If you have read my articles more than once, you would know that I detest demagogues. Not for personal or aesthetic reasons, but because in the twenty five years that I have covered Sabah politics, I have observed that the political culture demagoguery breeds is to blame for most of our economic and political problems. It has been my humble observation that whenever Sabah was ruled by a supposedly charismatic leader, skilled in the arts of demagoguery, Sabah suffered while the leader continued to look good. This is because demagogues rarely bother to deliver on their grandiose promises to remove poverty and bring development since they are confident that their ‘charisma’ is what brings in the votes and not their work. It is sadly true that they have far too often been proved right by voters.

So, when I saw demagoguery resoundingly trashed in the recent GE13 in Sabah, it lit a small flicker of hope in my cynical old heart. In Sabah, voters had a choice between an array of demagogues and a quiet, little man who allowed the work he had done in the past ten years to speak for him. Well done Sabah for voting for Musa Aman instead of the demagogues and poseurs who came to defeat him with their charisma and their party tricks.

Musa Aman’s main rival was a very skilled demagogue called Lajim Ukin. So skilled that he has shown himself to be undefeatable despite allegations that he made millions from lopsided agreements that the Sabah Local Government had signed away to his cronies when he was Minister of Local Government and Housing, and while he was busy with his slot machines. The local government he was heading went to pieces but Lajim thrived. After moving to a parliamentary seat, he came to Putajaya to become a celebrated federal deputy cabinet minister despite doing as little for the housing as he did for Sabah. He got away with his lack of administrative abilities by being such a brilliant demagogue. His demagoguery even served to conceal the utter lack of any sort of ability that he showed as minister.

The voters of Sabah did well by making sure he failed to defend his incumbency in his Beaufort Parlimentary seat, and in his state seat of Klias Lajim won by a slim majority of 342 votes after obtaining a total of 6,324 votes. They did even better to reject the advances of a another demagogue Anwar Ibrahim. He warned Sabahan voters that they would be making a big mistake if they voted for Musa Aman because he was a chief minister who had squandered the state and allowed centralisation of power.

Musa Aman chose not to respond to the charges flung at him and instead talked of how Sabah had improved in the past ten years and brought more development to Sabah and fought for more de-centralisation and delegation of power back to the state government. At an annual economic growth of 8 per cent in the past five years (compared to 2.5 per cent before), there are visible differences in Sabah that were excellently reported by the Daily Express newspaper’s editor in two articles last month.

From our weakness for demagogues have come the political dynasties that now control most political parties in Malaysia. Whenever this happens, a political party stops being a political party and becomes a family firm whose main purpose is to serve the interests of the family who controls it. Remember Shahrizat’s “lembu” episode? Yes, from this comes the tendency to see politics as business and then inevitably we have one or other member of the family who is projected as a commercial genius who mysteriously makes a lot of money very quickly while his wife or brother or sister goes into politics.

Malaysia has suffered enough from demagogues and dynasties. What we need are many, many more chief ministers like Musa Aman who show that they can win elections by working hard for the people who vote them to power. The voters of Sabah can truly be proud of the results they gave us on May 5th 2013. If this can happen in Sabah, then there really is hope of Malaysia becoming a fully developed country in 2020. But, voters must continue to tell the difference between demagogues and real leaders.

  1. Joe Fernandez says:

    Why talk hypocritically on TV3 about 800,000 Rohingya in Myanmar being denied citizenship?

    350, 000 Malaysians of Indian origin in Malaya are stateless after being denied citizenship despite Article 30 Certificate of Citizenship under the Federal Constitution.

    Sent by DiGi from my BlackBerry® Smartphone


  2. jamal says:

    Nurul Izzah to launch Pak Lah’s book in Singapore

    Dorothy Cheng

    PETALING JAYA (Aug 7, 2013): Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar will launch former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s book “Awakening, the Abdullah Badawi years in Malaysia” in Singapore later this month.

    She said she has accepted an invitation to launch the book on Aug 30.

    “I believe the Malaysian launch will be presided over by Abdullah himself and (former deputy prime minister) Tun Musa Hitam,” she told theSun.

    In Abdullah’s tell-all book, which will contain more than 35 essays, he defends his tenure as prime minister and accusations that he slept on the job by revealing that he had been suffering from sleep apnea.

    During that time, photos were circulated ridiculing him, and even his predecessor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had criticised him.

    However, in an excerpt from the book, Abdullah claimed Mahathir had known about his condition all along.

    “I did tell Mahathir of my condition so for him to say I doze off because I am not interested in the job is most unkind.

    “He knew the problem and yet he chose to say all these things,” he said.

    He has since undergone surgery and no longer suffers from the condition.

    Abdullah, 73, was prime minister from 2003 to 2009. He resigned from his post as Umno president and as prime minister after the BN’s lacklustre performance in the 2008 election.


  3. Joe Fernandez says:

    the five main issues in Egypt:

    (1) the Army is not neutral. It supports the revolutionaries;

    (2) the revolutionaries did not unite, speak in one voice and take part in elections;

    (3) the Muslim Brotherhood tried to hijack the Revolution through the presidential election (50 per cent did not vote; 26 per cent voted for the Muslim Brotherhood who were too terrified to take part in the Revolution; 24 per cent voted for various other opposition groups who were even more terrified to take part in the Revolution);

    (4) the Muslim Brotherhood wants to impose an Islamic Constitution on Egypt in defiance of the people and the Revolution; and

    (5) peace will not return to Egypt until six things happen: (a) the pro-Mubarak Regime people are purged from Government; (b) the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamists are eliminated by the Army and the revolutionaries; (c) no one hijacks the Revolution; (d) the revolutionaries unite, speak in one voice and participate in elections; (e) the Army returns to the barracks; and (f) the Army gives up all its business activities.

    Sent by DiGi from my BlackBerry® Smartphone


  4. kimanis boy says:

    habis la ini kali SiLajim kalau ada election sekali lagi diKlias, Musa memang habiskan lajim ini kali. itu lah terlampau dosa


  5. weston says:

    Now there is going to be by-election in Klias, even Klias this time Lajim will kalah if got by-election. People including Bisayas will reject him this time in Klias


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