Archive for the ‘Harris Salleh’ Category


Do you remember when Yong Teck Lee, Shafie Apdal and Joseph Ambrose Lee were partners in crime, trying to take over the RM30-billion timber wealth of Yayasan Sabah through share-swap, when Yong Teck Lee himself was Sabah chief Minister and Shafie Apdal was Director of Yayasan Sabah?

Well, I do.

The year was 1996, and it was called The ICBS-NBT controversy. It began when North Borneo Timber Berhad (NBT) was said to have attempted to gain control over Sabah Softwoods Sdn Bhd (SSSB) and Rakyat Berjaya Sdn Bhd (RBSB) involving the selling of 60 per cent equities of Innoprise Corporation Sdn Bhd (ICSB), a subsidiary of the Sabah Foundation. The proposed control over SSSB and RBSB would mean giving away 150,000 acres of Sabah Foundation lands to certain individuals while the taking over of RBSB would mean surrendering 247,000 acres of its timber concession to NBT. NBT had offered below market price for the Sabah Foundation subsidiaries. SSSB was offered RM200 million although 60 per cent of its interest proposed for takeover by NBT was RM765 million. RBSB’s 104,000 hectares of concessions was valued at RM2.5 billion but was only offered RM100 million by NBT. Shafie, who was then Chairman of North Borneo Timber Berhad (NBT) and Sabah Umno Youth Chief, had attempted to place the shares and equities of Innoprise Corporation Sdn Bhd (ICSB), a subsidiary of Sabah Foundation, in a public listed company.

Like it or not, it was Musa Aman, the then state finance minister, who rejected this share-swap deal, saving Yayasan Sabah from a pending doom.

Obviously for a very long time Shafie Apdal has had ideas of grandeur of being the top dog, for sure, and I see it as envy forming due to Musa’s many achievements which has catapulted Sabah to the top position among the States in Malaysia.

It is wrong to say that Sabah has registered improvement in one or two areas. In fact there is no area in which Sabah has not progressed. Education, law and order, good environmental practices, forest protection, clean water supply, electricity, agriculture, industrial progress, urban development, rural development, exports, tourism, RCI on Sabah’s illegal immigrant problem, increase for oil royalty, revision of State Rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963, the list goes on – however you look at it, Sabah attracts keen attention in every area, registering surpluses throughout. But Sabah is not satisfied with these achievements . It is not resting on its laurels but is focusing on earning more surpluses. The reason for this attitude is that Sabah does not think only about itself. It thinks for the whole of Malaysia. Sabah is the locomotive engine of Malaysia and continuously contributes to Malaysia’s growth.

When Sabah attained independence in 1963, Malaysia was born. Right from independence in 1963 to 1985, Alliance- Barisan National ruled Sabah. After 1985, Datuk Harris Salleh was defeated, Pairin Kitingan from Party Bersatu Sabah became the Chief Minister. But even at that time Sabah was ruled by the Barisan National until 1986 when PBS pulled out from BN. In 1994, BN wrested control of the power from PBS when Lajim defected from Parti Bersatu Sabah which won the Sabah election, and his action opened a floodgate of defections from PBS and saw the collapse of Pairin’s PBS government. Sakaran Dandai became the first Umno Chief Minister in Sabah in 1994.

In 2003, Musa Aman was appointed chief minister and faced crisis after crisis upon assuming office. First the state treasury was nearly negative, Yayasan Sabah was on the verge of going bust, state agency were negative and the financial situation of the state was in shambles. But Musa Aman had to prudently turned around the mess he inherited. In 2004, he faced assembly elections and captured more seats than in 1999 and became the Chief Minister again. Once more in 2008, he soared with a thumping victory, winning 59 out of the 60 state seats. And for the 2013 elections, Musa rose to the top with a two-thirds majority in the state assembly, thus the title as the longest serving Chief Minister of Sabah. Musa Aman is facing elections again which is expected within the next nine months.

Sabah registered remarkable progress in the last fourteen years of Musa Aman’s rule. Nobody including his opponents can deny this.

Under him, a special report by the state government on the restoration of state rights and devolution of powers under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 has been given to Putrajaya. The state cabinet had put forward its claims for a review of the special federal monetary grants, mandatory every five years under Article 112D of the Federal Constitution. Musa is pushing hard for the restoration of state rights and devolution of powers particularly Sabah’s revenue rights, Sabah’s rights in the Federal Constitution, Malaysia Act and Malaysia Agreement 1963, as well as the Intergovernmental Committee Report.

And in the Auditor-General’s Report for 2016, the financial management of 31 Sabah state ministries, departments and agencies had received an overall “Very Good” rating based on the accountability index. Sabah has even earned praises from Auditor-General for demonstrating sound financial management and for maintaining its record and prudent handling of its finances over the last 12 years. One hundred and six departments and agencies were audited last year and each showed that its financial management was at a very good level. This places Sabah among the best states in Malaysia in terms of accountability and financial management efficiency. This has given Sabah a positive image as it proves that the state has succeeded in managing its resources well, efficiently and in an orderly manner. The auditor-general’s positive assessment should erase the allegations from certain quarters, who always question the state government’s capability and efficiency in managing its finances. In fact, the auditor-general was so impressed with Sabah’s financial management that she wants it to be a role model for other states.

Even Moody International, has certified the Sabah government for efficient and proper budget management for three years running and has given it a triple-A rating for its finances.

Sabah had suffered many a human crises in the past and the lack of good and safe drinking water would be an example of such an issue. Due to this, dry taps were a norm often in the past. In the kampungs especially, women and children had to walk very far to fetch drinking water to their homes. There was also a scarcity of electricity and even the quality of electricity supplied was not up to the mark. Road facilities were not adequate and their quality was also not sound. But under Musa Aman, all these defects faded away in the last ten years. Now there are separate facilities for ground water and drinking water, keeping many a deadly diseases at bay.

Power shortages still happens occasionally throughout Sabah but it has improved tremendously from the past changing the way Sabahans live. Now in most towns electricity is supplied for 24 hours a day. Electricity is supplied for agriculture through a separate feeder. What is even more praiseworthy is that the electricity is available with good quality. No longer do Sabahans purchase stabilizers along with their television or refrigerators.

Sabah has registered remarkable progress in education as well. Native children and girls are attending school and receiving proper education at an increasing number. Sabah’s poverty rate stood at 4.1% as of 2014, down from 23.4% in 2004. For this year alone, the state has allocated RM394.93 million for poverty eradication programmes in its budget and set itself a target of achieving 1% poverty rate by 2020, at the end of the five-year 11th Malaysia Plan.

Even tourism is booming. 2016 was best year for Sabah tourism. Tourists arrival was all time high at 3,427,908 and tourism receipts was a whopping RM7.25billion.

Now you ask: How were all these feats achieved? It is simply Musa Aman’s focus and dedication. After reading the above facts, I think one can understand the reason for Shafie Apdal’s jealousy. Even though Shafie Apdal was MP for Semporna for 4 full terms since 1995, he has done hardly anything to improve the livelihood of the Semporna folks despite receiving a huge budget from his Rural Ministry. His achievements pale into insignificance compared to that of Musa Aman’s.

There are over 3 million people living in Sabah, forming 10% of Malaysian population. Sabah has an area of 73620 sq km. This is 60% of total land surface of Peninsular Malaysia. In oil palm production alone, Sabah’s share is 40%, and Sabah contributes in addition to that 25% in cocoa production, 27% in rubber production, 40% in natural gas, 55% in petroleum, 70% in tiger prawns production about 9000 metric tons, 60% in ginger production and 35% in cabbage production.

Even the Totally Protected Forest (TPAs) – 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% TPAs by 2025 or 2030 at the latest or over 2.2. million hectares of Sabah. Which state in Malaysia has set aside 22% of TPAs including rich agricultural lands and virgin forests at high opportunity costs? Only Sabah under Musa Aman!

The child-like rants and casual ridicule by the opposition Parti Warisan Sabah — Musa a failed leader, and so on — has only portrayed lack of imagination and vision of the Opposition. Occasional murmurs of a ‘united opposition’ to take on Musa in 2018 does little to challenge his rising stature and appeal, which shows no sign of abating.

I guess now the question ‘What Musa Aman did for Sabah?’ stands well answered. Quite contrary to the skeptics who are of the opinion that, it is Aladdin with his Magic Lamp who is responsible for the Sabah of the present day, the fact remains that the man behind the success story of Sabah is Musa Aman. Musa’s return to power thrice, marked by landslide victories proves beyond doubt the contribution of Musa in creating the exemplary Sabah of today and also underlines the unshakeable faith that the population of Sabah has in Musa Aman.


Malaysia NEEDS freedom from many evils which includes corruption, social evils, red-tapism, crime, fundamentalism, pseudo-secularism and many such other aspects which are deep-rooted in our system. But suggesting the elimination of all or any of these handicaps is just hypothetical in a present-days political system.

What we actually need to do is to get freedom from the present breed of politicians, who instead of using politics as a tool to serve people, would rather run politics as business for minting money by be-fooling the public.

Sabah missed a great opportunity to become the State Flagship in the cattle and dairy industry due to a major blunder in decision-making when Salleh Said Keruak was Chief Minister and Datuk Lajim Ukin the State Agriculture Minister.

