Mankind will never see an end of trouble until lovers of wisdom come to hold political power, or the holders of power become lovers of wisdom.– Plato, Greek philosopher
Mangkong kepalak dirik pun (to knock one’s own head) is how I would describe Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) chief Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh’s tasteless response to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg recently.
The former Cabinet minister went to some length to drag the chief minister’s good name through the mud alongside him, recounting inside stories from years past on how Abang Johari was involved in the formation of the party.
Who is he trying to fool, or rather — win over? I doubt he is doing himself any favours by his line of attack towards the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) president who, in all fairness, has been restrained in terms of attacking Wong’s party all this while.
Has the Bawang Assan assemblyman conveniently forgot that, among his last words when he stepped down from his Cabinet position last year was that he will continue to support Abang Johari in the service to the people of Sarawak?
If he hasn’t, what is all this then?
In case you haven’t noticed, the root of frustration of the PBB president and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) chairman was PSB. After it had taken in party members from other GPS component parties it had the gall to poach PBB members from their branch in Miri last month.
Understandably, PBB had to stand their ground and make their feelings clear on the issue and it is expected that the party will hit back at PSB at some point. What other outcome did Wong and his counterparts expect? A pat on the back?
In response to Wong, the chief minister said his support for PSB was in favour of Chinese unity, which is noble in its intention and represented the views of the
leadership at the time.
It also meant that the former State Legislative Assembly (DUN) speaker was retained in the state Cabinet with his party then being GPS-friendly, all for the sake of Chinese representation in the state government.
Neither did GPS nor the former Barisan Nasional (BN) Sarawak take sides, if you think about it. Had the chief minister wanted to pander to Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), the PSB chief would have been out of the government a long time ago.
SUPP, which Wong was formerly of, and PSB were at loggerheads for years following a potracted leadership crisis and subsequent splintering.
With his criticism directed at the chief minister, he also managed to open a Pandora’s box, with many state leaders taking him to task.
At present, there is no love lost between the PSB chief and the folk in SUPP. The latter had very few kind words to describe their former comrade.
SUPP Youth chief Michael Tiang said in the case of the 78-year-old, instead of being
grateful for being in the government, the latter chose to lead a party of disgruntled members to challenge GPS.
Meanwhile, Women chief Kho Teck Wan hit the nail on the head when she described that the Bawang Assan assemblyman’s move to badmouth Abang Johari — who had helped his party so much all these years — revealed the former’s true characters.
Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president and Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing, who did not take too kindly when PSB poached members of his party last year, also blasted the PSB chief.
This was also followed by PBB Youth chief Gerald Rentap Jabu and his deputy Miro Simuh who also took Wong to task.
If there is one salient point in all this bickering, it was that of the message from Abang Johari which was crystal clear — PSB is a party filled with disgruntled party
members, make no mistake about it.
If there is anything to learn by in the past week, it is that the chief minister was vindicated in his assessment, adding that it is GPS policy that if anyone, including PSB, touches one of its component parties, the rest will retaliate in response.
“You touch one, you touch all,” as Abang Johari said earlier this week.
PSB has been too keen to bolster its membership base that it has taken people of various characters into their fold and most of them carried their own baggage.
Saying that the party is flush with disgruntled, much maligned and even rejected members is an understatement.
If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.