My brother, See Chee How

We must live together as brothers, or perish together as fools.

Martin Luther King Jr, American civil rights leader

“Good afternoon, big brother,” See Chee How greeted me over the phone last Wednesday afternoon. That was his usual greeting whenever he called.

Chee How, who is like a younger brother to me, called that day to inform me of a major decision he was contemplating to make and asked for my opinion.

The state assemblyman for Batu Lintang told me he has been thinking of quitting Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) for a while and gave his reasons for doing so.

Let me fast forward. By the time this is published, it would have been a week since our conversation. Many stories have been written, multiple views and opinions have been said and heard since last Sunday when Chee How’s resignation from PSB was announced by State Legislative Assembly Speaker Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar.

When the story broke, many were taken by surprise, including our very close friends in the Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS), the NGO which I head and where Chee How serves as legal adviser.

As the news spread on Sunday, more of our mutual friends, including some ex-classmates, messaged me and asked what I know about Chee How’s latest political manoeuvre.

I think I owe it to my brother to explain and help clear the air over the key topic of that day. This was my standard reply: “Chee How has informed me of his intention to quit PSB a few days ago. I support his decision to leave a sinking ship.

“We spoke at length on the matter, and I agree with Chee How’s plan to be an independent DUN member and continue serving his constituents in Batu Lintang. That will be his main task for the remainder of his term. MoCS will support his work as well as other YBs who have been diligent in providing necessary services and help to the electorate, irrespective of political affiliation.

“Chee How has served as MoCS legal adviser since 2010 and will remain so, come what may. This is what I can say for now”, I concluded in my note on Sunday.

Admittedly, there has been a backlash against Chee How over his resignation. As expected, there was the accusation linking him to political frogging and that Chee How left PSB for personal gain.

I concede it has been an onerous task for me to defend my younger brother against these public onslaughts. Just let me say this: If Chee How has done wrong and had betrayed those who voted for him in Batu Lintang, then he deserved to be punished and be rejected by you all in the next election.

As his big brother, I will be the first to reprimand Chee How and tell him off if the allegations and accusations are true. That I can promise.

However, if there is not an iota of doubt that Chee How has stood by his principle and struggles all throughout his political career, then we owe it to him to support his good work for the people.

Allow him to fulfil what he had promised the electorate in Batu Lintang and back him all the way.

Personally, I have always been sentimental about Batu Lintang. My Kuching home is in the constituency and I am a Batu Lintang voter.

Not only that, I had also stood as a candidate in Batu Lintang twice but was defeated on both occasions. Needless to say, I was very happy and proud when my younger brother, Chee How, won the seat for the first time in 2011 and defended it successfully for two more terms.

What I could not do, Chee How did and I am extremely proud of his achievements.  

Having known Chee How for more than 30 years, I can vouch for his credibility and integrity as a person and as a politician. Over the past decade, I must have forwarded to him many requests for varied assistance from his constituents to his office. I believe he and his team had attended to all of them.

I will refrain from saying too much about PSB here, except this: If I were younger and keen on a political career, PSB is the last party I will join. Boy, am I glad that Chee How had left the party!

As some Sarawak politicians had commented, there must be something wrong in the party which triggered Chee How’s resignation.

No, no one is perfect; Chee How isn’t too but there are times when a person’s action is guided by his innermost being that is incomprehensible to the next person.

However, let me claim, as his big brother, that his weight of weaknesses, isn’t much of a burden for me because “Chee How ain’t heavy, he’s my brother”.

The views expressed here are those of the columnist and do not necessarily represent the views of New Sarawak Tribune.  

Previous articleGE15: Debutant voters likely to hold sway
Next articleNot just an ordinary wellness centre in Damai