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1987... THE YEAR OF THE MING COURT AFFAIR...What a hell of an exciting year in politics for Sarawak, a partner in the confederation of Malaysia (together with Sabah)!
A former Chief Minister and governor of Sarawak, Tun Abdul Rahman Yakub attempted a dramatic Shakespearan come back by calling his loyalist politicians to Malaysia's federal capital, Kuala Lumpur for a meeting in a high class hotel called The Ming Court. Any significance in choosing the location of Ming Court? Have a look at Wikipedia here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ming_dynasty and be the judge). His nephew, his anointed successor, Tan Sri Datuk Taib Mahmud dug in and steadfastly stood his ground and fought hard. Taib won!
Twenty-seven Sarawak state assemblymen met in Kuala Lumpur. The dramatis personae: According to the New Straits Times dated 11/3/1987 eight of them were from PBDS, Datuk Daniel Tajem (Lingga), Mr. Gramong Juna (Machan), Dr. James Masing (Balleh), Datuk Edmind Langgu anak Sagga (Krian), Mr. Joseph Kudi (Ngemah), Dr. Jawie Masing (Pakan), Haji Bolhassan Kambar (Tatau) and Mr. Mikai anak Mandau (Batang Ai); eight from PBB, Datuk Noor Tahir (Lawas), Datuk Hafsah Harun (Petra Jaya), Datuk Tajang Laing (Belaga), Haji Zainuddin Satem (Saribas), Encik Mohamed Hilary Tawan (Gedong), Wan Madzihi Mahzar (Oya), Datuk Wan Yusof Tun Tuanku Haji Bujang (Kalaka) and Wan Abdul Wahab Wan Sanusi (Semera); five from SNAP, Datuk Edward Jeli (Marudi), Mr. Michael Ben (Tebakang), Mr. Nueng anak Kudi (Pelagus), Mr. Geman anak Itam (Meluan) and Mr. Joseph Balan Seling (Telang Gusang); four from SUPP, Mr. Hollis Tini (Sri Aman), Mr. David Tiong Chiong Chu (Igan), Mr. Wilfred Kiroh anak Jeram (Dudong) and Mr. Sim Choo Nam (Engkilili) and three were independents, Mr. Wilfred Nissom (Bengoh), Wan Habib Syed Mahmud (Balingian) and Haji Saadi Haji Olia (Kuala Rejang).
In the ensuing war (or was it merely a battle?) a lot of dirty logging polluted water under our many bridges was exposed to the hungry open-fish mouth public which was fed eye-bulging, eye-opening savory delicious morsels of enlightening food through the news media both locally and abroad ...
Billions of ringgit(dollars) worth of timber wealth - contracts that were shamelessly given to numerous cronies were exposed. Other scandalous shenanigans were the conversion to Islam by enticement with lucrative timber contracts; gifts of blue ICs (In those days this meant proof of Malaysian citizenship) to non-Malaysians and the involvement of the top state leadership in throwing political opponents into prison and so on. (Just read the letter, found in the Borneo Post dated 15/4/1986! This open letter was written in response to an earlier fascinating one by Yakub in the Sarawak Tribune dated 11/4/1987).
Of course, some of us Sarawakians knew a lot of these outrageous shenanigans were happening and our well-respected honest Minister of Works and Infrastructure (Tan Sri) Datuk Wong Soon Kai's letter only served to confirm what we knew all along. Wong Soon Kai was the Secretary-general of SUPP (Sarawak United People's Party, a component party of the state and federal National Front (known officially as the Barisan National, headed by Mahathir Mohamad). Formerly, Yakub's man, he was loyally alligned to Taib Mahmud.
Personally, Wong Soon Kai's expo`se made me recall the story of the outspoken boy who said, "... but he wears NO clothes!" when he saw the naked vain pompous powerful emperor riding by on his horse... and all the by-standers of course knew he was in the nude but dared not say a word...
Go on! Grab and read the famous book THE EMPEROR WHO WORE NO CLOTHES ... (Hmmmnnnn THE EMPRESS WHO WORE NO CLOTHES will surely attract more readers of us males of the human species, I'm sure).