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Sarawak BN leaves Umno to rebrand itself for next polls

KUCHING, 2 Oct 2008: Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) will leave it to the country’s ruling party, Umno, to come up with a new consensus on ways to rebrand itself for the next general election, Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said today.

Commenting on Umno’s power transition plan which will see Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi transfer power to his deputy, Datuk Seri Najib Razak much earlier than 2010, he said there were people in Umno who wanted to adjust to the new changes in the political climate.

“Leave Umno’s problem to be solved by Umno. We leave it to Umno on how they can get their own party to adjust to the current situation,” the state BN chairman and Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) president told reporters at his Hari Raya open house in Petra Jaya here.

“Umno is a big organisation. I am not in a position (to advise) but I know what to do with PBB or BN in Sarawak,” he said, adding that the people in the state had been “practising good politics in the last few years.”

It was reported that the early handover of power would give sufficient time to Najib to prepare to lead the BN in the coming election as the party needed to do a lot more to restore the people’s confidence.

On 26 Sept, Abdullah announced that the Umno General Assembly, scheduled for December, was postponed to March next year to facilitate an early transition of power.

Asked to comment on the proposed Race Relations Act which was viewed as very insulting to Sarawakians, Taib said the people probably did not see the need for it because they had been getting along very well with each other.

However, the people must also be aware that there were undesirable elements who tried to harp on racial issues, and a formulation to safeguard and strengthen relations among the different races was all right if the federal government thought it was necessary to control and contain any bad effects, he added.

On the fear that adverse influence from that “kind of politics” from the peninsular would infiltrate Sarawak, Taib said there would always be certain people who wanted to wield positions in politics and play a “new brand of politics from outside.”

“For us (Sarawakians), we observe them. If it suits our interest, then it’s okay, but if it does not suit our interests, we just kick it aside,” he said, adding that most of them were playing on public sentiments on racial and religious issues.

“I can tell you today, (that) we went through the same kind of politics, 10 years ago, and everybody saw the Ibans as going to play racial politics but now, you can see they are enlightened on racial politics as everyone else in Sarawak.

“I am very proud of that now,” said Taib. — Bernama


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