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June 20, 2010

The Malayanisation Of Sarawak-A Malayan Wayang Kulit

Filed under: Sarawak Politics — Pengayau @ 1:00 am



This is an article taken from Borneo Research Buletin in 2004 by Vernon L. Porrit


Turbulent times in Sarawak: the end of expatriate influence and the struggle for power over and within the state


Expatriate influence in the Sarawak State Government came to an abrupt end on 30 July 1966. This was some three years after Sarawak became part of the Federation of Malaysia. Prior to becoming part of Malaysia, Sarawak had been a British colony (1946-1963), an independent state under the Brookes (1841-1946) although occupied by the Japanese (1942-1945) during the Second World War, and before 1841 part of the Brunei Sultanate. The end of expatriate influence in 1966 was the outcome of an ongoing struggle for power over and within the state played out with all the inevitability of a pre-scripted Wayang Kulit from the moment Sarawak became a state in the Federation of Malaysia on 16 September 1963.

The first elected Chief Minister was Stephen Kalong Ningkan, a forty-three year old Iban from Betong who was selected by the Sarawak Alliance which was comprised at the time of four political parties.(1) Although the Sarawak Alliance only received thirty-four percent in the first round of voting in the mid-1963 three-tier elections, very adroit political maneuvering secured over two-thirds of the seats in the Council Negri (Legislature), which enabled the Alliance to form the Supreme Council (Cabinet/Government). The Sarawak Alliance was made up of the pro-Malaysia Barisan Ra’ayat Jati Sarawak (Berjasa) headed by Tuanku Bujang, a high ranking Sibu Malay; Party Pesaka Anak Sarawak (Pesaka) headed by a Third Division Iban leader, Temenggong Jugah; the Sarawak Chinese Association (SCA) headed by a Sibu Chinese businessman, Ling Being Siew; and the Sarawak National Party (SNAP) headed by Ningkan. Collectively the socialist and predominantly Chinese Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) with Stephen Yong Kuet Yze as secretary general and Party Negara Sarawak (PANAS) with Abang Haji Mustapha as chairman secured 1.5 percent more primary votes in the elections than the Sarawak Alliance, but were consigned to the opposition.

Prior to the formation of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman had shown his willingness to intervene in Sarawak politics by announcing that he only supported the pro-Malaysia Sarawak Alliance.(2) Also the Sarawak Alliance had sought and was given help by the ruling Malayan Alliance in conducting its campaign during the 1963 elections. During this period the ruling Malayan Alliance leaders established strong links with the prominent Berjasa member Abdul Rahman Ya’kub, a pro-Malaysia, thirty-five year old Muslim Melanau from Mukah. A UK trained lawyer, Ya’kub was the Deputy Public Prosecutor in the Sarawak Legal Department from 1959 to 1963. He had ethnic, political, and religious empathy with the Malayan Alliance leaders, who supported an unsuccessful attempt to secure his nomination as Sarawak’s first Chief Minister (Leigh 1974: 83). Showing the high regard in which United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) leaders held Ya’kub, he was appointed an executive member of UMNO Malaya on 16 May 1965 in the midst of the Land Bill crisis in Sarawak. He became a key player in molding the politics of Sarawak in the UMNO image.

The first dramatic scene in this epic was set just prior to the formation of Malaysia, when a controversy erupted between the Malayan and Sarawak governments over who would be the first governor of Sarawak as a state within the Federation of Malaysia. The Sarawak Alliance, in which the Dayaks were predominant, nominated an Iban, Pesaka leader Temenggong Jugah, for governor.(3) However, the Tunku rejected this nomination and, supported by PANAS, insisted on the appointment of a Malay.(4) But Party Pesaka represented over thirty percent of the Sarawak Alliance’s strength in terms of elected district councillors and had forfeited any representation on the Supreme Council in exchange for nomination of the party’s leader as governor. Rejection of their leader aroused strong resentment among Party Pesaka members, compounded by their lack of representation in the Supreme Council (Leigh 1974: 78-79). To appease Jugah and Pesaka members, mainly the Third Division Ibans, the Federal Government created for Jugah the post of Federal Minister for Sarawak Affairs (Porritt 1997: 104). Abang Haji Openg, a prominent Malay aristocrat and civil servant, was duly appointed Governor. With the appointment of a Malay head of state paralleling the Malay Sultans in Peninsular Malaysia, the molding of Sarawak in the UMNO-led Malayan Alliance image had begun.

