Archive for the ‘Indigenous People of Sarawak’ Category


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….

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by Farish A Noor
http://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/23020-between-a-fluid-region-and-a-hard-state

Allow me to begin by stating categorically that I am a committed Southeast Asian-ist and a committed ASEAN-ist.

In my work as a lecturer I have constantly reminded my students of the constructed nature of Southeast Asia today, the relative newness of our political borders, and the newness of our nation-states. I have also emphasized the shared overlapping histories of the many diasporas that populate this complex and sometimes confounding archipelago of ours.

I long for the day when the people of Southeast Asia can see themselves as ASEAN citizens, but despite the fact that the ASEAN Community is almost upon us (by 2015), many of us in the region are still driven by primordial attachments to place, identity, language and culture.

It can be summed up thus: We Southeast Asians are caught between a fluid region and a hard state.

No matter how hard some of the hyper-nationalists among us may try, they cannot deny the fact that we share a common, interconnected history/histories. These histories often overlap, make contesting demands and claims, and contradict each other. But that is the nature of history as a discourse, for it is a narrative without a full-stop and is a discursive terrain that has to be looked at from a multiplicity of angles.

There can never be a final history to any area or subject, for as soon as we put the pen down, time marches on and we are forced to return and revise our settled assumptions.

For those who seek a happy panacea to their existential angst, history is not the remedy because every single historical claim can and will be contested by another.

That makes history a soft and unstable foundation for any political-economic claim, but thankfully it is also the reason why historians like me won’t be unemployed any time soon.

So much for fluidity and shifting historical parameters. Now comes the hard part: We Southeast Asians also happen to be living in the present-day postcolonial world of ASEAN, made up of nation-states that do what nation-states do: Compartmentalize, categorize, delimit and demarcate, fix boundaries and police them.

I have to state here that I am not a big fan of the postcolonial nation-state for the simple reason that in my opinion the post-colonial nation-state is simply the inheritor of the proclivities, bias, myopia and solipsism of the colonial state of the past.

Look around us in Southeast Asia today and what do we see, but postcolonial nation-states that continue to police their people, their borders, their identities and the very epistemology and vocabulary that frames our understanding of ourselves and the Other. Categories like “citizen” and “foreigner” are modern labels that we, Southeast Asians, have inherited from our colonial past along with dubious concepts like racial difference.

Contradiction

What, then, are we today? It would appear to me at least that we Southeast Asians are a hybrid, mongrel lot of communities and peoples with a complicated past.

On the one hand we still retain the residual traces of our primordial roots to land and sea that tell us that this region is our shared home. But we also happen to be modern citizen-subjects living under the modern regime of the racial census, the identity card, the passport and the national flag.

We cannot escape this contradiction because this is what our common history has bequeathed us today. We are modern Southeast Asian citizen-subjects who live in a region with a complex history that predates modernity, colonialism and the nation-state, and we cannot escape our past any more than we can escape our present.

But this contradiction is now manifest in what is happening in the East Malaysian state of Sabah. In the midst of the chest-thumping, saber-rattling jingoism and hyper-nationalism we see rising in both Philippines and Malaysia today, we ought to take a step back and look at ourselves honestly in the face.

It seems that what is confronting us now is a clash between the modern state, driven as it is by its modernist logic of governmentality; and the primordial attachment of some people to land and space that exceeds the confines of temporality and space.

What has happened is that a group of non-state actors, namely those who claim to be the descendants of the Sultan of Sulu, have unilaterally and without the consent of the government of the Philippines, entered into the territory of another state – Malaysia – bearing arms and demanding their right to settle there.

Both the Malaysian and Philippine state are at a loss as to what to do, for both states are now forced to deal with a non-state actor that does not play by the rules of the modern state.

Such a situation can be extended hypothetically in a million directions: What if a bunch of Malaysian citizens unilaterally entered Singapore and claimed it on the grounds that it was formerly a part of the Malay kingdom of Johor? What if a bunch of Thais entered northern Malaysia and claimed the state of Kelantan on the grounds that it was formerly part of the Siamese kingdom?

The possibilities are endless, and dizzying to boot- but the problem would remain the same: How should a state or states deal with non-state actors?

Reviewing history

Two historical details ought to be brought into play at this point:

The first is that the history of Sabah itself ought to be foregrounded at this stage, as Philippine and Malaysian nationalists have failed to ask what do the people of Sabah think about this.

Let us note that Sabah was never an empty space that was passed on from one power to another. In the past, Sabah came under the domination of the Kingdom of Brunei, and it was Brunei that then gifted parts of Sabah to the Kingdom of Sulu, and it was both the kingdoms of Brunei and Sulu that then passed it on to the British North Borneo Company. But Sabah has its own past, its own history and its own people – who seem to have been left out of the discussion altogether.

The indigenous people of Sabah happen to be the Kadazandusuns and the Muruts, who consist of the Bonggis (Banggi island, Kudat), the Idaan/Tindals (Tempasuk, Kota Belud), the Dumpaas Kadazans (Orang Sungai, Kinabatangan), the Bagahaks (Orang Sungai, also Kinabatangan), the Tombinuo and Buludupis Kadazans (Orang Sungai, also Kinabatangan), the Kimaragang Kadazans (Tandek and Kota Marudu), the Liwans (Ranau and Tambunan), the Tangaah Kadazans (Panampat and Papar), the Rungus (Matunggong and Kudat), the Tatanah Kadazans (Kuala Penyu), the Lotuds (Tuaran), the Bisayas (Beaufort), the Tidongs (Tawau) and the Kedayans (Sipitang). Then there are the Muruts who consist of the Nabais, Piluans, Bokans, Taguls, Timoguns, Lundayehs, Tangaras, Semambus, Kolors and Melikops.

These are the indigenous communities of Sabah, and if anyone has a right to the land of Sabah it ought to be them. Nobody denies that Bruneians, Suluks, Ilanuns, Bugis, Malays, Chinese, Indians, Arabs and other communities have resided in Sabah too in the past, but the latter came from other kingdoms and polities, and in the case of the Bruneians and Suluks of Sulu, they also happened to be outsiders who imposed their dominance over the indigenous people of Sabah.

