Malaysiakini NEWS

'I promise to leave mid-term'

Aidila Razak and Lee Way Loon  |  Published:  |  Modified:

Newly-sworn in Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud late Saturday night reiterated his promise to step down soon, saying that he will go "sometime mid-term".

NONE Speaking to reporters at a press conference with selected media at his home in Kuching, Taib, who was hastily sworn in as chief minister as soon as it was announced that BN had offically won two-thirds majority at 10.40 pm, said that he is finally taking steps to build a team to succeed him.

"I was prepared to go out 10 years ago but the question of continuity of policies, making sure whatever we have achieved so far (so that) whatever momentum we have developed for development of sarawak will not suffer because of the change in leadership.

"For now I have decided to announce I'll be going away sometime mid-term, and I will use whatever time I have to groom a team and I hope that team will continue with whatever good policy I leave behind," he said.  

'Taib will leave in time'

Taib's retirement has been the hot topic in the election which ended with a BN victory of 55 of 71 state seats on Saturday, with anti-Taib sentiments believed to have won the DAP 12 of the 15 seats that it contested.

NONE Earlier that night, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who was at Taib's house to announce BN's victory, said that the chief minister would honour BN's promise to step down "in due time".

Asked about the CM's succession plan, Muhyiddin said that "whatever has been discussed between the CM and prime minister will be implement in due time" and that what is important is to look ahead to "government reform".

Reform, however, evidently does not mean a state cabinet reshuffle, with Taib at the later press conference confirming that he will reappoint his previous cabinet, albeit, temporarily.

"As a temporary measure, I will reappoint all the ministers who have won in the election. Then I will appoint deputy ministers and the final cabinet (lineup) will take about a month's time," he said.

Among those expected to be dropped is SUPP president and Deputy Chief Minister George Chan.

Results in Chinese areas a pity

Meanwhile, the CM lamented as "pitiful" the fact that there will be only two Chinese representatives on the BN bench in the House following SUPP's landmark loss 13 of the 19 seats contested, all of which in Chinese-majority seats.

NONE "There is only two Chinese representatives... and it's a pity to say that. We have to study this very carefully to find out and understand what is the message from the Chinese.

"The issues in election did not touch on country issues but were more towards character assassination, discrediting people rather than talking about alternative policies.

"The Chinese themselves (too) have to think a lot themselves whether to stay with DAP and stay outside or find a solution next time to get the Chinese to be in unison with other races to fight for a better Sarawak," he said.

Despite a reduction in popular majority for BN from 62.93 percent to 55.24 percent, Taib said he believes the results indicate that BN will improve on its 2008 results, when it lost in five states, in the next general election.

In fact, the CM of 30 years said the polls which has seen Sarawak BN lost the most seats in twenty years was not the hardest he has fought.

"The hardest was in 1987 (when he faced a coup now popularly dubbed the Ming Court affair), but you are too young to know that," he quipped.

BN yesterday took 55 seats, DAP 12, PKR 3 and Independent candidate George Lagong 1.

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