Tea leaves, coffee grounds and wine sediments

One can live in this world on soothsaying but not on truth saying.

—  Georg C. Lichtenberg, German physicist

We are waiting, and the wait goes on.

I am referring to the announcement of the election date by the Election Commission (EC).

The king revoked the Proclamation of Emergency for Sarawak on November 3.

This meant the Sarawak Legislative Assembly was immediately dissolved on Nov 3 and this paved the way for a state election to be held within 60 days.

Ever since then, there has been much speculation on the date to hold our PRN12. Many had predicted and hoped it will be held during the last weekend of November.

Those of us who are followers of politics sometimes tend to look at every tiny sign or statement as a means of interpreting political outcomes.

After the dissolution of the Legislative assembly was announced, it was anticipated daily that an announcement by the EC was around the corner.

In the meantime, many of us Tasseographers went into action predicting dates for the nomination and polling days. By the way, Tasseography refers to a fortune-telling method that interprets patterns in tea leaves, coffee grounds, or wine sediments (Timah not included).

Well, there was an announcement by the EC, but not the one expected or hoped for by Sarawakians.

Instead on Nov 12, a press release was issued by EC secretary Datuk Ikmalrudin Ishak stating that the EC had scheduled a meeting on Nov 24 in Kuching.

It was reported that the meeting chaired by EC chairman Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh would start at 9am, to discuss, among others, the important dates for the election to be followed by a press conference.

So based not so much on Tasseography (well a bit), but due to the 60 days limitation within which the election has to take place, it would most likely be the second or third weekend of December. The fourth weekend is highly unlikely as it is Christmas.

It could stretch to the first weekend of January 2022, still within the 60 days. However, this is also deemed unlikely, Undi18 and AVR and all that, not sure if the EC is ready for it.

Whichever date is ultimately announced, the question also arises, why announce the date of the Sarawak election four days after the results of the Melaka state elections are known?

Is there a possibility that if Umno does very well in Melaka, there might be snap polls for parliamentary elections? Could this mean the PRN12 and GE15 might be held together?

Well, this is pure coffee grounds reading (Kopi-O kosong, my main drink) on my part. Like it or not, the date set by the EC to announce PRN12 here does call for speculation.

In the meantime, while waiting for nomination day next month, many Sarawakians are reading the tea leaves, coffee grounds and wine sediments as to who will be the actual candidates in each constituency.

On a more practical note, it would be good to look back on the opportunity given to the PH government and its component parties during its 22 months in power to take care of Sarawak and its people.

There is no need to read tea leaves about this. There was too much disruption to our economy, promises made under their ‘Buku Harapan’ to Sarawak such as the 20 percent oil royalties and increase in grants and funds for developing Sarawak.

All never saw the light of day. Even worse, was the fact that funding was cut for many infrastructure projects in Sarawak even though the PH minister for works was a Sarawakian.

Whatever political pundits would like to predict, I for one would like to see and recommend to the voters that the current Sarawak government, led by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg and his team, be re-elected to continue serving Sarawakians.

Bearing in mind the commitment and progress made so far on all aspects such as community relations, health care, education, recovery of the economy and infrastructure development, it would be a logical decision to partner with a team that will ensure progress combined with stability.

If we take into account that there is even more advancement on the horizon, any other option would be a regressive step for Sarawak.

So, whichever favourite beverage you decide to choose to drink, be it tea, coffee or wine, make sure you read the tea leaves, coffee grounds, or wine sediments prudently to ensure a bright and prosperous future for Sarawak and its people.

The views expressed are those of the columnist and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the New Sarawak Tribune.