This brings me to the second point I want to make: It has to be remembered that both Brunei and Sulu held sway over Sabah as a territory under their dominion, in a manner that seems more akin to the way the British North Borneo company held sway over Sabah from the 1880s to 1940s.

When the descendants of the Sultan of Sulu claim to “own” Sabah today, what exactly does this deed of ownership entail and mean? Does it signify Sulu’s former political dominance over a territory that was gifted to it by another domineering power? If so, then how is this any different from making a colonial claim over a land whose people may not even recognize Sulu’s right to govern over them?

It is ironic that while the self-proclaimed Sultan of Sulu bemoans his loss of dominance, nobody (not even the Sultan) has asked if the Kadazandusuns, Muruts and other indigenous people of Sabah want to live under his dominion. Furthermore, it seems to only underscore the fact that Sulu’s claim (like Brunei’s and Britain’s) was that of an external polity claiming a territory that was not part of their homeland proper.

Cosmopolitan Sabah

None of this alters the fact that Sabah has always been, and remains, an extraordinarily cosmopolitan space where cultures and peoples overlap and share common lives and interests. In comparison to other parts of Malaysia, for instance, Sabahan society retains its fluid and dynamic identity until today.

In Sabah it is not uncommon to come across indigenous families where the siblings happen to be Muslim and Christian, all living under the same roof and celebrating Muslim and Christian festivals together. Sabah society also seems more decentered compared to other communities in the region: The Kadazandusuns do not have a concept of Kingship, and instead govern themselves along the lines of communal leaders (Orang Kaya Kaya) and their symbolic grand leader called the “Huguan Siou.”

So tolerant and open is Sabah society that inter-ethnic marriages are common, with Kadazandusuns and Muruts marrying Malays, Chinese, Arabs as well as Suluks, Bugis, Bajaos, Bruneians. It has been like this for hundreds of years; and I hasten to add that I actually grew up in Sabah between the years 1981 to 1984, and recall how open, eclectic and mobile Sabah society was then.

Sabahans have never had a problem with other communities settling there, and that is why we still see large numbers of Suluks, Bajaos, Malays and Chinese across the state, settling into mixed families or into smaller settlements. Furthermore Sabahans are attuned to the reality of living in a fluid archipelago, which is why its coastal settlements have always been transit points where people from abroad come in and out with ease.

Just before the Lahad Datu incident I was informed that a large number of Suluks had arrived for a wedding, and they came in without passports and visas, and left peacefully afterwards.

It has been like that in Sabah since my childhood. But my fear is that culture of openness and fluidity came to an untimely and graceless end when some of the followers of the Sultan of Sulu landed with guns and rocket-launchers.

Fluid borders only exist under one assumption: that the visitor is a friend, and not an aggressor. The moment guns come into the picture, the fluid border dries up and becomes hard.

Hardened borders, hardened hearts

I hate nationalism. I said at the beginning that I am a committed Southeast Asian-ist and ASEAN-ist, and this debacle in Sabah has not weakened my resolve, as both an academic and an activist, to work towards closer ASEAN integration.

Here in my institute in NTU, I see the faces of ASEAN every single day: My students come from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, in fact all of ASEAN. Being childless myself, I regard them as my wards and responsibility and like all teachers I want them to succeed in the future. I also want them to succeed in an ASEAN region where every ASEAN citizen feels that the entire region is his or her home, a place he/she belongs to, a place where he/she would not feel like a foreigner.

But as I said at the beginning, we ASEAN citizens also live in the age of the modern nation-state, and there is no escaping the fact that we are modern citizen-subjects as well. Being caught between a fluid region and a hard modern state is not an existential crisis that we cannot resolve, for we can bring to the modern nation-state our subjective longings to see greater integration on a people-to-people level that takes the nation-state one step further.

Already we see that the modern nation-state is beginning to transcend itself in ASEAN: The communicative infrastructure that we have built – through roads, rail and cheap airline communications – means that more Southeast Asians are traveling, studying, working and living in different parts of the region than ever before.

Gone are the days when a Malaysian, Filipino or Singaporean would be born in his country, study in the same country, work and die in the same country. In the near future, we may well live to see the birth of the first ASEAN generation who are born in one country, study in another, work in another and die in another, all the while feeling that he or she is still at home, in Southeast Asia.

But for this to happen, we cannot bypass the nation-state entirely; for we need the nation-state in order to transcend the nation-state. We need the nation-state to evolve where it may one day accept the reality that its citizens have multiple origins, multiple destinies, multiple and combined loyalties.

We need to work towards an ASEAN future where our governments may come to accept our complex, confounding hyphenated identities as something normal, and not an anomaly; when someone who is Javanese-Dutch-Indian-Arab like me can claim to come from Indonesia, be born in Malaysia, work in Singapore and love the Philippines.

Ironically, this is the impasse we are at today: To revive our collective memory of a shared Southeast Asian past, we need to work with and through the nation-state as the dominant paradigm that governs international relations.

What we cannot and should not do is selectively appropriate history to make outlandish claims that further only our own limited ends, the way China has been doing by turning to its own China-centric history books in order to claim the South China Sea as theirs.

Such selectivity, be it in the case of China’s or the Sultan of Sulu’s, denies the fact that history will always remain contested by others. Unless we are prepared to accept that whatever view we have of the ASEAN region is only one of many views, and that we need to accept that multi-perspectivism is the only way to navigate ourselves on the choppy waters of history, we will remain forever trapped in our own myopic delusions.

At present, the Sabah impasse has stirred violent emotions among nationalists in Malaysia and the Philippines, with armchair tacticians talking of more violence.

Such idle talk is unbecoming of us, a people who share a complex history whose richness we ought to be celebrating instead. And my final appeal is this: End this incursion into Sabah for the sake of the Sabahans as well as Filipinos and Malaysians; for what this has done is engendered feelings of deep fear and distrust among the Sabahans who have for centuries been among the most open communities in the region.

The thousands of Suluks, Bugis, Bajaos and others who have settled in Sabah for decades have done so with relative ease, but no longer. The Sulu gunmen who landed in Sabah did not only bring their M-16s and rocket-launchers with them, but also the divisive dichotomy of “Self” and “Other/Foreigner,” and the last thing this academic wants to see is yet another wall being built to divide Southeast Asians all over again. – Rappler.com

Dr Farish A Noor is Associate Professor at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, NTU University Singapore. The opinions expressed here are his own and do not necessarily represent his institution.

