(Kota Kinabalu, Monday): The
Sabah Assemblyman for Moyog, Datuk Clarence Bongkos Malakun told
the Sabah state assembly in May last year of the joke that "if you throw a stone into a crowd in
Sabah, not only will it hit a datuk but it will ricochet off him and hit another
Sabah is not only the state with the most datuks, it is also the state with the
most ex-Chief Ministers, so that what Malakun
said could be modified to "if you throw a stone into a VIP crowd or
gathering in Sabah, not only will it hit an ex-CM but it will ricochet off him
and hit another ex-CM".
however, is not the only unique characteristics of Sabah.
While the whole world has gone forward into the 21st century
to advance towards globalisation, information technology,
democracy and political pluralism, Sabah has gone backwards to the 20th
century by some four decades to the nineteen sixties when there was no
Opposition whatsoever in the Sabah state legislature
- with the PBS returning to the Barisan Nasional to forge a
political hegemony which is inimical to the interests of the people of Sabah and
plight and woes of PBS could probably be traced back to its "stab in the
back" of the Barisan Nasional on the eve of the 1990 general election, when
it surprised all and sundry, friend and foe, with the announcement of its
pull-out from the Barisan Nasional and throwing its lot with the Gagasan Rakyat
led by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.
DAP was the second largest political party in the Gagasan Rakyat which was led
by Semangat 46, but the PBS announcement came as a total surprise and I first
heard about it
from a radio news broadcast.
PBS' "stab in the back" could have contributed
to the intensity of the bitterness in the last few days of the 1990
general election campaign, climaxing in the despicable and dishonourable Barisan
Nasional tactics falsely accusing
Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah of having
sold out the Malay race and betraying Islam for purportedly
wearing a Kadazan tengkolok with a Christian cross - and now both Tengku
Razaleigh and PBS are back in the BN fold!
the announcement, the DAP had no inkling whatsoever that the PBS would pull out
of the Barisan Nasional before the 1990 general election, and I was as surprised
as anyone at the PBS move.
was equally surprised when I later found out the reason for the PBS' "stab
in the back" of Barisan Nasional. I
was told after the announcement that
a delegation of top PBS leaders had
met Tengku Razaleigh and, together with other political feedbacks in Peninsular
Malaysia, the PBS leadership was
convinced that UMNO and the Barisan Nasional would be toppled in the 1990
general election and that Tengku Razaleigh would be the new Prime Minister
kicking out Mahathir. Not wanting to "miss the boat", as well as wanting
to play the "king-maker" in the formation of the new Malaysian
government, PBS took the precipitate decision to pull out of Barisan Nasional a
few days before polling.
the PBS leaders had asked for my
views then, I would have told them that there was no chance whatsoever that
Gagasan Rakyat could topple the Barisan Nasional, and that at most, the hope was
to start the process of change and democratisation by depriving Mahathir and
Barisan Nasional of two-thirds
the event, Semangat 46 fared badly in the 1990 general election, with many
Semangat 46 candidates managing to save their election "deposits"
thanks to the DAP votes - and PBS started on the downward course of its history
being reduced from the single most dominant Sabah party into the pale shadow of
its former self today.
Sabah having 60 State Assembly seats in the next state election as a result of
redelineation of constituencies, how many candidates
would PBS be allowed to field under
the Barisan Nasional allocation of seats? I
understand that the latest thinkiing in the highest Barisan Nasional circles is
that PBS would be allocated less than 10 of the 60 Sabah state assembly seats.
Even if PBS is allocated one-third of the seats or 20 constituencies, it
is already a very sad end
for a party which was once the undisputed political hegemon in Sabah -
what more to be allocated less than one-sixth of the total Sabah seats!
