Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Despite the concerted publicity to advertise all their symposiums thus far, SNAP has not been able to mobilise even 1% of its membership to attend its symposiums. If the Sibu symposium of 50 odd members and now the Kuching symposium touted to be the biggest yet of only 80 members are anything to go by, then SNAP must immediately arrest this dwindling membership or accept the reality that its much trumpeted support by the grassroots is as good as non-existent.
Augustine Liom, one of the speakers at the symposium, was heard to be leading the charge against the BN on land issues. He spoke on land grab and abuses of the system as though he has been a champion of Dayak land rights since time immemorial. Very valiant of him. However, perhaps we should ask our learned friend why he remained quiet when he was a Sessions Court Judge and did nothing to rule in favour of the Dayaks who brought cases on land issues against the Government?
What about his fellow Dayak lawyers in SNAP? How many cases of NCR land grabs have they championed in court? It is indeed strange that all these years they have remained completely silent but have only now found their voices. With no credibility or track record to fall back on, SNAP's sudden championing of land issues will surely be its Achilles' Heel that the BN will take full advantage of.
Wilfred Gomez, attending the Kuching symposium, proposed that SNAP revive its battle cry – Sarawak for Sarawakians – as part of its re-branding programme. Such battle cries are noble. But such battle cries are also hollow if you have no basis to support your aims. Let me explain. SNAP is a local Sarawak-based party. Autonomy from the Federal Government can only be achieved with full Federal Government support. As a local Sarawak party, what ties will SNAP have with the Federal Government? If Pakatan Rakyat led by PKR takes over Putrajaya, will SNAP have any say in the Federal Government? What autonomy can it achieve without the support at Federal level? Will SNAP therefore end up like PBS in Sabah - an ineffectual lone ranger with an irrelevant and outdated battle cry?
Zaid Ibrahim's KITA and blogger Haris Ibrahim's MCLM have come out strongly pledging support for SNAP during the election. How well do Zaid and Haris know the ground in Sarawak? Have they started to stock up on fuel and reserved boats for the election campaign period? Have they formed local committees in all the constituencies SNAP has claimed? Will Haris Ibrahim get a rude shock when he does background checks on SNAP's candidates, as he so promised?
All this rhetoric by SNAP only means one thing. Its leaders are beginning to realise that no one is 'buying' their 'product'. And this only spells disaster as their Chinese towkay in Kuala Lumpur, so we have heard, has conveniently switched off his handphone. No Chinese towkay will invest in a lame horse, let alone one that has only one leg to stand on.
The crushing reality sunked in when Paul Kadang had to fly to KL yesterday to personally knock on the Chinese towkay's door, which we hear is firmly locked now. What financial option has SNAP got left?
To add insult to injury, political burnt-out Tedwin Ngumbang has thrown his lot in with SNAP. Depending on which rumour you believe, two possible scenarios are being whispered all over town.
Scenario 1. Tedwin, frustrated with Masing's refusal to grant him further 'concessions' and 'goodies', has decided to try his luck with SNAP.
Scenario 2. Tedwin, once a trusted ally of Masing, has been forgiven by Masing and sent into SNAP not just as a mole but also as the pre-cursor to an eventual take-over of SNAP by PRS.
Whichever way you read it, SNAP is screwed. Tedwin is just bad news. He owes money to the Chinese towkays in Betong and cannot show his face in Betong town. His 'popularity' in the Layar is close to zero and all he has been able to garner from the locals are guffaws. Is SNAP so desperate as to inherit a political has-been with baggage seeking an opportunity to further his own agenda?
But we have heard a third scenario.
Scenario 3. Tedwin has been promised a handsome sum by Jabu to muddy the waters at Layar. Locals are aware that Tedwin is related to Jabu and will not fall for this old trick employed by Jabu in previous elections.
Which brings us back to what we have been saying all along. Poor SNAP is being used, abused and screwed left, right and centre by the BN to split the Dayaks yet again. The tragedy is that SNAP knows it but does nothing to stop it. The question is, WHY?