All photos by the the author.


Development without corruption is an ideal situation in Malaysian politics. Corruption and development is, at a stretch, somewhat acceptable. But corruption without development is completely unacceptable. Sadly, the Malaysian political scene has somehow have found ourselves in the second scenario and moving rapidly towards the last scenario. And it is within this such formula that incumbent Chief Minister, Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, the undisputed leader of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) and Chairman of the ruling coalition in Sarawak’s victory in the recent 10th Sarawak state elections 2011, needs to be seen.

The issue whether or not Taib Mahmud is a clean politician was never the key. It was whether Taib Mahmud had delivered, and on that count he scored. Perhaps not in the most raring of percentages but but he was adequately high on a scale of one to ten. In the Malaysian context, irrespective of corruption, development scores. If a politician at the helm of affairs demonstrates his intent and will to deliver as well as takes positive steps in that direction, similar to that of the Taib Mahmud Sarawakian government, then the electorate reposes its faith in him. This more often than not overlooks the incumbency factor. Taib Mahmud was voted in as chief minister for eight terms: the last one going beyond anyone’s expectations. The grapevine has it that Taib himself was not sure of winning but the people voted him in on three counts; the first being that only he can keep UMNO from coming into Sarawak, the second being that he had done for Sarawak what no other Chief Minister had and third being that development was high on the agenda.

There were stories about several family members benefiting billions during his regime but those allegations waned in the face of the work he had done. A great deal still remains undone but his intention and will to work benefited the people who voted him in and this alone is enough reason for the electorate to back him and ensure his return to office which he held for eight terms. In the case of Dr Mahathir, the issue also worked in his favour was the perception that his heart beats for the Malays although he is half-Indian and that even while the party or his confidantes made money left, right and center, he had electoral support till of course he made the fatal mistake of sacking Anwar Ibrahim for corruption and sodomy charges.

In Malaysia, race, religion or corruption comes into play when development takes a backseat. In situations like this, non-performing politicians have a field day in exploiting race and religion blocks to their advantage and they often succeed. Koh Tsu Koon was able to rule Penang and later managed to name chairman Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan as his successor primarily because he helped UMNO and had the support of the Feds in the center, get electoral power and in turn had a role in decision making. But what dented Koh Tsu Koon’s unassailable position were his non-performance and confining his tenure solely to UMNO politics. That worked initially but later Penangites wanted results of governance where of course he failed miserably. The consequence: a total rout from which recovery seems a near impossibility as the recent 2008 election-results have demonstrated.

This is in great contrast with Lim Guan Eng’s human development agenda in which the situation is crystal-clear. Koh Tsu Koon’s UMNO discrepant policies brought Lim Guan Eng center-stage: His initial victory had little to do with him and more with being the protégé of then Penang Chief Minister Lim Chong Eu and UMNO. Koh Tsu Koon’s Parti Gerakan who vouched for him throughout the years deserted him on the grounds that his UMNO sucking up politics were limited to his family and an inner circle comprising his relatives and maybe a handful of supporters. At the macro level Koh Tsu Koon had failed to deliver or do anything for the state, they argued. Worse still, he had put the clock back.

Lim Guan Eng reign checked these: corruption, accountability and transparency and followed this up with development. Not only did he bring back the dignity of Penangites but also stressed on the state’s CAT (competency, accountability and transparency) principles. It is after many years in Penang that the state is finally transparent in its governance. In the face of all this, whether Lim Guan Eng and his minions are corrupted or not were non issues when it comes to voting him and his boys back to power. This can be said about Taib Mahmud or Musa Aman for that matter. Upon a better look, the way Musa Aman went about getting The Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants in Sabah to investigate the Mother of ALL Problems, “Project IC”, the alleged systematic granting of citizenship to foreigners, was a brilliant move in spite of so much objections and even sabotage by Shafie Apdal and some UMNO Sabah chaps. Despite the drama he still managed to get it thru and convince Premier Najib against all odds, that this is the true meaning of development!

I stand corrected on my theory that people accept corruption only if it rides piggyback on development and never the former without the latter. Lim Guan Eng substantiates the first and Koh Tsu Koon the second. And although the the third option of development without corruption is an ideal situation, it is sadly rarely found in Malaysian politics. Even honest politicians, Musa Aman, who was voted in on grounds of his honesty and integrity, rued the fact that political parties need money to survive.

So with the way things are, it is less about corruption and more about being found out. Or even getting caught. Hence, solo development or clean governance in Malaysian politics is an ideal situation. In lieu with this, I have to single out Former Prime Ministers Tengku Abdul Rahman and Tun Hussein Onn whose integrity is beyond doubt, despite the various scams their Government had been besmeared with. But ask the man on the street or even Tengku or Tun Hussein Onn’s former political rivals and they will charge them with inaction but not dishonesty. In this case the clean image scores over governance.


by Joe Fernandez
Guest Columnist

Leaders and members in the State Reform Party (Star), Sabah chapter, are heaving a sigh of relief after chairman Jeffrey Kitingan extended an olive branch to known “rebels” in the party despite being humbled for the first time by them at an emergency meeting this morning (Fri) in Kota Kinabalu.

Falling short of waving the proverbial white flag, Jeffrey for starters reportedly did an about-turn with about 20 party leaders including rebels. He claimed that he had never issued a gag order recently against them. It was stressed that the gag order was a “mistake” on the part of some of his more “over-zealous” aides.

The more vociferous among the leaders gathered begged to disagree on making a complete scapegoat of Jeffrey’s errant aides. However, it appears that they did not protest too much on the gag order “in the interest of party unity” after the party chairman announced that two members, a male and a female, would be appointed as his political secretaries.

Lawyer Moses Iking and Ranau member Juliana Situn, it was agreed, would both be offered the post of political secretary to Jeffrey.

This is the second time that Moses is being offered a party post. He was earlier offered a vice-chairmanship but declined on the grounds that the party took no action against another vice-chairman blacklisted by the Insolvency Department.

