Adenan set to build own Cabinet without top trio

OPINION: Picture this: Alfred Jabu, William Mawan and Wong Soon Koh not picked to contest in the coming state election.

Jabu is the chief of the Pesaka wing of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Mawan is Parti Tenaga Rakyat Sarawak (Teras) president and Wong is United People’s Party (UPP) president.

All three are leaders of their respective parties and they will not be going to the battlefield as any leaders of political parties normally do.

Hard to swallow, isn’t it?

Too many questions would need to be answered. All three going at one go, would that not be too drastic?

Would Adenan not be unnecessarily rocking the BN boat? Would it not spell the end of Teras and UPP?

Is the curtain coming down on those who will be losing their commanders? Suckling puppies are not known to survive the elements without the warmth and the security of their mother’s belly.

Of course there are answers to all these questions – answers that, unfortunately, will raise more questions, and for that reason, I will not attempt to work on their answers.

Nonetheless, look at it this way, which is an idea thrown to me by Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Dr James Masing when I asked him if what is hard to swallow is still swallowable.

Masing’s answer was sweet and simple: “The current Cabinet is not Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s choice. It’s not his mandate. It’s Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud’s mandate.

“If indeed the rumour is true, that the three heads of the Sarawak parties will not be re-nominated to contest, then Adenan is rearranging the Cabinet of his choice after the 11th state election.

“To do that he must select those he wants and needs from the outcome of the coming election.

“I am keeping my fingers crossed whether I will be in or out of his team. Adenan decides.”

About 20 minutes later, the PRS president followed up on what he said with an SMS, in exactly the same words.

I can’t agree more with him as today Adenan heads a government built upon a mandate not given to him but to his predecessor, Taib.

Every member of Adenan’s Cabinet is not of his own choice but was put there by Taib.

Like the rest, Jabu, Mawan and Wong were already there when Adenan reported for duty as the state’s No. 1 politician.

Whether he likes what he has inherited, or whether he is satisfied with what was left at his disposal, only Adenan knows.

But look at Jabu, does he not look ill at ease in the company of Adenan?

For someone who had served a single master dutifully for more than a quarter of a century and one morning woke up to find he had a new master is like, why did I wake up at all?

If one were young, one could probably adapt, but at 75, it is unlikely that the body can match a mind that’s willing.

Can’t blame Jabu if he suddenly finds he is in the wrong company. He needs understanding; he must be understood.

And Adenan is not secretive about him being a different kettle of fish altogether compared to his predecessor, Jabu would be unfair to himself and to his new master if he thought he could serve him the way he had Taib.

For Jabu, therefore, calling it a day is inevitable.

Or rather, it is inevitable if Adenan decides he needs a deputy who isn’t Jabu.

What happens in Jabu’s absence is really up to Adenan, after all he should be too happy he will finally get to pick his own man as replacement.

That’s what a strong mandate is for, anyway.

To paraphrase Masing, Adenan getting his own mandate and not one that’s inherited means he will get to create his own Cabinet with those he thinks capable of assisting and working with him to fulfil his promises to Sarawakians.

No one, except Adenan, knows whom he has in mind to be in his Cabinet although tradition and the BN’s concept of power sharing do dictate that he must also sufficiently provide for the involvement of the component parties namely, PRS, Sarawak United People’s Party and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party.

“I am keeping my fingers crossed whether I will be in or out of his team. Adenan decides,” said Masing, which is true too, although I see it more of Masing being modest about his position.

The BN’s power sharing concept will see to it that along with PBB, PRS, SUPP and SPDP are expected to feature in Adenan’s coming government which will be created upon a mandate he himself earns.

In the case of PRS, second only to PBB in terms of legislative representation, Masing’s party should feature very strongly in a government that has committed itself to the development of rural Sarawak where PRS draws the bulk of its strength.

Needless to say, Adenan is not obliged in any way to appease parties outside the coalition, which does give him every excuse he needs to not pick Mawan and Wong to contest in the coming state election – especially if he sees these two gentlemen as but an unnecessary part of the old legacy that has no place in his new government.

Put that way, it is really not too difficult to understand why it is perfectly alright if the three Tan Sris are left out of the polls – and so out of Adenan’s government of the next five years.

Adenan either has capable replacements for them or they have become more of a liability as he attempts to break out of the shadow of his predecessor.

Adenan knows that right now the perception is that he is where he is to do the bidding of unseen hands more powerful than his own.

The 11th state election, however, offers Adenan the chance to prove he is not anybody’s proxy or usher boy and that the departure of some components of the old legacy should pave the way for him to stamp his own brand of leadership.

If Jabu, Mawan and Wong go, they, like those coming to succeed them, are also an important part of the process of change.

Their departure will help make change possible and that should be consolation enough to see that the key trio will leave the scene with their heads held high.-The Ant Daily

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