Implementation of a new "2:1:1" Sabah Chief Minister rotation formula a gross breach of Barisan Nasional pledge in two general elections and most unfair to the Kadazandusun community

Media Conference Comment 
by Lim Kit Siang

(Penang, Saturday): The implementation of a new "2:1:1" Sabah Chief Minister rotation formula even before the full completion of the first cycle of the "1:1:1" formula to rotate the posts from among the Malays, Kadazandusuns and the Chinese is a gross breach of Barisan Nasional pledge in two general elections and most unfair to the Kadazandusun community.

If the national and Sabah Barisan Nasional parties can disregard the solemn pledge given in two Sabah state general elections on power-sharing in Sabah by rotating the Chief Ministerís post among the stateís three main communities, and denied the Kadazandusuns their opportunity and right to a full two-year slot  of the Chief Ministerís post before the formulation and
implementation of a new formula, the message to all Malaysians is that Barisan Nasional election pledges are not iron-clad and cannot be trusted!

The Kadazanduzun community had a chief minister for only 10 months in the person of the United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun-Murut Organisation (UPKO) president, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, when Sabah state general elections were
held in early 1999.

Although Bernard failed to defend his Moyog seat in the 1999 state general election, there was no reason why another Kadazandusun Chief Minister could not be appointed to take up the remaining 14 months of the two-year slot for a Kadazandusun Chief Minister.

Furthermore, there is even less credible reason why a Kadazandusun could not be appointed as Chief Minister after the expiry of the two-year term of office of Osu Sukam so that the Barisan Nasional election pledge for the rotation of the post by the three  main communities in the state could be honoured to the letter.

It has been reported that under the new "2:1:1" formula as described by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad at his meeting with  Barisan Nasional leaders yesterday,  Sabah Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) president Datuk Chong Kah Kiat will serve as the Chinese representative for two years starting from the day he is sworn in.

When Chong's term expires, Umno, as the Muslim representative, will get its turn.  After that, a Kadazandusun will be made the chief minister to represent the non-Muslim bumiputras.   Upon the end of the Kadazandusun term, the post  will revert to a Muslim representative from Umno.

This is a most shocking interpretation of the "2:1:1" formula calculated to impose UMNO hegemony in Sabah at a time when UMNO has lost its traditional hegemony in Peninsular Malaysia as the Malay majority party after the last general election.

It would firstly mean that the Kadazandusun would be denied its two-year rotation as Chief Minister in the first cycle of "1:1:1" formula. This is shortchanging the Kadazandusun community.

Secondly, it would mean an unfair interpretation of the "2:1:1" formula as to give UMNO an unfair extra two-year term at the expense of the other two communities.

This is because Osu Sukamís two-year term as Chief Minister should be considered as the first of the two-year stints as Chief Minister in the second rotation cycle. If this is the case, when Chongís term expires, it should be followed by a Kadazandusun, and then rounded up with a UMNO nominee to complete the "2:1:1" cycle.

Any other interpretation would mean UMNO abusing its hegemonic position to take unfair advantage to deny the other Barisan Nasional component parties a fair and equitable power-sharing in Sabah.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman