VOTERS didn’t go to the polls on May 7 to prolong and complicate Sarawak Barisan Nasional’s membership issues.
We went to participate in democracy, hoping to have a say in our own future. Some of us voted out of loyalty, others for change. Some might have voted based on gratitude, others on idealism. Some voted on trust, others on distrust.
Whatever the deciding factor was, certainly no one voted for more confusion, but that is what we are seeing now.
We did not vote because we wanted to pitt PBB against all the other component parties, for instance.
We were not making a choice to support SPDP over Teras based on the parties’ different political ideologies (if any).
We were not endorsing the notion of “Barisan direct candidates” as a brilliant compromised solution to the coalition’s infighting woes.
No, the Barisan won big because it was Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s first election and people liked what they had seen from him. Voters responded positively to the Sarawak-for-Sarawakians pride they sensed in the air.
They also enjoyed seeing Sarawak in the spotlight, seemingly being courted by all of federal Barisan’s bigwigs.
Basically, people voted for more of the good stuff to continue -- not petty politicking.
We certainly were not expecting the term “partyless nine” to crop up so soon after the polls. We did not know the ex-SUPP members would also end up as ex-UPP members.
We did not know that SPDP would try to become one with UPP or that Teras might or might not be dissolved.
We also did not know SUPP and UPP would actually end up taking the same stand over their opposition to PBB accepting more YBs.
By voting the way we did, did we end up giving tacit permission for PBB to command more than a simple majority in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly? Is that what PRS, SUPP, SPDP, UPP and Teras have led us to?
But really though, do we care about PBB’s dominance as much as the minority Barisan parties do?
None of this was spelt out to the public prior to the election, in the same way the seat redelineation process was proposed and carried through by those already in power.
Even though this is a democracy, voters do not have enough say over what leaders choose to do.
As a result, some of Barisan’s current problems are actually self-inflicted.
For instance, if there weren’t so many YBs, there would be fewer seats to argue about and fewer opinions to butt heads over.
By creating so many seats, our leaders have added complexity to pre-existing problems, rather than solving them.
I cannot be the only one to see the irony of having nine partyless Barisan direct candidates plus two YBs back with UPP (which remains officially outside of the coalition) so soon after the 11 new seats were created. What was the point of the 11 new seats again?
This lack of consistency and clarity is not a good start to Adenan’s new term. The Chief Minister needs to find a permanent solution. To do so, he has to enforce rules. Those who object (whether on grounds of PBB dominance or other issues) can leave the coalition.
Because even when children play musical chairs, there are rules. More chairs aren’t added to ensure everyone wins. The music does not go on forever to ensure no losers.