Sabah government had a cattle farm in Darwin Australia and the state had actually reached 100 percent self-sufficiency in the production of such meats in 1998. At that time, the commercial cattle farm was owned by Desa Cattle Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Village Development Corporation (KPD) that was operating in Mesilau, Sook and in Darwin, Australia. Then Salleh Said Keruak and Lajim Ukin decided to sell the farm in Darwin Australia and also sold remaining thousands of acres of Desa Cattle land in Sabah to Kim Loong a West Malaysia group.

When the farm in Darwin Australia was closed in 2002, the remaining thousands of acres in Sabah too shrunk beyond recognition, the latter through the controversial sale involving Kim Loong the West Malaysian group. It is understood that the controversial deals occurred during the chief ministership of Salleh Said Keruak and when Lajim Ukin was State Agriculture Minister. Now Lajim is saying the sale went through the state Cabinet and that he should not be the one to answer for it.

As a result of the said controversial acquisitions, Desa Cattle land shrunk to a measly thousand acres in Keningau and Kundasang. The Austalian Government has since banned the acquisition of lands for cattle farming. It is so sad to see all that precious land sold. Kim Loong the West Malaysian group made huge profits from the land over the years by converting it to oil palm cultivation.

Because of this silly decision, now, Sabah is no more self-sufficient in beef, mutton and buffalo meat production had declined by 13 percent the following year after the controversial deal, that causes the state to import frozen beef from Australia and New Zealand, and frozen buffalo meat from India to meet the need for the commodity til today.

Desa Cattle a brainchild of Former Chief Minister Tan Sri Harris Salleh was a brilliant idea to see Sabah to be self-sufficient in dairy and meat, but within a period of 15 years, politicians having their own agenda just destroyed it.

This controversial deal between KPD Holdings, the State Government and the management Group calls for declassifying the documents on these deals that lead to massive losses of far greater magnitude than the on-going case of National Feedlot Corportation (NFC), another “lembu” business. How was the Management Group allowed to allegedly siphon and squander millions of ringgit and freely allowed to sell vast acreage of state land in Sabah and in Australia among many other deals, without honoring the agreement?

The West Malaysian group Kim Loong acquired close to 17,700 acres of the cattle land in Sook, Keningau on a 49/51 % joint venture arrangement. How much monetary benefits and dividends did Desa receive since the joint venture went into effect? What was the consideration and was a proper valuation done to ascertain the worth of the valuable land? Under whose name is the ownership of the land now? Was the land charged to any financial institutions? If so, for how much and for what purpose?

Then there was this mysterious death of the last General Manager whose body was found by the roadside near the Desa Cattle Sook office. Why was a report not made on this mysterious death connected to the controversial deal?

So many unanswered questions! And hardly any answers to follow suit!

The corporate mastermind of this financial fiasco and several other people involved had the audacity to make inroads into politics. Some of those who were privy to the controversial deals may still be in the management of Desa. They should be hauled up by the authorities over the many unanswered questions, including the death of the last General Manager so that the ghost of Desa Cattle can be put to rest.

It is never to late to revive and reassess the joint venture business arrangements to sent the message that wrong doing will not be tolerated even long after the ink on the deals have dried up and Sabahans caused to lose their assets.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency should reopen the files! Freedom from such politicians will automatically provide freedom from many such evils like corruption because present-days’ politicians incorporate in themselves all such evils!


This is a comment piece by my friend Joe Fernandez on yesterday’s highly anticipated debate between two former Chief Ministers – Tan Sri Harris Salleh and Datuk Yong Teck Lee.

by Joe Fernandez

COMMENT If there are any lessons that emerged from a “non-debate”, of sorts, between two former Chief Ministers of Sabah on a cold rainy Fri evening in Kota Kinabalu, it was this: “that ignorance is bliss in matters of law, Parliament and the Constitution and that a little knowledge is dangerous”; that even the best subject matter expert opinion would have little chance against a wall of ignorance acting in perhaps good faith and with little else to go on.

Siapa yang makan cili akan rasa pedasnya!

If the cap fits, wear it!

Moderator Simon Sipaun, a former Sabah State Secretary, had his hands full keeping Harris Salleh, 83, from interrupting his opponent Yong Teck Lee, 55.

The debate was supposed to be about Sabah’s rights in the Federation of Malaysia which entered its 51st year on 16 Sept last month. Fifty years of Malaysia, in particular in the Borneo nations of Sabah and Sarawak, is a watershed year. The word out in the streets in Borneo is that there must be some form of consensus on the way forward. If the past 50 years is any indication, the people want no more of it.

Harris and Yong, going hammer-and-tongs against each other offered little help here. Yong was more than willing to help forge consensus on a way forward but for the most part Harris refused to play ball. He took no baits.

Harris, chief minister from 1976 to 1985, was the past which refuses to go away and offered little clues in forging a way forward for the next 50 years.

Yong brings up four issues for Debate, Harris only one

Yong, chief minister from May 1996 to April 1998, had to concede at least in his heart that he had little chance to begin with against Harris in their impromptu debate on Fri 11 Oct, 2013 at the Sabah Golf and Country Club in the Sabah capital.

He was “out-done” by Harris on all fronts in a way that only the latter could do: dismissed in a few words and sentences; or otherwise berated and out-shouted when it came to the law, Parliament and the Constitution. Yong did most of the talking; taking up his full 15 minutes allotted for every issue, while Harris did not go beyond three minutes each time on each issue.

Yong is a British-trained lawyer. Harris had only six years of school education.

One story making the rounds is that Harris was once offered a place as a mature student to do the Bar in London but apparently dropped the idea when another student in a similar situation as him gave up the idea after three years in the British capital. It must have been the English language. Had Harris completed his Bar, perhaps he could have had a better idea of the difference between Rule of Law and Rule by Law and that the Constitution is not so much about law but the ultimate political document.

Yong had four issues to bring up during the Debate: the 20 Points (20P)/1963 Malaysia Agreement (MA63); the Petroleum Development Act/Oil Agreement; the surrender of Labuan island to the Federal Government; the power grab incident and the street riots which broke out in Kota Kinabalu in 1985 when the Berjaya Government headed by Harris was thrashed by the 45-day old Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) led by Joseph Pairin Kitingan in state elections that year.

Yong pledges to “shoot himself” if White Paper on SAS implicates him

Harris merely wanted Yong to explain to the crowd why the shares of the state-sponsored Saham Amanah Sabah (SAS), a unit trust, had fallen from its initial RM 1 offer price and was now hovering at about 0.35 sen. Harris felt that Yong, as a former Chief Minister, owed a duty of care to the 66,000 SAS holders – mostly Chinese housewives — saddled with bank loans in buying their stake.

Yong explained that Bank Negara (Central Bank) rules prohibited political interference and involvement in SAS or any unit trust. In short, he had no role in the misfortunes of SAS, no matter how much he sympathized with the stake holders. Yong’s successors have since tried injecting Sabah Government assets into SAS, in a bid to boost the unit trust price, but to no avail.

The SAS issue remains a political hot potato and Yong has paid a heavy price for it. In General Elections this May, his PBS-breakaway Sabah Progressive Party (Sapp) failed to win even a single seat in the Federal and state legislatures. SAS was by no means the only reason but that’s another story.

Yong wants the Sabah Government to release a White Paper on SAS and pledged twice, dramatically with a fore finger to his head, that he would “shoot himself” if the White Paper on the SAS found any wrongdoing (criminal) on his part.

Harris denied that the street riots of 1985 were masterminded by the losing Berjaya leaders who allegedly hired illegal immigrants to go on a rampage of burning and general mayhem.

He admitted, in downplaying the riots, that there might have been “a little burning” but was rebutted by Yong waving pictures of the incident from the newspapers and pointing out that a curfew had to be imposed. The latter also stressed that local Muslims – Dusun and other Orang Asal (Natives), Suluk, Bajau and other Muslims – were not involved in the riots “meant to pressure the Federal Government into declaring a state of emergency” to facilitate the take over of the Sabah Government from PBS.

Mustapha failed to persuade Court on early bird theory

Harris attributed the riots to the “Malay Muslims’ being cheated by PBS in not forming a coalition government with United Sabah National Organisation (Usno). Harris is Brunei Malay on his mother’s side. His father was Indian. There are very few Malays in Sabah.

The “cheating”, Harris claimed, was behind the infamous power grab incident which saw Usno and Suluk leader Mustapha Harun clambering over the walls of the Istana (palace) in the wee hours of the morning and having himself sworn in as Chief Minister.

Usno, defeated by Berjaya in 1976, came in with 17 seats in the 1985 state elections, Berjaya had six and PBS took 25. The power grab incident saw Usno and Berjaya disingenuously forming a coalition Government together with six nominated state assemblymen. Mustapha, explaining the power grab, said that “the early bird catches the worm”. He was ousted within days by the Court which he tried to persuade with the “early bird” theory.

Harris cautioned the crowd against referring to every Tom, Dick and Harry in Sabah as an illegal immigrant. He pointed out that the present Governor was a Suluk, yet the Suluks in Sabah – and also the Bugis among others – were being referred to as illegal immigrants. He claimed that the Suluk – people from the southern Philippines like the Bajau — had been in Sabah the last 500 years and the Bugis (from Celebes, Indonesia) have also been here for a very long time.