Another key player pertinent to this saga was introduced on 22 July 1963 when Ningkan formed Sarawak’s first elected government. This was Abdul Taib bin Mahmud, a 27-year old Australian-trained lawyer who was the nephew of Ya’kub. Taib had joined the Sarawak Government’s Legal Department in early 1962. He was not a contestant in the 1963 elections nor had he been involved in any political activity prior to the formation of Sarawak’s first elected government.(5) However, under an agreement between the member parties of the Sarawak Alliance, Berjasa was entitled to nominate two members as State Ministers. On the recommendation of his uncle, Taib was nominated and duly appointed as a State Minister in the Ningkan government. Like his uncle, Taib had ethnic, political, and religious empathy with ruling Malayan politicians and is said to have envisaged Sarawak politics as re-structured on the Malayan pattern of “a dominant Islamic-led native party, with a more or less subservient Chinese partner” (Leigh 1974: 87). “Islamic-led” in this context translated into the Malay and the majority of the Melanau people as they were the only significant Muslim native ethnic groups in Sarawak.

Thus, all the elements to mold Sarawak in the UMNO-led Malayan Alliance image were already in place when Malaysia was formed. Ya’kub had not been successful in the local council elections, the first stage in the three-tier election system to the Council Negri, but as a Berjasa leader was nominated to the Federal Parliament.(6) He was then made the Assistant Minister for Justice and Rural Development in the Federal Government, providing a strong link between the top federal government leaders and the Sarawak body politic through his nephew Taib, who was appointed State Minister for Works and Communications. Ya’kub, Taib, the Tunku, and UMNO shared a common vision for the future of Sarawak’s politics. A setback occurred in the latter part of 1965 when UMNO leaders decided to open a branch in Sarawak to unite the Sarawak Malays, who were then divided between Berjasa and PANAS. However this was not successful, serving only to annoy Chief Minister Ningkan as one more sign of federal interference in local politics.(7)

What was seen as the next opportunity to further the UMNO image for Sarawak occurred when three land bills were to be introduced in the Council Negri in 1965. These were the outcome of the report of a land committee set up in mid 1962 “to make recommendations as to the measures necessary to ensure the best use of land in the national interest.”(8) The government accepted most of the recommendations and the first of note, free issue of title to land held under Native Customary Rights (NCR), was covered in a Land Code (Amendment) Bill passed in the Council Negri in early December 1963. Another three bills on establishing ownership, protecting NCR holdings, and how the government could acquire and pay compensation for NCR land, were published for public discussion in February 1964. The underlying aim of these bills was to free land held under Native Customary Rights (NCR) for large-scale plantation crops and intensive agriculture by landless Chinese farmers. At the same time, the bills attempted to incorporate safeguards protecting native interests. Freeing land for economic development and use by landless Chinese farmers was considered important in combatting communism. Thus the bills would enable the Ningkan government to pursue its solutions to resolving the communist problem then threatening the state.(9) Considerable publicity was given to the bills in the press and in question-and-answer sessions over the radio, with no indication that the bills would suddenly become an explosive issue.

