Snap's priority is re-acquainting itself to the people, says party advisor Daniel Tajem.
KUCHING: Former diplomat and ex-deputy chief minister Daniel Tajem is quietly confident that Sarawak Nasional Party’s (Snap) primary objective will be achieved in the 10th Sarawak state election this Saturday even if it fails to make an impression on the election front.
Going into the election as underdogs, Snap, Tajem said, would have re-introduced itself to the grassroots voters.
Snap has had to suffer humiliation in the hands of its more manipulative brothers in the Pakatan Rakyat coalition in recent weeks.
Having said this, Snap’s advisor Tajem reiterated the party’s position as being Pakatan-friendly.
“I go back to the basic objective. Snap’s revival started only three months ago. At that time there were no plans or talk of taking part in the election.
“The aim was to reacquaint people to Snap. Then the election was called. It interfered with our plans and ended up with Snap being forced into participating,” he told FMT recently.
Tajem, who is considered an icon among the Dayaks, has distanced himself from the conflicts within Snap and the party’s collision with PKR.
Peninsular-based PKR, many here opined, has bulldozed its way into contesting in 48 seats. This has only ‘buried’ Snap’s aspiration of making a significant impact in the state polls on April 16.
“Snap is made up of many Dayaks. Our aim is to reach the many more out there. We believe Snap should be representing Dayak majority areas. Snap is a local party,” said Tajem.
“But there are two wings in Pakatan. One wing is trying to dominate the politics here and has made Snap a victim,” he added.
Beware of vote-buying
Although he declined to speculate on the election, Tajem did however say that “all the thinking Dayaks are not in Sarawak”.
“The 20 percent rural Dayaks who are educated are not in Sarawak anymore. They can’t get jobs here, so they are now working in peninsular, Singapore, the Middle East and even in as far as Norway and Mexico.
“They are not here. What you have left is the old Dayak who will be happy with the pittance thrown to them (by the BN),” he said on a bitter note.
In the 2006 polls, Tajem was a candidate in Bukit Begunan and was poised to win until hours before the election when BN stepped in with its “fear, bribe and threaten” campaign.
Tajem was up against BN candidate Mong Dagang. Dagang eventually won the seat by 1,007 votes.
“Its the rural voters’ characteristic….in the end, those who are leftovers in the longhouses will vote for them (BN) for the (RM)25 pittance.
“It’s the characteristic … it’s how they are,” he said, declining to to delve further.
Snap is contesting in 27 seats in the election. Intelligence sources say the party “could win two seats”.
In the run-up to the nominations, Snap was in a bitter tussle over overlapping seats with PKR which refused to budge on its decision to contest 48 seats. As a result of the disagreement, PKR and Snap will be battling it out with BN in 24 seats.
Along the way Snap was also alleged to be part of a covert BN operation to split voter support for PKR.
The Umno support
A reliable Umno source said the party was receiving its funds from an individual aligned to Umno.
The same source said that “in the event (Chief Minister) Taib (Mahmud) fails, BN wants to co-opt Snap.”
“There is a feeling that things are not good for BN that’s why they are making a deal with Snap.
“There also some here (in Umno) who feel it is time an Iban heads the state. It will also mean that BN is heeding the call of Sarawakians,” said the source.