Archive for the ‘Barisan National’ Category



It appears that a critical mass of the Sabah electorate wants to reward Musa Aman for the good work he has done over the past several years, since he first assumed Chief Ministership in March 2003. Each person this writer spoke to heading for the early polls in Sabah had only good word to say about the chief minister. This is indeed what makes it difficult for a divided Sabah opposition – The United Sabah Alliance (USA) and its four State-based opposition parties namely Star, Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS), Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), Lajim Ukin’s Parti Harapan Rakyat, Shafie Apdal’s Parti Warisan Sabah together with Malaya based DAP, PKR & Amanah, to attack Musa on any of his development agenda. Shafie Apdal himself has characterised Musa’s regime as marked by fourteen years of malfeasance, but could never publicly attack him on the plank of development.

In a big public meeting outside of Sandakan late 2016, Shafie asked those who attended if Musa’s reign as Chief Minister was ever marked by a lack of accountability but the response was cold. In reply Shafie fumed before the crowd: “I have no other motive than to defend the rights of Sabah”, but having held five terms Member of Parliament of Semporna since 1995 and appointed as parliamentary secretary, Deputy Minister of Housing and Local Government in 1999, Deputy Minister of Defence from 1999 to 2004, Minister of Domestic, Trade and Consumer Affairs, and later Ministry of Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage, he has yet to prove that. On 10 April 2009, he became the Minister of Rural and Regional Development which coincided with his election to one of UMNO’s three vice-presidential posts. Shafie Apdal is hence the first Sabahan to hold a vice-presidency of UMNO but has done little to “defend the rights” of the varied population of this state.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that there is an authentic Musa wave in Sabah as is. It is no wonder that divided Sabah opposition groupies are very worried about the general sentiment generated before polling. The local opposition parties anxiety is reflected in the manner in which it is bringing issues like illegal immigrants, the re-issuance of identity cards, and the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

Elsewhere, near Penampang, Shafie Apdal is doing what he does best – playing the polarisation game. When he said Sabahans will celebrate if the BN is defeated in Sabah, he again betrayed the fact that the party’s desperation has reached newer highs. By invoking BN, Parti Warisan Sabah believes it can consolidate Sabahan votes across all races but the party’s attempts has failed to bear fruit as voters are seen shying away from Shafie Apdal’s new party. In fact, large sections of Sabahans seem to be inclined to give Musa Aman another term.

Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, the founding father of the second largest political party in Sabah, a long serving assemblyman, MP and Huguan Siou (paramount leader of the Kadazandusun community), has indicated an intention to retire from politic but is also complementing the broader sentiment in favour of Musa by holding on to his KDM vote base – to which opposition groupies have mainly tried but failed to break by raising numerous issues including the delayed Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) technical working committee report on illegal immigrants.

The KDMs, emotionally impacted by the down fall of the PBS Government in March 1994, seemed to have put their fullest weight behind the grand BN alliance. Pairin’s meetings are attracting unusually large crowds with hundreds of youths enthusiastically clicking away on their smart phones. I had seen a similar spectacle only during Pairin’s public meetings in Tambunan and Keningau during GE13 polls in 2013.

In many ways Sabah looks so much like a forerunner of events in national politics. Both Musa and Pairin speak the same language and the political grammar converges around a larger strategy of demanding Sabah rights under the Constitution, the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) report and Malaysia Act. The devolution of powers from the Federal Government to the state was an ongoing process, with the principal objective of addressing and resolving public concern over the erosion of the special safeguards granted to Sabah under the Malaysia Agreement and the Constitution.

Musa Aman articulates this strategy cogently as he says, “We are all Sabahans, who advocated a constant campaign to resolve issues between state and the federal and the Sabah Government has its own “gentler” approach – more effective, better than shouting and demanding” – “The Sabah Way”. When Musa said this a decade ago, the BN was the establishment. Today, the BN, and the forces its represents, have become the establishment, forging a front against the opposition and its divisive politics, the state government believes in consultation not confrontation.

Musa has repeated over the years that the Sabah State Government under his watch believes in diplomacy rather than confrontation and has achieved some excellent results through this approach, particularly in its negotiations with Petronas on oil and gas matters. These include the appointment of a Sabahan to the Petronas board of directors and Petronas undertaking to increase the number of Sabahans at executive and management level. Now there is a clear understanding between Petronas, the Federal Government and the state government as to Sabah State Government objectives.

UMNO is benefiting in Sabah due to the image of Musa Aman as an urbane, decent and efficient chief minister. The visit to Sabah by Wu Bangguo, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Catherine, and many other world leaders, confirms that Musa has placed Sabah ahead of many other states, making it the most successful state in Malaysia in attracting private investments. China’s decision to open a consul-general office in Kota Kinabalu confirms the state’s growing importance as a world-class city favoured by tourists and businesses. For the first quarter of 2016, Sabah under Musa Aman managed to attract private investments in the amount of RM10 billion, way ahead of other states. Apart from that, as of September 30, the amount of cumulative investments in the private sector, under the Sabah Development Corridor projects, had reached RM114 billion since its launch in 2008. Among the many reasons include having a stable, business friendly and a prudent government as well as stringent forestry laws and strong conservation programme. Totally Protected Area (TPA) – now covers over 1.5 million hectares of the land area or some 22% of Sabah. The government policy has been launched to achieve 30% TPA by 2025 or 2030 at the latest or over 2.2 million hectares of Sabah under forest.

So tell me, which other state in Malaysia has set aside 22% of TPA including rich agricultural lands and virgin forests at high opportunity costs? Only Sabah under the Aman administration, that’s for sure.

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Sabah’s Watergate Scandal is the hottest news in town. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission seized RM114mil worth of assets RM53.7mil in cold cash stashed in houses and offices from two senior Sabah Water Department officials on Oct 4. The duo, a Director and Assistant Director of the Water Department are being investigated for alleged abuse of power and money laundering linked to contracts for RM3.3bil federal-funded projects channelled to the department since 2010.

This MACC seizure has opened many eyes, it is another reason why administrative reforms should be put in place, especially with regard to Federal development funds. This is what Musa Aman has been saying all along years and years ago.

The rural infrastructure allocation system for Sabah needs to be streamlined by the federal government through the channeling of federal funds directly to the state government to enhance the effectiveness of project implementation, particularly rural development projects. The total allocation provided by the federal government to the state for rural development projects is more than RM6 billion for the period from 2010 to 2013, which is approximately RM2 billion per year.

There is no justification for Federal to approve and implement projects in the State and ignore and not channel the funds to the State Government. The Federal Government should not be seen as usurping the authority of Sabah and creating a parallel government in the process.

The funds for all Federal funded projects should be channelled to the Sabah government for implementation and monitoring. State government knows better the ground situation and has in-depth knowledge of local conditions and requirements. Definitely the State government can chart Sabah’s own development course to meet local needs and requirements

The Federal Government should not play politics with federal funds …

In the wake of all this, here is an interesting take by Onn Ariffin. Onn was the former Director of Federal State Liason (USNO) an appointed post by Tun Mustapha in 1987, he was the “brain” behind the parallel government before Umno actually took charge in Sabah. Onn now Datuk, has been part of Sabah politics since the 70s and onetime he was Secretary-General of USNO.

Onn’s piece is in Malay but here it goes…..

ONN ARIFFIN

Tun Mustapha telah melantik saya sebagai Pengarah Perhubungan Persekutuan Negeri (USNO) sebaik sahaja tugas saya sebagai Setiausha Agung USNO tamat dalam tahun 1987.

Jawatan ini tidak mempunyai sebarang rujukan atau penunjuk arah tentang apakah peranan jawatan ini bagi kepentingan party mahu pun negeri.

Yang lebih saya fahami kerana Tun terpaksa menjawab soalan pemberita di Lapangan Terbang dalam sidang media tentang apakah jawatan seterusnya yang akan dipegang oleh Setiausaha Agong yang ada selepas tamat perkhidmatannya.

Jawapan Tun secara sepontan ialah perhubungan antara Kuala Lumpur dan Sabah.
Dari situlah timbulnya tafsiran disesuakan sahaja dengan panggilan nama Pengarah Perhubungan Persekutuan Negeri (USNO) oleh kerana terfikir kemungkin ada sesuatu yang boleh dijalankan untuk memenuhi tuntutan waktu .

