History Repeating? In Sabah Was 1994, Now In Perak

Posted: February 5, 2009 in Joseph Pairin Kitingan, Malaysia, malaysia press, Malaysia Today, malaysiakini, Malaysian Politics, North Borneo, Perak, Sabah, Sabah Politics, Sabah UMNO, Sultan of Perak


Interestingly, in 1994,  when PBS Assemblymen mainly Lajim Ukin, Rubin Balang and Datuk Zaini crossed over to UMNO, PBS lost its majority in the assembly.  Similar to what has happen to Perak now, various incentives were dangled in front of the potential cross over candidates.

On that eventful day, Pairin Kitingan at a press conference in Sri Gaya, Kota Kinabalu, showed the press the Instrument of Dissolution of the Sabah State Assembly purportedly signed by the Governor Tun Said Keruak agreeing to the dissolution of the Sabah State Assembly. Subsequently in the same evening, the Governor made a Police Report against Pairin saying that he did not sign the purported Letter of the Dissolution of the Sabah State Assembly as claimed by Pairin.

There are some striking similarities between the Sabah 1994 situation and the present Perak situation.

Read below the Daily Express….

After 15 years, Sabah’s political history looks set to be repeated in Perak. Both state governments were thrown into political turmoil after winning elections with a thin margin.

The already tumultuous Perak politics was thrown further into confusions yesterday when Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) assemblymen – Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi of Behrang and Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu of Changkat Jering – announced that they were quitting the party to become Independent assemblymen.

With Jelapang assembly member, Hee Yit Foong of DAP, had also quit the party and Bota assemblyman Datuk Nasaruddin Hashim returning to Umno, the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) state government is now left with 28 seats, with Barisan Nasional (BN) holding another 28.

However, BN also has the support of the three “BN-friendly Independents” – Jamaluddin, Mohd Osman and Hee, who have given their undertakings to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak that they will support the new Menteri Besar to be appointed by the BN.

In what is seen as a change of political tide, Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin was Wednesday forced to take a drastic and an unprecedented move by announcing an immediate dissolution of the state legislative assembly, without first obtaining the consent from the Sultan of Perak.

To many people, the Perak political turmoil is Sabah’s 1994 power struggle repeating itself all over again.

In the case of Sabah, the then Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) government, under incumbent Chief Minister Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, notched up a narrow 25-23 victory during the state election held about two weeks earlier.

PBS secured 25 seats while BN captured 23 out of 48 seats at stake at that time.

The euphoria was shortlived when days later three PBS assemblymen – Datuk Lajim Ukin, Datuk Rubin Balang and nominated assemblyman Datuk Zaini Isa switched over to the BN.

Further defections followed and it was clear that the PBS government could no longer hold on to power.

Cyril Yansalang, a former public relations secretary to Pairin, said there was a similarity in the events leading to the downfall of PBS and Pakatan Rakyat government in Perak.

“Both state governments could not hold on to their powers because of the power struggle arising from the slim majority in their respective state assemblies,” he said.

Sensing that PBS was losing its majority, Pairin announced the dissolution of the state legislative assembly on March 14, 1994.

Unlike in Perak where the dissolution was without prior consent from the Sultan of Perak, Cyril said, during the announcement at the Sri Gaya, here, Pairin showed a declaration purportedly signed by the Yang Dipertua Negeri, consenting to the dissolution.

However, Cyril said, he could still remember vividly that the then Yang Dipertua Negeri, Tun Mohamad Said Keruak, denied having signed any document. The fourth-term PBS government lasted only two weeks before it was forced out of power.

The snap election it was seeking for did not materialise and the BN, now armed with a comfortable majority, moved in to take over the state’s administration.

“Pairin, after taking into consideration the interests of the state and the people, resigned as the Chief Minister and handed over power to his successor, Tun Sakaran Dandai, in a gentlemanly manner.

“They shook hands and smiled during the handing-over ceremony. I was told by Pairin that he did not want the state to turn into chaos.

“Instead, he asked his supporters to stay calm and allow the smooth transition of power,” he said, adding that he “really salutes Pairin for his sacrifice at that time.”

Cyril said Pairin was clearly a shrewd politician in that “he always places the interest of the state above his own or party interest.”

“He took up the challenge to become an opposition leader in the state assembly until PBS rejoined BN in 2002, and now he is holding the post of Deputy Chief Minister,” he said. Cyril hoped that Perak would have a stable government soon similar to the stability enjoyed by Sabah.


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