Search This Blog

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Did Adenan really promise a Chinese S'wak DCM?

Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem yesterday unveiled his new cabinet and immediately courted controversy as none of the three deputy chief ministers announced were from the Chinese community.

This purportedly goes against Adenan's alleged promise to appoint a Chinese deputy chief minister if the community voted for BN in the May 7 state election.

The Sarawak election ultimately saw a swing in Chinese voters with BN recapturing five Chinese majority seats from DAP, contributing to the ruling coalition's thumping win.

The supposed promise was first highlighted to the public through a Borneo Post report on April 29, 'Adenan: vote for SUPP if you want a Chinese DCM', which was subsequently picked up by other media.

A number of Chinese newspapers also reported the promise, including Sin Chew Daily.

However, Adenan yesterday denied he had ever made such a promise.

Malaysiakini, in a bid to establish the facts of the matter, obtained a recording of the April 28 press conference in Kuching where Adenan purportedly made the comments as reported by Borneo Post.

From the recording, it appears Adenan's quotes reported in Borneo Post were not accurate.

Chinese DCM not mentioned

Borneo Post had reported the chief minister as saying: “Of course, that is if the people want to be in the government, the only way to do this is to vote for SUPP.

“If you do not want it, you vote DAP. If you want it, you vote SUPP. And then there will be a Chinese deputy chief minister in the cabinet."

However in the recording Adenan was heard saying, "Of course if... the people, the Chinese wanted to be in the government. And the only way to do that is to vote SUPP.

"Then of course I would consider to have a Chinese, or a few Chinese in my cabinet, yes.

"That depends on the numbers, of course. If none of them are elected, I can't appoint anybody, so you must elect them first.

"(If) you don't want, you vote DAP, if you want, you vote SUPP, then there will be Chinese representation in the government as it was before."

Adenan was responding to a question on whether a Chinese deputy chief minister would be appointed.

The journalist had asked, "Since you are very popular among the Chinese community ... will you appoint a Chinese deputy chief minister?"

In other words, Adenan did not specifically mention "Chinese deputy chief minister" in his reply as reported by Borneo Post, but merely referred to "Chinese representation".

Sin Chew Daily carried a similar report based on the first two words of Adenan's sentence: "Of course."

BN no effort to clarify error

In subsequent days, when Adenan was asked on the campaign trail about the reported possibility of a Chinese deputy chief minister, he was consistently coy about the matter.

However, he made no efforts to clarify the Borneo Post report even though the supposed promise had significant bearing on the election campaign.

The promise, which now appears to be erroneous, had even forced Sarawak DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen to respond at the time, taking pains to explain that the position would not benefit the Chinese community.

"This is because in the past, when SUPP had a deputy chief minister, the land lease issue was not resolved.

"The Pan-Borneo highway was not carried out when they had a deputy chief minister and Chinese schools had no allocation.

"It is only in these last 10 years when there is a gradual increase in the strength of the opposition that we get to pressure the government to resolve the land lease renewal issue," Chong was quoted saying.

Even then, Adenan did not clarify that the reported promise was erroneous.

Furthermore, certain SUPP leaders also used the non-existent promise to convince Batu Kawah voters to back the party's president Sim Kui Hian.

Pelawan SUPP secretary Michael Tiang, when taking the stage during a ceramah in Kuching on May 2, told voters: "This May 7, let us make it happen. Make sure we have our deputy chief minister coming from Batu Kawah."

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on May 5 also made a similar pitch to the Chinese community, though he made it clear that this was only if the Chinese support was overwhelming.

While Adenan can claim he did not specifically promise a Chinese deputy chief minister, the lack of effort to correct the error has possibly led Chinese voters to ultimately believe they may get a deputy chief minister if they supported BN.

No comments:

Post a Comment