Monday, April 25, 2011

SNAP to attention when BN calls

Pak Bui

SNAP is, indeed, a ‘dying party’, as PKR’s Anwar Ibrahim has argued.

SNAP is dying because money politics is strangling this once proud party. In the 1970s, SNAP was a truly multi-racial party, led by Sarawakians with a vision for politics that extended beyond the narrow scope of being just another candidate ‘for sale’ to cash in on an election windfall.

In its heyday in the 1970s, SNAP spoke out against the draining of our oil resources to the peninsula, and the impoverishment of our people by proxy peninsular BN stooges like Rahman Yaakub and Taib Mahmud.

Najib’s father Razak and the peninsular BN insisted on Rahman taking over the rightful place of Chief Minister Stephen Kalong Ningkan. By moving Rahman and later, his nephew Taib, into place, the peninsular BN succeeded in suppressing the multiracial SNAP, as well as other avenues of inclusive, multi-racial political unity among all Sarawakians.

Rahman and Taib were tasked with obeying to the peninsular BN, delivering a large chunk of parliamentary seats to keep peninsular BN in power, and contribute to peninsular BN’s electoral war chest and bail out hapless children of peninsular BN warlords like Mahahthir. In return, the ancient uncle and the old nephew were given immunity from prosecution, and allowed a free hand to squeeze every last drop from our wealth in the state.

Rahman and Taib both played the race card, and rehashed the colonial tactics of “divide and rule”. Taib’s policy of pitting race against race paid off, and was instrumental in breaking up SNAP and triggering the formation of a ‘Dayak’ party, the PBDS. Taib finally succeeded in cowing PBDS and turning its leaders into subservient mouthpieces, like James Masing.

The peninsular BN has been trying to use the same trick of promoting a ‘Dayak’ champion like SNAP to “divide and rule”, just as Taib has done for three decades.

SNAP ‘dying’ to join BN

SNAP was ‘dying’ to rejoin the same peninsular BN that has presided over the destruction of our forests and the theft of Native Customary Rights (NCR) land. SNAP’s claims of being a Sarawakian party had no credibility because it was clear it would cross over to the BN if it won a few seats in the coming election.

According to Sarawak Report, SNAP leaders have admitted as much. SNAP president Edwin Dundang told Taib’s cheerleaders, the Borneo Post, last August 26, of his personal feelings that “Taib should not step down now because he still has a lot of unfulfilled political ambitions and missions to accomplish.”

When the SNAP plan hit the fan, party secretary general Stanley Jugol denied a pact with BN. However, he was careful not to deny SNAP would cross over to the BN after the polls, if it won seats.

Stanley Jugol complained the author of the Sarawak Report exposé on SNAP was “malicious and dishonest” for reporting that SNAP has made plans to jump over to BN Yet he never denied the Sarawak Report writer’s assertion that SNAP will embrace the BN after the election.

“Doesn’t he know that to go to the BN fold, a party will have to get consent from its members and the concurrence of each and all of (sic) the parties which are already in the BN?” he asked rhetorically. In doing so, he made it clear SNAP will certainly scrabble to obtain consent from its members, and agreement from the BN component parties, if it wins a few seats.

SNAP both “Dayak party” and “multiracial party”

In a painfully long-winded defence of SNAP during it’s campaign, its so-called director of elections Paul Kadang failed to convince Sarawakians that SNAP intends to oppose the BN. It was noticeable that after pages of typographical diarrhoea, he never once denies that SNAP will betray Sarawak’s voters, by defecting to the BN after the election.

Instead, he attacked PKR for being a party started by “Malay-Melanau politicians”. He was playing the race card, even though he grudgingly accepted that Baru Bian is now the Dayak leader of a multiracial PKR.

PKR has been working for the grassroots for more than a decade. Can Paul Kadang point to how SNAP works for the welfare of the Dayak, as Baru Bian and See Chee How of the PKR, and Chiew Chin Sing of the DAP, have done?

Which party does the handful of lawyers supporting the indigenous communities and NCR belong to? SNAP or PKR? Paul Kadang was using the same racist “divide and rule” language that Taib, and peninsular BN, have been using for decades. SNAP tried to use race as a tool to try to win a few seats, but failed miserably.

Racial politics always beats the same boring drum, “Ein volk, ein reich, ein Fuhrer” (“one people, one nation, one leader”), as in Germany under Hitler (“director of elections” of the National Socialist Party). SNAP is the leader, in Paul Kadang’s imagination, in Dayak-majority constituencies.

Paul Kadang made gruesome contortions, claiming that SNAP has had “two important characteristics vis-à-vis its support: it has always been a multiracial party. Of equal importance has been its emphasis on Dayak interests”.

The “multiracial” and “Dayak” words, lumped together, sounded exactly like Umno talking about the importance of Malay rights. Was he talking more about the elite Dayaks’ interests, or the Dayak masses’ interests?

Paul Kadang and people like him in SNAP are political opportunists, giving themselves titles like “intellectuals”. They champion only the Dayak elites, but they make pretentious claims to be representing the Dayak masses.

They pretend that only the Dayaks have socioeconomic problems and therefore, SNAP focuses on Dayak interests, when in fact, SNAP focuses on the interests of a few SNAP leaders.

SNAP’s shady funding

Paul Kadang denied SNAP had received BN money. He argued that SNAP could, theoretically, obtain funding, “for example”, from a theoretical “native petroleum engineer working in the Middle East and earning US$25,000 a month and who is moved by the plight of his community, (and) will contribute RM100,000 to SNAP’s election campaign”.

Strangely enough, he could not produce the name of this mythical philanthropist willing to give up more than a month’s salary.

Paul Kadang claimed SNAP had been “inundated with monetary contributions from well-to-do natives living abroad”. Perhaps one of these was Leo Moggie, a convert to the BN cause, and his BN friends with deep pockets.

Paul Kadang condemned critics of SNAP as “armchair politicians”. Unfortunately, Paul Kadang is himself an armchair politician.

SNAP’s current crop of failed leaders is a blight on the party.


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