The bills were to be tabled at a Council Negri meeting on 11 March 1965, but this was postponed to 11 May to amend provisions of the Land (Native Dealings) Bill in response to “certain representations.” On 10 May, PANAS, Pesaka, and Berjasa formed the Sarawak Native Alliance, with Temenggong Jugah (Pesaka) as President and Abdul Taib (Berjasa) and Thomas Kana (Pesaka) as Joint Secretaries. The SCA and the SUPP, both predominantly Chinese, were automatically excluded, together with Ningkan’s party, SNAP, as the vice-chairman of SNAP, James Wong, was Chinese. At the same time, the President of the Barisan Pemuda Sarawak, Haji Su’ut bin Tahir, issued a statement opposing the Land Bills.(10) On the morning of the Council Negri meeting, Berjasa and Pesaka submitted letters of withdrawal from the Sarawak Alliance, placing the Land Bills and the government in jeopardy. As the Sarawak Native Alliance (Berjasa, Pesaka, and PANAS) held twenty-two seats in the thirty-nine seat Council Negri, the government was in danger of losing office. However, prior intelligence and very quick thinking avoided the potential collapse of the SNAP-led Ningkan government by last minute withdrawal of the Land Bills in the Council Negri on 11 May. Officially the bills were withdrawn due to strong opposition from the Malay and Dayak communities and the public was unaware that Pesaka and Berjasa had resigned from the Sarawak Alliance.

Overthrow of a government led by a Second Division Iban by a group headed by a Third Division Iban would have divided the Iban community and exacerbated the historical differences between the Second and Third Division Ibans, with unpredictable consequences for internal and external security at a very critical time.(11) This was serious as the Ibans made up over thirty percent of Sarawak’s 800,000 population and seventy percent of the Dayak population. Further, the Dayaks had not been over-enthusiastic supporters of the Malaysia concept and a perception of federal involvement in local politics would fuel anti-Malaysia feelings. Thus, Dayak support in fighting Indonesian armed confrontation and hence its allies, the Sarawak communists, would be at risk. Virtually all the personnel of the Sarawak armed services, the Field Force and the Border Scouts, were Dayaks. By 1965 Indonesia had amassed nine battalions in West Kalimantan alone, with the defense of all the Borneo states in the hands of three British and Commonwealth Brigades and one Malaysian Brigade supported by a British battalion (Denis and Grey 1996: 254). The Dayak people were playing an essential part in the defense of Sarawak by providing essential intelligence on armed Indonesian intrusions along the 1,000-kilometer border with Kalimantan and on the movements of Sarawak communist guerrillas. Faced with this potentially disastrous situation, Ningkan and his principal advisers, who had already averted the immediate collapse of his government by withdrawing the land bills, had to move very quickly. The principal advisers were Ting Tung Ming, Tony Shaw, and John Pike (Leigh 1974: 83). (12)

Ting Tung Ming, a Sibu Foochow and SCA party member, was Ningkan’s Political Secretary and a very close confidante. Tony Shaw, the forty-eight year old, Cambridge educated, expatriate State Secretary, had served in Sarawak since 1948. John Pike, a thirty-nine year old, Oxford educated expatriate who had joined the Sarawak Civil Service in 1949 was the Financial State Secretary. To prevent the government’s collapse and retain Dayak unity, Pesaka (11 Council Negri seats) had to be persuaded to rejoin the Alliance. Further, to give a comfortable working majority, either Berjasa (six Council Negri seats) or PANAS (five Council Negri seats), had to be induced to rejoin the Sarawak Alliance. For bargaining purposes to this end, John Pike suggested removing the three ex-officio expatriates from the Supreme Council, namely Tony Shaw, John Pike and the Attorney-General Phillip Pike, to enable three new ministries to be created and filled by local politicians. The Supreme Council immediately accepted this plan. Working against an impossibly tight schedule, by the next day, 12 May, a Constitution Amendment Bill removing the three ex-officio members from the Supreme Council had been prepared and was tabled in the Council Negri. The bill was passed a day later, but not without some questioning in view of the speed with which it had been introduced.

