KOTA KINABALU: The State Reform Party (Star) shares the sentiments of the Democratic Action Party (Dap) that the possibility of one-to-one fights in Sabah to take on the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) at the forthcoming 13th General Election is non-existent.
It also agrees with Dap that the Sabah Progressive Party (Sapp) was out of synch with local politics but thinks “it would be kinder not to comment further on an irrelevant party”.
However, Star begs to differ with the Peninsular Malaysia-based national opposition party on why “it’s not possible to strike a deal with the self-glorified and unrealistic Star”.
“We are not indulging in self-glorification or being unrealistic,” said Star vice chairman Dr Felix Chong, a Dap leader until recent days, in a prepared press statement. “It’s the people who are glorifying us everywhere including in FaceBook.”
He was referring to a statement by Kota Kinabalu MP and Dap Advisor in Sabah, Hiew King Cheu, in the local media on Thurs this week.
On Star being unrealistic as alleged by Dap, Chong pointed out that the campaign for a 3rd Force in the Malaysian Parliament was based on realpolitik.
He added that winning seats at the GE was not realpolitik but incidental and that the concept (realpolitik) must extend beyond and more importantly deal with the unresolved status of Sabah and Sarawak in the Malaysian Federation.
“We can’t talk about Sabah and Sarawak rights in the Malaysian Federation until the issue of the Federal Government’s non-compliance with the four constitutional documents and/or conventions governing our membership, participation and partnership in Malaysia is resolved,” said Chong.
He referred to the four documents as the 1963 Malaysia Agreement (MA63), 20/18 Points (20/18 P), the Inter Governmental Committee Report (IGCR) and the Cobbold Commission Report (CCR).
He claimed that the Federal Government’s “ominous silence” on the four documents rendered the Malaysian Constitution inoperable to the extent of its non-compliance with the said documents and thereby raised a fundamental issue of politics, the law and the Constitution: were Sabah and Sarawak in or out of the Federation?
If both states were in fact out of the Federation, continued Chong, why is Putrajaya carrying on otherwise since 1963 and more especially since Singapore’s expulsion in 1965? Are both states being occupied by Malaya?
If both states are still in the Federation, he stressed, what’s their legal and constitutional status in the face of the aforesaid non-compliance? Are they colonies of Malaya?
The Dap vice chairman does not want the Federal Government to admit its failure on the four documents “only after all our oil and gas resources have been plundered from us and we are pushed into a corner financially”.
These are serious issues that must be dealt with urgently, he said. “We are looking at the big picture and our longterm future, not the short-run or immediate run like the myopic parti parti Malaya in Sabah and Sarawak.”
Chong added that Dap like “the other parti parti Malaya in Sabah and Sarawak” are more focused on seizing control of Putrajaya from BN instead of being relevant to the struggle of the local people.
“We are not interested in regime change but system change,” said Chong. “Why should the people of Sabah and Sarawak go from the frying pan (BN) into the fire (Pakatan Rakyat) or, at best from the fire (BN) into the frying pan (PR)?”
He noted that PR leaders had often spoken about system change but the fact that they are openly against Star’s struggle for Sabah and Sarawak “shows that it’s either merely paying lip to system change and is focused on regime change or wants system change to be confined to Peninsular Malaysia”.
Chong warned Dap that it’s not good enough for PR to “bribe Sabah and Sarawak” with 20 per cent oil royalty in return for voting for them.
“What PR is saying is that they will steal less of our oil and gas resources compared with BN?” said Chong. “These resources belong to us 100 per cent. It’s like adding insult to injury if someone tries to bribe us into inaction with a fraction of our own money after stealing it.”
Besides dangling the 20 per cent oil royalty carrot-and-stick before the voters, the Star vice chairman hasn’t seen why the parti parti Malaya crossed over from the other side of the South China Sea.
In a dig at Hiew, Chong said that the people of Sabah and Sarawak were not interested in seeing all dolled up Dap leaders “self-glorifying” themselves in photo ops in the media “showing them pointing at an uncovered manhole, an unpaved road or at something floating in a longkang (drain).”
Asked whether the BN would win the next GE by default in Sabah and Sarawak in the absence of a seat-sharing pact among opposition parties to take on the ruling coalition one-to-one, Chong said that it was too simplistic to paint such a dismal picture.
For starters, even given an opposition seat-sharing pact, Chong claims that the BN would have a head start given the number of illegal immigrants — “its electoral Fixed Deposits — on the electoral rolls.
For another, he thinks that in principle “any form of pre-polls seat-sharing and /or coalitions is against the concept of democracy. By endorsing elite power-sharing, it denies the people meaningful participation in elections and thereby circumvents government of the people, by the people and for the people”.
Chong thinks that the only way for the people of Sabah and Sarawak to defeat the BN is to reject any political party involved in placing illegal immigrants on the electoral rolls, proxy politics of “the parti parti Malaya” and to vote on the basis of the issues before them.
“It doesn’t matter how many candidates enter the fray, “said Chong. “The issues and the number of issues will carry the day for Star and its 3rd Force allies in the United Borneo Alliance (UBA).”
A 3rd Force in the Malaysian Parliament is an idea whose time has come, said Chong. “It can steer evenly between PR and BN.”
He described the 3rd Force as a response to the “historical window of opportunity” opened up by the 12th General Election in 2008 when a political tsunami swept Peninsular Malaysia, deprived BN of its coveted two-third majority and threw up a two party system there.
“It would be foolish for us in Sabah and Sarawak to squander this historical window of opportunity and pander to the whims and fancies of the parti parti Malaya with their self-serving politics,” said Chong.
Both BN and PR, noted Chong, were Peninsular Malaysia-based national alliances/coalitions.
In response, believes Chong, Sabah and Sarawak need a Borneo-based national alliance in the Malaysian Parliament to lead a 3rd Force. “Such a Force is the best guarantee for Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia,” said Chong. “The issue of non-compliance can be resolved once and for all.”
Besides Sabah and Sarawak, Chong said that other elements of the 3rd Force would come from the other side of the South China Sea and include the Orang Asli, the Christians, other minorities, fence-sitters and the Indian community which decides in 67 of the parliamentary seats in Peninsular Malaysia.
Star chairman Jeffrey Kitingan announced in mid-April that the party would contest all 60 state seats in Sabah and 26 parliamentary seats including Labuan.
The party took the stand under its Plan Z after Sapp broke ranks with the UBA and entered into unilateral seat-sharing talks in Kota Kinabalu with de facto Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) chief Anwar Ibrahim who claimed to be speaking on behalf of PR. However, this was subsequently disputed by Dap in Sabah.