Walau pun secara sepontan, namun ada juga kebijaksanaan Tun dalam mengumumkan perlantikan jawatan terebut kerana pada ketika itu pihak Kuala Lumpur merasakan suatu suasana kosong dalam poliitik Sabah setelah PBS mengambil alih Kerajaan Negeri. Lebih dari itu banyak isu-isu yang dibangkitkan sukar untuk dipertahankan kerana ketiadaan pemain tempatan.

Tugas utama jawatan tersebut adalah untuk meningkatkan perhatian rakyat atas kemampuan USNO sebagai kerajaan Alternative di Sabah. Oleh itu usaha utamanya ialah untuk memainkan peranan perang saikologi dan membidas isu-isu party lawan secara terbuka. Pada ketika itu juga dua akhbar kebangsaan yang hampir tutup laman Sabah dan menutup pejabat mereka kembali bergerak aktib. Dalam masa yang sama kita mengambil ikhtiar terselindung untuk mengambil alih Sabah Times walau pun sahamnya saling bertukar tangan, tapi untuk jangka waktu itu ia dapat dipergunakan untuk faedah USNO dan dasar-dasar untuk membawa lembaran pembangunan baru dinegeri ini.

Teringat saya atas pesanan Tun supaya tidak berunding dengan sesiapa pun dalam party atas tindakan-tindakan yang perlu di jalankan oleh Setiausha Agong Party, walau pun dengan Timbalan Presiden. Katanya buat apa sahaja yang perlu dan munasabah kerana pada akhirnya kita akan berhadapan dengan Majlis Tertinggi USNO untuk penjelasan.

Falsafah ini terus terbawa-bawa dalam tugas Pengarah Perhubungan Persekutuan Negeri (USNO) sehingga ia merupakan satu tenaga yang mantap dan kuat dan berperanan besar dalam menyelesaikan beberapa isu yang kadang kala melibatkan Kerajaan Persekutuan. Segala tindakan-tindakan dirahsiakan kerana strategy yang dirangka mestilah berperanan untuk mengukuhkan party.
Antara strateginya ialah mewujudkan kekuatan USNO melalui terbitan Lagu USNO. Mematahkan serangan-serangan Kartun party lawatan, memberikan pandangan atas gerak geri pegawai-pegawai persekutuan supaya bertindak dalam satu pasukan. Antara lain pula mengimbangi Lagu Hand in Hand dengan menerbitkan Lagu Gunung Kinabalu. Disini haruslah saya ucapkan terima kasih kepada Allah Yarham M.Y Ismail kerana telah mencipta lagu tersebut. Lagu tersebut sempat dilancarkan sehari sebelum lawatan Perdana Menteri untuk meresmikan Mesyuarat Agong terakhir USNO. Isteri saya Datuk Dayang Mahani dan Allah Yarham Datuk Norjan Badar turut dalam melancarkan lagu gunung Kinabalu, yang telah disumbangkan kepada RTM sebagai khazanah lagu-lagu patriotic Negara.
Saya cuma berharap pihak RTM sekurang-kurangnya memberikan perhargaaan kepada keluarga Allah Yarham serta kumpulan penyanyi atas sumbangan yang tidak ternilai dari Sabah.

Peranan harian pula termasuk meniliti dasar dan kenyataan-kenyataan kerajaan negeri sambil memberi jawapan dan penjelasan atas kedudukan sesuatu isu.

Oleh kerana perhubungan USNO dengan Kuala Lumpur semakin hari semakin baik, kita telah berjaya membawa masuk sejumlah 2juta ringgit peruntukan pembangunan untuk diagih-agihkan kekawasan ADUN USNO. Saya hampir merajuk kerana diberitahu oleh Pegawai Pembangunan Negeri yang wang tersebut mestilah melalui Kerajaan Negeri, lantas saya meninggalkan pesan supaya peruntukan tersebut dikembalikan sahaja ke Pusat kerana saya menganggap sia-sia sahaja usaha kita dan kehadhiran USNO sebagai Anggota Barisan NASIONAL diSabah tidak mempunyai sebarang makna. Sementara saya berada di Pejabat Pembangunan Negeri Pengarah ICU telah meghubungi saya supaya jangan berkecil hati kerana USNO sebagai party tidak mempunyai jabatan Khas untuk menerima wang pembangunan Kerajaan. Secara berseluruh saya katakan ada. Jawapannya Kemas negeri Sabah yang boleh memainkan peranan untuk menyampaikan peruntukan kekawasan2 ADUN USNO dan kawasan-kawasan tumpuan. Saya telah meminta Sdr Mustapha Mohd Yassin supaya memberikan butiran kepala code yang boleh digunakan. KEMAS serta merta melonjak naik dan bergerak selari dengan jabatan Pembangunan Negeri.

Begitu berpengaruhnya jawatan Pengarah Persekutuan Negeri (USNO) sehingga kerajaan Sabah terpaksa mewujudkan sebuah jabatan atas nama yang sama dengan melantik Datuk Chau Tet Onn sebagai Pengarahnya bertaraf Menteri Cabinet negeri.

Keputsan PBS keluar Barisan Nasional pada 15hb Oktober 1990 adalah tidak dijangka. Selang beberapa hari saya telah memanggil kumpulan pemikir untuk mengkaji impak hubungan antara Kerajaan Pusat dan Negeri walau pun BN kembali memerintah di peringkat pusat.

Keputusannya walau apa pun terjadi kita mesti mencari jalan supaya wang pembangunan untuk Sabah mesti disalurkan terus walau pun Kerajaan negeri tidak lagi menganggotai Barisan Nasional. Perselisihan yang ada adalah diantara Party dan Kerajaan dan tidak ada kaitan sama sekali dengan rakyat dan mereka tidak harus menjadi mangsa

Saya telah menderafkan pandangan saya dengan imputnya daripada beberapa ahli pemikir kepada YAB Perdana Menteri untuk menubuhkan sebuah Jabatan Baru dengan nama Jabatan Pembangunan Persekutuan Negeri Sabah (JPPS). Antara kandungannya adalah untuk menyelesaikan hal-hal pembangunan dan kesaksamaan sosial dalam memulihkan peradaban masyarakat. Tujuannya adalah untuk mewujudkan system kerajaan selari yang mampu mengambil alih peranan dan kelemahan jabatan-jabatan yang tergelincir dengan arus dan peranan sosial mereka.

Saya telah menyerahkan nota tersebut melalui Pengawal Peribadi YAB Perdana Menteri pada 25hb Oktober 1990. Saya difahamkan YAB Perdana Menteri telah meneliti nota saya beberapa kali dalam pesawat dalam penerbangan beliau ke Kuala Lumpur.

Pegawai Kewangan Persekutuan telah memaklumkan andainya Jabatan tersebut menjadi kenyataan beliau telah meminta peranan JKR dalam memantau projek-projek tersebut diletakkan dibawahi Kewangan Persekutuan Sabah. Saya mohon maaf kerana Nota saya sudah disampaikan sehari sebelumnya.

Saya berpesan kepada Pegawai Research, supaya mana2 jabatan yang diletakkan untuk berbincang dan mengambil keputusan dalam projek pembangunan di Sabah mestilah mempunyai pendirian bebas tanpa dikongkong oleh jabatan lain. Tujuan untuk menentukan supaya pertimbangan check and balance sentiasa ada dalam pelaksanaan projek-projek.

Dalam hubungan yang sama projek mestilah berperanan untuk menaikkan taraf ekonomi Sabah, membentuk semula pemikiran politik yang matang, membangunkan kesejahteraan, kemajuan rakyat Sabah dan memelihara perhubungan antara pusat dan negeri. Untuk itu garisan quota penganggihan harus berada dalam skala, 30/30/30/10. Artinya 30% untuk bumiputera, 30% kumpulan politik, 30% pasaran terbuka sementara 10% atas kebijaksanaan Pemimpin politik itu sendiri.

Syukur Alhamdulillah YAB Perdana Menteri telah mengumumkan pembentukan Jabatan Pembangunan Sabah dalam Perhimpunan Agong UMNO pada 1hb November, 1990. Keputusan yang sama juga di buat untuk Kelantan.