Whenever Harris came up short in the argument, he had one constant piece of advice for Yong throughout the debate which turned out to be a stormy affair that lasted three hours: campaign hard throughout Malaysia, win two thirds majority in Parliament, amend the Constitution, and reinstate the 20P and the MA63 to set up a “banana republic” and/or win independence for Sabah and Sarawak.

He offered to be Speaker of the new Sabah Parliament, proposed his former Berjaya Deputy Mat Nor Mansor — a Brunei Malay now with Sapp – as the Sultan of Sabah and Yong as Prime Minister.

Parliament Supreme and can do anything on 20P/MA63

For Sarawak, he urged Yong to look around for a Dayak leader to be the new Rajah of that country in echoes of the Brooke Dynasty of white rajahs from England (1841 to 1941) who once ruled there for some 105 years.

It was Harris’ considered opinion that the 20P and MA63 no longer matter, that they had either been incorporated in the Federal Constitution or done away with through amendments in Parliament and in the State Assembly. He did not mention any part of the 20P/MA63 being excluded from the Federal and State Constitutions.

Yong begged to differ and wants the Sabah Government, for a start, to amend the State Constitution and restore Sabah’s status as a Negara (nation) in the Federation, a key point in the 20P.

He explained that he could not do anything on 20P/MA63 during his term a Chief Minister as the Federal Government was very powerful at that time and the “window of opportunity” did not present itself until the 2008 General Election when Sabah and Sarawak came centre stage as the Kingmakers in Parliament.

He echoed the popular view that that there was no Malaysia without 20P/MA63 which formed the basis for both Sabah and Sarawak to be in the Federation with Malaya. He wants the letter and spirit of both constitutional documents on Malaysia to be upheld, honoured and respected. His plea if true will fall on deaf years, Harris retorted.

Both Speakers did not touch on the need to interpret the intention of the framers of the various constitutional documents on Malaysia in a manner which reflected as if they contained a Basic Features Doctrine i.e. the 20P/MA63 could not be amended out of the Federal and state constitutions, done away with or not included.

Harris wants to take on Jeffrey Kitingan on colonisation

Sensing that the mood of the crowd was definitely against him, Harris denied that he was consistently taking a pro-Federal Government line on Sabah.

He claimed disingenuously in a simplistic brief that he was more concerned about the thinking among the people in Sabah on Malaysia. The Muslims, he stressed, would attribute their poverty to fate. The others including those in the kampungs (villages), he anguished, blamed Putrajaya for demolishing State rights – the famous 20P – and/or otherwise being in non-compliance on MA63.

Turning at one point on Bingkor State Assemblyman and State Reform Party (Star) chairman Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, who was seated in the front row, Harris reminded him that he had no response to his offer in a local daily (Daily Express) to debate him and other activists on the issue of whether Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia) had been in colonial occupation of Sabah and Sarawak since the British departure in 1963. The issue is that there was no Referendum on the British leaving Sabah and Sarawak after their independence – 31 Aug and 22 July 1963 — in a Federation with Malaya on 16 Sept 1963, whether expanded or new.

Harris obviously feels compelled, even though long in retirement, to speak up whenever something doesn’t quite jell with his weltanschauung (worldview).

Jeffrey had no opportunity to explain that a Right of Reply delivered to the said newspaper by the UK-based Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (BOPIM) chairman Daniel John Jambun was not carried by it until the Debate day. (It was carried the next day after the Debate almost a week late.)

“No one” held under ISA for opposing Labuan handover

Harris warned Yong at one time during the debate not to imply in any manner that he had sold Labuan Island, ostensibly to become an International Offshore Financial Centre, to the Federal Government. He challenged Yong to repeat any insinuations against him on Labuan outside the debate hall and promised to retaliate with a swift lawsuit against him. He mentioned that there was already a lawsuit pending in Court on Labuan and the matter was subjudice.

Harris stressed, in response to a question from the floor, that the question of seeking compensation for Labuan did not arise at the moment since the island was a losing concern. Similarly, the Sabah Electricity Board was handed over to the federal Government without compensation because it was another losing concern.

Harris denied that anyone had been held under the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA) for opposing the Labuan handover and dismissed a statement on the issue by one Darshan Singh from the floor. Darshan spent some time in detention without trial under the ISA apparently for opposing the Labuan handover. A lawyer in the crowd confided that he was standing next to Darshan when the latter was detained but escaped arrest, according to him, because he was “a Muslim”.

Yong disclosed that he was in Labuan on handover day and witnessed the Federal Reserve Units and Royal Malay regiments out in full force on the island to put on an intimidating display of brute force apparently to deter any opposition. It was a defining moment for Yong as he vowed then and there to enter opposition politics to oust the Berjaya Government.

Harris, not so long ago, picked up RM 1 million in Court-awarded damages from Yong in a defamation suit where the Judge held that the latter had implied that the former had “blood on his hands”. This was a reference to the tragic 6 June, 1976 air crash which wiped out almost the entire Sabah Cabinet led by Berjaya President Donald Fuad Stephens. Harris became Chief Minister by default and days later signed the infamous Oil Agreement with Petronas, the National Oil Corporation, and the Federal Government.

Harris, in response to Yong and questions from the floor, denied that he had been under any pressure to sign the oil agreement. Nevertheless, he disclosed that there was only RM 2 million in the kitty left by the ousted Mustapha Government. Signing the Oil Agreement meant an immediate cash infusion from Petronas in the form of Oil Royalty amounting to 5 per cent.

Besides, added Harris, Sarawak and Terengganu had earlier signed the Oil Agreements. If he had not signed, he ventured, “it would look as if Sarawak and Terengganu were stupid to do so”.

Harris claimed, in defending the Oil Agreement, that it was “international law” – at one time he even referred to the Law of the Sea – that onshore waters belong to Sabah and that the offshore belonged to the Federal Government.

Parliament Supreme and can do anything on 20P/MA63

He begged to disagree with Yong’s take that the boundary of Sabah was what it had at the time that it was taken/pushed by the British into the Federation of Malaysia. Yong, while not faulting Harris for it, also pointed out that the Oil Blocks L and M handed over to Brunei not so long ago were within Malaysia’s maritime boundaries in Sabah and Sarawak.

Harris showed little evidence during the Debate of the articulate self presented of him in the numerous press statements purportedly attributed to him in the local media, the Daily Express in particular.

Age, in any case, may be catching up with Harris in more ways than one. He had little patience with issues brought up by Yong, and in no mood to be apologetic, even displaying open defiance in taking a pro-Federal Government line in Sabah.

The crowd had turned up in the mistaken belief that Harris would concede that mistakes had been made during his time in public office and that he harboured more than his fair share of regrets.

On a plus note, Harris is willing to join the pro-20P/MA63 activists in Borneo if it can be demonstrated in any way that there’s probably a “cause for action” and that “any lost rights can be recovered”.

Parliament, he reminded, was Supreme and can do anything in explaining the perception that the 20P/MA63 had not been honoured. He failed to mention that the Veto Powers of Sabah and Sarawak in Parliament, a pledge under MA63, had been done away with by the Election Commission, the Attorney General and the Registrar of Societies.

Longtime Borneo watcher Joe Fernandez is a graduate mature student of law and an educationist, among others, who loves to write especially Submissions for Clients wishing to Act in Person. He also tutors at local institutions and privately. He subscribes to Dr Stephen Hawking’s “re-discovery” of the ancient Indian theory that “the only predictable property of the universe is chaos”. He feels compelled, as a semi-retired journalist, to put pen to paper — or rather the fingers to the computer keyboard — whenever something doesn’t quite jell with his weltanschauung (worldview) or to give a Hearing to All. He shuttles between points in the Golden Heart of Borneo formed by the Sabah west coast, Labuan, Brunei, northern Sarawak and the watershed region in Borneo where three nations meet. He’s half-way through a semi-autobiographical travelogue, A World with a View . . . http://fernandezjoe.blogspot.com/


Even before the May polls campaign process has reached full momentum in the state of Sabah, three generalisations dominate the marketplace of political ideas about its consequences:

a) that a third-time victory for chief minister Musa Aman in Sabah is nearly certain;
b) since this victory is a foregone conclusion, the time is ripe for a bigger role for Musa Aman

and

c) this victory is likely to be a direct outcome of ‘good governance’, understood primarily as robust economic growth, delivered under Musa’s leadership.

I see this approach as problematic for two reasons: in terms of method, it seems that QED has been etched in even before one could see the proof of what one set out to examine. More importantly, however, there is a certain naivete in this formulation that leads us to a complacence in examining the very complicated and nuanced role of electoral competition currently being witnessed in this state. I engage myself with unravelling this second strand, as viewed in the terrain of practical politics, analysing the strategies and counter-strategies of the main contenders—the ruling BN/UMNO the Pakatan Rakyat the Star Sabah and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP). I then examine the robustness of each of these three ‘generalisations’, and in conclusion argue that although it is an advantage to Musa Aman, there is political competition to be witnessed before one could declare the match won.

For one, the Pakatan Rakyat Sabah in the field does not have a sense of local issues, an understanding of pockets of disadvantage, and also a macro-strategy of where to deploy its energies spatially. In not associating themselves with Sabahan struggles against Malayan colonisation, the party has been aligning itself on the wrong side of popular grievances. Anwar Ibrahim’s campaigns will be of disadvantage, given his historical roots in the toppling of the duly elected PBS government in 1994 and his hands together with Dr Mahathir’s in the Project IC to dilute the native population in the state. Also Pakatan’s lineup, who is going to be chief minister if they win? Lajim as chief minister? Bumburing? Tamrin? Ansari? Who? They have no one of Musa Aman’s standing and Musa’s record of governance the last ten years can speak for itself.

