We were surprised when we saw this posting in a blog belonged to the PKR Sarawak chairman Baru Bian.
What does it mean?
Thursday, January 27, 2011
First, SNAP says it is leaving Pakatan Rakyat. Then it says it is joining UBF, another political platform. Then it says it is definitely in Pakatan Rakyat. But then its leadership goes to KL to attend the launching of KITA. Then it announces that it is still within Pakatan Rakyat. Paul Kadang says one thing. Anthony Liman says another. Then Stanley Jugol contradicts both of them. And as for the President, Edwin Dundang? He says nothing. What is going on SNAP?
SNAP is behaving like a schizophrenic child. A schizophrenic person is a person with multiple personalities - a disorder of the brain. A schizophrenic child is even worse because it is immature and therefore not capable of making the right decision while having the mind of several children all in one brain. When a political party sends out too many conflicting messages, it is showing signs of schizophrenia. Not good for a political party. As such, why is SNAP behaving this way? There are a few possible answers.
First, it could be that SNAP is purposely trying to confuse everyone and keep us all guessing, including their own members. One on hand, this is a good strategy. But I doubt very much if SNAP is that smart. On the other hand, this strategy can backfire, hurting its own members most. And surely SNAP does not want to drive away what few members it has. So we can rule out that SNAP is purposely trying to confuse us.
Second, it could simply be a case of lack of coordination amongst the spokespersons. Left hand says one thing, and right hand says another. If this is the case, then we can forgive SNAP for making contradictory statements. But it reflects badly on SNAP. An uncoordinated political party whose leadership cannot call one another to make sure that they are saying the same thing and moving in the same direction is a political party that is directionless and therefore doomed for failure. Imagine trying to coordinate an entire campaign machinery for 28 constituencies when elections come!
Third, could SNAP's many contradicting statements be a case of an internal power struggle? Let us not forget that Paul Kadang is now on a mission to stamp and seal his influence in SNAP, and in so doing, is hogging the media limelight. Could Stanley Jugol therefore be feeling sidelined, insecure or even slightly jealousy? Anthony Liman, not to be outdone, must also be cooking up sensational statements to get some of the media attention. Power struggles happen in all political parties. But for it to be happening in a party that is telling the whole world it is re-branding itself, this scenario surely cannot be healthy.
Anyone one of these three possible scenarios could explain why SNAP is behaving in an erratic, inconsistent and inexplicable manner. Nevertheless, none of these scenarios bode well for SNAP. It only reflects the party's inability to get its act together. And a political party that cannot get its act together so close to a state election is as good as dead.
The more damaging analysis from this schizophrenia is that SNAP is simply not sincere. How can a political party that says it is with Pakatan Rakyat openly consort with KITA (a political party openly opposed to Pakatan Rakyat) and UBF (a political platform soon to be registered as a political party also openly opposed to Pakatan Rakyat)? It is like a wife telling her husband she is faithful but openly dancing with other men in their bedrooms. Has SNAP no integrity despite proudly reminding us it is one of the oldest parties in Sarawak and a signatory to the Malaysia Agreement? (In Iban longhouses, adulterous wives are fined heavily, and SNAP should be mindful of this.) But this is just the tip of the ice-berg.
SNAP says it is re-branding itself. Very good. But who is spearheading this re-branding? A team of media savvy politicos with their pulse on the beat aided by professional campaign managers, NGOs, media experts and strategists? Or a bunch of tired and semi-retired politicians? Or worse still, a one-man show? Only God knows the answers to these questions as SNAP has not been able to tell us. In fact, SNAP has not even been able to give us a new fresh take on its logo - a simple step essential in any re-branding exercise! So what's really new about the re-branded SNAP? Perhaps SNAP should review its use of the term 're-branding' and go for the more accurate term 're-cycling'. In medical terms, 'resuscitating' would best fit the situation as SNAP is desperately trying to revive a dead horse that was buried many years ago.
SNAP also says that it has over 100,000 members. If that is the case, then why was it that at its first symposium in Sibu two weeks ago only 50 odd people turned up, half of which were PKR members who were invited under false pretenses and then left after lunch? How come only a handful of mildly curious people turned up at their 'secret meeting' at Telang Usan Hotel last Sunday evening? Where are those 100,000 members? Couldn't at least 1% of the 100,000 members turn up to show support? We hope at least 1% of its 100,000 members will turn up this coming Saturday at their Kuching symposium to give SNAP's financial backers some confidence (which we hear is quickly beginning to dissipate).