Peruntukan pertama yang sampai di Sabah sebanyak 200 juta dan programme nya dilaksanakan oleh KEMAS negeri oleh kerana JPPS belum menyelesaikan structure Jabatan mereka di Kota Kinabalu.
Dalam melaksanakan cita-cita tersebut kontraktor-kontraktor di Sabah hendaklah didaftarkan semula dari Class A hingga F, sambil mengadakan kursus-kursus bimbingan. Perlu saya sebutkan ketika kita membuat research hanya seorang sahaja di Sabah ini yang mempunyai lesen kontraktor Kelas A pada masa itu. Kalau beliau berjaya dalam perniagaan dan kaya tidak siapa yang harus menyangkal kebolehan beliau kerana beliau tahu membaca keadaan perniagaan pada ketika itu, walau pun pada hari ini memegang jawatan kerajaan yang tertinggi di Sabah.

Jabatan Pembangunan Persekutuan Negeri Sabah yang wujud lebih 20 tahun telah melalui perjalanan yang begitu jauh untuk membangunkan Sabah dan pernah saya sebutkan kepada seorang Menteri kanan Persekutuan bahawa matelamat pembangunan melalui JPPS sudah pun tercapai. Oleh kerana Kerajaan Negeri didalam tangan BN maka peranan JPPS haruslah dihentikan. Ada perkara yang tersirat yang tidak diketahui oleh pelaksana bahawa kuasa JPPS boleh mengurangkan pengaruh pemimpin2 negeri kerana itulah matelamat utama JPPS.

Falsafah inilah yang mungkin menjadi ikutan di hari-hari muka ini, bahawa Kerajaan Negeri tidak perlu di maklumkan dimana projek-projek pembangunan akan dijalankan dan apakah nilai projek yang bakal dibawa masuk.

Saya tidak tahu sama ada Kerajaan pusat apabila mengumumkan sesuatu projek membawa nama Ketua Kerajaan Negeri dan Cabinet dalam acara-acara rakyat. Mudah-mudahan ada. Umpamanya bila menyebut Kerajaan Pusat setelah berbincangkan dengan YAB Ketua Menteri Sabah dan Cabinet Negeri bersetuju akan melaksanakan projek A atau B dikawasan ini. Ini adalah bahasa politik, bahasa Kerajaan yang harus menjadi amalan kepada setiap pemimpin yang masuk ke Sabah untuk membawa projek. Disitulah letaknya seni dalam menatang hubungan antara pusat dan negeri.

Sebab ada pendapat yang mengatakan satu-satu projek yang turun ke Sabah tidak semestinya datang dari Satu Kementerian sahaja. Dari Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Kementerian-Kementerian, EPU, ICU sendiri dan pelbagai agensi. Dalam satu segi ia dikatakan decentralise, wal hal ia juga centralise.

Kerana wujudnya suasana demikian pemimpin-pemimpin bawahan, malahan kontraktor2 juga berpusu-pusu ke Kuala Lumpur cuba mewujudkan rangkaian peribadi masing-masing.

Secara tidak langsung ini melahirkan suatu suasana untuk membangunkan power base masing2 dengan rangkaiannya terus kepada penyokong-penyokong dipelbagai peringkat pimpinan politik dan kontaktor-kontroktar. Saya teringat bila saya menjadi Ketua Bahaagian UMNO amat mudah untuk berjumpa dengan Menteri-Menteri Persekutuan.

Setelah saya tidak lagi dalam jawatan UMNO, walau pun bergelar Datuk, ada sahaja alasan yang diberikan oleh Pegawai Menteri tersebut untuk mengelakkan diri bertemu dengan saya. Satu hari saya aka namakan Menteri yang bahagia ini. Saya hampir menulis surat terbuka dengan Menteri tersebut supaya jangan panggil saya abang lagi, kerana dia lupa kepada budi saya memberi undi kepada beliau untuk jadi Ahli Majlis Tertinggi UMNO. Beliau bukannya tahu apa sebenarnya yang mahu saya sampaikan dalam pertemuan itu. Tidak semestinya projek.

Sistem seumpama ini sudah menjadi satu masaalah yang besar kerana terdapat kelemahan dalam cara pengagihan projek. Oleh kerana tidak dibendung awal timbul lah kejadian-kejadian dimana terdapat jumlah besar wang yang disorok dan dapat dirampas oleh Badan Pencegah Rasuah dari laci2, almari2 dan pelbagai tempat dari pegawai-pegawai yang mengambil kesempatan kerana terlihat oleh mereka ada kerenggangan para pemimpin dari maklumat-maklumat pembangunannya yang boleh diambil kesempatan untuk memesungkan dana-dana yang tidak bersih.

Walau pun ada kecurangan tapi kerajaan masih mampu meletakkan system penyampaian Negara pada paras yang sehat, kerana badan pencegah rasuah berjaya mengesan permainan projek dalam jabatan Kerajaan sehingga berjaya merampas wang-wang penipuan. Ini berarti system mengesan keselamatan dan kewangan kita masih terjamin dan dapat dipelihara dengan sebaik mungkin

Beberapa tahun yang lalu saya telah mencadangkan supaya JPPS ditutup dan kuasanya di turunkan terus kepada Ketua Menteri Sabah. Sehari seleas membuat cadangan itu Kerajaan Persekutuan telah menutup JPPS dengan serta merta. Tidak semestinya ini disebabkan kerana ditegur, kerana sebelulm ini pun ada juga suara-suara yang memanggil supaya ia ditutup akibat terlalu banyak pertelagahan dalam pelaksanaan projek-projek di Sabah. Memang sukar untuk mengendalikan projek-projek di Sabah, kerana permintaan terlalu mendesak dan sentiasa diasak. Malahan kerap kali ia mencabar perasaan dan kesabaran. Namun banyak yang boleh dipelajari dari pengalaman JPPS apa bila bertemu dengan permintaan Kerajaan, para pemimpin politik dan rakyat. Apa pun ia juga merupakan satu lagi cerita kejayaan Kerajaan.

Sudah tentu terima kasih kepada semua pegawai-pegawai JPPS daripada mula jabatan ini diperkenalkan di Sabah adalah kena pada tempatnya.. Apa pun yang mahu diperkatakan namun indeks pembangunan di Sabah semenjak tahun tahun 1990 mencapai taraf yang amat membanggakan disebabkan usaha yang gigih dan keyakinan pegawai-pegawai dan pemimpin politik untuk melaksanakan programme pembangunan untuk rakyat.

Ketika Datuk Seri Panglima Osu Sukam menjadi Ketua Menteri, saya telah mencadangkan melalui akhbar supaya satu pasukan pemantau ditubuhkan untuk memantau gaya kehidupan dan kelakuan pegawai-pegawai dan pemimpn-pemimpin Kerajaan.

Memang sukar untuk membezakan diantara pergaulan yang sehat mahu pun yang jujur, disebalik perhubunganya manusia yang mempunyai muslihat. Kalau tidak ada kedudukan dan berjawatan sudah tentu tidak ada yang harus dipertikaikan. Akan tetapi apabila ada pihak yang berani berbelanja diluar dari kemampuan pendapatan pastinya ia akan menjadi tanda Tanya dan kecurigaan yang merupakan material kepada badan pemantaun.

Cadangan ini telah ditolak kerana ada yang merasakan Badan Pencegah Rasuah sudah memadai untuk memainkan peranan. Oleh kerana sudah ada isu, hari ini saya ceritakan. Tugas Badan memelihara integerasi boleh menegur untuk mengelakkan kecurangan. Dengan rasuah, kerana ia sudah berlaku maka tindakannya jauh berbeza. Teguran boleh mendatang pelbagai makna, dibuang kerja, diturunkan pangkat, dipindah atau hilang kedudukan.

Apa yang ditekankan oleh YAB Ketua Menteri haruslah dipandang serious oleh semua pihak dan mestilah diberikan sokongan dalam mencari punca masaalah yang menjadi penyebab kelemahan kepada system yang ada. Dari itu cadangan untuk membuat rombakan atau “review” memang wajar.
Dalam Kerajaan Berjaya, projek-projek dipamerkan dan mungkin spesifikasi juga dipamerkan bersama. Oleh itu semua pihak yang berminat maklum dan secara tidak langsung boleh menjalankan pelbagai odit keatas projek tersebut.

Adalah molek semua projek yang masuk ke Sabah di maklumkan kepada Ketua Menteri, setidak-tidaknya senarainya disampaikan melalui mesyuarat-mesyuarat Majlis Tindakan Negeri. Yang Paling baik lagi kalau sesuatu projek itu mendapat perkenan oleh Kerajaan Negeri supaya mendapat kefahaman bahawa projek itu dipohonkan oleh kawasan-kawasan dimana dengan Kerjasama dua kerajaan ia disampakan kepada rakyat.