For the SAPP the party’s grassroots base was not evident even in the Batu Sapi parliamentary by-elections held on 2010. Besides, the SAPP had a low vote-share of 10 per cent or less even in the March 2008 elections. This will not be translated evenly into enough seats for the party this coming GE 13th May 5. Also, the margins of losing are very low. The party’s President, Yong Teck Lee failure to win over Pakatan’s Ansari in the Batu Sapi parliamentary by elections means even the Chinese in Sandakan have rejected the SAPP. SAPP’s most impressive pre-poll offering has been its “Autonomi for Sabah” battle cry, promising new Sabah IC for Sabahans if it comes to power, is questionable because they have been in the BN government for 14 years and Yong Teck Lee had been chief minister of Sabah for 2 years yet did not do zilch.

Part of the Star Sabah strategy is to focus on the interiors of Sabah, Jeffrey Kitingan’s roost, where it is said that the natives are disgruntled. As a macro-strategy, the Star Sabah is concentrating on the interiors of Sabah, where natives who are farmers have been adversely hit by high prices of fertilizers and agrochemicals and cost of essentials rocketing sky high The region accounts for nearly a third of the total seats and is the stronghold of PBS supremo Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan the “Huguan Siou”or paramount chief of the Kadazandusun Murut community, the backbone of UMNO Sabah. There is a story about Pairin saying his bids this time is his last battle to retain both constituencies of Keningau and Tambunan for the Barisan Nasional in the interest of the people, meaning Jeffrey will have a tough time to win in Keningau. Besides, there is no tacit approval by Pairin to the natives that Jeffrey will takeover from Pairin, as claimed. As an unfolding of this macro-strategy, Jeffrey might launch the Star Sabah’s manifesto for the May polls’s in Keningau, in the heart of Indigenous Sabah.

Also, the Najib government’s decision to get The Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on Illegal Immigrants in Sabah is of recent vintage, and can win favours for the BN. Natives disgruntlement owing to disadvantages due to the presence of huge numbers of illegals becoming instant Malaysians and Bumiputras. Najib and the Federal Government seriously addressing it by having the RCI on illegals, along with the Lahad Datu drama, makes for a strong force. After all, the defeat of Haris Salleh in 1985‘ was scripted similarly, combining agricultural disgruntlement and fear of illegals reverse taking over of Sabah and sentiments of regional disadvantage.

To the advantage of the Barisan National is the fact that there is no state-wide anti-incumbency even after a decade-long rule by Musa Aman. Economic indicators are certainly robust, with state GDP growth rates averaging 6 to 7 per cent or more (between 2003-12). Interestingly, Musa Aman has raised it to a campaign pitch, telling everyone to “learn” from the Sabah growth story. The sectoral composition of this growth rate, particularly the advances in construction, agriculture and tourism, have received wide attention. Although there have been disputes whether the growth has been as high as Musa Aman claims, even modest estimates available accept agriculture grew at higher than national average at around ten per cent or more. Economists also note the significance of the consistently high growth rate in the agriculture, construction and the tourism sector, notwithstanding the constraints it faces.

But electoral competition, and even more electoral victories, are not simple outcomes of people calculating the benefits of policies and voting for political leaders who set the regional economy right. Were this hypothesis correct, why would Premier Najib Tun Razak have announced a series of cash incentives a year before the May poll dates set in? These include promises of farm loan and free internet usage, electricity bill waivers, enhanced allowances to security personals and civil servants, allowances for youth earning less than RM2000 and payment of arrears to teachers among others and the BR1M and many more goodies. Even the kampong headman has been promised a increase in allowances. The cash transfers build a new constituency of supporters, while countering some of the opposition from the lower bureaucracy and the poor. Advantage to Musa Aman again.

Of greater bearing for electoral fortunes is Musa Aman’s use of political vocabulary and tailoring the campaign language to hype his achievements and castigate the opposition. In state wide ceramahs, the opposition are his target, as if the party’s state unit led by Lajim Hj Okim, Wilfred Bumburing, Dr Jeffrey Kitingan and Anwar Ibrahim has no bearing. To malign the image further, Musa Aman adds that the “Pakatan Rakyat and the local opposition is not united and cannot really be trusted.”

Coming back to the three generalisations I began with, it is the first of which the chances seem highly likely. But Musa Aman’s victory is unlikely to be attained without competition from the local unit of the opposition front. The opposition front has also made pro-poor election promises of housing and employment for the poor, reduction of petrol prices, abolition of PTPTN and Sabah rights. How well they are able to sustain these as campaign issues, and combine their attack along with the challenges from UMNO dissidents, may have very little implications for this election.

The second generalisation about “a bigger role for Musa Aman” for the moment seems to be a ploy to hype the leader into a “larger than real” stature, and is certainly a political statement intended for local Sabah consumption. Finally, robust growth notwithstanding, Musa is not relying on these laurels alone. So also the opposition, which has understood that growth pursued in a certain way produces grievances amongst the displaced and the rural poor, and these can be woven into a counter-campaign strategy. In conclusion, it is advantage Musa Aman, but the battle is yet to be fought.


Shafie Apdal, the Minister of Rural Development is very much jealous of his counterpart in Sabah, Musa aman and is repeatedly attacking Musa and opposing his candidature for the continuation as Chief Minister. Shafie was responsible for undermining Musa Aman’s leadership by instigating Lajim Okim to call for the removal of Musa as chief minister by appeasing Lajim with a RM150 million road project from his Rural Ministry. Shafie also helped form KDM Malaysia to divide the Kadazan Dusun Murut (KDM) community, politically weakening Pairin Kitingan and PBS, hence forming a wedge between Pairin and Musa. Now, Shafie Apdal is masterminding the return of Yong Teck Lee (SAPP) into the BN fold and claiming he has the tacit approval of Najib Tun Razak to negotiate the return, despite word of the Sabah BN components distrusting Yong. Yong Teck Lee, Shafie Apdal and Joseph Ambrose Lee were partners in crime, taking over the RM30-billion timber wealth of Yayasan Sabah through share-swap, in a time when Yong Teck Lee was Sabah chief Minister and Shafie Apdal was Directer of Yayasan Sabah.

Like it or not, it was Musa Aman who was the then state finance minister who rejected this share-swap deal, saving Yayasan Sabah from a pending doom. Shafie Apdal’s intention of bringing Yong Teck Lee back into BN will weaken Musa Aman’s leadership among BN followers in Sabah due to Musa and Yong’s bitter relationship. At this moment of time Musa Aman and all the other BN component parties have got a fantastic working relationship.

SO the big question is: Why is Shafie so jealous of Musa Aman?

Obviously Shafie dreams of being the top dog, for sure, but I firmly see it envy forming due to Musa’s many achievements which has catapulted Sabah to the top position among the States in Malaysia.

It is wrong to say that Sabah has registered improvement in one or two areas. In fact there is no area in which Sabah has not progressed. Education, law and order, good environmental practices, forest protection, clean water supply, electricity, agriculture, industrial progress, urban development, rural development, exports, solution to Sabah’s illegal immigrant problem, increase for oil royalty – in whatever angle you look at, Sabah attracts deeper attention in every area, registering a surplus in many areas. But Sabah is not satisfied with this achievement. It is not resting on its laurels but is focusing on earning more surpluses. The reason for this attitude is that Sabah does not think only about itself. It thinks for the whole of Malaysia. Sabah is the locomotive engine of Malaysia and is keen to contribute more for Malaysia’s growth.

When Sabah attained independence in 1963, Malaysia was born. Right from independence in 1963 to 1985, Alliance- Barisan National ruled Sabah. After 1985, Datuk Harris Salleh was defeated, Pairin Kitingan from Party Bersatu Sabah became the Chief Minister. But even at that time Sabah was ruled by the Barisan National until 1986 when PBS pulled out from BN. In 1994, BN wrested control of the power from PBS when Lajim defected from Parti Bersatu Sabah which won the Sabah election, and his action opened a floodgate of defections from PBS and saw the collapse of Pairin’s PBS government. Sakaran Dandai became the first Umno Chief Minister in Sabah in 1994.

In 2003, Musa Aman was appointed chief minister. Musa Aman faced crisis after crisis immediately on assuming office. First the state treasury was nearly negative, Yayasan Sabah was on the verge of going bust, state agency were negative and the financial situation of the state was in shambles. Musa Aman had to prudently turn around the mess he inherited. In 2004, Musa Aman faced assembly elections and captured more seats than in 1999 and became the Chief Minister again. He won again in 2008 with a thumping victory winning 59 out of the 60 state seats. Musa Aman has earned the title as the longest serving Chief Minister of Sabah. Musa Aman is facing elections again expected within the next six months.

Sabah registered remarkable progress in the last ten years of Musa Aman’s rule. Nobody including his opponents can deny this.

