Archive for November, 2019


Peoples voices not recognised in 3 instances of Sabah’s political history – 1985, 1994 and 2018. In all 3 instances, the decisions took a different turn and the government was formed by frogging and other means.

In 1985, Party Bersatu Sabah (PBS) won the Sabah State election with a simple majority of 25 seats. However, PBS was not allowed to form the Sabah State Government by the Istana.

Joseph Pairin Kitingan was kept waiting for more then a day while power grab was underway in the wee hours of the morning. In which, USNO’s 16 seats collaborated with Berjaya’s 6 seats and the Sabah State Government was formed before the sun rose.

The schemers of this plan decided they can still form the government by laying claim to the 6 nominated state seat. The then Prime Minister Dr Mahathir was in Scandinavia and his deputy Musa Hitam had ordered the plotters to give up. Joseph Pairin Kitingan was then only sworn in as Chief Minister after almost 48 hours.

In 1994, something similar happened again with Pairin Kitingan and PBS as victims. This time, Pairin also won with a simple majority of 25 seats despite massive frogging by his assemblymen to government side due to the scrapping of the Anti-Hopping Law (The Barisan Nasional government challenged the Anti-Hop Law that was introduced in 1987 by the then PBS State Government in court and had it scrapped).

This time Pairin had to camp for 3 nights outside the Istana as the then TYT claimed he was too sick to open the Istana gates for Pairin to be sworn in. By the time the Istana gates were opened Pairin had already lost many of his Assemblymen and a new Chief Minister was sworn in. This eventually led to the downfall of the PBS State Government as the PBS election winners had joined Barisan Nasional parties.

In 2018, it happened again following GE14. But this time there was a major difference. While in 1985 and 1994 Pairin was not able to be sworn in instantly after the election results, this time, Tan Sri Musa Aman was already appointed Chief Minister after an unexplained delay of about 48 hours. And despite being sworn in with his Cabinet members, Musa Aman still lost his government to frogging.

This time the Upko boys did the frogging probably on the orders and advise of Tan Sri Bernard Dompok and despite pledging that as KDMs they will stick together and decide as a bloc and only leave the BN after consensus among themselves. Five assemblymen from Upko and one MP left BN to throw their support behind Warisan and Pakatan Harapan, a day after the general election.

Their action caused the collapse of the BN government led by former chief minister Musa Aman whose cabinet, which included two Upko assemblymen, had been sworn in less than 12 hours before.

I was there on that night of May 9th in Sri Gaya when Tangau came out and answered a phone call apparently from Dompok asking him to go to Shafie’s house in Luyang. Tangau disappeared from Sri Gaya after this phone call and headed straight to see Shafie in his house, alone, leaving all his UPKO boys with Musa Aman in Sri Gaya. Upko then switched allegiance to the Warisan-Pakatan Harapan pact a day after the election.

For how long more must Sabah continue to be the only state where the Assemblymen decides who is to form the government by becoming political frogs and not by the people who voted them?

Lets hope a right decision is made by the Court of Appeal on this November 28th on the appeal of Musa Aman against the High Court ruling over the legitimacy of Shafie Apdal as the Sabah chief minister.

Comparison has been made between Sabah CM row and the Perak Mentri Besar tussle. However it must be stressed that they are entirely different.

In the Perak case, the Sultan acted before the new Mentri Besar was appointed.

In the Sabah case, the worst case scenario happened, despite the CM and the Cabinet already sworn in.

In the Perak case, everyone is the Sultan’s subject and the Sultan has the right.

But in the Sabah case, it does not have a Sultan but only a Governor, who himself is nominated by politicians of the day.


The Warisan-led Sabah Government has agreed to gazette all 90 villages that are in the State’s forest reserve areas. The decision was made at a State Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal. They will bring it up at the Sabah State Legislative Assembly sitting this November 2019. The villages included in the districts of Kota Belud, Tamparuli, Tuaran, Tenom, Lahad Datu, Beluran and Pulau Banggi.

Under Shafie Apdal, now they can occupy forest reserves which Musa Aman in the past did his best to save.

Musa Aman even expanded forest reserves during his time, but now Shafie is doing the opposite.

Under Musa, Sabah had a total of 746,564.91ha in fully certified forest reserves, with 675,691.68ha under natural forest management and 70,873.23ha in tree plantations.

And during Musa’s watch, one of the milestones in Sabah’s conservation effort was when Sabah resolved to protect the area that harbours the largest Orang Utan population as well as a diversity of other wildlife in Sabah, at the Ulu Segama and Malua forest reserves. After almost 60 years of continuous logging, this activity was phased out by the end of 2007. While there were some sceptics, it sent a strong message on Sabah’s seriousness about conservation.

To reiterate that Musa meant business, during an official visit by then, Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to Deramakot Forest Reserve in June of 2006, Musa, at a press conference announced that logging would be phased out in Ulu Segama, Malua and Kalumpang by 2007. The eventual halt to logging in the areas would translate to a forfeiture of at least RM1 billion in timber royalties to the state.

Many at that time thought Musa trying to “bodek” and was just polishing Pak Lah’s boots who has been known to be somewhat of a nature lover. Lo and behold, logging was eventually phased out in those areas. The move led to 240,000 hectares to be placed under Sustainable Forest Management, for the conservation of orang utans reforestation an area that is also part of the broader Heart of Borneo due to its rich biodiversity.

Yes under Musa, efforts had been put in place to recreate healthy and productive forests in these and other forest reserves, each with their own management plans. In areas that are not fully protected, extraction of timber was done on a sustainable basis and high conservation value areas were protected for their many benefits, included as watersheds.

Through Sustainable Forest Management (SFM), 53% of Sabah or 3.9 million hectares of State land had been permanently set aside as Forest Reserves, Protection Areas and Wildlife Conservation Areas. The State Government under Musa had also decided to set aside 30 per cent of its total landmass or 2.2 million hectares as Totally Protected Areas, in the five years. It had also exceeded the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) target of only 10%.

It must be noted that Sabah under Musa then had restored and planted forests well over 600,000 hectares, presumably the largest such undertaking in the tropics. The Sabah Government then had promoted Sabah as the hub for tropical rainforest research involving renowned international research organisations such as The Royal Society of the United Kingdom, The Nature Conservancy of the United States of America, Sime Darby Foundation, Abraham Foundation, WWF-Malaysia IKEA, Petronas as well as key local higher learning institutions.

From all this we can observe the effort put in place during Musa’s watch for Sabah’s forest conservation and the environment. And now Shafie is doing just the opposite.

As to the rights to land ownership, proper procedures and regulations are to be adhered first. In this case has proper studies been done to gazette villages in State’s forest reserve area by Shafie’s government?

Who is to know who has legitimate claims, compared with spurious demands made by encroachers, timber-thieves and in-comers looking to make fortunes from logging from these State’s forest reserve areas? And even when it is a genuine claim for community customary land, if the demand from that community is to convert natural forest, what should be done? Should the protection of the State’s forest reserve or the rights of the community be the priority?

So why did Shafie rush to gazette all the 90 villages in the State’s forest reserve areas? Or are those villagers in those forest reserve areas Shafie’s vote bank in the East Coast? Or is it to harvest timber in those State’s forest reserves?

Something ponder!