Projek pembangunan adalah modal besar dalam politik, jika maklumat penuh tidak diperolehi, pemimpin-pemimpin tempatan yang berperanan sebagai “pegawai perhubungan rakyat” tidak akan dapat menjual cerita politik mereka dengan mudah dan dianggap tidak menjalankan tugas untuk membawa perubahan kepada kawasan masing-masing.

Mungkin kedudukan pegawai-pegawai Kerajaan juga harus dikaji semula supaya tidak seorang pun harus duduk dengan begitu lama dalam jabatan-jabatan yang strategic yang ada hubungannya dengan pembekalan dan pelaksanaan projek. Ini untuk mengelakkan jangan sampai pegawai-pegawai-pegawai di bebankan dengan tafsirarn atas keinginan dan hasrat untuk mencari kesempatan buat diri sendiri.

Dari titik tolak atas adanya kambing-kambing hitam, Kerajaan Sabah masih mempunyai ramai kakitangan yang dedikasi dan bekerja dengan tungkus lumus untuk memajukan Sabah. Sudah tentu sesuatu yang terbaik akan lahir selepas kita mengahdapi gejala rasuah yang menular dalam masyarakat.

Ketua Menteri adalah satu Institiusi. Dalam perhubugan antara Kerajaan Pusat dan Negeri, kedudukan Ketua Menteri haruslah sentiasa dipelihara demi menjaga keutuhan Kerajaan itu sendiri dimana para pemimpin saling bergantung untuk menjaga martabat masing-masing. Dari situ kita harus bangunkan keyakinan rakyat supaya Kerajaan dapat melahirkan satu wadah kecemerlangan disebalik kejayaan Kerajaan Negeri yang telah berjaya mengumpulkan dana yang besar sebagai reserve kerajaan.

Saya juga mencadangkan supaya segala wang penipuan yang telah dirampas oleh Badan Pencegah Rasuah dikembalikan ke Sabah dan di masukkan dalam tabung pendidikan, yang mana sebilangan besar penuntut kita hari ini sedang berhadapan dengan perbelanjaan yang meningkat akibat ekonomi dunia yang tidak menentu.

http://www.malaysia-today.net/dont-mess-up-the-system/


The Daily Express, Sabah’s largest daily newspaper has not often taken political sides. Indeed, Sabah journalism has not had the western tradition of the media declaring its political preferences. The 14th General Elections of Malaysia (GE14) could be held by next year as indicted by Premier Najib Tun Razak recently after the landslide victories for Barisan National in Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar twin by-elections, plus the impressive win in the recent 11th Sarawak State Elections, however, the choice is clear and preferences should be stated. Sabah’s voters have to choose between five more years of a government led by Musa Aman, or five years or less of confusion created by an uncertain and split verdict, or five years of some nameless politician serving his tenure in Kota Kinabalu at Putrajaya’s beck and call.

There are many reasons why Sabah deserves Musa Aman. First, he is a decent chap. In the rough and tumble of Malaysian politics it is not easy to come across men and women of basic and simple decency. That in itself should be a good reason for his remaining at the forefront of Sabahan politics. Second, he has done an impressive job. While the state opposition parties has every right to criticise his government and question his record, the fact remains that Musa Aman has done more for Sabah than any other chief minister of this state in the past five decades. Consider some simple numbers.

According to the state’s economic survey published earlier this year, Sabah’s economy registered an annual growth rate of more than 6 percent, covering most of the term of Musa Aman. It was less than 2 per cent when he first took over as Chief Minister in 2003. This should rule out the idea of returning to a opposition regime. Sabah’s per capita income rose to RM 19,672 per year in 2014, compared to less than RM 7,443 in 2002. Even the Prime Minister recently said the number of hardcore poor in the state had at one time stood at 30,000 families and this had been reduced to about 7,000 families.This impressive growth comes from an across the board improvement in the state’s performance, barring the industrial sector.

Through the well-diversified economy, Sabah under Musa Aman has been able to raise our real gross domestic product (GDP) by 110 times — from RM527 million in 1963 to RM58 billion in 2014. Similarly, GDP per capita has also increased almost 67 times from RM688 to RM46,000 per capita over the same period.

Sabah’s agriculture sector, tourism, construction, education, health and services sectors have all witnessed impressive growth

Sabah has recorded a surplus in the balance of payments between 2002 and 2015. What this means is that the state’s exports have exceeded imports for 13 consecutive years.Sabah’s exports for 2015 were valued at RM15,582million or 70% of the state’s gross national product (GNP). Hence, the export market remains a key economic generator for Sabah. Sabah’s main exports are raw petroleum (38.8%), crude and processed palm oil (35%), and fresh farm produce and fisheries (15.4%), palm oil kernels (3.8%), methanol (3.2%) and plywood (2.1%).

However, if Sabah has to have a chance, if it has to finally catch up with Malaysia’s more developed regions, it needs another five years of the kind of development-oriented administration that Musa Aman gave the state. If Sabah can move closer to the national average in terms of the various indicators of development, that national average will itself rise significantly. Malaysia cannot sustain growth rates of over 8 and 9 per cent, not to mention 10, if large states like Sabah and Sarawak remain stuck in the morass of backwardness, both economically and socially. Musa Aman has remained focussed on development, he is a model chief minister that other Malaysian states should also aspire for. My vote goes out to Musa Aman.



Musa Aman is well known in Malaysia and across the globe as a leader who is totally committed to development and good governance. His record 3 terms as the Chief Minister of his home state of Sabah exemplifies Musa Aman’s commitment to a development Agenda, rising above all other political considerations. He ushered in a paradigm shift towards pro-people and pro-active good governance, bringing in a positive change in the life of many in Sabah. His tireless efforts were guided by the principle of Collective efforts, inclusive growth where each and every person was an important stakeholder in Sabah’s development journey.

When he took over as Chief Minister on 27th March 2003 Musa Aman did not have much time to settle into his new job. The state was reeling under the aftereffects of a severe cash crunch and there was nothing much in the State Treasury. Even Yayasan Sabah (YS) was badly in need of funds and retrenchment and Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS) was the order of the day. The entire world had written off Sabah and it was believed that Sabah would take years to develop. Musa Aman proved them all wrong. In a record span of time Sabah was up and running and today it’s reserves in the State Treasury is more than RM3 billion and has become the cynosure of the world’s eyes.

Musa’s success as an administrator lay in his out of the box thinking. That’s why when he recently spoke to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak he emphasised that the Sabah State government needs greater autonomy for rural development projects.

The Sabah government wants autonomy in terms of planing, funding and implementation of rural development projects so that they can be completed and delivered on time. There are too many Federal agencies involved at the Federal level at the implementation stage that contributed to the delay of projects. Development of rural areas has been hampered due to delay in channnelling of funds, bureaucracy and politicking.

Billions of ringgit were channelled by the Federal Government for development projects involving rural roads, rural electricity, rural water supply and household assistance program via Shafie Apdal’s Rural Development Ministry in the past, but, there was so much hiccups and many projects were delayed and some have not even taken off. With greater control of development funds by the State Government, the planning and implementation of infrastructure projects would be more structured, streamlined and aligned with the State’s overall development objective. Hence by giving more autonomy, Sabah can plan and implement projects in a more holistic manner.

Sabah State Government knows the Sabah turf better. Besides, Sabah State Government is more than able to manage funds from the Federal. Sabah State Government under Musa has a good track record in managing its finance which is proven by Sabah having the best record of financial management in Malaysia for two consecutive years and awarded a ‘clean bill’ by the Auditor-General for 14 consecutive years as well as given ‘AAA’ ratings by Rating Services Berhad RAM for six years in a row. All these happened during Musa tenure.

It is Musa’s firm belief also that – “a Government does not have any business doing business”. What a government should do, however is to create a positive climate that will bring investment. Instances of these approaches were seen time and again, last year Sabah received RM2.4 billion from local investors and RM1 billion was injected by foreign investors and gave a boost to employment creation in Sabah. There was quantum jump in both the MoUs inked and the investment coming. Sabah development Corridor (SDC) has RM135 billion worth of cumulative investments, out of which, RM45 billion have been realised.

Musa did not have much time to catch his breath when he took over as CM in 2003 facing grave adversities and in challenging circumstances. But he rose to the occasion, turned every challenge into an opportunity and transformed Sabah into a state that not only Malaysia but also the entire world is today proud of.

