SARAWAK FOCUS: The guessing game has reached a feverish pitch in Sarawak and by tomorrow (Feb 8), the Land of the Hornbill’s master tactician Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud is expected to execute his latest masterstroke.
Talk is that Sarawak’s longest serving chief minister will announce at the PBB caucus that he is leaving his political future in the hands of his party. His peers will decide for him, that is how it’s supposed to play out.
Oh really? It’s as if he cannot decide for himself but has to let others do if for him. Pray tell, when did the powerful Taib ever let others do the decision-making for him in his 33 years as Sarawak CM?
Suddenly, he is unable to decide his own fate? How convenient? Or perhaps how brilliant sounds more appropriate for such a strong personality.
Taib, 78, is scheduled to meet all the PBB supreme council on Feb 8 and all the elected state BN elected representatives on Sunday (Feb 9).
Party insiders believed that Taib will use the meeting to make his announcement and leave it to the party’s top decision-making body to finalise whether he should continue as CM and how the plan should be carried out.
According to party sources, the campaigning has actually started from within and it is highly likely that the PBB caucus will request that he stays on as CM.
This will be another masterstroke by Taib in aligning his forces to make the decision for him as history has proven that he has the ability to ensure that the decisions he desires are made by others.
Speculation that Taib is preparing to make way for a new leader has become more intense since last December after nonagenarian Tun Abang Muhammad Salahuddin’s tenure as Sarawak Governor was extended only until Feb 28. Sibu-born Salahuddin, 92, has served as head of state on two different periods, first in 1977 until 1981 and from February 2, 2001 until now.
Previous speculation was also rife that Taib would assume responsibility as the governor after stepping down as CM. He had not officially commented on that either so it can be deduced that the crafty politician was already sculpturing his masterstroke of retaining his CM’s post until the next state election at least.
Given the latest rumours, another senior PBB leader is expected to be appointed head of state once Salahuddin steps down on Feb 28. Favourite to be the new governor is Tan Sri Adenan Satem, the current state special function minister and a former brother-in-law of Taib.
However, latest talk is that even Salahuddin’s term as governor may be extended, adding fresh speculations that it’s all status quo until Taib decides to display yet another of his political brilliance.