Sarawak and contest for the Bukit Saban seat.

Being PBB vice-president, Douglas seems the clear cut choice to helm the deputy chief minister’s post.

Yet, why must Sarawak relinquish a federal post to fill in a void that is created by a local political figure head?

Are there no other local politicians that can fill in the post, thus giving Sarawak the edge of having one federal post in the bag?

And who will in turn hold sway in Betong, the former seat for Douglas. Bear in mind the Betong parliamentary seat is made up of Layar, Bukit Saban and Saribas.

So essentially, Douglas is stepping a notch down, just so he has a shooting chance at the deputy’s chair.

How will this impact the local politicians who have been in the business of Sarawak politics for as long as Jabu has been in the picture. If the argument that the deputy seat needs to be filled in by a Dayak holds sway, then the likes of James Masing or William Mawan are credible too.

Yet, although the two are capable; the post seems destined to be filled by a Parti Pusaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) member.

And although we claim to detest the presense of UMNO in Sarawak, we have a political entity that operates; no different than UMNO.

And when the argument was fired by the ruling PBB leaders that home-grown oppositions politicians are way better than West Malaysia base parties; the same can be argued about local base politicians rather than those ‘imported’ from outside.

For a politicians who is drawn in from abroad may bring with them the ideals of the abroad. The strings that entangled politicians are real and long and varied.

For in allowing a federal base politician to helm a seat that could be filled in by a locally base one, it can’t be a stretch to say that we further entrench ourselves in the grasp of the federal.

The above argument can be wrong, yet; it is still valid enough to be considered. For does it means, each time we are to fill in a vacancy; we first turn to those in the federal before looking at those we have state-side. –