This was told to me by Musa a long time ago but its so meaningful even now, “It is said that community who fails to learn lesson from the past lag behind. Our own experience is no different from this saying. We have to build a better Sabah by taking appropriate lesson from our own history. And we have to define the road today itself. The challenge before this ever-changing society and time is to turn change into progress. Like what Nelson Mandela said: “Vision without action is, but a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with the action changes the world”.

This piece came out in Daily Express Sunday Forum today 13th September 2015


And so it begins. The very first has just been presented by the new Sabah Government after being re-elected in May 2013, and after hours of back and forth (cursing and paper tearing included), the new budget shows that the Sabah Government is committed to progress and is also as determined to increase the pace of development in the state.

Musa Aman says the bulk of the Sabah budget is earmarked for development. The RM4.622 billion of the Sabah budget for the financial year of 2013-2014 proposed by Chief Minister-cum-State Finance Minister Musa Aman in the state assembly Friday sought to tell the Sabah growth story vis-a-vis Malaysia’s and achieve the five-year dream in the first year itself. The release states “The new budget for 2013-14 would build new confidence among people and showcase state’s potentialities before the world”. “Ensuring Continuity of People’s Well being”, it was announced that new missions and schemes, referring to State Barisan National’s Government is very committed to the development of not only in the urban but also rural areas in Sabah and at the same time ensuring nobody is sidelined in the budget.

A press statement continued by saying that “The State 2014 Budget is higher by nearly 80-fold than Sabah’s first State Budget 50 years ago where the revenue estimate was only RM61.5 million while the expenditure estimate was RM61 million. In 1974, the estimated revenue rose to RM207 million and the estimated expenditure increased to RM239 million. Ten years later in 1984, the estimated revenue reached RM1.22 billion while State revenue rose to RM1.38 billion. 2014, has set the highest ever State revenue target which is RM4.58 billion, marking an increase of 20 per cent from 2013’s original estimate of RM3.83 billion.”

Even as the Federal government earmarks just 35 per cent of the Federal Budget for development work, the Sabah government spends as much as 65 per cent of the state Budget on development work. Talking about Sabah’s contributing a lion’s share in the nation’s development, Musa said, “Although the state government was elected for a five-year term, it resolves to fulfill the people’s aspirations from the very first year itself.”

While Musa’s budget speech said the state economy has grown by leaps and bounds in the past five decades since independence, he added that “I am confident that people from all walks of live regardless of religion, race, gender, rich, poor, old or young, physically challenged, wherever they may be ( whether on land or sea); people’s well-being and States prosperity are our main agendas for us to always strive for, which are certainly achievable.”

So there is the mission for which the government has allocated RM 1.58 billion “for improving infrastructure and public amenities”. This is besides RM627.92 million allocate to upgrade water supply. Musa claims that to achieve zero hardcore poor target and reduce relative poor in Sabah, the government has allocated RM178.14 million to implement various programmes. The reduction of poverty from 19.7% in 2009 to 8.1% in 2012 proved that the governments efforts in this has borne fruits.

The budget, claiming to be for inclusive development, seeks to strike balance for growth in both agricultural and industry, enhance quality of life in rural and urban by focusing on housing and infrastructure. To empower the youths the Y Generation so that they will be more valuable, creative, innovative and productive through education, training, skill programmmes, sports and community activities the budget has set aside RM229.86. The budget also proposes The Enhancement of Knowledgeable Livestock Entrepreneur (K-Entrepreneur) Programme which will be continued.

To spur growth in the State tourism sector, particularly on investment in providing tourism facilities, the State Government has approved the Tourism Master Plan covering the coastal areas of Tuaran to Kota Belud and RM233.99 million has been set aside for next year. The State tourism sector targets 3.4 million tourist arrivals and an estimated tourism receipts of RM6.277 billion although while writing this, a Taiwanese tourist got killed and his wife got kidnapped in Pom Pom Island in Semporna by Abu Sayyaf bandits. Perhaps in this instance, it is best if the state tourism sector uses the money to ensure maximum security before handing out pamphlets about exotic resorts in the East Coast of Sabah.

For a fair and unbiased understanding of the ‘Sabah Story’ we should read it with an open mind and look at the State’s performance against the backdrop of the low socio-economic base from where it started its journey to rapid growth and spectacular development. The ‘Sabah Story’ is a story in the making, much like the Thousand-and-One Arabian Nights, it is not a story that concludes here and today and perhaps never will. Sabah inherited low levels of social indicators (at independence) and it is the change in these indicators where Sabah shows impressive progress. The literacy rate has risen from 22 per cent in 1960 to 69 per cent in 2001 and 80 per cent in 2011. Even the infant mortality rate per thousand has fallen from 144 in 1971 to 60 in 2001 and 21 in 2011.”

Anybody reading the ‘Sabah Story’ with an open mind would see it is a story of immense success that inspires hope and determination to achieve greater success. But an open mind is something that is alien to our liberal media and the intellectually bankrupt commentariat that controls publications which lay greater stress on fiction over fact.


Newton’s third law of motion states that “every action has an equal and opposite reaction”. This is one law that has found many practical uses in science, but in politics, Taib Mahmud has mastered it like no one else has. Taib Mahmud has used this before and in the last GE13, we saw it being used once again.

Taib Mahmud’s interpretation of Newton’s 3rd law should be seen in the context of his political strategy. Incite the Sarawakians somehow, so that they vote for him en-masse. No where else in the country is the Sarawakian Bumiputra so united and committed behind the Barisan National Sarawak as he/she is in Sarawak. None of the “kedaerahan” politics that pervades much of Borneo states even seems to make a beginning in Sarawak. In fact, the Sarawakian voter has conferred Taib with the title of “Peh Moh”or White hair just like White Rajah Brooke – something that no other politician has managed to earn.

Trust me, this is not just paranoia. I have observed Taib for many years and I can say this with confidence that his every recent statement and action indicates the launch of one more edition of his proven mantra. Do something that unites the Sarawakian Native vote. But how? Here’s where Newton’s 3rd law comes in: Say something that targets the Malayans or Putrajaya; get media to hyper-react and come to their defense. Gain advantage with the state’s Sarawakians. In short: “Push out the Malayans. Pull in the Sarawakians”. Some would say “very smart”. So what if it is “divisive”. Politics in Sarawak never bothered about things like that!

Let’s look at what all Taib Mahmud has been busy with recently.

Taib’s various interviews with the media is interpreted by naive political observers as being an attempt at reaching out to the natives in Sarawak. This bunch of naive political observers thought this was Taib’s steps towards remaining as chief minister for Sarawak forever and to make sure UMNO never enters Sarawak. But Taib has already figured out that UMNO and Barisan National has become too weak in Malaya and depend too much on Sarawak to remain in power in Putrajaya. This is the time for re-asserting power in his home state by winning handsomely. His focus is only on Sarawak right now. He has enough trouble in his home state. The economy is slowing down (yes yes…..read unbiased articles to understand this fact) and he is getting panned for his state’s Human Development Index figures and corruption. If he now loses Sarawak, he loses all chances to remain as chief minister and UMNO will step foot in Sarawak and hence create another Sabah senario, every Sarawakian knows this. On the other hand, if he wins Sarawak again in the coming Sarawak state election which is expected within the next 2 years, he is without doubt going to be the foremost chief minister who kept the Malayan colonist out from Sarawak, notwithstanding what Taib Mahmud or others feel.

Let’s analyze what Taib told the press recently. Taib Mahmud charged that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) does not “deserve” his cooperation in potential graft investigations as they have not been upfront with him. Taib said he was not afraid of being investigated by MACC as long as he was being treated fairly. “Up to you. They want to victimise me, let them. As long as they are fair I am not scared”. “They don’t deserve my cooperation because they have been quite naughty.” The interview provided Taib the platform to announce that he wouldn’t apologize to the Putrajaya control MACC because he hadn’t done anything wrong. Sounds strange assuming he was trying to appease the Feds? Imagine this. Taib talking to the Feds in their language and telling them on their faces that he wasn’t going to cooperate? What were the Feds expected to do? Howl with anger and pass judgments that Taib was guilty! What is the media expected to do? Scream untouchable Taib. That’s what it did! And what about the opposition? Of course, they all showed how untouchable Taib was. This is exactly what Taib wanted! All this has panned out so beautifully for him. Why? Because what will Sarawakian do when they hear so much media, opposition and criticism of Taib? They will react like Newton said they would. They will ring fence Taib. They will swear to themselves and to each other that they will get their “protector” elected. Brilliant, Taib Mahmud!