“Many of us would have liked the aides to be hauled up for disciplinary action but the matter was not discussed,” said a number of party leaders approached separately after the session. “The appointment of the two political secretaries is expected to cut Jeffrey’s errant aides down to size.”

The party leaders, who requested anonymity for fear of being accused of fishing in troubled waters, fumed that the errant aides had not only acted with or without permission in the chairman’s name but also had been “kurang ajar” (disrespectful) of late to several senior party leaders who tried to tick them off privately.

The meeting generally did not comment or did not disagree too much when Jeffrey proposed that the gist of all press statements prepared by party leaders be first cleared with him, at least by telephone, before being issued. His main concern appeared to be on “not souring relations with other opposition parties” and “not touching on party policies”, the latter being read as euphemism for anything the party chairman didn’t like.

One party leader said he had no objections to seeking clearance from Jeffrey on his press statements “provided the party chairman bothered to answer their telephone calls”. Jeffrey, it appears, has a reputation for not picking up telephone calls, not returning missed calls, and not responding to text messages or emails. It’s even said that he doesn’t read emails except on his Blackberry if it’s not too full.

“The chairman promised to take all calls especially from party leaders,” said one party leader who attended the meeting. “He also promised to be punctual in future for appointments.”

The party chairman allegedly turns up late, anywhere between an hour to three hours, for public gatherings and meetings.

The meeting did not fault Jeffrey for this tardy time management on his part but advised him not to take on too many appointments or simply agree each time to the times set by others. He was further advised to learn to delegate and trust his fellow party leaders.

So far, Star has yet to set up any Bureaus, Committees or Sub-Committees although it claims to have a membership of 200,000, of which 175,000 it was further claimed signed up within the first three months of the party being set up in Sabah recently.

The meeting agreed with Jeffrey that the party needs to hold regular meetings and all its Bureaus, Committees and Sub-Committees need to be set up as soon as possible.

The meeting agreed that the party’s proposed vision and mission statements and manifesto, all bones of contention among the leadership and rank-and-file, need to be dusted off and tabled for discussion.

The party’s vision and mission statements and manifesto, Jeffrey agreed, would not be finalized without input from all stakeholders and unanimously agreed at a series of party meetings called specifically for the purpose.

It was tentatively agreed that the first meeting of the proposed Political Bureau would be held tentatively in the afternoon on Mon to discuss the vision and mission for a start. The discussion on the manifesto would be shelved to a later date. In the morning, on Mon, Star would sign a pact with Transparency-International Malaysia in Kota Kinabalu, the meeting learnt.

The party leaders already have draft copies of the vision and mission and manifesto following input by several Supreme Council members. However, the matter became controversial when Jeffrey’s aides sent several emails to senior party leaders dismissing their input as “just spin and bullshit”.

The offending emails by the errant aides have been cited as the reason for the current tension between the party headquarters in Kota Kinabalu and senior party leaders. It appears that snatches of these emails have found their way into FaceBook, Twitter, Chats and text messages.

Jeffrey reportedly promised that he would brief the Political Bureau on Mon on his meetings earlier this week with Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice president Tian Chua and party Treasurer William Leong.

No details related to Star were disclosed this morning.

Elsewhere, the meeting learnt that de facto PKR Chief Anwar Ibrahim is wary of Sabah Umno veteran Lajim Ukin and Upko deputy president Wilfred Mojilip Bumburing planning to defect to his party.
“It seems that both Lajim and Ukin are not interested in PKR but want to stand under the party symbol provided their respective factions are allotted 20 Muslim and 18 Native (Orang Asal) state seats,” said a Star leader. “Wilfred is willing to concede only one or two Native seats to Star.”

The suspicion is that both men would defect with their factions after the 13th General Election, said the leader. “We think that both Lajim and Wilfred would frog back to the Barisan Nasional (BN) after winning seats under PKR.”

Jeffrey announced in mid-April that Star would contest all 60 state seats at stake in Sabah and 26 parliamentary seats including Labuan in the 13th General Election.

The party is yet to climb down from this extreme position, reportedly a strategic move, but the word along the political grapevine in Sabah is that it would be prepared to retreat to 35 state seats and the related parliamentary seats.

It’s not known whether the 35 state seats include that which would be contested by the pro-tem United Sabah National Organisation (Usno) under the Star symbol. Usno had been reported to be eyeing 18 state seats.


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.


by Joe Fernandez
Guest Columnist

COMMENT The latest talk along the political grapevine in Kota Kinabalu and the local media is that the Sabah People’s Front Party (SPF) might be more than willing to “accommodate” the so-called Sarawak Workers Party (SWP) on one condition: that the SWP fields and finances SPF candidates in Sabah under its (SWP’s) banner.

The alternative is that SPF, led by Deputy President Osman Enting, would apparently “go all out to destroy SWP”.

The prime-movers behind SWP aren’t taking the bait so far and are unlikely to do so since that would be tantamount to their admission of being complicit in an alleged illegality. It would have been quite a different matter if the story had not gone public. In that case, the prime-movers would have been more than willing to throw money at the problems to make them all go away.

Obviously, the purported “destruction threat” relates to SPF’s charge that no EGM was ever held by the party to approve the name change to SWP and the shifting of its headquarters, if any, to Kuching. Hence, the complaint goes, any minutes related to a purported EGM held by SPF on the matter were “falsified”.

The purported EGM was supposed to have been held at the Palace Hotel in Kota Kinabalu but in reality “only happened on paper”. The party constitution calls for any name change to be endorsed by two-thirds of its Supreme Council

The disclosure by Osman makes up the thrust of a police report lodged by him and 31 other senior party leaders in Kota Kinabalu on May 31 and a complaint filed at the Registrar of Societies (ROS) in Kota Kinabalu. Ironically, it was the ROS Sabah which obtained the name change documentation from Putrajaya and handed them over to SPF in response to an official request from the party.

The police report has been lodged with the Registrar of Societies in Putrajaya together with the minutes of a special party meeting convened on June 3 in Kota Kinabalu under Osman to suspend SPF president Berman Angkap and secretary-general Salun Dueasim. Osman heads the party’s disciplinary council.

The SPF’s reported “about-turn”, if true, is not just on. There are even reports that Osman has withdrawn the police report in order to “settle the matter internally”.

