Ban on opposition leaders acts like a double-edged sword

OPINION: Chief Minister Adenan Satem’s ban on DAP national leaders from entering Sarawak can be a double-edged sword because it can act against the interests of both the state Barisan Nasional and the opposition.

While the ban is to stop them from campaigning for Sarawak DAP in the state election, it can also cost Chinese support for Sarawak United People’s Party and Barisan Nasional.

One senior political analyst even went as far as to say the ban is “actually killing SUPP”.

“The majority of the Chinese voters are certain to be angry as they are being deprived of the opportunity to listen to the views of the opposition leaders before they can decide whom to vote for,” he said.

As seen from previous elections, DAP leaders who gave political talks in the state drew huge crowds.

“But this time, they are being denied by Adenan the opportunity to listen to the differing views,” he added.

Adenan’s action could also tarnish his image, his leadership and integrity as Sarawak DAP will exploit to the fullest his true colours.

All the efforts he made to bring back the Chinese support for BN since he became chief minister two years ago are likely to end in futility, because Chinese being Chinese, they do not like to see DAP being “suppressed and oppressed”. In fact, they regard DAP as “champions of Chinese rights and the rights of all Malaysians”.

So far Adenan has given orders to ban these DAP leaders; they are MP for Petaling Jaya Utara Tony Pua, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok, Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching and the party’s official mascot, Ubah, designer Ooi Leng Han.

The latest to fall victims of the ban were Teo and Ooi, ahead of the state election.

Teo arrived in Bintulu on Friday night and was detained and sent back to Kuala Lumpur on the next flight.

Ooi arrived at the Kuching International Airport on Saturday morning and was held in custody at the immigration office. He was sent back later in the day.

Reacting to the ban, Sarawak DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen admitted that the party’s campaigns might be affected, but he believed that the party could overcome the problem.

He is worried that many more national DAP leaders including its secretary general and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, and DAP national adviser Lim Kit Siang might be on the blacklist of Adenan’s government.

“I don’t know who are in the list,” said Chong.

“We support the immigration autonomy if it is to protect the interest of Sarawakians. But we will be the first to condemn the abuse of immigration autonomy if it is to protect the interest of Sarawak Barisan Nasional,” said Chong, who is the Kota Sentosa assemblyman.

Sarawak’s interest, he said, is not the same as the interest of Sarawak Barisan. Over the years, it has been proven and shown repeatedly that Sarawak BN has been exploiting the interest of the people such as the coalition’s land policy and its forest policy.

Chong said that it shows that the BN is protecting and enriching a few of their cronies.

“We support the ban of religious bigots and racists from coming to Sarawak,” he said, pointing out that what Adenan had done, like the ban on Teo Nie Ching last Friday, was based on the consideration that BN was worried that their two-thirds majority in the state assembly and their political hegemony was shaking now.

“That is why he is banning our MPs and DAP leaders from coming to Sarawak and if it is true that the ban of those who are coming to Sarawak is based on the consideration of racism or religious bigotry, then the two top Umno leaders should also be banned.

“We all know that Umno is a racist party that propagates racism and these two are the leaders of Umno,” he said.

“Therefore, it is obvious now that Adenan exercises the immigration autonomy not on the consideration of protecting Sarawakians from racism or religious bigotry, but more to abuse power to increase the BN chances of winning,” he said.

Chong called on Sarawakians to think in depth about Adenan.

He said if Adenan could abuse his power so as to increase the chances of BN winning the election, likewise he could also abuse other powers to consolidate his position, adding that there was no difference between him and Najib.

“Najib has abused his power to consolidate his position as prime minister and Adenan is doing the same to consolidate his position as chief minister,” added.

“Therefore I call upon Sarawakians to give DAP all the more support to make the party a much stronger opposition. Only when DAP is very strong can it prevent Sarawak BN from further abusing its power.”

On the ban of Ooi, Chong said that he could have been banned because he was the “father of Ubah” – the DAP mascot.

He is an ordinary DAP member for Selangor and is harmless.

“It shows the distance Adenan is prepared to go to abuse his power for that extra edge in the coming state election. It shows how fearful they are of DAP,” Chong added.-The Ant Daily

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