Consider also the Malay-language Bible “Alkitab” row. Malaysiakini reported Taib as saying “It was I who talked to the prime minister. I said to him that it was a stupid idea to stamp serial numbers. I told him it should be stopped and he said ‘yes I agree and I’ll put a stop to it’. So he went and stopped the serial numbers. Now there’s no more of this nonsense.” Again, naive observers may have wondered why Taib wasn’t seizing the opportunity to curry favor with the Muslims. But no, Taib’s objective was the same. He was interested in making a statement to the Christian Bumiputras. Again….push the Malayan fanatics….maybe even become a hate figure amongst them…..and earn the votes of the Christian Bumiputras! Brilliant, no? The hearts of Taib’s Sarawak Christians would have swelled with pride. Now that’s our leader!

Taib is said to be fantastic with PR. I agree. He will use every bit of available opportunity to further gain from Newton’s law. The recent Lahad Datu Intrusion is and example where he said the setting up of Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate Lahad Datu intrusion in Sabah is a good move to find out the truth about what happened to avoid the government from being accused of creating the conflict. Taib cannot publicly use this issue to whip up support for himself, but in secret ceramah’s in Sarawak, Taib must be telling the Sarwakians – see what happens if we surrender our rights to the Malayans, let me handle this, only I can stop Putrajaya from stealing our rights! Give me your vote and I will make sure Sarawak is safe from Putrajaya!

The real truth is that all fair’s in love and war and politics. And no one can grudge Taib his political strategy. But it would help to know what one is getting into. No one expects Taib not to rely on his Dayak vote bank. There is nothing wrong in that. But one must recognize the downside of such a strategy. For the country and for his own party. Taib may want to ask why UMNO is dying to step foot in Sarawak and why Putrajaya wants him to retire as chief minister….the answer to that may make him wiser. Wiser than merely knowing Newton’s laws….



Creating history in Sabah’s politics, Musa Aman is once again back to the power of the state as the poll result of the just-concluded 13th General Election of May 5 showed that he won a landslide victory. The UMNO and Barisan National alliance grabbed more than two-thirds of the seats (48) in the 60 state assembly seats and 22 of the 25 Parliamentary seats. Musa Aman’s victory is said to be due to the triumph of development, progress, and good governance.

From the very beginning, the 2013 assembly poll counting hinted that the UMNO-BN alliance would create a history in Sabah with their new win and they proved by attracting a total of 442,493 votes for state seats and 434,522 for parliamentary seats which total 877,015 in all. The opposition, on the other hand, received only 59,862 votes for the State seats and 287,559 votes for Parliamentary seats.

Musa Aman, received the biggest chunk of votes with 16,637 for a state seat in Sibuga among the coalition’s state component leaders, a majority of 11,569 votes, underscoring the popularity of his Halatuju policy for the state’s development. His acceptance of a renewed term as Chief Minister also makes it the first time a Sabah Chief Minister had broken the nine-year jinx and continued to hold the fortress, basically what I have been saying all along.

Also as predicted, the Sabah Progressive Party led by former chief minister Datuk Yong Teck Lee was wiped out losing all the 41 state and eight parliamentary seats contested. Yong himself was beaten by DAP’s Youth leader Junz Wong in Likas state seat. Apart from Bingkor, Dr Jeffrey’s STAR candidates lost all 48 state and 21 parliamentary seats it contested. Except for the Klias state seat, Sabah UMNO retained all its 13 parliamentary and 31 (out of 32) state seats it contested.

While many facile analyses will attribute the electoral outcome in Sabah to factors that were marginally relevant, the more astute of analysts will see in the turnout figures what this election was really about. Of particular interest would be the number of first time voters and of even greater significance the spike in the Women Voter turnout. It would not be exaggeration to describe this election as the one where Women and Youth reposed their faith overwhelmingly in Musa Aman. In the processing putting up a Firewall against Race, Religion and every other political construct from the decades gone past that have come to define incumbencies.

This win signifies 6 things for Musa and Sabah:

#1 – He is a trend setter and has established that pro-incumbency sentiment can firewall against even the toughest of incumbencies and a 10 year run for the Chief Minister.

#2 – He is able to break from the past, having able to discard political constructs of the past 5 decades to analyse this election. This requires a new political construct to analyse how elections of the future will be fought as well.

#3 – He proves that Technology can be a winner – and that is necessary to stop being apologetic for being tech friendly.

#4 – He has sent a signal to the Pakatan Rakyat and its extended ecosystem of Sabah Progressive Party and Star that the cliche victimhood card as a permanent political agenda is past its sell by date. Cynicism no longer sells.

#5 – It is reflective of what the future can hold for Malaysia.

#6 – It shows Sabah is kingmaker in Malaysian politics.

Between women and youths lies the “New Sabah”. The story of this election’s win is really the story of how the ‘New Sabah’ came to be and how Musa Aman has laid out a political roadmap to realise its aspirations. Musa Aman preferred to call this a ‘Covenant of Commitment’. But I would go a step further to call it the ‘ladder of opportunity’.

For the first time in the middle of a high stakes election for an incumbent Chief Minister in a country like Malaysia to go on record and express his commitment to Development takes both courage and conviction. It is much easier to resort to cheap populism. What I find striking about this election is the creativity with which the “Safety of Net” has been promised. This has been done so while being steadfast about creating a “Ladder of Opportunity”. Thus there is the opportunity for more citizens to cross over that much riled “Poverty Line” through targeted interventions and join the “New Sabah”. The “safety net” that has been promised is less of a trap that sucks you into dependency but more of a trampoline that helps you bounce right back to find your way up that ladder of opportunity.

The earliest indicators of the rise of the ‘New Sabah’ came from the Census data of Rural Households. Between the fall of Harris Salleh’s Berjaya that was wrongly attributed to “Sabah Shining” and the re-election of Pairin Kitingan’s PBS that was once again wrongly attributed to ‘Sabah rights based entitlements’ most commentators have ignored what the Census data told us going as far back as 1985. In block after block, district after district, when queried over what kind of assistance Rural families preferred one message came out loud and clear – education, skills and security.

Musa Aman’s comments on the rise of the ‘New Sabah’ during the release of Sabah BN’s manifesto for the May 5th 13 General Elections may come as a surprise to many but there is a sound demographic basis to it. Back in 2008 as an academic exercise an economist friend had dissected the electoral landscape in Sabah through the prism of the 2006 Census data. It was found that the opportunity exists to materially alter the battleground in Sabah through a platform that emphasized on ‘economic issues’ that can size up to the ‘economic aspirations’ of the “New Sabah”.

It is this “New Sabah” that a hunger for job opportunities and infrastructure is shaping a different kind of electoral discourse where development and economic growth are viewed as essential to the ladder of opportunity while concerns over inflation manifest into the desire for a subsidy-oriented safety net. This is markedly different from the Pakatan Rakyat, SAPP and Star rhetoric which is all about imaginary rights and entitlements with the lure of cash transfers. The key difference is that the “New Sabah” is far more impatient to climb the ladder of opportunity rather than militate like the opposition parties for a safety net woven out of rights and entitlements.

Social engineering and victimhood narratives have been political anomalies for some time now with a young and impatient Sabahans hungry to satisfy its aspirations making electoral choices that defy conventional political wisdom. Soon they will become anachronisms with the Sabah victory marking the first time an explicit agenda targeting Sabahans being advanced by Musa Aman receiving such a resounding endorsement from the citizenry.

The opposition hasn’t been able to counter Musa Aman, but they say they have been able to contain him. That is one way of looking at it. What Musa has won is 18 seats more than the required majority, which is not spectacular, but the number is still more than what the opposition has managed to win. In fact, this is more a personal victory for Musa Aman than for the Barisan National.

There is no question Musa Aman is a master strategist.


In February, Musa Aman seemed a trifle embattled. The Lahad Datu standoff the intrusion of almost 200 armed Filipinos in Lahad Datu, 10 of our Security Forces were killed – for the first time in his decade-long rule in Sabah, the Chief Minister was feeling the pressure.

But come April, as he announced his election manifesto, neatly appropriating the legacy of the state leader, Musa Aman had put behind him all disadvantages of the month before. He then set off to the length and breadth of the state showcasing his “Vibrant Sabah” policy. The message was lost on none – Musa Aman was still a crowd puller.