This is not a situation where “compromise” is possible between contending factions i.e. one led by Osman, another by the “suspended” president, and the third by SWP activists in Kuching.

Serious charges have been levied and the law must be allowed to take its course and those found indulging in wrong-doing must face the consequences of their action. The list of wrong-doers would include anyone in SPF who, on second thoughts, may be actively moving in the direction of the so-called compromise.

SPF’s name change to SWP is clearly non-existent in law although approved by the ROS on April 2 this year.

It’s a principle in law that if someone obtains official documentation and/or certification by falsification, deception, fraud and misrepresentation, then such documentation and/or certification is void and a nullity in law as if it never existed from the very beginning. The “approval” of the ROS does not exist in law.

For another, the ROS should not take lightly the rampant practice of “selling” and “buying” political parties. Indeed, such practices would not take place if the ROS had not been only too willing to be in cahoots with the Home Ministry to deny any application for registration of a political party deemed a threat to the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition. It’s unconstitutional.

SWP deputy president George Lagong, putting up a brave front, claims that the SPF’s registration certificate in the new name is “legitimate”. His group, led by “President” Larry Sng, “would not entertain any claims by SPF in Sabah”, according to George.

There’s genuine fear in those “earmarked for destruction” by SWP that the parties in conflict over the name change would be allowed by the ROS to paper over their differences, so to speak, in order to legalize an illegality. Clearly, this is not possible since the proverbial cat is out of the bag.

The overwhelmingly Iban Dayak-based Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), for one, which has been targeted for demolition by the “still-born” SWP is crying foul and is determined to see that the law is upheld and the miscreants face the music. It’s understood that the party has written to the ROS in Putrajaya for clarification and followed this up with a meeting.

The party intends to keep tabs on the SPF/SWP situation and ensure that the latter is not resurrected from the dead. The party is even prepared to claim locus standi, based on newspaper reports issued by SWP against it, and seek a Judicial Review in Court to squash the decision by the ROS to approve SPF’s name change to SWP and its migration to Sarawak.
Lawyers for PRS are confident that the party will win hands down if push comes to shove.

The consensus among the legal community and others in the know is that the police in Kota Kinabalu should follow up the report lodged by Osman and send the investigation papers to the AG’s Chambers. It appears that Osman cannot withdraw the police report if the allegations are true, and if untrue, he faces possible criminal charges for making a false police report.

However, 31 other witnesses cannot possibly be wrong when they alleged that the so-called minutes of the purported EGM had been falsified.

Independent of the police probe, the ROS is duty-bound to seek further clarification in writing and in person from those who collected the name change certification and have it recalled and suspended. There may be grounds here for the ROS himself to lodge a police report against those who collected the name change certification.

Needless to say, those who collected the name change certification to SWP and those listed as office bearers in Sarawak would be “blacklisted” by the ROS, Special Branch and the Home Ministry from applying for the registration of any new political party.

Meanwhile, the ROS would be further duty-bound to write officially to SPF to show cause why it should not be deregistered.

It’s a certainty, in that case, that SPF would be deregistered.

SPF’s latest woes can be traced back to certain quarters reportedly linked to Sabah Umno veteran Lajim Ukin. The veteran, it appears, forked out several hundred thousand ringgit to set up a new headquarters for the party in Kota Kinabalu with a view to taking it over. The sums may include that paid out to certain SPF leaders who were alleged involved in the purported EGM and the related minutes.

Unfortunately for those eyeing SPF in Kota Kinabalu, the party subsequently went on “sale” in Kuching where the modus operandi for its transfer and re-birth were hatched in not too many details.

SPF claims to have a membership of 50,000 in 42 branches throughout Sabah.

Its avowed objective is to drive Umno out of Sabah.

SWP claims to be BN-friendly except for its declared aim of wiping out PRS.

Larry had not so long ago claimed to be PRS President, a dispute which involved the ROS, and brought the party to the brink of deregistration if not for a timely move by then Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to step in and support embattled President James Masing. PRS was quick to expel Larry and his faction from the party despite the best efforts of Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud to step in and save the young Chinese politician aspiring to lead the Dayak party.


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.


by Joe Fernandez
Guest Columnist

ANALYSIS Malaysia Agreement or no Malaysia Agreement, Sarawak or Sabah/Labuan for that matter, cannot step outside the bounds with the Federal Government. Putrajaya belongs as much to the two Malaysian states in Borneo as to Peninsular Malaysia.

At a lower level, the Federal Government presides over the individual sultanates, states and territories in Peninsular Malaysia.

Five on-going issues, some simmering for long, have pitted the Sarawak state government in a head-long clash against the Federal Government. It’s anybody’s guess how Putrajaya will bring the recalcitrant Taib Mahmud regime to heel. Surely, the Joseph Pairin Kitingan administration (1985 – 1994) in Sabah is the mother of all precedents!

Now (drumroll) for the latest of the five issues viz. Native status, followed by immigration, heads of federal depts, NCR land and Taib’s long-promised retirement as Chief Minister.

In the latest move, the Sarawak National Registration Department’s (NRD) willful defiance of an 18 Nov 2009 policy circular, [ref: PM( R)11880/A/072/3 Jld 5] by the Chief Secretary to the Government is likely to inflame passions and further infuriate the Chinese and other non-Native communities in Sarawak against the state government.

Not that Taib cares anyway despite the drubbing he received in the urban and Chinese seats during last year’s state elections.

A Sarawakian non-Native married to a Bidayuh lady has come forward to scream in the local media, anonymously, that the Sarawak NRD does not recognise the Chief Secretary’s circular which rules that children born in Sabah and Sarawak of only one non-Native parent can henceforth be registered “by administration” as Natives. The only reason that this is happening is because recruitments for federal departments in Sarawak, unlike in Sabah, are done through the Sarawak Federal Public Services Commission.
The Sarawak NRD, according to Sarawakian, advised him to get confirmation from the Native Court and the Majlis Adat Istiadat Sarawak (MAIS) on his children’s Native status. To add insult to injury, The Sarawak NRD reiterated that it doesn’t recognise the Chief Secretary’s said circular as valid.

