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‘Even Dr M failed to oust Taib’

KUCHING: PKR leaders remain sceptical of Sarawak Chief Minister’s departure from politics as promised by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

According to them, even former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad had failed to show him the exit, what more Najib.

Speaking at a press conference here, both PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim and party secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution dismissed this as an election gimmick.

In 1995, during the tenure of Mahathir, Taib said he would step down in five years and this was widely reported in the media.

However, Saifuddin said that even Mahathir, with his strong grip on the nation, failed to exert any influence on Taib’s political future.

Suggesting that Najib was much weaker in comparison with Mahathir, he said: “Najib is not a prime minister with the people’s mandate. He took office by only succeeding Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. The mandate received by Barisan Nasional is not his mandate.”

“So even under Mahathir, Taib did not resign, what are the chances that Taib will do so under Najib?” he asked.
At a BN event last night, Najib assured voters that Taib would step down and that a change in Sarawak’s leadership was imminent, a move seemingly aimed at quelling the growing anti-Taib sentiment.

Saifuddin said the only way for Najib to prove the critics wrong was by giving a definite a timeframe for Taib’s resignation as well as revealing his successor.

“(Only) then Najib will be respected,” said the PKR leader.

Will Umno enter Sarawak now?
Saifuddin also noted that Najib’s statement could have severe repercussions.

He said there was now a question if Umno, disallowed from entering Sarawak following an agreement reached upon the state joining Malaysia in 1963, would infiltrate the state.

He added that the other possibility was Taib retaining his Balingian seat and remaining as chief minister, while Najib’s statement, viewed as an encroachment, would severe the ties between Putajaya and Sarawak.

There was already sign of irritation on the part of PBB when its information chief in an immediate reaction to Najib, said that Taib must be given time to decide.

Anwar: Will he resign in 2020?
Taib’s resignation had been central to Pakatan Rakyat’s campaign throughout the state polls and had forced BN to be on the defensive.

Najib’s need to reassure voters this on his first day of campaign for the Sarawak foray was proof of this, according to the opposition pact.

Anwar, at the same press conference, said this was another form of election gimmick to cloud the judgement of voters.

“The question is when will he resign? 2012? Or 2020? Who is his successor?” he asked.

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