After eleven days of campaigning, as the Sabah Chief Minister reaches the fag end of his final round of campaigning, the biggest question being asked is – will that charisma continue to translate into votes for the Barisan National? Surveys and analysts predict yet another victory for man who has adroitly changed his image to development role model. At stake are bigger ambitions – Musa Aman reckons another impressive victory could propel him to be the longest serving chief minister of Sabah, breaking the 9 yrs jinx. But is this road a smooth one?

All I can say is- The situation in 2004 and 2008 is very different from that of 2013.

The ending of the rotation of chief minister every 2 years in 2004 saw Musa winning hands down. By 2008 Musa had begun constructing his new avatar, that of able administrator. But 2013 is without any emotive issue except for the Lahad Datu standoff. The fragmented opposition has managed to keep the election battle low profile, avoiding another bad showing like 2008. That has forced Musa Aman to keep his campaign confined to development as the key agenda.

But does that suit Musa Aman? “Not at all,” says a political commentator, who later add that, “His political existence and shrill rhetoric is what makes him an unstoppable leader. But this time there seems to be no emotive issue. The developmental plank can’t excite voters to a decisive point.”

Musa Aman, the master strategist, realises this. And so, analysts say, he has attempted to add another element to his electioneering this time, projecting this to be not only a Sabah vs Pakatan Rakyat battle but also the personality battle between Musa Aman and Anwar Ibrahim. By taking the battle to a new level, he is sending a very subtle message to the electorate. He may not concede his national ambitions but when he talks about the Sabah vs Pakatan Rakyat battle, he is sending out a message; here is a Sabah leader who can stop Anwar Ibrahim from taking the throne in Putrajaya. If that’s the case, 2013 will, in a way, establish what connects Musa Aman to three million Sabahans. If he wins yet again it clearly establishes that even without a polarized vote, Musa Aman can win based on a campaign revolving around development.

But this road is not without potholes.

Though pre-poll survey and pundits say former Deputy Chief Ministers Lajim Ukim and Wilfred Bumburing are unlikely to do much damage to Musa Aman. The L & B factor, as it’s is called in these parts, could play spoiler at least in the politically critical Beaufort and Tuaran region. Lajim had won a huge majority in the Beaufort Parliamentary last time in 2008, but this time both Lajim and Wilfred could play a role in obtaining less than half a dozen seats. After all Lajim represents the all-powerful Bisaya community and Bumburing represents the Dusuns to an extend, which is a sizable chunk of the electorate. But the basic problem with L & B would be absence of an organizational structure since both are using unregistered NGOs PPPS (Pertubuhan Pakatan Perubahan Sabah)and APS ( Angkatan Perubahan Sabah) riding on Pakatan Rakyat, to topple Musa Aman as chief minister. Lajim is politicising the position of “Janang Gayuh”, causing disunity among the Bisaya, a Dusunic group, found only in the Beaufort region. Lajim ran away from UMNO because he knew he would not be fielded this time, the same with Bumburing and UPKO who didn’t want him to stand in Tuaran. To be honest, what has Lajim and Bumburing done the last 30 years? Zilch.

After eleven days of campaigning in this 13th General Elections, Musa Aman is looking to retain power again, thus enabling Sabah to live up to the tag of being “the fixed deposit” of the BN. Despite the opposition pact’s onslaught for the parliamentary battle, Sabah BN is likely to win most of the seats won in the 2008 general elections. However, BN can expect tough fights for Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, Tawau, Beaufort, Tuaran, Penampang, Sepanggar, Pensiangan, Kota Belud and Kota Marudu parliamentary seats. In the 2008 general elections, Sabah BN won 59 of the 60 state seats and 24 of the 25 parliamentary seats, losing the Sri Tanjung state seat and the Kota Kinabalu parliamentary seat to the opposition DAP.

The determining factor for BN’s ability to continue ruling Sabah lies in the fact that the coalition is more united in facing the elections, while the oppositon is pitted not just against BN but also against each other. Despite pre-election calls for the opposition parties to reach an understanding so as to ensure straight fights with the BN, only the Tanjung Batu State seat and Sandakan parliamentary seat are seeing one-to- one contests.

The decision by Star Sabah (Sabah Reform Party), SAPP (Sabah Progressive Party) and PKR to field almost equal number of candidates for the state seats is clear example of serious faction among them. Given the bickering among them, its hard to imagine any one of them winning enough seats to become the leader of the pack. On top of that, PKR’s insincere gesture of offering SAPP a limited number of state seats has resulted in the latter completely abandoning the hope of wanting to work with the peninsula-based party. There are campaign whispers alleging that SAPP had received RM60 million from BN to split votes in favour of the ruling coalition. Worst still during a ceramah in Foh Sang Kota Kinabalu which I personally witnessed, SAPP was on a DAP bashing spree causing distrust among the voters.

Dr Jeffrey Kitingan’s STAR on the other hand, the youngest parties of the lot, is making unexpected inroads particularly among the mostly Christian Kadazandusun Murut community in the interiors, and the BN message is as such tailored to them. So, if Pakatan cannot turn things around, it can only likely bag the Chinese-majority seats of Sandakan, Tawau and Kota Kinabalu, while in Beaufort where incumbent Lajim Ukin, who is contesting on PKR’s ticket, is likely to pull through. Pensiangan could be taken by Dr Jeffrey’s Star Sabah. SAPP is most likely not able to get even one seat.

With the end of the race just days away it is evident that winning big is extremely important to Musa Aman and how Sabahans vote will decide the road map to power politics in Putrajaya.


LETTER

by Joe Fernandez

Some Hindraf Makkal Sakthi veterans are demanding that the NGO’s chairman, P. Waythamoorthy, decide whether Indians should support the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) or the Opposition Alliance led by Pakatan Rakyat (PR). It’s not the done thing to give Waytha a 48-hour ultimatum.

Besides,  it’s not Waytha’s idea to meet with Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

Najib himself asked for the meeting with Hindraf. How can the Hindraf leader spurn the Prime Minister? That would be downright kurang ajar! It must be remembered that Hindraf wanted to meet with then Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in 2007. Badawi initially agreed but backed off when the racists in Umno made a hue and cry and insisted that the Prime Minister should not “lower himself” — jatuh standard —  by meeting with any Indians. The Indians, the racists insisted, should meet with MIC President S. Samy Vellu, the man who had been squatting on the Indians for over three decades and had no power to decide on anything. Apparently, the Malaysian Prime Minister was only for Malays. Samy was the Prime Minister for Indians. The Indians had no choice, in the absence of dialogue with the Government, to take to the streets on 25 Nov, 2007 and in mid-Feb 2008 in Putrajaya.

According to these veterans, the Indians are confused as to who they should support in the 13th General Election. There’s nothing to be confused about!

Why should Hindraf dictate to the Indians who they should support? These so-called Hindraf veterans should have their heads examined! Such stupidity even after 56 years of suffering under BN. These people deserve whatever they have been getting since 1957. Probably, it’s a congenital thing, brought about by not mixing with anyone outside their own tiny little circle of katak di bawah tempurung.

Hindraf is not the self-serving MIC which has been squatting on the Indians for over half a century in return for some crumbs from the Umno table for a handful of its leaders.

The Indians should draw lessons from the tragic fate of the Christian minorities in the Middle East in the wake of the Arab Spring and focus on avoiding political victimization when the polls are over.

If they root for BN and PR comes in, what will be the fate of the community for the next five years? Likewise, if they root for PR instead and BN still manages to cling on to power as in the past 56 years, are the Indians going to head for the nearest toilet bowl to put their heads in for a dose of bitter reality? BN cannot be even more vicious and vindictive than they have already been towards Indians. But what about Anwar Ibrahim? This man will be even worse than Mahathir Mohamad. You can see it in his conspiratorial face and his sneaky, cynical, sneering smile. The Indians didn’t get even one tiny benefit from the PR Governments in Selangor, Kedah, Penang and Kelantan. So great is the hatred this man, a grandson of a Tamil, has for Indians. That’s why Mahathir, another Indian, is shitting bricks these days and is leading the BN campaign together with Daim Zainuddin, his Siamese comrade in plundering the Public Treasury, instead of Najib who has been virtually pushed to one side as a Bugis puppet.

