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Where’s your dignity, Jabu?

KUCHING: While Sarawak Barisan National Dayak leaders and elected representatives ‘praised’ outgoing Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s choice of successor, netizens from the community are bitter and angry.

Majority of Sarawak’s voters are Dayaks and if their spewings on social media is any measure then Taib has made a wrong move by sidelining his loyalist, longstanding Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu.
Netizens angry over Jabu’s silence,  are demanding that he withdraws from BN and form a new party.

Jabu, a Dayak-Iban who has been patiently waiting in the wings for the past 30 years, was not on the list of candidates which was presented to the Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) supreme council last weekend.

The four shortlisted names were Abang Johari Tun Openg, Adenan Satem, Awang Tengah Ali Hassan and Effendi Norwawi.  But Effendi had conveyed his disinterest to Taib earlier and was dropped.

Since then pro-Dayak Facebook Raban Dayak Baru, which has 24,251 fans, has been diluged with scathing comments against Jabu and self-centred Dayak political leaders.

Yesterday’s announcement that Adenan, who incidentally has no grassroot support in PBB, will succeed Taib as Sarawak’s fifth CM when the latter steps down on Feb 28 has further fueled anger.

One netizen Muzzliey Niey posted “deputy chief minister post is put aside as long as dynasty will be preferred” alluding to speculations that Adenan, Taib’s brother-in-law,  was merely a caretaker until Taib’s son Mahmud Abu Bekir was ready to assume the seat.

Others, reacting to the news of Taib’s successor,  posted such comments as “PBB looking for trouble” and that Jabu “should resign” in face of such grave embarrassment.

Feeling the affront,  Raban Dayak Baru Facebook administrator also criticised Jabu for remaining silent.

“He needs to bring the Dayaks out from PBB and unite with other Dayak parties such as SPDP, PRS, STAR, PCM and PBDS Baru to form a single party.”

Another user Rill Rill’z  shared this view, urging Jabu to form a single Dayak party to “save Dayaks and the state”.

“I’m very sure, Umno will come soon.. Now maybe it’s not the right time for Umno, but when it comes, the Dayak will be in danger,” Rill Rill’z said.

Another user Masam Makong accused Dayak-Iban political leaders in PBB as being selfish and “just caring for their own business”.

‘Dayaks lack a true leader’

Ronny Stephen, another handle, while expressing similar views said it is “not easy to unite all Dayak leaders”.

“(This is) because they are aiming and scrambling for the higher posts.

“If we the Dayaks want to established a single party, who will be the president, the deputy….?” asked Stephen

He pointed out that while there were many Dayaks who held high posts, the community still “lacked a leader who could unite all Dayaks from Lundu to Limbang because all this while they (Dayak leaders) are just tractable.”

In the 1980s Dayaks were a political force and held a substantial number of seats in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly.

But Dayak parties weakened dramatically during that era, partly as a result of their deregistration under sometimes dubious grounds.

Coincidentally all these happened after Taib’s accession to power.

‘Jabu: No comments’

Meanwhile, media efforts to get the reaction of deputy chief minister Alfred Jabu Numpang on the appointment of Adenan as the new chief minister has drawn a blank.

The Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) deputy president 1 said “no comment” and went into his official car when asked by pressmen while accompanying Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to return to his hotel here, today.

Jabu, the Iban from Betong who has been deputy chief minister and PBB deputy president for over three decades was not among candidates named to replace Taib.

The candidates were Adenan, Minister of Tourism and Housing Development cum PBB deputy president II, Amar Abang Johari Openg and Second Minister of Resource Planning and Environment Awang Tengah Ali Hassan, the PBB senior vice-president 1.

Jabu has remained silent since Abdul Taib announced his plan to retire on Saturday during a meeting of the PBB supreme council at party headquarters here.

Although many people are in favour of Adenan’s appointment, there are those who were disappointed that Jabu, a more senior party official, had been overlooked.

Supporters of Abang Johari also expressed frustration that their man was not chosen for the state’s top post.

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