Ensure Smooth And Orderly Leadership Transition
KUCHING, March 19 (Bernama) -- The dissolution of the Sarawak state legislative assembly this Monday will pave the way for the long-awaited state election and it will be the last hurrah for Barisan Nasional's state chairman Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud to lead in the polls campaign.
Taib, 75, who is honorably referred to as "Pehin Sri" in Sarawak, announced that he would step down as Sarawak chief minister mid-way in the new term to ensure that there would be a smooth and orderly leadership transition in the state.
Taib, who has been at the helm of the state for nearly three decades, said he would defend his state seat of Balingian in the up coming election, and would hand over his post to his successor during mid-term.
Speaking at the launch of the Samarahan district level "Sejiwa Senada" programme in Serian this morning, he said: "I will lead the election to make sure that new blood can come up, who can form a team and work for the country."
The Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) president, who has been at the driver's seat of the state since 1981, said the intended orderly leadership transition would ensure that Sarawak would move to a higher level of development and bring about better living conditions for the people that would continue on even with the change in the state's leadership.
The idea is to ensure that the quality of life for people in Sarawak would continue to be enhanced under the new leadership, Taib explained.
"This is my ambition. One day I'll go. I am already old, I don't want my ambition to die with me," said the seasoned politician of Melanau descent.
The Miri-born Taib, who has been a minister in various federal ministries in Kuala Lumpur since the 1970s before returning to Sarawak as chief minister in 1981 at the age of 45, said his ambition was supported by his contemporaries in the state who also wanted to see the new leadership fulfilling the people's aspirations in the state.
Meanwhile speaking at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin at the Kuching International Airport, Taib said: "It has been my intention since 2006 to step down but it did not work. I postponed it."
It is believed that one of the key considerations for Taib to eventually leave the scene is to find a suitable successor who can continue the good work of Barisan Nasional in the state.
Najib, who intimated that he and Taib knew the right time for a leadership change in the state, added,"We both have both a very good understanding of when to make an announcement on the change.
"What is important is that the change is smooth and orderly and Pehin Sri needs a little more time on the choice of his successor who can ensure that the party and government will continue to be strong and that there is no leadership struggle.
"That is why we are giving priority to Pehin Sri to lead in the state election this time around and when the time is right Pehin Sri will inform us (of his successor)," Najib said.
Earlier speaking at the launch of the Sejiwa Senada programme in Serian, Najib said, "I know he (Taib) is ready. When the time comes, he is ready to leave the stage and we have a very good understanding when it is going to happen."
The prime minister also said that there was no call for pressure to effect the change because a smooth transition was of prime importance.
"Do not clamour (for change) but follow the tradition (of transition) that is good in our country for what is important is for the succession to be smooth and orderly so that the new leadership can bring Sarawak to an even higher level (of development).
Najib said a smooth transition would enable the federal government to help Sarawak to achieve greater levels of development.
The prime minister said the people had always accepted this smooth and orderly approach on the question of succession, but the Opposition instead wanted radical changes through street demonstrations or even riots.
Najib said the approach preferred by Barisan Nasional took into consideration stability and uninterrupted development for the country.
tunku : we know that it is high time for taib to resign but the moment is not now.now is the moment for sarawak bn to concentrate on the state election and the coming general election.a smooth transition is very much needed in sarawak.we hope taib will start the process of transition after the state election.for now what is important is to win the election.the issue on taib tenure as cm is no longer relevant as he is resigning.