The rare and exotic hornbill or ‘Kenyalang’ isn’t an easy bird to catch as it is often found high above the ground. But Anwar is giving up. As September 16 drawing to a close – he had been sending more headhunters to hunt Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) kenyalang.

Without denying the attempt. Dr James Jemut Masing said the Anwar group tries to call him constantly. “I refuse to entertain them,” he declared, although he admitted to a sense that “Malaysia was changing”.

But Anwar’s chief headhunter in Sarawak, Ng Kim Ho, predicted “substantial” numbers of MPs will jump. “We are anticipating even entire parties,” said Ng, a lawyer who became a state MP for Anwar’s PKR in March.

The Anwar side is appealing to longstanding grievances that Sarawak and Sabah have not received their fair share of development funds from Kuala Lumpur or the Cabinet portfolios their parliamentary numbers justify.

The other signal talks to the herd instinct. Barisan MPs have spent their careers under the domination of strong leaders, Dr Mahathir in Kuala Lumpur, and in, Kuching, Sarawak’s chief minister of the past 27 years, Tan Sri Taib Mahmud.

“Half of the people in Barisan Nasional could not stand the pressures of being in opposition politics,” Ng said. “They are so used to everything going their own way: All they need to do is kowtow to one big leader … These Barisan MPs, we know their characters and weaknesses: we have to be able to work on them. ‘I don’t want to be the last to jump’ – I think there is this kind of fear, they don’t want to miss the boat when the change comes.”

Meanwhile Umno still struggling to explain recent ‘arresting spree’ of blogger, journalist and MP on course for disaster. Malaysiakini reports it looks almost certain. The Umno-led Barisan Nasional government has lost the battle for the hearts and minds of the people.

Hamid explanation that the arrest of Sin Chew journalist Tan was for her own safety has been rubbished by BN second biggest component party MCA.