After Dr. Patau Rubis was sacked from the Sarawak Cabinet in October 1995, many of his supporters, associates and friends appealed to him not to retire from politics but to continue with his service to the people. They felt that he was still young (he was then only 47) and able-bodied and thus could contribute many more years of service in the political arena.
The main reason given by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud for dismissing Dr. Patau was the allegation that Dr. Patau was supporting some Independent candidates against the Barisan National in the 1995 General Election. This was categorically denied by Dr. Patau who explained that the Chief Minister acted like a dictator and could not tolerate a dissenting voice at Cabinet Meetings. He also said that Taib
was worried about the increasing support and strength of the Sarawak National Party (SNAP).
“The Chief Minister preferred a weak partner so that he could exert total control. SNAP was getting stronger because of Patau, so Patau must be chopped. Taib’s main political interest is to have weak partners and ‘yes men’ surrounding him. He feels more secure that way.”
The thought of joining or forming another political party did not cross Dr. Patau’s mind after he lost the Cabinet job.
It was only after he was suspended indefinitely from SNAP, the party he had served for 13 years, that he thought seriously about another vehicle to continue with his political struggle. Urged on by the request, persuasion and encouragement of his many supporters, Dr. Patau
told them that if they were willing to form a new political party, he would support them.
Jien anak Nyokek, a SNAP veteran and former police sergeant, then gathered a group of people and started to work on the formation of a new party. He formed a protem-committee for the proposed party and became its protem-chairman.
The State Reform Party (STAR) or Parti Reformasi Negeri, Sarawak was born.
The new party submitted its application for registration to the Registrar of Societies in Kuala Lumpur in early 1996.
But STAR could not be registered in time for the Sarawak State Elections which was held in
September 1996.Nevertheless, Dr. Patau and several of his associates contested the polls as Independents.
Although none of them won, many did reasonably well to retain their deposits. Dr. Patau himself failed to retain Tasik Biru but managed to put up a credible fight against the gigantic resources of the Barisan Nasional machinery. The state BN even had to rope in the then Deputy Premier Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and other Federal Ministers to tackle Dr. Patau in the gold mining town of Bau where he was defending his seat.
State Cabinet members led by Taib descended on Bau one after another to ensure that the
‘botak’ medical doctor was defeated. (Dr. Patau had shaved his head bald since 1995 as a sign of his innocence against the charges leveled against him and as a symbol of his committment to the struggle for truth and justice.)
The 1996 State Election set the stage for the emergence of STAR as the “Third Force” in
Sarawak politics. With the participation of Dr. Patau and his associates in the polls, the people of Sarawak became aware that there are a group of politicians who dared to stand up and oppose the politics of patronage, cronyism and corruption that is so apparent in the Taib administration. The message that there are Sarawakians who do not fear the intimidation for a ‘one-man’ show in the governance of Sarawak was also sent across to the populace. By and large, those who received the message cast their votes for STAR-backed Independents. This was particularly evident in the Kuching Division among the Bidayuh and Chinese
After a long wait, STAR was finally registered on October 9, 1996 and Dr. Patau officially took over as its first President at the party’s first triennial general assembly on March 9, 1997.
Upon ascending the party’s presidency, Dr. Patau appealed to the people of Sarawak to ponder on the four main reasons why a political reform is necessary at this point in Sarawak. The original meaning as Democracy – as espoused by Abraham Lincoln – a Government of the people, by the people and for the people must be practiced.
It is vital, he stressed, for the people to have a full say in the Government of the day to ensure:
1. The sustenance and continued existence of the good things we have today;
2. The establishment of the good things that we do not have today and the removal and riddance of the bad things existing today;
3. The sustenance of the self-respect and esteem of all individuals;
4. The sustenance, enhancement and development of the respect and image of both Sarawak and Malaysia.
Only will all the benefits, self-esteem of individuals and the good image of each community can we progress further to become the nation we can truly be. We can then build on all the natural resources and the human potentials we possess today efficiently and effectively, Dr. Patau added.
Today, STAR is the only local third voice party in the state still active.
March 1997. General Assembly in Kampong Sibuluh, Bau.
October 1997. First anniversary dinner in Dewan Krokong, Krokong.
March 1998. Annual meeting – Kampong Karu, Penrissen.
October 1998. Second anniversary dinner – Kpg. Rayang, Serian.
this information was on 1998.
Star Youth will update the latest news and activities.
STAR position on Land Issues Today:
(1) STAR will recognizes all claims as had been determined by the Courts. All appeals made against Court rulings will be withdrawn immediately.
(2) As for cases still in the Courts, STAR would like to see them settled as soon as possible.
(3) Land titles will be issued for all NCR lands with a lease. The term of the lease is to be determined in consultation with respective villages where the lease can be transferred to any one with the proviso that at the end of the lease the said land will be reverted to the original village. District Officers will be empowered as before to help decide land cases.
(4) The act of issuing Provisional Lease for any Plantation will stopped until a comprehensive review is made idle land use is made. A social economic study will be made on existing plantations will be made immediately.
(5) SALCRA management will be reverted to the Owners to decide as it were at the beginning of the Scheme. CEO of SALCRA shall only do the co-ordination and supervisory role.
(6) Masterplan for all towns, big or small, will made and land use will be encouraged according to the main plan without extra costs for approval by Authorities concerned.
(7) Renewal of leases will be done automaticly at nominal costs lower than presently offered provided there is no objection made against it.