The alliance between Pesaka and Berjasa appeared to collapse immediately after the Land Bill was withdrawn on 11 May, as Pesaka withdrew its resignation from the Sarawak Alliance on the same day in writing. Two days later, Ningkan publicly hinted that the Sarawak Alliance would appoint two ministries from Pesaka and one from PANAS.(13) This addressed Pesaka concerns over having no seats in the Supreme Council and hence no voice in the government, although it was the major party in the Sarawak Alliance with more seats than any other party in the Council Negri. On 16 May Ningkan announced that Berjasa’s resignation from the Sarawak Alliance had been accepted and that Berjasa members Abdul Taib and Awang Hipni would have to give up their state ministerial posts. Although not stated, Berjasa nominee Federal Minister Ya’kub would also be affected. Ya’kub countered by claiming that Berjasa’s resignation had been withdrawn by telephone as soon as the land bills were withdrawn and publicly blamed the Sarawak Deputy Prime Minister, James Wong and his “expatriate bosses” for Ningkan’s “decision to drop Berjasa from the [Sarawak] Alliance.”(14) Ironically, this would have averted the second part of this crisis completely, but Ningkan denied having received any such telephone call. Several days of rather frenetic and confused inter-party negotiations followed, with Berjasa seeking to restore its position through the Sarawak Native Alliance, which had a commanding twenty-two seats in the Council Negri.

A perceptive T. C. Lim wrote to the Sarawak Tribune asking if this were “the right time to topple the state government when our enemies at the gate [Indonesia] are waiting to over-run us” and said that “those who have taken the advantage of splitting the Ibans living in the Second and Third Divisions because of their past conflicts must be very short-sighted indeed.”(15) On 18 May four Pesaka leaders were in Kuala Lumpur, having been summoned by Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Tun Razak, where they joined Berjasa leaders Ya’kub and Yaib. Ningkan was also scheduled to fly there on 18 May to discuss the crisis with the Tunku and Razak. However, when he “was told he was to visit Kuala Lumpur to attend a round table conference, arranged by the Prime Minister and his Deputy, Tun Razak, to solve the Sarawak crisis,” he declined to go, later saying that the “Sarawak crisis must be settled in Sarawak.”(16) Instead, Ningkan elected to attend a meeting with Pesaka leaders in Sibu on 21 May at the invitation of Jugah. During the talks Jugah withdrew his support for the proposed Sarawak Native Alliance and declared that he backed the Chief Minister’s government and party “all the way.”(17) Ningkan informed Tun Razak of their decision to allow Berjasa and PANAS to submit formal applications to rejoin the Sarawak Alliance and their applications were duly accepted.

Ya’kub retained his Federal Ministry; Abdul Taib and Awang Hipni were reinstated; Abang Othman (PANAS) was appointed Minister of Social Welfare, Youth, and Culture; and Tajang Laing and Francis Umpau (both members of Pesaka) were appointed Ministers of State. By mid June, Ningkan’s willingness to compromise for the sake of national unity and the gambit of creating three new ministries by removing the expatriate presence in the Supreme Council had removed the immediate threat to the Ningkan government. But the endplay for the Ningkan government was only a year away.

Direct expatriate influence in the Supreme Council had been removed, but three expatriates were still Council Negri members and advisers to Ningkan in their respective roles. Phillip Pike, the Attorney General, took the oath of office of Chief Justice in September, a local officer, Tan Chiaw Tong, taking over as Acting Attorney-General. This left only two expatriate officers in the Council Negri, Tony Shaw and John Pike, who, together with Phillip Pike were awarded the Honorary Panglima Bintang Sarawak with the title of Dato on 3 October 1965, the Governor’s birthday. Orderly plans for the replacement of both Tony Shaw and John Pike by local officers when their contracts expired on 31 August 1967 were already in place. Gerunsin Lembat was appointed Deputy State Secretary on 15 May 1965 and T’en Kuen Foh served as Under Secretary (Finance) from time to time.(18) As Ningkan explained in April 1966, “we have men ready for all the top posts … if I am able to obtain 100% support from the Federal government in giving away money, then I can … let them go with compensation.”(19) On 16 May 1966, T’en Kuen Foh was appointed Acting Financial Secretary when John Pike left on overseas leave. By then the security situation had improved dramatically with the threat of armed incursions by Indonesian troops removed at the end of May when Indonesian Confrontation officially ended. Also, the Indonesians had embarked on an anti-communist purge throughout Indonesia and together with the Malaysian Government were intent on wiping out Sarawak communist insurgents operating from safe havens in Kalimantan. Further, resettlement of 8,000 Chinese in guarded settlements in the First Division of Sarawak during the second half of 1965 had reduced the communist threat to internal security considerably.(20) Reflecting the improved security situation, agreement was about to be reached on the complete withdrawal of British troops from Sarawak and Sabah (North Borneo). On the political front however, there was still unfinished business.

