"Sorry" Was The Only Word Supp President Could Utt

Source: http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v3/news.php?id=198758

May 21, 2006 03:16 AM

“Sorry” Was The Only Word Supp President Could Utter

KUCHING, May 21 (Bernama) – When Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) President Tan Sri Dr George Chan walked into the residence of Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud at 10.15 pm today, there was silence.

His face told the story. As he walked towards Taib, people started to clap, probably to give him moral support.

Chan’s situation was well understood, after his party lost eight of the 19 seats it had contested in the ninth state election.

“Sorry” was the only word he could utter as he shook hands with and hugged Taib before other Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders exchanged handshakes and hugged him.

“Don’t think about sorry. Think about the happy side,” Taib was heard telling Chan.

The SUPP lost in Padungan, Pending, Batu Lintang, Kota Sentosa, Engkilili, Meradong and Bukit Assek and failed to unseat the DAP in Kidurong.

Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) lost in Ngemah, resulting in the BN losing nine seats this time round compared to just one seat, Kidurong, in the previous state election.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi personally called Taib on the latter’s mobile phone 10 minutes later to congratulate him.

After that, Taib passed the phone to Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu who later passed it to Chan. “I am sorry I could not deliver all the seats,” Chan was heard telling Abdullah.

Feelings of joy, suspence and sadness were felt at Taib’s residence when BN leaders gathered there to monitor the election results.

The Election Commission (EC) announced the first result, for the Krian constituency, at 5.40 pm and the results of eight more seats by 7.15 pm on its website.

However, at 7.15 pm at Taib’s residence, the chief minister and other BN leaders had started to celebrate the two-thirds (47 seats) majority victory.

Taib was so happy and was about to call for a press conference immediately when his close aide informed him that official results of the two-thirds majority had yet to be announced.

It is normal for a political party to get results faster based on the input from its party workers stationed in all the constituencies before the official results are announced.

Taib made the announcement at 8.35 pm live over Radio Television Malaysia (RTM). “Syukur kepada Allah (Thanks to Allah), the Sarawak Barisan Nasional had garnered the two-thirds majority,” he said.

Taib, who is Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) president, was flanked by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Abang Johari Tun Abang Openg during the announcement.

They raised their hands after the live telecast was over and Taib shouted “Menang BN, Selamat Sarawak and Maju Sarawak” (Victory for the BN, Long Live Sarawak and Progress for Sarawak).

They continued to monitor the election results on RTM and cheered whenever a seat was declared in favour of the BN.

However, when the Bukit Assek result was flashed on television at 9 pm, which showed the defeat of the BN to the DAP, Taib said: “Betting. A lot of betting. Sibu has always been the betting place,” as he glanced at the media representatives gathered there to cover the event.

“All races are represented now,” Taib said spontaneously when the television announced the result of Batu Danau where former State Information Director Palu alias Paulus Gumbang won the new state seat. Paulus represents the Bisayah ethnic group.

PRS President Datuk Seri Dr James Masing, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Effendi Norwawi and Regional and Rural Development Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Aziz Shamsuddin joined the gathering later.

Video-conferencing between Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Taib was telecast live by RTM at 9.39 pm before Taib held a press conference at 10 pm.

At about 11pm, a birthday cake was brought in for Taib as the chief minister turns 70 tomorrow.

Taib cut the cake, after which a “doa” (prayer) was recited and everyone adjourned to another room.

Then the guests left the residence, some with smiles, others with lots of election analyses playing on their minds.