I reproduce the press statement released at the MCLM press conference this morning.
On 16th February, 2011, MCLM announced the formation of a strategic alliance with the Sarawak National Party (SNAP), the objective being to lay the foundation of a concerted effort to, firstly, end the plight of the marginalized Sarawakians by ending Barisan Nasional and Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s 30-year reign of pillage in Sarawak in the soon-to be held state elections and, secondly, to establish a pro-rakyat federal government post the 13th General Election and begin the process of restoring the nation to the rakyat.
In late February, during a meeting with the SNAP leadership in Kuching, MCLM had, in keeping with its drive to improve the quality of candidates offered to oppose BN candidates in the state elections, as well as to empower citizens to be effective agents of change and reform, offered to assist SNAP in screening the prospective candidates of SNAP as well as organising polling agent/counting agent training for its members.
Whilst the SNAP leaders had, then, enthusiastically accepted this offer of help, leading us to arrange for the training to take place in Miri on 19th March, 2011, developments over the last two weeks have led us to the irresistible conclusion that there was little sincerity, if any, on the part of the SNAP leaders in ever wanting to achieve the stated objectives of the alliance as aforesaid.
Towards the end of the second week of March, without proffering any reasons, we were informed by SNAP that the training was cancelled until further notice.
Then, on 15th March, 2011, we received information that SNAP would, on the following day, be announcing the names of 16 candidates to contest in the state elections even though, until then, we had not been given the full details of any of those candidates to be screened.
On 16th March, 2011, SNAP did indeed announce the details of 16 candidates, none of whom, as far as we know, had been screened to ensure capability and integrity.
Intelligence reports from our operatives in Sarawak have confirmed our worst fears: many of the 16 candidates are regarded as high-risk, integrity-wise.
Over the last few days, we also received reports that the SNAP candidates and some of their ‘privileged’ leaders had suddenly come into significant funds that were being made available by operatives from Kuala Lumpur acting under the directions of BN.
On 22nd March, 2011, SNAP announced the names of another 11 candidates.
Again, information we have received of these latest candidates is not favourable.
It must be stressed here that the action by SNAP to renege on an arrangement to screen all potential candidates, and to now announce candidates of questionable integrity, without more, makes the continuation of the alliance quite untenable, as we have at all times made clear our insistence that only candidates of unquestionable integrity are to be offered to serve the rakyat in the state assemblies and Parliament.
On 23rd March, 2011, reports in the news portals Sarawak Report and Free Malaysia today confirmed the information that we had received last weekend that SNAP was receiving funding from Barisan Nasional and had entered into an alliance with BN to keep the latter in power in Sarawak.
We have since sought from the leaders of SNAP some cogent and convincing reasons for their actions, and a rebuttal of the most serious allegation that they are now working in concert with BN to undermine efforts to bring about a regime change in Sarawak but, regrettably, none has been forthcoming.
For these reasons, we are, with immediate, effect, severing our alliance with SNAP.
We also call on the people of Sarawak to exercise their vote wisely in the coming state elections and to reject the overtures of BN and its allies, both open and concealed.
MALAYSIAN CIVIL LIBERTIES MOVEMENT