In a rerun with variations of the 1965 incident, on 12 June 1966 Ningkan dismissed his Minister for Communication and Works, Abdul Taib, saying that he had lost confidence in him. When announcing this, Ningkan spoke of a rebel group in the Sarawak Alliance that was plotting to topple the government. Pesaka Secretary-General Thomas Kana immediately confirmed this by saying his party had lost confidence in Ningkan and therefore Jugah had invited Ningkan to resign. Further, Kana advised that twenty Council Negri Council members would boycott the Council Negri meeting on 14 June. The Governor, Tun Abang Haji Openg, together with Jugah, Taib (who disclaimed all knowledge of any rebel group), and other dissident political leaders left for Kuala Lumpur the day before the Council Negri meeting. According to a correspondent with the Sarawak Tribune, “the man in the street is saying that … Taib is determined to make a comeback.”(21) On the day of the Council Negri meeting, the Tunku announced in Kuala Lumpur that he had received a letter from a majority of the Council Negri members demanding the resignation of Ningkan. In turn, the Tunku called on Ningkan to resign immediately, adding that charges against him would not be revealed if he did so. Predictably, as the accepted procedure was a vote of no confidence in the Council Negri, Ningkan refused to resign. The Council Negri meeting in Kuching was attended by 21 members, consisting of one Independent, one Machinda (a new political party), two PANAS, three SCA, five SUPP, six SNAP, and three ex-officio members, two of whom were expatriates, technically a majority. Undeterred, on the next day the Malaysian Alliance National Council in Kuala Lumpur nominated Penghulu Tawi Sli, a Second Division Iban, as Chief Minister.

Alastair Morrison, the expatriate Information Officer, later wrote that Ningkan’s “style offended many … Native members of the Alliance felt that he was too closely linked to Chinese business interests … there were competing interests for timber licences” and “his personal conduct continued to give offence” (Morrison 1993: 170-173). Morrison wrote of dishonesty, corruption, and jealousy, also commenting that Ningkan was “much harmed” by his suggestion that the Federal Government should consider deferring the date for introducing Malay as the official language in Peninsular Malaysia from 1967 to 1973, to accord with the minimum ten-year period from Malaysia Day agreed for Sarawak. According to Morrison there were federal fears that “some of the dissidents might well have been induced to change their minds” if the issue was debated in Kuching. Thus any charges against Ningkan remained untested, as established constitutional procedures of a no confidence vote in the Council Negri were not followed. This reflected the inevitability of Ningkan’s removal from office in the ongoing struggle for power within the state when supported by an alienated federal government.

A high-powered delegation of the National Alliance Executive Council headed by Home Affairs Minister Tun Ismail, accompanied by Jugah, Taib, and other members of Berjasa and Pesaka, flew to Kuching from Kuala Lumpur on 16 June. Underlining Morrison’s comments, all members were sequestered from external influences by being housed with their leaders overnight. On the next day the Governor declared that Ningkan and all Supreme Council members ceased to hold office and appointed Tawi Sli as Chief Minister. At the same time Tun Ismail issued lengthy statements claiming that the Governor’s actions were constitutional and admonished the local press for accusing the National Alliance of acting unconstitutionally.

Completing the replacement of the Ningkan government, on 22 June Tawi Sli appointed five members of his new Supreme Council; Taib and Hipni (Berjasa), Umpau and Laing (Pesaka), and Abang Haji Adbulrahman (PANAS). Two months later two SCA nominees, Teo Kui Seng and Ling Beng Siong, were added to the Supreme Council, while Taib became the Minister of Development and Forestry and Deputy Chief Minister. Although there was some dissention, PANAS recognized the new political reality and decided to support the Tawi Sli government, but SNAP withdrew from the Sarawak Alliance. Ya’kub had retained his Federal Ministry and Taib, Abdulrahman, and Kana became the inner circle of advisers to the Chief Minister. As Leigh wrote, “the Sarawak Alliance had been restructured, and more closely resembled the Malayan Alliance, both in policy and composition” (1974: 107). The Wayang Kulit still had three acts to run: whether quick action would be taken to remove the two remaining expatriate members of Council Negri, Tony Shaw and John Pike, the legality of Ningkan’s dismissal, and completing the Tunku-Ya’kub-Taib vision for Sarawak politics based on the Federal UNMO-led Alliance model.

