Well, it looks like a done deal. In a deal struck between Premier Najib Tun Razak and Musa Aman during his recent visit to the state capital, Kota Kinabalu, Billionaire Musa Aman has reluctantly agreed to step down as Chief Minister of Sabah come this October.
The deal is like this.
Musa Aman will be made the new Sabah Yang Di-Pertua Negeri when the term of the present Sabah Yang Di-Pertua Negeri Tun Ahmadshah Abdullah ends year-end. Ahmadshah, who will turn 64, was appointed as Sabah’s ninth Yang Di-Pertua Negeri, replacing Tun Sakaran Dandai on Dec 2 2002, and its already 8 years for him or 2 terms as Governor of Sabah and “is on his last legs.”
Second, the Government will consider a proposal to bestow an award carrying the title “Tun” for Musa Aman. Hence, Musa Aman will be bestowed by the Agung the title of “Tun” which will be the highest civilian honour that can be granted to a Malaysian and Musa Aman probably could be the youngest recipient of this award in the Malaysian history. This is in recognition for the good work Musa has put in for UMNO in Sabah and his contributions to the success of the Barisan Nasional in Sabah in the March 8 2008, 12th General Elections, which is described as a “fixed deposit” by Premier Najib.
There are currently only 36 surviving Tuns in Malaysia and Musa Aman will be 37.
With the Tun tittle to his name, Musa will be protected from any legal actions against him as a Tun will have legal immunity and cannot be prosecuted.
So that’s the story.
So who will be the UMNO leadership’s nominee for Sabah chief minister after Musa Aman? Of course none from its coalition partners in Sabah.
Now lets take a look at the potential chief ministers and who are the chaps.
Perhaps a man who is a minister in the federal government – and it’s surely not Najib’s loyal blue-eyed boy Datuk Shafie Apdal the Federal Rural and Regional Development Minister who is expected to replace Musa Aman. For Shafie to succeed on the job, his image would have to be cleaned up. He has been much maligned for the issuing of identity cards to Suluks and illegals from Southern Philippines. He probably is not what propaganda about him tells the masses. The talk is if Shafie becomes chief minister close to 150,000 illegals from Southern Philippines might be moving into Sabah’s forest reserves. The man displayed pro southern Philippines illegal immigrant killer instinct. He single-handedly will be turning Sabah into another playground of Muslim interests from Southern Philippines. So, Shafie is out.
Although it’s still months away, there are already many hats in the ring. While Shafie Apdal the Najib’s loyal blue-eyed boy has made it clear he will not go back to state politics, other top leaders, including the Tuaran UMNO Division Chief Hajiji Noor who is also the Local Government and Housing Minister, Leader of Parti Bersatu Sabah and former chief minister Huguan Siou Joseph Pairin Kitingan, Karanaan Adun the Head of the Ranau UMNO Division Masidi Manjun who is the Minister of Tourism, Culture & Environment, and the senior UMNO man-Head of Papar UMNO Division Abdul Rahim Ismail are understood to be lobbying hard for the prized post.
The hopefuls, except for Joseph Pairin Kitingan who is a cut above the rest, the rest of the lot it is believed, are busy at the mudslinging game. But for all you know, none of these claimants will make it.
As the buzz has it, the party may opt for a senior leader who is the USIA (United Sabah Islamic Association) boss. Did someone say Lajim Haji Okim? Yes, Lajim Hj. Okim a Bisaya, the MP for Beaufort who presently is the Federal Deputy Transport Minister and used to be the Sabah’s Deputy Chief Minister at one time before Musa Aman came into the picture, and Pak Lah, the former Prime Minister, wanted Lajim out from the state and moved him over to Federal politics. Lajim Hj.Okim and Najib Tun Razak go a long way. Lajim was the mastermind behind the downfall of the PBS government, that brought UMNO to power in Sabah. This time around Lajim has been promised the Chief Minister’s seat. We shall see.
The hopefuls, their careers are a study in contrast as some of them have never lost an election while others will hardly be victorious at hustings, like Hajiji for example, could hardly talk. One thing, however, that is common among the chief minister hopefuls is their “never say die” spirit. And those tipped to succeed incumbent Musa Aman have seen the rough and tumble of politics as well as life.
It is understood that Premier Najib must name Musa Aman’s successor quickly to prevent lobbying.
One Najib’s aide from Putrajaya went contacted said: “More importantly, we want to send a message to Sabahans that a young chief minister would bring dynamism to the state.”
“The state needs to be forward-looking and having a fresh leader will certainly be part of rejuvenation and hope,” said the Najib’s aide.
They say a week is a long time in politic but here we are talking about 4 months.The problem is simply stated. Politics is the art of shifting trouble from the living to the unborn.
But Musa Aman still is a name to reckon with in Sabah politics and the wily politician still has the desire and determination to bounce back. And the only thing missing is perhaps what matters most-his credibility. Besides, his body appears to be finding it hard to translate his thoughts into action. A group of political observers now believe that the current spell of Najib’s rule may mark the beginning of the end of Musa Aman’s political career. His chances of becoming chief minister for the 4th time seem very slim now. Musa must be a sad man. Meanwhile, unmindful of the ideologies, Musa Aman will be planning his next move. The Aman’s chapter of political shenanigans is yet to see its end.
Within about 3 months it will be clear as to whom Dame Luck will smile on, or if there will be another dark horse at the last minute like Musa Aman in 2003.