MAIS told him point-blank that it interprets Native strictly as a citizen of Malaysia of any race which is now considered to be indigenous to Sarawak as set out in the Schedule under section 3 of the Interpretation Ordinance (1958 Edition), Chapter 1 of the Laws of Sarawak “and any admixture of the above races with each other”.

Obviously, the Sarawak NRD is wrong in law to ignore the said administrative policy circular from the Chief Secretary to the Government. The said circular has never been successfully challenged in Court and therefore, until such time, stands valid in law.

“Law” is not just Adat, the Constitution and Acts/Enactments/Ordinances but also constitutional conventions, administrative policies and even includes what can be deemed as “politically correct”.

That’s how Momogun (non-Natives) in Sabah can apply for Pasok (Native) status provided they are citizens in the state living among the latter community and habitually speaking Native languages and practising Native culture, customs and traditions.

For example, the Queen of England can refuse to appoint a Prime Minister on the grounds that the unwritten constitution and related aspects makes no reference to a Prime Minister.

In reality, the Queen appoints the Prime Minister anyway by convention. Otherwise, she would be precipitating a constitutional crisis.

Likewise, the Sarawak NRD has no business ignoring the said circular by the Chief Secretary to the Government. Wither 1Sarawak, if not 1Malaysia!

Those unhappy with the said circular, and this by the way does not include the Sarawak NRD, should take up the matter in Court by way of a Judicial Review of the administrative policy.
So, the right thing for the Sarawak NRD to do under the circumstances would be to accept the applications from “Sarawakian” and leave it to others with locus standi to challenge the administrative ruling in Court.

Instead, the Sarawak NRD seems to have created its own mini-administrative ruling to oppose the circular.

The Federal Government is also irked by the state government, under Taib’s directive, routinely barring Malaysian citizens from Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah entering Sarawak.

The Special Provisions for East Malaysia, under the Immigration Act 1967, does not bestow the right to bar citizens from Sabah and Sarawak. The provision is only meant to safeguard local jobs from being taken by Peninsular Malaysians.

Likewise, Taib has been misusing the Immigration to deny long-term work permits to Peninsular Malaysians or Sabahans appointed as heads of Federal Departments in Sarawak. These appointees can only secure three-month work permits at a time instead of one for three years.

Will Prime Minister Mohd Najib Abdul Razak blink when push comes to shove on the difficult patches with the state government and, as it is being predicted by the locals, flee with his tail between the legs when Taib says, “boo!”

The talk in Kuching is that Taib has gone back on his public pledge, made during the state elections in Sarawak last year, to resign as Chief Minister not long after the results come in and certainly well before the 13th General Elections. Instead, Taib woke up the 90-year-old Governor and had himself sworn in as the Chief Minister in the dead of night instead of waiting until the next morning.

Taib, when pressed by Najib on the resignation issue, is reported to have retorted in a challenge: “Let’s see who will retire first, whether me or you!”

The Federal Government is also extremely unhappy that the Sarawak state government has virtually ignored several NCR land cases which went against it in Court. Putrajaya released several million ringgit to demarcate Native lands in Sarawak but Taib, being displeased with the funding, has been dragging his foot on the issue. In the lands reluctantly demarcated so far by the state government, only the area immediately surrounding a longhouse is being considered NCR land while communal land further away is being treated as state land.

Najib seems ever mindful that Taib, with at least 25 parliamentary seats behind him, can dictate to him at least for the moment given his stand-off in Peninsular Malaysia with the national opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat.

It goes without saying that had Taib been a non-Muslim, Najib would have gone after him hammer and tongs as what former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad did to Pairin.


by Joe Fernandez
Guest Columnist

COMMENT Pas President Hadi Awang should not have said that only a “Malay” Muslim — probably “determined” by a DNA test a la Pas — will be Prime Minister if and when Pakatan Rakyat (PR) seizes the reins of power in Putrajaya and initiates, forms and leads the Federal Government.

Is he implying that a “Malay” Muslim is not the Prime Minister now and that “Malay” Muslims have never held the post?

What he said is not unlawful in a Court of Law.

However, it’s unconstitutional to say such things and therefore not lawful, and certainly inconsiderate and hurtful of the feelings of the non-“Malays” including Muslims.

Besides, it’s not the done thing to say such things and further alienate, for one, the good people on the other side of the South China Sea who are neither “Malays”, despite speaking Malay, nor for the most part Muslims. Why should Sabah and Sarawak be in Malaysia if they are denied the Prime Minister’s post.

Already, “Malaysians” in Borneo are saying things like that they are not really in Malaysia and claiming that they still retain the self-determination they obtained on 31 Aug 1963 (Sabah) and 22 July 1963 (Sarawak).

They are screaming internal colonisation — caught between the evil extremes of ketuanan Melayu and grinding poverty — and are demanding that the United Nations Security Council step in on Putrajaya’s non-compliance on the four constitutional documents and/or conventions which formed the basis on which they were “persuaded” by the Malayans and British to help form and participate in the Federation of 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).

Perhaps Hadi wants to discontinue the peculiar situation where the Prime Ministers so far have not been “Malay” in his mould and at the same time rule out the possibility of Lim Guan Eng, or “even worse” notorious Islam-baiter Karpal Singh — “an Islamic state over my dead body” — being Prime Minister.

LGE was silly enough to say that the Constitution was “silent” on who could be Prime Minister and thereby kill his chances at the top job.

Does he want to be confined to Penang for the rest of his political life? Doesn’t he want to continue from where Lee Kuan Yew left off after Singapore was kicked out from Malaysia? He should not fear that Penang, like Singapore, will be kicked out as well to thwart his known Prime Ministerial ambitions.

No one can play the same trick thrice.

The first was when West Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan, the North West Frontier Province and East Bengal were kicked out from India through partition to prevent Mohd Ali Jinnah becoming the first Prime Minister after independence in 1947.That’s how Jawaharlal Nehru became Prime Minister and went on to build a political dynasty which is still around.

Jinnah died of TB less than a year after Pakistan was created.

Nehru could have waited but he simply couldn’t just like Lee Kuan Yew who was in too much of a hurry. Lee regrets to this day, like Anwar Ibrahim not so long ago, and like the latter keeps kicking himself every day and crying himself to sleep on having lost the chance to be Prime Minister of Malaysia. Lee even promised Donald Stephens of Sabah that he would be Deputy Prime Minister when he became Prime Minister. It seems it was the Tunku’s idea. So, Stephens dropped his opposition to Malaysia.

