No personal sympathies in politics

I have a loyalty that runs in my bloodstream, when I lock into someone or something, you can’t get me away from it because I commit that thoroughly. That’s in friendship, that’s a deal, that’s a commitment.
Don’t give me paper — I can get the same lawyer who drew it up to break it. But if you shake my hand, that’s for life.
Jerry Lewis, American comedian, actor, singer, filmmaker and humanitarian

Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh emerged from his July 17 “courtesy call” on Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, telling reporters that they would remain the “best of friends”.

 

That was from Wong; Abang Johari hasn’t said anything. Now let’s see what else Wong said:

 

  • When I first joined politics in 1987, he was the one who campaigned for me in Bumiputera areas and since then for 32 years we have been friends and remain close friends. Although we now have political differences, we are still friends. Not just friends, very good friends.
  • We will continue to work hard. I as president of PSB will do everything to help the Chief Minister to work hard for the people and the state of Sarawak.
  • I came here to pay a courtesy call on the Chief Minister and we had a very good discussion. And, of course I cannot reveal what was discussed but I can tell you we remain the best of friends.

It was a gentleman Wong, smiling broadly and exuding magnanimity.

But five days later, Wong was a changed personality. He sounded angry, frustrated, revealed something of what he had said during the courtesy call that he said he mustn’t reveal earlier, and bracing for a fight.

In fact, he drew the battle line.

  • We will be fielding our candidates to contest in any seats in the upcoming state election.
  • We have the same mission and goal which is to serve the people of Sarawak irrespective of their religious faith and culture. This is the responsibility that we shoulder.
  • I have spoken to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to see who can serve the community better, especially looking after the needs of the Dayak groups in the rural areas.
  • If the people had not benefited from the developments or their living standard has yet to improve, then it should not be called development.

At 77 and after leaving the government, Wong is saying it’s time to tell GPS that it is not good enough, that PSB will look after the needs of the Dayaks.

At 77 and after 32 years in the government, Wong is saying he is ready to take the burden off the shoulders of GPS and put this on his own two shoulders.

So you see, Wong not only made some revelations but went on to criticise the state government that he was part of for 32 years and left only about a week ago.

The chief minister has not said a word of what had transpired during that courtesy call – aside from saying Wong was indeed quitting the Cabinet – which says much about a person’s integrity when it comes to not revealing what should not be revealed.

GPS certainly has learnt its lesson from living with termites in the house and not doing anything earlier to get rid of them because it didn’t like shifting the furniture and doing the cleaning after the job was done.

PSB was a thorn in the flesh of the coalition, but taking it out was too painful and GPS let it be until it turned septic and caused bad blood.

It will be interesting to watch how at 77, and with a vow to replace the current government with PSB, Wong will balance his “best of friends” with his fight for the ultimate power.

To hell with friends, in politics there are no permanent enemies, and most of all, no permanent friends.

Wong is a pragmatic politician, and pragmatic politicians care not for political loyalty. They conveniently embrace erstwhile opponents and undermine erstwhile friends.

Shifting alliances and fluid political loyalties present an ever-changing political field. Malaysian politicians routinely defected in pursuit of new opportunities, money and position.

Therefore, GPS must not take Wong and PSB lightly.