Talking of financial backers, it is now an open secret that a Chinese Datuk is the man behind SNAP. This Datuk has promised SNAP a hefty sum of something between RM200,000 to RM2million, depending on which version of the rumour you want to believe. However, promises are mere promises, and as we all know in politics, promises can and often are broken. Show me the cash and maybe I will take you seriously. The question on my mind is that if SNAP really has the money, then why did Edwin Dundang recently call a certain PKR leader asking to borrow money to pay for the Sibu symposium? SNAP can't even pay for a hotel bill? Is the Chinese Datuk away on vacation? We hope SNAP has settled the hotel bill - otherwise, it would add to the many unsavoury rumours swirling around town which will only further hurt its credibility (or what's left of it).
The story gets more interesting. Apparently, the financial backers were assured by SNAP that "SNAP has the numbers," and by inference, will win enough seats to form the next government. Based on this grand promise, SNAP is now desperately trying to shore up its very thin membership by poaching from PKR, SPDP, PRS and even PBB. SNAP has to show its Chinese Datuk that it is worth investing in because "it has the numbers." SNAP has particularly trained its guns on PKR and Paul Kadang has been working very hard (to his credit) to convince, cajole, persuade, bribe and even threaten PKR's potential candidates and members to cross over. He has been traveling tirelessly from Lundu to Limbang to zealously convert whomever will listen to him. Unfortunate for him, not a single PKR potential candidate has accepted his offer. Not a single press conference has been held by SNAP to announce a cross-over candidate or the registration of new membership. So what mass exodus is SNAP trumpeting in the media about? SNAP has begun to realise that no one in their right political mind would leave PKR or SPDP or PRS or even PBB and it looks like the leadership of SNAP is now resorting to 'cooking up' the numbers just to impress its investors. But one wonders how long SNAP can sustain this charade before the inevitable becomes crystal clear?
More worrying is the ever growing numbers of seats claimed by SNAP. First it was 7. Then it crept to 10. And the latest we hear is that SNAP is claiming a whopping 28 seats out of the 29 Dayak majority constituencies in the state! (We assume SNAP is not claiming Ba' Kelalan, the seat that PKR state chief Baru Bian is eyeing.) Why is this trending by SNAP worrying? For the simple reason that SNAP is not able to back their claims with solid facts. How can it dream to contest in 28 seats when it cannot even find 28 suitable candidates? Even if, by some sheer Heaven-sent miracle, it manages to find 28 candidates, does it have the machinery to mobilise the grass-root in all 28 constituencies to back and support these candidates? Where is its structure and network? How many SNAP branches exist throughout Sarawak? What ground work has SNAP done in any of the 28 constituencies it is claiming? Has it activated its Wanita Wing, so crucial in door-to-door canvassing? Let us hope the Chinese Datuk does keep his promise and give SNAP the financial means to mount operations because it really has to start moving seriously on the ground instead of just holding symposiums, going around trying to steal members from other parties, and making contradictory statements in the press. Action speaks louder than words and SNAP's posturing is incredibly naive.
In the final analysis, SNAP needs to re-group and review the reality on the ground. In any election, you need three things in order to have a fighting chance: (i) MAN-POWER, (ii) MONEY, and (iii) TIME. SNAP will have to work very hard to find the MAN-POWER (or pay a lot of money to buy man-power); it may eventually get the MONEY (if the Chinese Datuk does not pull out at the last minute); but will it have the TIME if the Chief Minister dissolves DUN in March, which is less than sixty days away? As things stand, SNAP has none of the above. No matter how you look at it, SNAP simply will not have all three components to put up a serious challenge to the Barisan Nasional which has a formidable machinery, far too much money and all the time in the world.
SNAP should be grateful that Pakatan Rakyat has allocated it 3 seats, and work on winning these constituencies rather than making boastful claims, behaving insincerely, sabotaging its Pakatan Rakyat partners and end up losing everything.
* SNAP: We are not leaving PR