Under the terms of the London Agreement, Tony Shaw, John Pike, and a number of other expatriates in the Sarawak Administrative Service had agreed to serve the Sarawak Government up to 31 August 1967, that is, four years from the intended date of the formation of Malaysia. However, there was constant political and union pressure to replace all expatriate personnel in government and quasi-government organizations more quickly. For instance, with an understandable vested interest in freeing posts for promotion of local officers, the Sarawak Government Asian Officers Union (SGAOU) wrote to the Chief Minister in June 1965 seeking speedier replacement of expatriate officers. SAGOU pointed out that their services could be dispensed with by paying compensation and claimed that retaining expatriates in administrative posts “tended to discredit the position of the country in the eyes of the outside world.”(22)

Pressure also emanated from the highest levels, the Tunku echoing SAGOU’s comments nine months later by saying that Sarawak still had an administration that was colonial in nature.(23) Some saw the expatriate officers as an obstacle to a closer integration of Sarawak within Malaysia due to their insistence on compliance with every detail of the Inter-Governmental Agreement intended to protect Sarawak’s interests upon becoming a state within the Federation of Malaysia. Others saw the expatriates as obstacles to their own careers. Further, Tony Shaw and John Pike had been close and trusted advisers to Ningkan, leading to some resentment from some State Ministers and politicians who felt that their roles had been usurped. On 27 July, six weeks after the Ningkan government had been overturned, Tawi Sli spoke of a need for “an independent country to be administered by its own local officers” and Shaw was given ten days to leave the state.(24) This was clearly inadequate and Shaw resisted. The Chief Minister then announced on 30 July that Shaw would proceed on leave at the end of August prior to retirement. Shaw was paid out for the remainder of his contract, leaving shortly after a farewell lunch hosted by Tawi Sli on 26 August. Pike, who was then overseas on leave, was advised that there was no need to return to Sarawak and was similarly compensated.(25) Although some 300 expatriate officers still remained in government and quasi-government organizations, they were either on contract or with predetermined dates of departure. This enabled Acting Chief Minister Taib to announce all posts in the Sarawak Administrative Service would be held by local personnel by October 1967.(26) It is generally conceded that the abrupt departure of Shaw and Pike was not the initiative of Chief Minister Tawi Sli.

The two remaining acts of the Wayang Kulit were long and tedious and hence are much abbreviated here. Predictably, Ningkan appealed to the High Court against his dismissal, which was declared ultra vires in the High Court on 8 September, and both SNAP and SUPP immediately called for a general election. However, some not very serious threats to anti-Ningkan Council Negri members provided a very controversial rationale for declaration of a state of emergency by the Federal Government on 15 September. This in turn enabled the Federal Parliament to unilaterally amend the Constitution and give Sarawak’s Governor the power to dismiss the state’s Chief Minister, against a backdrop of Tawi Sli claiming some expatriates and foreigners were “going out of their way to assist Ningkan.”(27) Ningkan was duly dismissed and Tawi Sli, together with his Supreme Council, were re-sworn in in their respective posts on 24 September. Ningkan duly petitioned against his dismissal and the declaration of emergency. After a series of appeals, in August 1968 the Privy Council finally rejected Ningkan’s petition, on the grounds that his lawyers had failed to show that there was no state of emergency on 14 September 1966. This ended this episode, leaving only the Tunku-Ya’kub-Taib vision for Sarawak politics based on the Federal UNMO-led Alliance to be completed.