The Constitution is anything but silent on the issue of the Prime Minister’s post.

LGE should read the Constitution, like a Bible, briefly five times daily if he wants to convince himself that he’s qualified to be Prime Minister. Penang should not be in Malaysia if its Chief Minister is disqualified from gunning for the top political job in the country on the dubious grounds of race and religion. If LGE can’t be Prime Minister of Malaysia, even though qualified and eligible, should he “go back” to China to be one?

Why didn’t Hadi give the name of the person who will be his candidate for the PM’s post?

Is Anwar Ibrahim finally out of the picture at PR because he’s not really “Malay” at all given his Tamil Hindu grandfather?

That means Anwar will have to “go back” to Tamil Nadu to be Chief Minister and from there wrest the job of Prime Minister of India away from Manmohan Singh. Probably, he will have some competition here from Karpal Singh. In India, one will not be denied the Prime Minister’s job on the grounds of being from a minority. Jinnah was just unfortunate to run into Nehru.

Again, why “Malay” Muslim?

Are there “Malays” in Malaysia who are not Muslim?

Is this also a broader Hadi reference and “safeguard” against the non-Muslims in Umno’s “Rumpun Melayu” (Malay Group) theory under which every Tom, Dick and Harry — from Bugis and Suluk to Dusun, Dayak to Acehnese — on the islands of south east Asia is “Malay”, becoming Prime Minister? Where does the Orang Asli fit in?

Why didn’t Hadi just say “Malay”?

Is the term “Malay” Muslim being used to rule out Muslims like Mahathir Mohamad who came from Kerala, southwest India and denied Tengku Razaleigh, a “Malay” in Hadi’s mould, the Prime Minister’s job not once but twice.

Mahathir went on to become the 4th Prime Minister of Malaysia by default and, by sheer cunning, still managed to cling onto the post even after it was discovered in Court by a “Malay” Judge from Kerala that he actually lost the 1987 Umno presidential elections but sneaked in votes from 30 illegal branches to “win” by 43 votes. The Judge, a Malayalee backing another Malayalee, refused to discount the illegal votes and award Razaleigh the Umno presidency.

Hadi’s statement means that Tunku Abdul Rahman, whose mother was Thai and from across the border, was not “Malay”.

Also, Tun Abdul Razak (Bugis); Hussein Onn (more Turk than anything else); Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (Chinese on one side and Arab on the other side); and Najib (Razak’s son) were all not “Malays” in Hadi’s mould, even though Malay-speaking, and therefore cannot be forgiven.

Who are these “Malays” which Hadi keeps referring to? Will the term under PR exclude people who are not “Malay” like the Bugis, Javanese — think Khir Toyo — Minang, Acehnese etc but use Malay as their lingua franca and are considered “Malay” by Umno which is also infested with Indian Muslims?

Why not say Muslim since Hadi said they — obviously including the “secret Malay Christians” — form the single biggest group in Malaysia?

Why are the Orang Asli, Dusuns, Muruts and Dayaks — the real Natives of Malaysia — being denied a shot at the PM’s post under the Hadi formula by the emphasis on the candidate being Muslim?

Jeffrey Kitingan — “why can’t a Sabahan be Prime Minister?” — must be crying himself to sleep every night in the cold of Tambunan in the high country over Hadi’s statement. It’s an open secret in Sabah that Jeffrey wants to be Prime Minister when a hung Parliament materialises as he expects after the 13th General Election and the 3rd Force comes marching in.

In London, Kelantan-born Hindraf Makkal Sakthi supremo P. Waythamoorthy must be fuming mad with Hadi. He must be planning to go to Court to get the Pas President legally certified as insane.

It’s the King who decides who will be PM — unless Nik Aziz by some miracle becomes King — and he will have to pick a person wiho is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members in the Dewan Rakyat.

That person must of course be a Malaysian citizen who is not bankrupt or has not been certified legally insane by a Court of Law.

Preferably, the Prime Minister-designate should not — “this is not in the Constitution” — be suspected of having skeletons in the cupboard like being on the take, being on crack, hitting the bottle every night, having blood on the hands, sleeping around, being chased by a C4 ghost every night or cannot avoid creating situations in Court casting doubt on his sense of moral values.

Since Hadi mentioned “Malay” Muslim, let’s consider Native status in Malaysia lest he’s under some delusion that his “Malay” Muslims are Natives.

The Principle of Law in determining Native status is that Natives are the 1st people in a defined geopraphical area, we don’t know where they came from, & this is the only place where they can be found.

Of course, it’s not really necessary to have all the criteria as in the case of the Native Indians — we know where they came from — in America.

The 1st criteria would suffice and is a pre-requisite.

So, that’s why the Federal Contitution does not state that the Malay-speaking communities in Peninsular Malaysia — they are actually Bugis, Javanese, Minang, Acehnese and the like — are Natives.

So, the Thai in Tunku Abdul Rahman coined the term Bumiputera (sons of the soil) as an umbrella term to include the Malay-speaking communities along with the true Natives viz. the Orang Asli, Dusuns, Muruts & Dayaks.

The Constitution, reflecting Umno’s philosophy, defines all “Malays” as Muslims but that does not mean all Muslims are “Malays”.

There’s no Principle of Law on all Muslims being “Malays.”

So, Indian Muslims like Mahathir for example are wrong when they claim to be “Malays”, & by extension, Bumiputera.

Example: if all Pakistanis are stupid, does it mean that all stupid people are Pakistanis?

Similarly, it cannot be said that all Muslims are “Malays”, & by extension, Bumiputera.

Since the Malay-speaking communities are not the Natives of Peninsular M’sia, they cannot come under the umbrella term Bumiputera either and should not claim to have a divine monopoly on the Prime Minister’s post.

The Malay-speaking communities, whether Muslim or otherwise, should not deny others especially the Natives, the Prime Minister’s post.

There is a Malay language, which historically began as a dialect in Cambodia, and was developed by the Hindus and Buddhists to emerge as the lingua franca of the Archipelago for missionary work and religion, education, trade and administration. That’s how the Malay language became the basis for the development of a national language in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia with the departure of the colonialists.