God help Malaysia if Anwar Ibrahim becomes Prime Minister! This is a very bitter man plotting, scheming and conniving to be the head of Government. The voters will be extremely foolish to take such a risk. Anyone who aspires to be Prime Minister must be someone like Obama, not someone who has more than his fair share of skeletons in the cupboard and has a poor track record. The Opposition should woo Tengku Razaleigh, the man who Mahathir cheated out of the premiership in 1987, if they want to maintain some credibility on the issue of who among them should be Prime Minister. Not that turbanwallah Hadi Awang from Pas. Karpal Singh, as Mahathir suggested, would make a better Prime Minister for PR. In his own warped and jaundiced way, Mahathir is pointing out that PR has no Prime Minister in Waiting to lead the charge.

Indians should support neither BN nor BN come the GE.

The issue is simple.

Indians, despite nearly one million of them being on the electoral rolls, do not have even one seat in any legislature in Malaysia, whether Parliament or state. This is the biggest crime perpetrated by the MIC against Indians.

This means no Indian can be elected by Indian votes. In Segamat for example, where MIC Deputy President Subramaniam is the incumbent, Indians make up only ten per cent of the voters while the remainder are equally divided between the Chinese and Malays. How can Subramaniam claim to represent the Indians on speak up on their behalf? No wonder he never opens his mouth in Parliament on Indian issues.

Any Indian elected to any legislature would need non-Indian votes. Such vulnerability rules out the possibility that they can open their mouth in the legislature on Indian issues. The Indian legislator, naturally, degenerates into being a political mandore, i.e. one to marshal Indian voters to the ballot boxes on behalf of the Malays and Chinese in return for some crumbs from the powers-that-be for himself. This has been the classic MIC modus operandi over the last 56 years.

The safest approach for Indians to take is to vote against all incumbents, whether from BN or PR, by spoiling their ballots. This would be the best way to protest against marginalization and disenfranchisement and bring international attention to bear on Malaysia on the plight of the Indians. There’s nothing in the two-party system for Indians.

If new faces are fielded, Indians should decide for themselves which candidate deserves their support.

Obviously, it must be a candidate who takes note of the following: (1) the Sapu Bersih deviations and distortions in the implementation of Article 153 and the NEP — shades of Apartheid, Nazism, Fascism, Communism, Political Islam, caste system —  must be ended; (2) the Government of the day must stop enacting administrative laws — not law at all but government policies in action — which are anti-non-Malay minorities and anti upward social mobility for the non-Malays. There’s a case for a Ministry of Orang Asal and Minority Affairs (MOAMA); (3) the Syariah and the Syariah Court must not intrude into civil law; (4) Islam must be kept in its proper perspective as per Article 3 of the Federal Constitution which doesn’t mention an official religion; and (5) change must mean change of the ruling party at regular intervals through free and fair elections.

Indians must bury MIC once and for all to end mandore politics.

In the 67 parliamentary seats in Malaya, and the related state seats, where Indians decide, the community should support Hindraf if it fields any candidate.

The purpose of such an exercise, win or lose, is to demonstrate that Hindraf has more Indian support than PR and BN combined.  Hindraf can count on other 3rd Force allies as well. Hindraf co-Founder P. Uthayakumar is showing the way here.

So, Indians should stop being confused.

Forget the Hindraf Blueprint.

Both PR and BN will never endorse it although the amount involved is a measly RM 4.5 billion, just a tiny fraction of the RM 225 billion Budget for this year. If the Hindraf Blueprint is implemented by the Government of Malaysia, the sky will fall down.

The Government of the day, whether PR or BN, can appoint Indians to the Senate and even the Federal Cabinet, GLCs, and the government sector to represent the Indian Nation in Malaysia. One good start would be the Ministry of Orang Asal and Minority Affairs which can be headed, for a start, by either an Orang Asal or an Indian. Many countries have such a Ministry to cater to the Original People and Minorities. If the Federal Government is interested, Jeffrey Kitingan, Waytha and this writer can suggest who should head the Ministry. We have discussed the issue at length. Keep out the vested interests so that we can see some real change for the communities concerned and Malaysia. the Government should not surround itself with the usual bunch of sycophants, hangers-on, fat cats, and cronies claiming to represent the Orang Asal and Indians.


All through childhood my mother would tell me: “You have to work hard to get whatever is in your destiny. But, remember, you can never get more than you are destined to get and never before the time that you are destined to get it.’’

I am reminded of that again as I watch Najib Tun Razak fight against his destiny to continue as Prime Minister after GE13. Perhaps it is in his destiny, perhaps not. Perhaps it could even be RAHMAN’s prophecy signifying the end of the line of Umno. But he is, at least, putting up a great fight for it and it is good to see that the man who wanted us to believe that the UMNO was a party with a difference, is himself now at the head of those differences with so many others.

However, it is satisfying to know that what we have been saying all along about Barisan National – that it is actually doing much worse than the Pakatan Rakyat despite seeming so scatter-brained and incapable of holding their act together – is now being reiterated by the grand old man Dr Mahathir. And though it might be due to the threat of losing his power as Prime Minister that might have brought forth the realisation of impending doom, it could actually be time for others within the Barisan National coalition to heed Dr Mahathir’s warning.

The party is usually better at hiding its bickering than the Pakatan Rakyat is under similar circumstances. Dr Mahathir’s latest diatribe seemed to be aimed at Najib as usual, but it is not just Dr Mahathir who is attempting to bring him down a peg or two. Muhyiddin Yassin is also sending feelers that he wants to contest for the Number One position in UMNO after this coming polls.

Now Najib himself is unable to espy the mischief afoot against him in his home town by his own men — those who claim proximity to him have already begun to work the wires to ensure that he does not win in Pekan, in the 1999 general election, dominated by Anwar’s dismissal and marked by mass defections from UMNO, Najib’s 10,793 majority in Pekan fell to just 241 votes, thanks to the postal votes he won. And the Pakatan Rakyat has, of course, opened out its arms to such backstabbers and is wholeheartedly aiding their game plan. Whether, then, Najib overcomes the image of being a coward, as Anwar has suggested, due to a refusal of a debate, remains to be seen. This is exactly what I have been saying all along about Najib — and being called all sorts of names for that observation.

Clearly, Mahathir has more friends in the UMNO than Najib does and so the orchestration has begun in preparation for polling day GE13 2013 — though, I believe, the national party leaders were waiting with bated breath for the announcement of the dissolution of parliament on April 3rd 2013 before really outing themselves. There is a whole group of anti-Najib people who despair that he might win with a small majority but the opposite is felt over at UMNO, as loud whispers points to figures and statistics, proving that neither Malaysia nor its current PM are doing as well as they pretend.

The meeting of anti-Najib heavyweights earlier this week, which openly declared war against Najib, could not have happened without some covert support from Dr Mahathir . This is an indicator that the party has clear-cut division of camps, if not a split – those for and those against getting  Najib out of Putrajaya. Ironically, those who want to confine Najib to Pekan also wish to see Pahang fall to Pakatan Rakyat GE13 for that would truly clip his wings even if he might redouble his efforts in continuing on as UMNO President , seeking a national role for himself.

As I gather from some BN leaders I spoke to, it is clear that this is what they are waiting for — and not just because it would bring back control of the four Pakatan controlled states, including Selangor. UMNO fears handing over the party nationally to Najib, yet BN seems to be simply looking forward to that very prospect. For a while, Najib’s national ascension might have cut short the ambitions of Muhudeen Yassin’s dream of becoming PM in the event of a BN victory. However, UMNO is certain that that a BN victory will never happen with Najib at the helm as they would then be the automatic beneficiaries of the consolidation of votes against the BN.

Whichever way UMNO might resolve this very real headache growing in the party, my money is on Anwar, even though I am no fan of his. I had said multiple times in my past entries that Anwar was an old fox; he would never let go and could be expected to outfox all the foxes, old and new, in both UMNO and BN. Not for nothing did Anwar toil hard to bring the Pakatan Rakyat together and cemented both PAS and DAP which are so diverse in their ethos and pathos, but today, they are able to sit together in one table and talk. Anwar has done the impossible (politically at least) and we have to accept that. Pakatan Rakyat came from nothing and is now steadily working towards the formation of a government at the Centre.

Now, for once, will destiny be on Najib’s side in this battle against the Umno leaders, against Anwar and against Dr Mahathir? There could be many twists in the tale between now and May 2013. But with friends like these in their own party, no UMNO leader — Najib or Muhideen Yassin — need enemies?

Food for thought: It was Anwar Ibrahim who said upon his dismissal in 1998  “I have been betrayed not by others but by my own  people.”