This year Musa Aman unveiled a RM4.09bil budget the largest in the history of Sabah which is a RM40mil increase over last year’s budget of some RM4.05bil. Of this RM2.07bil would go towards the economic sector, RM988.23mil for public utilities, including water supply, rural electrification and sewerage projects, RM764mil would be spent on infrastructure including the construction of roads and bridges as well as ports and harbours and the upgrading of Borneo’s only rail service, Sabah Railways. Musa also announced a special RM1mil allocation and the RM500,000 sentuhan kasih (touch of compassion) funding for each state constituency be continued next year. So we see the expenditure is aimed at eradicating poverty and improving the quality of life of the people by improving basic infrastructure and public amenities while at the same time developing high quality youth and human capital and not ignoring to strengthen Sabah’s financial position.

Under Musa Aman, Sabah has even earned praise from Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang for demonstrating sound financial management and for maintaining its record of efficient and prudent handling of its finances over the last 12 years. One hundred and six departments and agencies were audited last year and each showed that its financial management was at a very good level. This places Sabah among the best states in Malaysia in terms of accountability and financial management efficiency. This has given Sabah a positive image as it proves that the state has succeeded in managing its resources well, efficiently and in an orderly manner. The auditor-general’s positive assessment should erase the allegations from certain quarters, who always question the state government’s capability and efficiency in managing its finances. In fact, the auditor-general was so impressed with Sabah’s financial management that he wants it to be a role model for other states.

Even Moody International has certified the Sabah government for efficient and proper budget management for three years running and RAM has given it a triple-A rating for its finances.

Sure there were problems in the past. Sabah’s problem of good drinking water would be an example of such an issue. Due to this, dry taps were a norm often in the past. In the kampongs, women and children had to walk far to fetch drinking water to their homes. There was scarcity of electricity and even the quality of electricity supplied was not up to the mark. Sabah lagged behind in girls’ education. Road facilities were not adequate and their quality was also not sound. But under Musa Aman, all these defects faded away in the last ten years. Now there are separate facilities for ground water and drinking water.

There is still some shortage of electricity in Sabah but has improved tremendously from the past where power failures and power cuts were a common thing. Now in most towns electricity is supplied for 24 hours a day. Electricity is supplied for agriculture through a separate feeder. What is even more praiseworthy is that the electricity is available with good quality. No Sabahans purchases stabilizers along with television or refrigerators. Sabah has registered remarkable progress in education as well. Native children and girls are attending school and receiving proper education at an increasing number.

Now you ask: How were all these feats achieved? It is simply Musa Aman’s focus and dedication. After reading the above facts, I think one can understand the reason for Shafie Apdal’s jealousy. Even though Shafie Apdal was MP for Semporna for 4 terms since 1995, he has done nothing much to improve the livelihood of the Semporna folks although he has got a huge budget at his disposal now from his Rural Ministry, his achievements pale into insignificance compared to that of Musa Aman’s.

To add to this, word on the street is that Musa Aman is set on becoming the Finance Minister of Malaysia in 2017.

There are over 3 million people living in Sabah. This forms 10% of Malaysian population. Sabah has an area of 73620 sq km. This is 60% of total land surface of Peninsular Malaysia. In oil palm production, Sabah’s share is 40%, Sabah contributes 25% in cocoa production, 27% in rubber production, 40% in natural gas, 55% in petroleum, 70% in tiger prawns production about 9000 metric tons, 60% in ginger production and 35% in cabbage production. If Musa Aman remains in power for another ten years uninterrupted, Sabah will be the most prosperous and peaceful place in the whole world. But unfortunately for the Sabahans, Musa Aman will be the Chief Minister only for the next five years. He is likely to be elevated as the Finance Minister of Malaysia. But Sabah’s loss is the rest of Malaysia’s gain. This is because Musa Aman will ensure Malaysia’s prosperity with his rich administrative experience, involvement, focus, dedication, concentration, sincerity and sense of purpose.

Footnote:
I know that all kinds of epithets will be hurled at me for praising Musa Aman and Sabah. I do not care about criticism. A journalist should speak the truth and nothing else. I have done my duty in reporting the truth about Sabah and Musa Aman. This satisfaction is enough for me as a writer.


By Joe Fernandez
Guest Columnist

COMMENT State Reform Party (Star) chairman Jeffrey Kitingan is once again in the news for the wrong reasons. He has stirred a hornet’s nest in Sabah by claiming that all politicians in Sabah, including his brother Joseph Pairin Kitingan, are frogs.

He thinks that this will explain him being discredited time and again by Sabahans as the King of Frogs. Jeffrey has, by most counts, moved through as many as six political parties but all this is water under the bridge and for the most part irrelevant.

His considered opinion is that other politicians continued their political frogging until they secured a comfort zone for themselves, albeit “at the expense of the people”.

In his case, according to him, he continued frogging until he could find a political vehicle which could accept his “struggle for the people”.

Of course, there’s the little matter of him not finding any political vehicle for his struggle until he set up Star. This begs the question of why he didn’t make such a move earlier.

Jeffrey’s comments on other political frogs have been dismissed by them as completely untrue. They claim to be struggling for the people too – by “bringing development to them” – instead of focusing on whatever Jeffrey is preaching all the time.

So far, it has all been needless indulgence in the politics of distraction and disruption from the real issues of the day. No doubt politicians in Sabah love the sound of their own voices.

The Star chairman obviously feels that “man does not live by bread alone”.

“What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but suffers the loss of his own soul?” asks Star deputy chairman Daniel John Jambun rhetorically. “This is the thrust of our struggle.”

Daniel may have a point about struggling for the soul of Sabah — i.e. to save it and obviously from the clutches of Peninsular Malaysia and their local proxies and their stooges — but that’s about as far as it goes.

His boss seems to be squatting so far on the so-called struggle for the people.

He has blown hot and cold on Daniel John and Co internationalizing the struggle for Borneo in Malaysia.

Therein lies an emerging split in Star which will either see Jeffrey being ousted from his own party or many Supreme Council members leaving for the Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS) which has been approved in principle in recent weeks. The party is awaiting its registration certificate. PCS plans to join the Star-initiated, formed and led United Borneo Alliance (UBA).

The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Jeffrey has confined himself thus far in his ceramah to explaining the history of Sabah before and in Malaysia. No one can fault him here since not many people, especially the younger generation, are conversant with the historical facts.

But the movement for Sabah does not seem to be moving from rhetoric to action.

To digress a little, the younger generation doesn’t seem to be too bothered by Sabah’s history in Malaysia.

Instead, they have cut the Gordian knot and are asking why Sabah should be in Malaysia at all.

Their logic is simple: Peninsular Malaysia is so far away, we can’t even breathe without their permission, and “why are we in Federation with them especially since we can be on our own?”

Others ask: “How did we get into this situation and how do we get out?”

Jeffrey has no answers and it would be foolhardy for anyone, judging from his politics since 1984, to look to him.

True, he did lead a rowdy Star crowd to greet Prime Minister Mohd Najib Abdul Razak on his recent visit to Keningau where he (Najib) announced a quarter billion ringgit loan to Sabah for a water treatment plant.

They had placards reading “Sabah’s independence” and castigating Putrajaya for behaving like an Ah Long (loan shark) with Sabah after seizing almost all its revenue for itself.

This is the first time that Jeffrey has been associated with “Sabah’s independence”. No one is sure what it means. So, the excitement was lacking.

It would have been different had Jeffrey stated in no uncertain terms that Malaysia has ceased to exist following the Federal Government’s non-compliance on the five constitutional documents and/or constitutional conventions on Malaysia i.e. the 1963 Malaysia Agreement (MA63), the Three-Point Oath Stone (Batu Sumpah) witnessed and solemnized by the Federal Government in Keningau, the 20/18 Points, the Inter Governmental Committee Report and the Cobbold Commission Report.

Non-compliance ipso facto meant that Sabah’s self-determination of 31 Aug 1963 (Sarawak 22 July 1963) remains undiminished.

Jeffrey lost a golden opportunity in Keningau to say what he meant and mean what he said.

In any case, he appears to be no messiah for his flock.

The thrust of his complaints thus far has been that the Federal Government has been in non-compliance on MA63. He wants Putrajaya to set up a compliance mechanism.

This is unlikely to happen as MA63 has ceased to exist by virtue of non-compliance but Jeffrey refuses to accept this and continues to flog the proverbial dead horse on a compliance mechanism.

Not surprising he has been accused by no less than former Sabah Chief Minister Harris Salleh of seriously misleading the people with his propaganda barrage on a compliance mechanism. Harris claims that MA63 – and the four other constitutional documents and/or constitutional conventions – “has been overtaken by events”. This is euphemism for non-compliance. However, Harris dreads and avoids the term non-compliance.

Jeffrey’s politics also glosses over the fact that Sabahans are by no means united on being out of Malaysia or even in Malaysia.

Putrajaya has done a very successful job since 1963 of pitting the people in the state against each other, introducing polarisation a la Peninsular Malaysia, and ensuring proxy control of the politics of the state.

The political situation has been further compounded by the influx of illegal immigrants who have over the years allegedly found their way into the electoral rolls.

These illegals see Putrajaya and Malaysia as the best guarantee of their continued existence in Sabah.

Local Muslims see the illegals as being in the state particularly at their expense, further marginalizing and disenfranchising them as the opportunities that should go to them dwindle even further.

Jeffrey is yet to bridge the non-Muslim-local Muslim disconnect created by Putrajaya over nearly five decades. So far, only some of the Dusuns including Muslims and Muruts are with him. The same goes for the Suluks, Brunei Muslims and Chinese. He has hardly any support among the Bajau and Irranun.

