A picture speaks a thousand words so we offer our readers a bit of a rest by posting one of George Chan addressing a BN rally last night in Miri, which is his constituency. We invite you to contrast it with our featured picture of the rally half an hour later just a few yards away for PKR’s Anwar Ibrahim.
The SUPP incumbant and Deputy Chief Minister George Chan drew an audience of less than a hundred. On the other hand, his rival Anwar Ibrahim, who has been derided by BN for being an ‘outsider’ from West Malaysia drew 12,000 supporters in a crowd that later swelled to a record 20,000. In the centre of George’s own constituency. The atmosphere was electric and a sense of impending change ‘fizzled in the air’, according to participants at the PKR opposition event.The dead-beat Chan event was supported by ex-Penang Chief Minister Koh Tsu Koon, who must know full well what impending defeat looks like – he got booted out in 2008. The scenes must have been familiar for him.
PKR has a strong local base, led by the successful native rights lawyer Baru Bian, who has been beating the Chief Minister’s landgrab policies over and again in the courts. This is why the crowds are growing.
Those political analysts with government jobs in universities, who have been opining over past months that BN can never be dislodged in Sarawak and that the opposition PR coalition (PKR/DAP/PAS) can make little progress outside the towns, can be forgiven. They analyse the past and make predictable predictions.
But, who predicted the collapse of the Berlin Wall or the wave of uprisings now engulfing the Middle East and toppling dictators, who were only weeks ago considered to be in power for life?
The tipping point may arrive subtly, but then it is seismic. Political settlements depend on the will of the people and if a ruler goes too far and at the same time demonstrates fatal weaknesses then the earth can shake, dams can burst and walls can crumble!
What are the signs are in Sarawak?
Taib has certainly gone too far, much too far. His landgrabs of recent years have lacked judgement and caution, which were qualities he showed in his earlier period. He has behaved like a greedy old man in a hurry.
But, people are starting to realise now that he is not only a greedy but also an increasingly weak old man, who is giving in to the grasping excesses of his sister Raziah and his closest ministers, all intent on enriching themselves at the expense of the people. He has lost control.
The Raziah problem
Insiders have told Sarawak Report that it is now just a question of Raziah identifying which bit of land she would like and then sending in a letter to the Land and Survey Department. Her requests are automatically granted! Others are also taking advantage.
Under the management of her 3rd husband Robert Geneid, Taib’s youngest sister has gone from a hard-up family scrounger to a fabulously rich and wealthy woman with houses strung across the world and a family dripping in wealth. The weddings of her daughter Elia have been the talk of Sarawak for months because of the lavish opulence displayed.
There is a view that such matters are only understood in the towns and that the simple people of the villages will not be able to withstand the threats and bribes as the BN election machine moves into gear, illegally offering money and ’development projects’ which will be ‘witheld’ if their vote is not on the right place.
This is what causes BN to be complacent and the analysts to say that things cannot change. However, poor people are not stupid people and the word about Taib is getting out - the flight of SW radios off the shelves as villages tune into Radio Free Sarawak bears evidence to that!
The enormous worry within the inner circles of Taib’s family and his closest political allies about Razia has also spread. Sarawak is a small place and the gossip travles, despite the muzzled media. After Taib’s wife Laila died it is known how Raziah has ‘moved in’ from next door to dominate the ’palace’. One close contact has explained the situation in graphic terms:
“The real Chief Minister of Sarawak is Raziah, she has used black magic on him…. Taib has come under the spell of Rosie [Raziah], she controls all of the contracts and land handed out”Bomoh rule?
The concern is that Raziah has not just exploited an elderly man recovering from cancer who is missing his wife, she has exploited the brother whom she well knows has a life-long weakness and dependency on bomohs and witchcraft!
This has been Taib’s dirty and embarrassing secret. The man who preaches modernisation and development is in fact a slave to backward practices that defy his Muslim beliefs! He engages ludicrous Bomohs to advise on matters of state and to ‘cast spells’ on his enemies.
As we exposed on Sarawak Report, Razia has convinced Taib to accept her own personal Bomoh, the blond Australian of Lebanese extraction, Kharleen Tashman, who goes by the name of Stella. Stella has told Taib that Raziah inherited the aura of his favourite disceased brother Arif, thereby giving Raziah added authority and influence over the failing leader.
With such an embarrasing story now public, to have then brought Stella into the open at Taib’s nomination ceremony last week could not have been more insanely misjudged. It was clearly a move of defiance and retaliation on the part of Raziah. But as the dyed platinum blond started to attract immediate attention at this critical political moment the BN minders must have realised how badly it had backfired. What arrogance and short-sightedness!
As the press clamoured with questions and the photographers moved in on the pouting sorceress, she sat in her weird attire observing the ceremony saying nothing. The stage was thus set to record the angry tirade against her by Taib’s own frustrated cousin, Salleh. Salleh Jafaruddin represents the worry and frustration of a large chunk of Taib’s own family by chosing now to contest the old man in his own seat:.
Taunting the botoxed fortune teller he first cried out “are you going to cast a spell on me?!” Then turning to the crowd he said “this is why I am doing this. It is to save Taib from the Bomohs like her!” . Salleh then went on to give interviews elaborating on the seriousness of the situation from the point of view of the family.
““foreign witches are currently encircling him and his closely guarded political cronies. I personally met and confronted the three witches on the day of nomination in Mukah. I explicitly told the witches that they have no business and legitimacy to give spiritual and mental advice and guidance to our chief minister”
In this way Taib’s enormous weaknesses have been exposed on the eve of his most testing election. Can a young wife (also known to have been supplied by his sister Raziah) save his image under such cicumstances? The rumbling in Sarawak and BN’s own secret polls have been saying otherwise. Those polls have been worrying the hell out of BN and now further signs are starting to explain why.
When the longhouse villagers of the interior start to block the landing pads against BN’s army of election helicopters, as they did against Taib’s other Deputy Chief Minister, Alfred Jabu last week the rumbling turned into a definite murmur. That murmur may very well develop into something louder over the coming few days.
When an oppressive regime starts to fail there are some key indicators. You see the frustration of rising expectations among the people – in this case deprived Sarawakians who have been told for so long to expect improvement by BN, but never received them.
There is also a loss of strength and faith within the inner circles and core structures of the regime. In Sarawak there are signs of growing disaffection among the Civil Service, the police, the business partners, the lackeys and even the Mahmud family itself, which is also drawing out the carpet from under Taib.
These are the forces he is relying upon to engineer an election ’win’ - to allow the BN ballot box stuffers, vote riggers, bribers and bullies to get away with their dirty work. These are the goverment employees that Taib is expecting to intimidate into voting for him.
This is why the emails like the ones currently circulating amongst civil servants urgning them to no longer fear reprisals, because “Taib cannot punish us all” are particularly dangerous to the old man.
Because, it is true. When the earth begins to shake like it has been doing in Sarawak this week, then the people start to realise that the structures are failing.
They can no longer be singled out, controlled or punished for doing what they want… because everybody else is doing it too. Just one more tremor came in this video received by Sarawak Report today. It is doing the rounds and it is an eloquent answer to all the BN claptrap about stewardship of the environment and their care of the native people of Sarawak. Everyone in Sarawak knows the difference between the truth and the lies. And BN are the ones who are lying.