Monday, 27th October 2009.
Reported by : Joseph Tawie, Malaysian Mirror
DDT - The Legend
KUCHING – Veteran Iban leader Daniel Tajem is not even a PKR member but he has accepted an appointment to sit in the PKR national integration council to help improve East-West Malaysia ties.
A former president of the defunct PBDS, Tajem who is now partyless said “that makes me free to accept any appointment and attend any function organized by any party if I want to. I'm a free man”.
Contacted by the Malaysian Mirror today, Tajem said he has agreed to sit in the council, asking “why not, if my services are required to help improve ties between the East Malaysian states and the peninsula”.
He added that PKR’s objectives and his are similar in many ways.
Expose Taib's land-grabbing policy
“As long as Abdul Taib Mahmud’s (Sarawak chief minister) policy of extremism especially with regard to the grabbing of NCR land and selling them to cronies and plantation companies, I will find some ways to help expose such a policy.
“PKR is one of them, although I hope it could be the Malaysian Dayak Congress but sadly, MDC cannot be registered by the authorities following strong objections from state leaders”, he said.
This government’s policy is a process of disempowerment of the natives by taking away their basic asset - land - in order to reduce them to a situation where they would be forever depending on them, he said.
The appointment of Tajem, 74, to the PKR national integration council was revealed by a news online portal as one of six personalities appointed to the council whose aim is to help improve ties between the peninsula and the East Malaysian states.
Sabahan’s Dr Jeffrey Kitingan has been named the coordinator. The other members are PKR deputy president Dr Syed Husin Ali and former Gerakan stalwart Dr Toh Kin Woon, both representing the peninsula, Tajem and former state minister Hafsah Harun from Sarawak and another Sabahan.
Tajem has described his appointment as very challenging, adding that he would give his best input to the council.
Lately, Tajem has been very busy on the political front; having lunch with PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and having tea on the same day with a PKR leader, Zaid Ibrahim. Later he addressed a gathering organised by PKR.
All these activities have prompted his supporters especially those who have remained partyless following the de-registration of PBDS in October 2004 that Tajem might return to the political scene.
Colourful political career
The veteran Iban leader has a colourful political career having served 23 years as state assemblyman and nine years as MP. He had also served as Sarawak deputy chief minister but chose to take part in the infamous Ming Court revolt against Taib in 1987. When the coup failed, Tajem retreated into the political wilderness. But CM Taib has been 'sored' with him ever since..
In 1996 he was appointed as High Commissioner to New Zealand and returned to Kuching in 2000 to defend his deputy president’s post in the PBDS party election.
In 2003, he was challenged by Dr James Masing for the top post of the party. Masing’s challenge caused a leadership crisis in the party that led to PBDS’ deregistration in October 2004.
Masing went on to form Parti Rakyat Sarawak that same year but Tajem has been partyless ever since.
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