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No, I haven’t quit as MoCS leader … not yet

Francis Paul Siah writes…

This was published in the New Straits Times today under the heading ‘Siah quits over failure to oust Taib’.

The article is fair but not altogether correct.

My clarifications are in bold.

KUCHING: The Movement of Change Sarawak (MoCS) head Francis Siah has called it quits, a day after a rally he organised to drum up public support to drive Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud out of office failed to materialise.

(I did not quit that day (Aug 13). I said in our MoCS blog that ‘it’s time to pass the baton’. So until the MoCS committee meets at a date yet to be decided, I will carry on as the movement’s leader. The rally was called off for reasons of public safety and that I didn’t not want to see anyone injured or arrested. Also, key MoCS leaders were served with a restraining order.)

In a statement yesterday, he announced he was stepping down as head of the movement over the failure.

(It was not a statement. I did not issue a statement to the NST. The story was written with quotes from my letter posted in our blog. Yes, it is true that I’ve failed to oust Taib within the 12-month time farme which I set as a challenge for myself.  So it is not exactly the movement’s agenda which is a long-term struggle for democratic reforms and good governance.)

He said when he formed the movement on Aug 13 last year, he had stated to the eight initiators of MoCS that he would take a year off from work to head it.

Siah said he had set a one-year time frame to lead the organisation, in its bid to oust Taib.

He said the deadline came up on Saturday, and he had completed his term despite the organisation’s failure. “Now, it’s time to pass the baton.”

Siah also acknowledged that he had come under a lot of criticism from so-called supporters for calling off the rally and was hurt by the insults hurled at him.

(No, the criticisms were not from MoCS supporters but more from the comments in the web portals and blogs. The majority of our supporters understood my reasons for calling off the Red Rally. Criticisms, which were expected, could possibly be the work of cyber troopers engaged by MoCS’s detractors.)

“It’s so easy to instigate and provoke. But where were these people when we needed them? None offered MoCS anything other than mere words.

“In their comfort zone, they have started lambasting me in Web portals and blogs. This was expected.”

He also implied he was not getting any help from “friends” should anything happen to him or the organisation.

(This last paragraph is inorrect. Of course, we have many friends who have assisted us in various ways over the past year. Otherwise, how could MoCS, as an NGO and voluntary organisation survived for one whole year?. I’ve contacted NST journalist Desmond Davidson in Kuching. He explained that he actually wrote a longer story but it was edited and ‘butchered’.

Being a newspaper man, I understand the page constraint of a tabloid like the New Straits Times. Somehow, it must have been over-butchered at the sub-desk. That could possibly be the reason for this incorrect final paragraph.)

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