This came about due to an unlikely alliance of two political parties, SUPP and Parti Bumiputera, the outcome of the June 1970 elections. Parti Bumiputera, a merger of Berjasa and PANAS, was inaugurated on 25 March 1967 and finally united all the Sarawak Malays and Muslim Melanaus, thus ending a long-standing political division in those communities that had originated over cession in 1946. At the inauguration ceremony Tun Razak said that Sarawak must have a government that could cooperate with the Central Government if it were to achieve progress and development. The President of Parti Bumiputera was MP Abang Ikhwan Zainie and the Secretary General was Abdul Taib.(28) Also serving to unite the Muslims in Sarawak, in May 1968 the Angkatan Nahdatul Islam Bersatu (BINA) was formed, with Ya’kub as Chairman and Taib as Treasurer. SUPP, which had been in opposition since the formation of Malaysia, was invited to join a future coalition government by Tun Razak a month before the June 1970 elections. Election results announced on 4 July showed Parti Bumiputera had won twelve seats, Pesaka eight seats, and SCA three seats, giving the Sarawak Alliance twenty-three votes in the forty-eight seat Council Negri. Thus the Alliance could not form the government alone, leaving SUPP and SNAP with twelve seats each in a strong negotiating position, but with SNAP’s position weakened by past differences with the Sarawak Alliance and having been led by the deposed Ningkan. A round of involved negotiations and shifting alliances between the various parties then began.

SUPP leaders astutely recognized federal preferences, and with Parti Bumiputera as an equal partner, formed the new government (Yong 1998: 194-199). Both parties signed a letter of understanding on the composition of the new State Government. This would comprise a nominee of Parti Bumiputera (Abdul Rahman Ya’kub) as the chief minister; two deputy chief ministers, one nominated by SUPP (Stephen Yong) and the other an elected Iban, Simon Dembak Maja (Pesaka); with the appointment of all other ministers and allocation of portfolios by joint decision of signatories Ya’kub and Yong. Thus the SCA, SUPP’s political rival among the Chinese, could be excluded from the government. The Ibans had won twenty seats, but, unlike Parti Bumiputera, they had not reconciled past differences and were divided between two parties, with SNAP mainly representing Second Division Ibans and Pesaka mainly representing Third Division Ibans.(29) Thus the Ibans forfeited a commanding position in negotiations on who should form the government. On the other hand, with a Chief Minister who had ethnic, political, and religious empathy with the Malaysian Alliance leaders and the party representing the majority of the Chinese safely in the state coalition government, Sarawak politics had finally been molded in the UMNO-led Peninsular Malaysia Alliance image. And a family dynasty of state chief ministers that would last beyond the turn of the century had been established.


  1. Unggal Pengayau…..jimat2 Unggal, enda mati babi enti semina nimbak guyat, enda kena abi.

    All your theories and presumption surrounding Sulaiman’s resignation are all wrongs & cooked-up. You all probably not in the know coz you do not have access to those in the corridor of power (being pro-opposition).

    Let me tell you for fact that being a “reluctant politician” DSS with never be in for the throne. He will never be a successor to Taib. Take my words.

    Why he resigned?

    Before her last breath on 29/4 Laila Taib gave her will through CM to divide the tangible assets equally among the 4 children. Taib were done with division in Sept. 2009 after spending some five months and gave USD 1.8billions each. Now DSS for obvious reason cannot bank-in the cash to his bank account. He asked that his share of the cash be “parked” with younger sister, Anifah Taib’s bank account in Singapore. The problem arises coz DSS do not trust Anifah Taib’s husband, Alwee (a Singaporean). So in order to get and enjoyed his share, DSS is left with no choice but to resign.

    That is a correct & calculated move, after all what is RM12,000.00 per month salary compared to the USD 1.8 billions. If I were him I would have made the same moved. Make sense folks?

    Comment by ugahchua — December 8, 2009 @ 7:04 pm | Reply

    • ugahchua,

      Thanks for your valueble info.Thats why we called it Theories and Presumption and if you had the fact that absolutely dismissed my Theories or whatsoever,than it is a good news since we not in the know how but as a matter of fact,you are..Thanks for your comment in Blogs bro,i truely appreciate it..Cheers

      Comment by Pengayau — December 8, 2009 @ 7:27 pm | Reply

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