Barisan Nasional, as successor to Alliance, was supposed to be
a coalition of equals - but this had always been
a myth. When Alliance was
formed in the 1950s, UMNO's position in the coalition was described as primus
inter pares - or first among equals. This may have described the
relationship between Tengku Abdul Rahman and Tun Tan Cheng Lock, but UMNO's
position in the Barisan Nasional is best described as primus
tanpa pares - first with no equals. (With the rampant corruption of Malay by the English language, one can be forgiven for corrupting
Latin with Malay for a change).
latest Hishamuddin Hussein Onn -Ling Liong Sik spat is the best example of the
total change of character of the power relationships and equation
between UMNO and the other component parties in the Barisan Nasional
after more than four decades of
Alliance-Barisan Nasional "coalition" building.
reduced to a political party whose party constitution is utterely irrelevant and
subservient to the directives of the leader of another party, the MCA President
is now struggling to maintain a position of equals with the UMNO Youth leader!
will not go into the merits or demerits of the Hishammuddin-Liong Sik spat, with
the UMNO Youth leader publicly lambasting the MCA President for being
"arrogant" and "insensitive"
for "making sweeping
statements", "souring relations between UMNO Youth and MCA" and
"should be more responsible".
it is simply unthinkable that the MCA Youth leader would ever dare, or even dare
to entertain the idea, of doing
what the UMNO Youth had done - to publicly
lambast the UMNO President in a threatening tone for being "arrogant"
and "insensitive" for
"making sweeping statements", accusing him of "souring
relations" between MCA Youth and UMNO
and lecturing him to "be more responsible"!
degradation of the position of the MCA President to the level of the UMNO Youth
leader is confirmed by the reaction of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Deputy
UMNO President, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who called on Liong Sik and
Hishammuddin to meet and resolve their differences!
transformation of UMNO's role in the ruling coalition from primus
inter pares to primus tanpa pares
is evident everywhere, as for instance in Penang, where a UMNO Division Chairman
is more powerful than the Gerakan Chief Minister, who could not respond to the
demands of the people of Penang for a review of the RM1.2 billion Penang Outer
Ring Road (PORR) project, simply because the project had been privatised,
against international best practices of good urban governance and public
integrity, to an UMNO division chairman in the state!
return to the Barisan Nasional, although in an emasculated role, might be
understandable if the underlying motivation is to protect and uphold the rights
and interests of the people of Sabah and Malaysia.
PBS' bona fides in rejoining Barisan Nasional for the sake of the rights and
interests of the people of Sabah come under question when the PBS maintained
such a deafening silence on the controversy over the "929 Declaration"
where the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad announced that
Malaysia is an Islamic State at the Gerakan national assembly on September 29
should have been in the forefront to criticise and oppose the "929
Declaration" for it involves a tectonic shift in the Malaysian
nation-building process, going against the 1957 Merdeka Constitution and
"social contract" reached by the major communities and reaffirmed by
the peoples of Sabah and Sarawak in the 1963 Malaysia Agreement that Malaysia is
a democratic, secular, multi-religious, tolerant and progressive nation with
Islam as the official religion but Malaysia is not an Islamic State.
had used the famous 20 Points to topple the Berjaya Government in 1985 and
consolidate its position during the heyday of its power in the state, but why is
it so silent when the fundamental basis of the 20 Points undescored by the
Cobbold Commission that Malaysia is a secular nation and not an Islamic state
came under challenge in the "929 Declaration"?
of taking a stand to protect and preserve the 1957 Merdeka Constitution and
"social contract" and the 1963 Malaysia Agreement by opposing the
"929 Declaration", PBS
gave it endorsement by rejoining the Barisan Nasional after the "929
will try to fill the political vacuum in Sabah.
The road ahead for the DAP in Sabah is an uphill and difficult one, but
the DAP will persevere in our vision for a Sabah and Malaysia where there is
justice, freedom, democracy and good governance for all.
was asked by a reporter friend earlier today whether there is a political future
as Sabahans have become so
"numb" to the isues of justice, freedom and democracy that they now
overwhelmingly support the Barisan Nasional, especially with the return of the
PBS to the BN fold.
want to ask Sabahans with idealism, principles
and conviction not to despair but to come forward to join forces with the
DAP to restore Sabah as a citadel for freedom, democracy, justice and good
governance for the state and nation and for
the sake of our children and children's children.