The Chinese appear caught between the Orang Asal (Natives) – the Murut and the Dusuns including the Kadazan or urban Dusun – the local Muslims and the illegals.

Jeffrey will be no game-changer unless he can get his act together and help forge total unity among Sabahans i.e. Orang Asal and the others alike to take on the illegals allegedly on the electoral rolls.

Charity begins at home.

Getting his act together would first mean setting his own house in order.

There are growing complaints that Star is a one-man show with little evidence of democracy in action, unrepresentative, and no empowerment of the leadership and members.

Jeffrey’s aides seem to be more powerful than even the party’s three deputy chairmen. The aides have since prevailed on their boss to issue a gag order on anyone other than Jeffrey issuing press statements. These statements are invariably written by the aides.

The party has also yet to reveal its vision, mission, objectives, goals and activities although there’s a draft prepared by several Supreme Council members. The draft has reportedly been dismissed by Jeffrey’s aides as “spin and bullshit”.

The oft-cited party Manifesto, again provided by several Supreme Council members in draft form, has been allowed to gather dust on the shelf by Jeffrey’s aides on the grounds that it was not written by their boss, “it was just spin and bullshit”, and that “Star (meaning Jeffrey’s aides) has its own way of doing things”.

It appears to be clear to many that if the two respective drafts can be “rejected”, then Jeffrey is clearly no game-changer and can be discounted from the emerging political equation in Sabah and Malaysia.


In this time of stupefying political stagnation at the highest levels of the Government of Malaysia, good news is hard to come by. Good news is only possible when governments show that they are capable of firm economic and political decisions. And, there is not the smallest sign that the Najib’s government plans to do anything other than continue stagnating till the next general election somewhere on March/April 2013. Please do not allow 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) payment of RM500 to households with an income of less than RM3000 per month to fool you into believing that there are signs of renewal that are suddenly going to manifest themselves. The results of the last round of General Elections the 12th were so stunningly bad for UMNO that there is not a murmur of revival in the hot June air.

On the economic front, where there is the most urgent need for change, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala also Chief Executive Officer of the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU) drops a bombshell that Malaysia will be bankrupt by 2019 if it does not cut subsidies and rein in borrowings. Idris a Sarawakian the former “Number One Man” for Sarawak Shell further added fuel when he said that Malaysia’s debt would rise to 100 percent of GDP by 2019 from the current 54% if it did not cut subsidies. And what is even more frightening is when Idris said that Malaysia was likely to become an oil importer as early as next year at the current rate it was consuming petroleum. It seems Malaysians continue to be among the highest fuel consumers per capita in the world fuel consumption habits pattern which generally has remained relatively unchanged despite increased oil prices in 2008. The damage that can be done by a tired, comatose government before 13th General Elections is too horrific to think about but do not despair. There are signs of good news from the states.

You would have noticed them if you read between the lines of the statements that were made in Keningau Sports Complex few days ago by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak when he celebrated Tadau Kaamatan this year in Keningau with 20,000 Natives including, Huguan Siou Pairin Kitingan and Chief Minister Musa Aman. Najib openly acknowledged that Sabah is experiencing rapid growth under Musa Aman and Sabah in the first quarter of this year had attracted about RM10 billion from foreign investors including the Sabah Ammonia Urea (SAMUR) project in Sipitang and the Keningau Integrated Livestock Center and a lobster cultivation project in the east coast of Sabah. But, UMNO now rules only 8 states minus Sarawak, so it does not matter. What does matter is for chief ministers like Musa Aman, Lim Guan Eng and perhaps even Menteri Besars like Khalid and Tok Guru Nik Aziz to wake up to how they could become the engine that takes Malaysia forward despite the inertia in Putrajaya.

To wake up and become engine that takes Malaysia forward, sometimes the state governments should be vocal with the way development projects from the Federal is forced down their throats and not done according to the aspirations of the local population. So far they have only rebelled against the Rural Development Ministry’s attempts to set up rural development committees to bypass and to undermine the state governments without consulting them. In states were UMNO was not in control, the minister Shafie Apdal uses his district rural development committees to bypass and to undermine state governments. In states were UMNO is in control, the rural development program was used in a pork-barrel fashion to support local party leaders. And, the states are right to do so but they now need to become more vocal about other things like having centrally controlled development and welfare programmes rammed down their throats. I have met state ministers and state exco members who admit privately that they are often forced to sacrifice excellent welfare programmes of their own for the sake of national welfare programmes. Remember, the former Chief Minister Harris Salleh recently even said that Shafie’s Rural Ministry had even justified awarding a RM100 million tender amount for the Pulau Gaya electrification project when the actual tender cost was only about RM25 million. Harris Salleh even said that he had received “many complaints from rural folk” that the billions of ringgit allocated by the federal government for rural projects was not having an impact on their lives and these projects were introduced for the sake of contracts and most of them are of low standard.

This is wrong because I can confirm from my own field research that the rural development programmes and welfare programmes that work best are the ones that are locally controlled. I have said it before and I will say it again that if we are seriously interested in ensuring that not another child grows up malnourished and illiterate in Malaysia, the solution lies in giving kampong women control of food programmes. This is something that more enlightened chief ministers should start doing forthwith which brings us back to what chief ministers can do to become Malaysia’s engine of growth.

They must demand more control over their resources. The sight of chief ministers and Meneri Besars lining up outside the Putrajaya to beg for development funds is an ugly one. Some states are bigger than the whole of Peninsula Malaysia and they would develop and grow much faster if they had more control over their economies. Many distortions crept into Centre-State relations in those bad old days when UMNO controlled nearly all of our major state governments. These distortions need to be removed and should be quite easy to remove now that we see Non-UMNO chief ministers making common cause on matters of national security.

Once state governments start competing with each other to become popular tourist destinations, favorites for foreign investment and centres of excellence in rural development, education, healthcare, sanitation and infrastructure building, Malaysia will finally begin to really change.

If this starts to happen soon, then the deleterious consequences of having a stagnant government in Putrajaya and a Prime Minister who seems to be in a somnambulant state will be mitigated. At the moment, despite the “spectacular” success of BR1M, we are in the hands of so weak a government that not a day seems to go by without someone giving it a slap or two. In recent months, we have seen Ministers and supposedly faceless bureaucrat interfere publicly in matters of policy.

When Federal Ministers decide what our telecommunications and multimedia policy should be and when Ministers decides whether MAS should be refinanced or abandoned to its fate. And, when the Minister tells us despite possessing state-of-the-art warplanes, modern weapons  and submarines that the nation’s security was so fragile that it could be compromised by mineral water bottles and packets of salt, it starts to feel as if we do not have an elected government at all. The Chief Ministers and Menteri Besars have at least a mandate to rule and real administrative experience.


It is great to hear that our Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has finally agreed to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to investigate problems related to illegal immigrants in Sabah. Credit must be given to Chief Minister Musa Aman for getting all the UMNO Divisional Heads in Sabah and the state liaison committee’s endorsement to declare their support for the RCI. In fact, Musa Aman was facing strong objections from some elements within UMNO Sabah who were not in favour of the RCI but he nevertheless managed to pull it through. Besides, the call to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to look into claims that foreigners obtained Malaysian citizenship illegally became louder only after Musa Aman managed to get the endorsement from all the UMNO Divisional Heads, in fact wannabe Chief Minister Shafie Apdal was never in favour, but of course, now after Najib’s announcement he is singing a different tune saying “we don’t want foreigners to come to Sabah without documents because at the end of the day, it would create social problems like what is happening here in Semporna – the piracy case and other incidents, which we surely don’t want“. Make me laugh this Shafie, it took him 4 months to come out with this statement, maybe he was too bogged down with his Zahida Rafik actress mistress alleged sex scandal.

Sabah’s legalised immigrant population is now in excess of 1.2 million and reports of ‘free MyKads’ being dished out overt and covertly in Sandakan, Tawau, Lahad Datu and Semporna are worrying everyone here in Sabah, the fear of ‘reverse takeover’ of the state by the Filipino immigrants in view of Manila’s claim on Sabah is not unfounded, it just seems to be getting worse.

The Federal Government cannot be faulted for issuing citizenship through the normal process to foreigners in Sabah.

However, it can be faulted if it wants such people to be treated as Sabahans. The correct procedure would be for the Federal Government to issue citizenships to permanent residents in Sabah only upon recommendation by the Sabah state government. The Federal Government cannot take the initiative on this unless it wants to treat such foreigners as Peninsular Malaysians in which case the Sabah PR status of those affected would have to be revoked and they will be subject to the normal visa and work permit regulations to safeguard local jobs.

re the twice-born, the smoking gun is that such people would have got MyKads without establishing the status of their parent or parents.

The above two points will make the whole country, shiver, shake and shit in their pants.

And for this Royal Commission of Inquiry, and while you’re at it…here is more suggestions to the table:

AMNESTY

Najib’s Government should offer a general amnesty before the RCI begins to all those who illegally and fraudulently obtained Malaysian personal documents in Sabah and registered with the Election Commission and are willing to come forward and remove their names from the electoral rolls and surrender their documents in return for Special Passes — valid for six months at a time and renewable indefinitely for a maximum of 18 months during which time they must return to their home countries and re-enter, if they wish, but legally after a blacklisting period of five years. Those who can’t return for any reason should be on Special Passes for Life, their children should only be entitled to temporary residence permits for life, their grandchildren should only be enititled to permanent residence for life, their great grandchildren should be eligible to apply for naturalisation in Peninsular Malaysia.

