By FMT staff
KUCHING – Salleh Jafaruddin, the Balingian candidate carrying the flag of the Movement For Change, Sarawak (MoCS) is sending jitters among PBB circles and Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud.
Although many feel that it would be an uphill battle to bring down Taib, given that he has the entire government machinery and matching millions in funds to fuel his campaign, there is still optimism in the air.
Much of it is due to Salleh, 67, being in the picture.
While Taib has publicly dismissed Salleh’s candidacy saying that “people know and can judge for themselves what kind of character” Salleh is, according to PBB circles, Taib is “worried”.
Said a PBB source: “You cannot topple Taib. Salleh cannot do it but he can bring into the campaign much intimate information about Taib and how he plotted his rule.
“Hearing of Taib’s misdeeds from a family member will have an effect on the voters.”
A signal to Taib
The source added that what will be interesting to watch is the voting trends.
“If his majority is drastically reduced, then he (Taib) will see it as a sure signal to leave quickly.
“He is very worried about pressure from KL. It is getting worse now; he doesn’t even trust his own party people.”
According to the source, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had already met Taib a few times.
And at all these meetings, Taib was asked to step down.
“He (Taib) is a proud man. Whether you believe or not he loves Sarawak very much. He will never allow (Prime Minister) Najib (Tun Razak) to take over Sarawak,” the source added.
Salleh has been appointed by MoCS as the leader of the movement’s Alliance of Independents into the state elections. There are several other MoCS-sponsored candidates. Two are contesting under the PKR ticket in seats which MoCS has described as areas also contested by SNAP ‘crooks’.
According to MoCS leader Francis Paul Siah, he is still talking with PKR top guns in Sarawak with an appeal to withdraw their party’s candidate, Suriayati Abdullah in Balingian. He believed that the result will be ‘positive’.
A Sarawak affair, a common mission
“This is a Sarawak affair and I feel that PKR leaders in the state should make the decision. This is in line with the autonomy promised by national PKR leaders to their Sarawak chapter. This is the only appeal from MoCS to PKR.
“MoCS and PKR have a common mission – to see to the ouster of Taib. Once the PKR candidate has withdrawn her candidacy, PKR and MoCS could mount a serious challenge against the chief minister in Balingian.
“Together, we can shake Taib Mahmud. MoCS will also invite Anwar Ibrahim, Dr Wan Azizah and Nurul Izzah to come to Balingian and campaign for Salleh and MoCS. We will go all out as one united opposition force against the corrupt CM,” Siah added.
Salleh Jafaruddin is a more colourful tale to tell and, if rumours are to be believed, is giving Taib sleepless nights.
Salleh is not just anybody. He is Taib’s second cousin and once tipped to take over and lead Taib’s PBB.
But he fell out of favour in the 1980s when he became involved in a bid to topple Taib in the well-known “Ming Court” affair.
Since then, Salleh and other PBB leaders, including Bujang Ulis and Wan Habib Syed Mahmud, have become Taib’s sworn enemies.
Balingian is now a seat to watch. – FMT