Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Power play behind the scenes in Sarawak election

Secara Rawak

So the chief minister of Sarawak has release the list of candidates for the upcoming Sarawak state election. And after weeks of speculation, one of the last candidates to be announce was that for Marudi.

Back in January of 2016, all signs pointed to the fact that incumbant Datuk Sylvester Entri anak Muran was retaining the candidancy for Marudi. Minister Public Utilities and Second Minister of Resource Planning and Environment Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said this in officiating at the completion of the rural electricity supply project for Bok-Lapok region at Rumah Wen Mengelit longhouse in Lapok.

“To update on the latest development, I enquired with the Chief Minister on whether there was any changes for Marudi and his answer was “ No”,” he said to the applause of the crowd of 5,000 which turned up.

There was no question about the choice of candidate, and rightly so since Datuk Amar Awang Tengah had asked the chief minister himself if there were any changes to Marudi and the clear answer was ‘No’.

By March 2016, the script seem to be changing. Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem was tight-lip on who the candidate was. And this set off a flurry of activity on the ground.

Come April and community leaders were calling on the chief minister to retain the incumbent for Marudi, with citations as to how much Sylvester Entri had done for the community and on so forth. And the show of force from such community leaders and PBB members seem to indicate that Datuk Sylvester Entri was the choice.

But Adenan Satem had other ideas and named Datu Dr Penguang Manggil instead to replace four-term Marudi assemblyman  Sylvester Entri.

And how the tables turned.

What then is the play by Adenan Satem here? If you consider a few weeks back, the term “Team Adenan” was coined to refer to direct BN candidates who would have the choice to join any party from within the BN fold once election was over.

The choice of Datu Dr Penguang Manggil by Adenan was a clear signal that this was “his man” a member of “Team Adenan”. And as some say, the signal was not for the voters in Marudi but rather to the incumbent and those behind him.

Obvious or not, there is power play going on behind the scenes with those in PBB. And this is centered on the idea of who would the successor to Adenan be. Incumbents of most rural seats, like Marudi, are backed by powerful figures in PBB. Such incumbents upon winning the seat may or may not be “Team Adenan”.

By removing incumbents, Adenan has created a clean slate to totally have his team in place by putting up candidates who will surely be beholden to him at the end of the election.

Yes, “Team Adenan” is by design. It is in place to further strengthen the hold Adenan Satem has on Sarawak politics and to eliminate ambitious wolves from among the fold. –

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