The general amnesty should be extended to those who issued such documents and voluntarily come forward. Those who issued such documents should voluntarily surrender their citizenship status in return for permanent residence status for life. Their “crime” should affect the status of their children and grandchildren as the case may be.

A fine of RM 500 should be imposed on foreigners and RM 5,000 on Malaysians and the money should go to the Sabah state government.

The precedent for the general amnesty, party, should be a similar offer in Peninsular Malaysia in 1965. A fine of RM 300 each was imposed.

INTERNATIONAL SCRUTINY

International observers and the United Nations should be invited to the RCI

TIME LIMIT

The work of the RCI should only be finished when it is finished. No time limit should be imposed on the RCI to finish its work but in any case, it should not take more than three years.
The RCI should hold at least 150 whole day long meetings.

Once the RCI finishes its work, it should complete and submit its final report within two years and its first report within six months.

All those who made public statements for and against the illegals should be subpoened.

SUBPOENA

All those held under the ISA in connection with the illegals should be subpoened. This includes “Sultan of Sulu” Akjan and Hassnar Ebrahim.

Harris Salleh & Mahathir Mohammad should not be allowed to distract, disrupt the RCI & mislead with their red herring statements.

Harris’ Yayasan Islam Sabah should be subpoened.

Harris should be asked to explain his statement in Court on Salman Majid and other statements.

Karpal Singh, who defended Salman Majid, should be subpoened for his statement on citizenship with reference to his Client.

Salman Majid should be subpoened.

Mahathir and Anwar Ibrahim should be asked to explain Projek IC or Projek M.

Parti Bersatu Sabah, Pairin and Raden Malleh should be asked to explain a study they conducted on the illegals & subsequently detailed in Parliament.

Bernard Dompok, who headed a Cabinet Committee on IC, should be subpoened.

Upko and Wilfred Bumburing should be supoened for a Memorandum they submitted on the illegals to the Home Ministry. Home Minister Hishammudin should be asked to explain his response to the Memorandum.

The PSC headed by Maximus Ongkili should be subpoened.

Suhakam should be subpoened.

Tan Sri Simon Sipaun should be subpoened on his work with Suhakam and his statement that life in Sabah was better before Malaysia.

Lawyer P. J. Perira should be subpoened on his Clients Majid Kani & Akjan aka “Sultan of Sulu”.

Majid Kani should be subpoened.

The Indian Muslim Chamber of Commerce should be subpoened.

Yong Teck Lee, Dr Chong Eng Leong & Election Commission should be subpoened on the Likas election petition.

Dr Chong should explain his book, “Lest We Forget”.

Writer M. D. Mutalib should be subpoened for his books on the illegals and his public statements on “twice borns” with reference to late registration of birth.

The American Pakistani or Indian Sajid who did a PhD study on the illegals should be subpoened.

DOCUMENTATION

RCI should first accept documents & documentation & sift through documentation. This includes all statements in the media including the visual media. The police should provide copies of all police reports on illegals.

The AG’s Chambers should provide documentation on all cases brought to Court & settled on illegals.

CROSS EXAMINATION

Cross-examination should be allowed. This is the best way to establish the truth.

CERTIFICATE

A certificate of appreciation should be given to those who are not wrong doers and volunteer to testify before the RCI.

WITNESS

Witness protection should be provided.

PERJURY

The RCI should take serious note of any perjury

MAIN WORK

The main work of the RCI should be to focus on late registration birth certificates obtained by Statutory Declaration, the “Malay” category in the Sabah statistics on demography, the number of people which the Philippines & Indonesian & other governments refused to take back on the grounds of statelessness, & the number of stateless people & temporary residents in Sabah, & the NRD, Immigration Dept, police, Court & EC procedures to deal with illegals & foreigners & political interference.

CHECK LIST

All late registration birth certificates should be withdrawn if they can’t pass a check list and the holders of the related Statutory Declaration charged with perjury.

This includes the “Malay” category.

The names of those whose birth certificates are withdrawn should be deleted from the electoral rolls.

WRONG DOERS

Wrong doers should be charged.


KOTA KINABALU: Former Sabah Chief Minister Harris Salleh has been advised to stand up for Sabah, if not for Sarawak as well, and thereby redeem himself in time finally in the eyes of the people instead of continuing to defend Putrajaya, for no rhyme or reason, “in defiance of the longterm interest of the state”.

This is the best advice that the State Reform Party (Star) can give Harris “who appears determined to commit political suicide a second time, the first being in 1985”.

“If Harris really cares about the future of our children, grandchildren and the generations unborn, he will not continue to support our present status of being virtually enslaved by Putrajaya,” said Star deputy chairman Daniel John Jambun. “If we still have any dignity left at all in us, we would forge our own destiny and be masters of our own house instead of continuing to kowtow to Putrajaya.”

Daniel was responding to a statement by Harris in the local media on Sat and in which he renewed his dare to Star chairman Jeffrey Kitingan to debate him on the allegation that Putrajaya was pursuing internal colonization policies in Sabah and Sarawak.

Daniel said that unless Harris proved locus standi on the issue; the people will still be left with the same impression that they had of him since 1985 i.e. Big Nuisance Value, Small Political Value.

Asked to explain the people’s lingering “perception” of Harris, Daniel said this was related among others to former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, the handover of Labuan to Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia), and the signing of the so-called oil agreement when the related Petroleum Development Act was unconstitutional.

“Harris was tainted forever by Mahathir raising his hands in 1985 and declaring that Umno will swim or sink with Berjaya,” said Daniel. “Sabahans knew that day for the first time who was Harris. That was the trigger off point for Sabahans to kick out Berjaya by voting for the Parti Bersatu Sabah.”

The people of Sabah, he stressed, were merely endorsing in their “perception” what Mahathir himself had once said in describing Harris.

Harris, continued Daniel, “had still not learnt the lessons of 1985” and was continuing to root unasked for Putrajaya in Sabah instead of distancing himself from the Federal Government, remaining neutral, holding his peace or at least agreeing to disagree to disagree like a gentleman on the issue of internal colonization.

Harris, reminded Daniel, could not be the honest broker for us with Putrajaya on the internal colonization issue if he at the same continued to remain in a state of denial.

“The evidence of internal colonization is all around us from Putrajaya’s ketuanan Melayu concept to Sabah being the poorest state in Malaysia and many other issues in between,” said Daniel. “Yet Harris remains deaf, dumb and blind to our continued servitude. Why should we be linked with Peninsular Malaysia, across the South China Sea, when we can be on our own like Brunei and Singapore and doing well instead of being dirt poor?”

Touching on Harris’ expressed intention to debate Jeffrey on internal colonization through the media, matching statement for statement, Daniel welcomed the intended move “provided the former Chief Minister could contribute something more than hot air”.

The issues related to internal colonization, according to Daniel, include marginalisation and disenfranchisement of locals through the continuing influx of illegal immigrants; and the illegals entering the electoral rolls after misleading the authorities, and by fraud and deception, obtaining Malaysian personal documents in defiance of the Constitution.

He does not rule out the possibility that National Registration Department (NRD) officials in Putrajaya, as previously alleged numerous times, had either knowingly or unknowingly issued Malaysian personal documents to these illegal immigrants. Those who received Malaysian personal documents from Putrajaya must leave Sabah, he added. “Only those eligible foreigners recommended for Malaysian personal documents by the state government can stay in Sabah.”

The enormous and excessive power of the Federal Government can, must and should be taken away and returned to the states in keeping with the concept of Federation, stressed Daniel, the federal civil service downsized and reined in on administrative law, the autonomy of Sabah and Sarawak restored with the Federal Government confining itself to defence, foreign affairs and national economic planning in Borneo; Malaysia brought back as a two-tier Federation; the Federal Government shared equally by Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak; the Doctrine of the Separation of Powers restored; and “fanatics and racists” denied the Prime Minister’s post which should be open to Sabah and Sarawak as well.

Daniel suggested that besides defending Putrajaya against the allegations of pursuing internal colonization policies in Sabah and Sarawak, Harris could also explain the loss of the self-determination that both states obtained on 31 Aug 1963 and subsequently left dormant after the Federal Government pledged to comply with four constitutional documents and/or conventions on Malaysia viz. the 1963 Malaysia Agreement (MA63); the 20/18 Points (20/18 P); the Inter-governmental Committee Report (IGCR); and the Cobbold Commission Report (CCR).

“The non-compliance of these four constitutional documents/conventions not only equates with internal colonization but means that Malaysia did not come into being at all on 16 Sept 1963 and our status of 31 Aug 1963 therefore remains undiminished under international law,” said Daniel. “Harris should keep this in mind when he tries to root for Putrajaya.”

Daniel said that Star and its allies in the United Borneo Alliance (UBA) took the view that Putrajaya would have been in compliance if “local traitors had not been willing to be proxies and stooges for the Federal Government to facilitate internal colonization policies in Sabah and Sarawak”.
“It’s these traitors who had emboldened Putrajaya to embark on colonial divide-and-rule tactics like pitting the Muslims and non-Muslims against each to create racial polarisation a la Peninsular Malaysia,” said Daniel. “Borneonisation, which is being observed more often than not in the breach, is one example being used by Putrajaya to pit the people against each other.”