The “Malay” in the Malay Archipelago refers to the language and not any race.

There is no such thing as a “Malay” race despite what Hadi thinks or a “Malay” Group (Rumpun Melayu) as Umno likes to claim. Indonesia — Indos Nesos or Indian Islands in Greek — would never agree with the Rumpun “Melayu” theory.

“Malay” Nationalism is a concept created in Singapore by Muslims from Kerala to rally support against Chinese economic domination. The Origin of Malay Nationalism by Professor William Roff refers.

DNA studies show that all the people of southeast Asia are from a common stock.

They are descended from the Dravidians — archaic (old) Caucasoids — who made their way from south India, along the coast, to south China and Taiwan and mated with the Mongolian tribes living there.

We should cross the bridge on the Prime Minister’s post rather than delude ourself into wishful thinking, living on hope and fairy tales to convince the King in defiance of the Federal Constitution.


KOTA KINABALU: The manifesto revealed by the Sabah Progressive Party (Sapp) on Sun in the Sabah capital, to cite an example, leaves a lot to be desired since its conveys the impression that “the party leaders continue to be in a state of denial and are sitting on another planet and making plans for the state”.

This is the dismissive note, albeit reluctantly, from the State Reform Party (Star) on the Sapp Manifesto unveiled amidst much fanfare. The party hopes that others in the opposition will take heed of the lessons and do a better job on their respective manifestos “while Sapp goes back to the drawing board”.

If Sapp leaders deny that they are sitting on another planet, read a press statement from Star, then they certainly are like the proverbial three monkeys i.e. see no evil, hear no evil; and speak no evil and/or alternatively have buried their heads in the sand like the ostrich.

“Opposition parties in Sabah including the parti parti Malaya should not hope to emulate the evil being perpetrated by the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) when announcing their respective party manifestos,” said Star vice chairman Dr Felix Chong who until recently was with the Democratic Action Party (Dap). “Enough is enough. Let’s not play the game by the rules that the BN has drawn up.”

Chong was making comparisons between the Sapp Manifesto and the guiding principles driving the proposed Star Manifesto “which will be unveiled at an appropriate time”.

For starters, said Chong, he doesn’t know what is the vision and mission driving the Sapp Manifesto and this is evident in the absence of macro elements despite paying lip service, in passing, to autonomy and the one country, two systems approach.

In contrast, he added, Star has already mapped out its vision, mission, objectives, goals and activities (vimoga) “and all these will be reflected in the content of the party manifesto”. In addition, the Star manifesto will take due recognition of the vimoga of the Borneo Agenda driven-United Borneo Alliance (UBA) of which Star is the founding member and lead partner.

Asked what the fundamental flaw was, if any, in the Sapp Manifesto, Chong said it was “an inability to see the forest for the trees’ and “this is evident in the over-emphasis on micro aspects”.

“It would seem that Sapp leaders, in drawing up their Manifesto, are counting their chickens before they are hatched in putting the cart before the horse,” said Chong. “The Sapp Manifesto was dead even before it hit the water because it’s littered with useless and undemocratic ideas like the anti-hop law which is a non-starter.”

Holding out an olive branch, Chong suggested that all opposition parties in Sabah and Sarawak “including the unwelcome parti parti Malaya” get together and thrash out the macro aspects which should resonate through their respective manifestos and drive it together with their individual vimoga.

Chong said that there must be a consensus among opposition parties in the two Borneo states on three key drivers:

(1) remove the element of fear from politics – “reflected in the dependency syndrome” — and crush it by building strength through unity of the political parties and the people;
(2) take a pledge that Putrajaya should reverse the internal colonization policies in Sabah and Sarawak which, admittedly, “are being facilitated by local traitors who are willing to be proxies and stooges of the ruling party”;
(3) regain/restore the self-determination status of 31 Aug 1963 for Sabah and 22 July 1963 for Sarawak which (the status) became dormant on 16 Sept 1963 after both states were misled by the “cunning” Malayans and “re-colonizing” British into agreeing to help form and participate in the Federation of Malaysia, a bad idea from London.

“These three aspects are absolutely crucial and in fact must drive all local parties – “including the parti parti Malaya since they have local members” — in Sabah and Sarawak across both sides of the political divide,” said Chong. “Hopefully, the parti parti Malaya in Sabah and Sarawak are not here to emulate the self-serving and evil politics of the proxies and stooges of the ruling Federal party.”

Elaborating on the self-determination theme, Chong acknowledged that it could be left on the back-burner “until 2020” if Putrajaya complied with the four constitutional documents and/or conventions which formed the basis for Sabah and Sarawak’s participation in Malaysia viz. the 1963 Malaysia Agreement (MA63); the 20/18 Points (20/18 P); the Inter Governmental Committee Report (IGCR); and the Cobbold omission report (CCR).

“It’s the non-compliance which eventually led to the internal colonization policies being pursued by Putrajaya in Sabah and Sarawak,” said Chong. “The internal colonization can be seen in a host of issues ranged between the ketuanan Melayu concept on one hand and the grinding poverty of our two states on the other hand.”

The Star vice chairman denied that his party and the UBA were biting off more than what they can chew. In a rebuttal, he pointed out that “the purpose of politics was to re-distribute political power and re-distribute resources”.

“If we are going to achieve these twin objectives of politics – power and resources – we need to get our politics and relationships right and not continue be caught in a slave mindset,” said Chong. “Otherwise, we have no business being in politics.”

Asked about the 17 Points in the Sapp Manifesto, Chong said that first things must be done first and, in other things, “we can cross the bridge when we come to it”.

He recalled that Umno, together with the Sapp breakaway from the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), promised a “Sabah Baru within 100 days” back in 1994, and the people were still waiting for it to materialize 18 years later. So, Sapp has a “credibility issue” on its 17 Points, he added.

“The failure of Sabah Baru to materialize eventually forced the United Sabah National Organisation members in Umno to leave the party and they have joined us in UBA,” said Chong. “They will contest under the Star symbol pending the re-registration of their party.”

Daniel John Jambun
Deputy Chairman, State Reform Party (Star)
Contact No: 012-834 0972

Mon 4 June, 2012