The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things. – Ronald Reagan, 40th US president
PBB senior vice president Datuk Seri Michael Manyin is a confident man to be saying Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) can secure all eight Bidayuh-majority seats in the next state election.
I, too, think GPS can, but I think for him to be “captain” of all these eight seats is neither practical nor practicable.
The sheer size of the eight seats put together can’t be captained by a single person.
Then there is the complexity of the whole thing in terms of understanding each and every one of the seats, the local sentiments as to socio-politics, and the touchy subject of people looking up to their own local leaders.
So, I am saying it takes more than just confidence and spirit to successfully defend the eight Bidayuh-majority seats of Opar, Tasik Biru, Serembu, Mambong, Tarat, Tebedu, Kedup and Bukit Semuja.
The leaders of GPS must be realistic, study the grounds carefully leaving no stone unturned, listen to the heartbeats of the people and tell the GPS chairman the truth.
You see, many problems of the past were the result of keeping the truth away from the chief for him to be able to make the right decision. This is especially true when it comes to picking the candidates.
Personal agenda should be set aside. Dislike for a certain potential candidate because he seems to see things differently should not override logic and reasons.
Winnability may be a much abused word, but if a person has worked so hard and appears to enjoy a fair amount of popularity, these are indeed winning factors.
The best potential candidate should be picked. The second or third best candidates can never be better than the No. 1 best.
“Ego weakens the Dayaks; we are our own greatest enemy because we let our hearts rule our heads.” – Utilities Minister Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi (New Sarawak Tribune, May 26, 2019)
When it comes to picking candidates, it’s the ego of the Dayak political leaders that had caused parties like PBB and PRS to lose seats.
Look at what happened to Puncak Borneo in GE14. Close to a dozen names were bandied around as potential candidates, but the ticket was finally given to Jeannoth Sinel, and that was despite his baggage.
The leaders were forewarned that the one bitter issue being played up in Puncak Borneo was the purported land grabs.
Puncak Borneo grassroots did not want Jeannoth; he was the choice of some egoistic Bidayuh leaders.
It was the same with Selangau. The ego of the PRS leaders defeated logic and reasons, and they paid heavily for it.
Serian could have been lost if some leaders of SUPP were allowed to have their way. They wanted incumbent Datuk Seri Richard Riot to step down and make way for a new candidate, purportedly because he has been there too long and the party needed to inject new blood.
I dare say with certainty, if Riot had not stood, not only Serian would have been lost to the opposition, but the fate of the three state seats within the Serian parliamentary constituency will hang in the balance come PRN12.
What I am driving at is, leave your ego behind and work as a team.
And as far as the eight Bidayuh seats are concerned, I don’t see having a single “captain” as a good strategy.
A captain for the state seats in each parliamentary constituency looks more like it. A captain for Tebedu, Kedup and Bukit Semuja in the Serian parliamenray seat; a captain for Tarat, Mambong and Serembu in the Puncak Borneo parliamentary seat; and a captain for Opar and Tasik Biru in the Mas Gading parliamentary seat.
Let’s face it, PRN12 will be the mother of all elections for GPS, the loss of seats such as Puncak Borneo, Selangau and Lubok Antu in GE14 should be a bitter lesson learnt.
There is no time for introduction and pleasantries. Change of candidate should not be made for the sake of change.
Those with good winning track records should be allowed to defend their seats no matter their age.
Wounds of the last state election should have been healed. Incumbents should have made efforts to mend fences because if they have not done so, the battle will be fiercer than the last.
First term assemblymen such as Datuk Henry Jinep, who won with a rather uncomfortable majority of 1,288 – he garnered 6,922 while his opponent took 5,634 – surely know their strength and weaknesses and from there strategise.
These assemblymen are actually their own best captains.