(Bintulu, Thursday): This weekend is the rendezvous of the voters of Kidurong with history. The Kidurong by-election is so unfair and unnecessary – all because Michael Sim is not prepared to accept the verdict of the people of Bintulu in the September 1996 Sarawak state general elections where Wong Sing Ai was elected by a wafer-thin majority of 22 votes.
It was not that Wong Sing Ai had won by unfair and foul means, using money to buy votes or to intimidate supporters of the opponent. In fact, it was the Barisan Nasional election campaign in the Sarawak state general elections which was unfair, pushing to the limit the politics of money.
If Michael Sim wants to have another re-match with Wong Sing Ai, he should wait for another four years for the next state general elections to test his popularity – and not to unfairly deprive Wong Sing Ai of his seat in the Sarawak state legislative assembly after serving for less than a year.
In fact, on this ground alone, in unfairly depriving Wong Sing Ai of his legislative assembly seat, the people of Kidurong should unite as one to say "Shame" to Michael Sim, and to vote solidly for Wong Sing Ai to tell Michael Sim that he was being most unfair to force them to vote again after the state general elections last year.
However, the events of the past one year has endowed the Kidurong by-election with a significance and importance which transcend the borders of Bintulu as to affect the the whole of Sarawak.
The Kidurong by-election this weekend should not just be about deciding who should be the State Assembly representative for Kidurong, but even more important, for the people of Bintulu to play a historic role, which is a rare opportunity in politics.
In this weekend, the voters of Kidurong should vote not just for themselves, but also on behalf of all Sarawakians and future generations to send a clear message to the Chief Minister, Tan Sri Taib Mahmud and Barisan Nasional State Government that "Enough is Enough", that after the Coxsacie B Virus epidemic, haze emergency, and the twin currency and stock market crisis, they do not want any more man-made disasters to befall them for the next four years.
If the Kidurong by-election is just about deciding who should be called Yang Berhormat for Kidurong, why should the entire State Cabinet be parked in Kidurong during the by-election, with the Chief Minister himself leading the by-election campaign?
If Michael Sim wins in Kidurong by-election, would Taib Mahmud just say that this shows that the people of Bintulu want to be represented by a SUPP assemblyman in the Sarawak State Assembly, or would he be thumping his chest to declare that the Barisan Nasional’s victory in Kidurong is an endorsement of everything that the Barisan Nasional had done in the past 12 months, whether in the Coxsackie B Virus epidemic or the haze disaster, and that the people of Sarawak have shown through the ballot box that they understand, accept and fully support his mysterious disappearance from Sarawak during the height of the haze emergency in Sarawak and his failure to show up in Parliament during the three-day debate on the motion by the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on the haze disaster.
If the voters are happy with the way the Coxsackie B Virus epidemic, the haze emergency, and even the twin currency and stock market crisis had been handled, if they fully agree with the Sarawak Chief Minister that there is no corruption problem in Sarawak, then vote for Barisan Nasional this weekend.
But if the voters, like so many all over Sarawak but who have no opportunity to express themselves in this by-election, feel that the Taib Mahmud had crossed the line of legitimacy and acceptability in his mysterious disappearance from Sarawak during the height of the haze emergency and his failure to show up in Parliament during the three-day debate on the haze disaster motion, that the government handling of the Coxsacie Virus B epidemic was itself a disaster, that there is a need to curb corruption and ensure greater accountability, transparency and integrity among political leaders in the state, that they want political leaders to declare their assets and whether they have Swiss bank accounts, and that they want to shout at the top of their voice that "Enough Is Enough", then vote solidly for the DAP this weekend.
The Kidurong by-election results would be seen as a vote of confidence in Taib Mahmud and the Barisan Nasional state government. If the people of Kidurong want to demonstrate their confidence in Taib Mahmud and the Sarawak Barisan State Government despite his mysterious disappearance from the state during the haze emergency and his failure to show up in Parliament during the three-day debate on the haze disaster, then they have the democratic right to do so.
But if the people of Kidurong are conscious of the weighty historic role on their shoulders to be able to vote and speak up on behalf of all other Sarawakians to express their displeasure at what had happened in Sarawak in the past 12 months, then they should create a political upset this weekend and elect Wong Sing Ai.
If Michael Sim is elected this weekend, it would be a bore, and the by-election would be quickly forgotten, not only by the rest of Sarawak, but by the people of Bintulu themselves.
But if Wong Sing Ai, whom nobody expects to win, can get elected because the people of Bintulu has decided to work a political miracle, it would be a ripple which would result in a tidal wave in the politics of Sarawak. The name of Bintulu would be written in golden letters in the political annals of Sarawak, Bintulu will again enter the history books, for an unexpected DAP victory would usher in a political chain reaction of events which could mark the end of a political era and the beginning of a new one.
I will be in Teluk Intan on Sunday night waiting for the Kidurong by-election result. The last time, the people of Bintulu gave me a great surprise when I was in the United Nations in September last year, when with the voters of Sibu, they made history in Sarawak in enabling the DAP to make a historic breakthrough into the Sarawak state legislative assembly.
I do not know whether in Teluk Intan on Sunday night, I am going to get another pleasant surprise from the people of Bintulu, in starting a ripple which will turn into a tidal wave in Sarawak politics, marking the end of an era and the beginning of a new one.
If the people of Bintulu can work a political miracle where the DAP candidate, Wong Sing Ai, who stands no chance of winning in Kidurong, can get elected for the sake of all Sarawakians and future generations, then Bintulu would be entitled to be known as the town which started the ripple which turned into a tidal wave in Sarawak politics in the run-up into the 21st century.
DAP won Teluk Intan parliamentary by-election and created a Richter 6 political earthquake, for Teluk Intan was a constituency Barisan Nasional had never expected to lose and nobody believed DAP could win.
The Kidurong by-election is something like Teluk Intan, as nobody expects Wong Sing Ai to win. However, if the unexpected happens, then Bintulu would be a political twin to Teluk Intan and the DAP would be as proud of winning the Teluk Intan by-election as the Kidurong by-election. But we do not know until Sunday.