Daniel, in summing up, said that Putrajaya had no option but reverse its internal colonization policies in Sabah and Sarawak and comply with the four constitutional documents/conventions or accept the reality that Malaysia does not exist in the two Borneo states whose self-determination of 31 Aug 1963 remains undiminished by 16 Sept 1963 i.e. the latter date being a nullity in international law and the Constitution.

“In short, Sabah and Sarawak are independent countries and have been so since 31 Aug 1963 and are not members of the so-called Malaysian Federation,” said Daniel. “That’s the position that a UBA-led state government would take in Sabah and Sarawak and advise the United Nations Security Council accordingly if there’s continued non-compliance.”

The Star Sabah and Sarawak initiated, formed and led UBA includes the Sarawak National Party (Snap); the Borneo Heritage Foundation (BHF), the Borneo Forum (BF), the Common Interest Group Malaysia (CigMA), KoKaKoBa, an NGO in Penampang, other NGOS still in the process of signing up, and the proposed Star chapter in Peninsular Malaysia to help build a Borneo-based and led 3rd Force in the Malaysian Parliament.

Daniel John Jambun
Deputy Chairman, State Reform Party (Star)
Contact: 012-834 0972

Sat 2 June, 2012


by Joe Fernandez
Guest Columnist

COMMENT The United Nations Security Council, acting through its previous 24-nation Decolonization Committee, would be the right body to resolve the renewed controversy in Sabah on whether it and Sarawak, the neighbouring sister state in Borneo, have been effectively colonised by the Federal Government in Putrajaya and/or Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia) since Malaysia on 16 Sept 1963.

The controversy reached its zenith when former Sabah Chief Minister Harris Salleh, a one-time blue-eyed boy of the Federal Government, challenged United Borneo Alliance (UBA) chairman Jeffrey Kitingan in recent days to a public debate on the issue.

Harris feels compelled to come forward “to defend the state and Federal governments on the issue of colonization” and feels that Jeffrey should not “chicken out” by laying down impossible conditions for the proposed debate to take place.

Jeffrey thinks that it’s not a question of being a chicken, as alleged by Harris, or a hero.

He wants something more than hot air to come out of the debate. He feels the debate should not be about scoring points on the issue or turning heroes into zeros or vice versa.

He wants the state and Federal governments to formally appoint Harris to represent them in the proposed debate.

Otherwise, Jeffrey & Co see the long retired Harris, “with due respects to him as a former Sabah Chief Minister”, getting involved unilaterally in the proposed debate for no rhyme or reason on behalf of the said parties and without proving locus standi.  Jeffrey & Co, however, are more than gratified that Harris has taken a keen interest in the issue and would prefer him to be on their side as a moral supporter  with a clear conscience but only after studying it (the issue) in depth on his own based on the various statements emanating from UBA in the local and alternative media.

Therein the matter lies. Jeffrey has since proposed June 17 for the debate to take place in Kota Kinabalu. This was after Harris said anytime, any place.

Enter the UN idea from Jeffrey’s camp, according to State Reform Party (Star) deputy chairman Daniel John Jambun. Harris agreed as well, in a statement on Tues 29 May in the local media, that the issue of colonization “is a UN case if true (Jeffrey’s allegations)”.

The starting point for the UN intervention, if any, on a point of history, ethics, morality, law, constitution, justice, diplomacy and politics could be why Sabah and Sarawak were not allowed self-determination as free states and were instead rushed into Federation with Malaya and Singapore on 16 Sept, 1963 after enjoying just 16 days of independence i.e. from Aug 31, 1963 to 16 Sept 1963.

History books were sanctioned by the Federal Government, and glossing over the 31 Aug 1963 date, even disingenuously claim that “Sabah and Sarawak became independent through Malaysia on 16 Sept 1963”.

Indonesia objected to the renewed loss of independence by Sabah and Sarawak.

The Philippines objected as well but for different reasons. It pointed out that its Sulu Archipelago was at one time together as one with the eastern and northern parts of Sabah, under the defunct non-territorial Sulu Sultanate, for the purpose of toll collection along the waterways. Hence, Manila raised its claim to Sabah.

No one paid any heed to them. Those were the days of the Cold War and the threat of communism terrorism raging in the region. The United Nations Security Council was firmly in the pockets of China (Taiwan), the United States, Britain and France with the USSR being the lone ranger among the five permanent members.

Hence, the sneaking suspicion that Sabah and Sarawak were re-colonised after 16 days of freedom and this time by the London-backed Malaya which went on to dominate and monopolize the Federal Government of Malaysia.

Britain had to give up its colonies in Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and Singapore in line with the dictates, demands and recommendations of the then 24-nation UN Decolonization Committee in which India under Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru played a sterling role.

Any UN intervention should also cover why Brunei stayed out from Malaysia at the 11th hour, why Singapore was expelled from the Federation two years later, and more importantly, why Sabah and Sarawak were not allowed to review their position in the Federation of Malaysia in the wake of the city state’s departure.

They had even demanded this right. In retaliation, Kuala Lumpur ousted Sabah Chief Minister Donald Stephens from power and dispatched into political exile as High Commissioner to Australia, a favourite dumping ground along with New Zealand for politicians in the two Borneo states who incurred the wrath of the Federal Government.

This Stephens was the same man, now as Chief Minister Muhamad Fuad Stephens, who died inconveniently – conveniently for Kuala Lumpur — in a tragic air crash in mid-1976 shortly after he refused to sign over Sabah’s oil and gas resources in perpetuity to the Federal Government-owned Petronas, or Petroliam Nasional, the National Oil Corporation.

Harris coincidentally, Stephens’s deputy, succeeded him as Chief Minister and appeared to have dutifully done what the Federal Government demanded.

Jeffrey’s elder brother Joseph Pairin Kitingan – currently demoted to Deputy Chief Minister — was the witness.

It’s this same Harris who’s now eager for a debate with Jeffrey probably because the latter keeps harping on the loss of the oil and gas resources – and recently Oil Blocks L & M to Brunei — as a major evidence of internal colonization.  So, partially at least, Harris has locus standi to debate Jeffrey.

Jeffrey has plenty of other evidence as well on internal colonization, besides oil and gas and Stephen’s untimely death, all of which Harris appears keen to “demolish” when presented at a debate.

Harris could have chosen to demolish them as and when they appeared in the local media from time to time. So far, he has chosen to keep a discreet silence on Jeffrey’s allegations in the local media on Sabah and Sarawak being internally colonised by Putrajaya. It’s difficult for Harris for anyone else sometimes to know whether Jeffrey is coming or going and hence some confusion for everyone.

If and when the Debate does take place, it will allow a re-visitation of several major aspects of the internal colonization allegations.

For starters, besides the mystery over the 16 days, Brunei, Singapore, Stephens, oil and gas, the Debate can hear evidence on the Federal Government being in non-compliance on four key constitutional documents and /or conventions which govern the participation of Sabah and Sarawak in the Federation of Malaysia.

The documents/conventions: the 1963 Malaysia Agreement; the 20/18 Points; the Inter Governmental Committee Report; and the Cobbold Commission report.

UBA has been making the case public that the Federal Government’s “non-compliance has rendered the Federation of Malaysia inoperable to the extent of the non-compliance” and thereby the question that arises is whether Sabah and Sarawak are in the Federation of Malaysia or out like Singapore in 1965.

If out, why is the Federal Government carrying on as if the two states are still in Malaysia? This means, the argument goes, that they are effectively colonies of Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia).

If the two states are still in Malaysia, why is the Federal Government in non-compliance? It (non-compliance) cannot be reconciled with the continued participation of Sabah and Sarawak in the Federation.

If the case can be made that the Federal Government has not been acting unlawfully on compliance – there being no mechanism on compliance and no law – it’s seems to be a kamikaze argument on the surface, as it cannot be said that it has not been acting unconstitutionally, and if so, it has not been acting lawfully at all by being in non-compliance.

UBA also points out that Malaysia is not functioning as an equal partnership of Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak – for example the Prime Minister of Sabah is not allowed to call himself Prime Minister; Malaya is not sharing the Federal Government with Sabah and Sarawak; Malaysia is not functioning as a two-tier Federation i.e. one at a lower level among the states in Malaya, and another at the higher level as a Federation of Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak.

UBA also alleges that Malaysia has been getting away from the concept of being a Federation and more towards a unitary state.

It’s alleged that the grinding poverty of Sabah and Sarawak, the poorest and second poorest in the country, is a direct result of internal colonization which includes taking away most or all of the revenue of the two states to Putrajaya and returning only a pittance to them “to keep them perpetually poor and unable to forge their own destiny in the community of nations”.

Other issues on internal colonization: statelessness; the Federal imposition of proxy state governments in Sabah and Sarawak; illegal immigration and disenfranchisement and as reflected in the electoral rolls, among other.

Last, but not least, UBA points out that Sabah and Sarawak were promised autonomy in Malaysia with the two states – unlike the states in Malaya — surrendering only defence, foreign affairs and national economic planning to the Federal Government.

The bottomline on internal colonization appears to be that Sabah and Sarawak see no need or reason to be in the Federation of Malaysia, tied to a peninsula on the other side of the South China Sea and virtually unable to even breathe without permission from their political masters, when they can quite easily make and pay their own way like Brunei, Singapore, South Sudan and Timor Leste, among others, as independent member states of the United Nations.