Archive for the ‘Musa Aman’ Category

It may provide the guiding principle for the appointment of future chief ministers whatever the outcome of the pending Federal Court decision on the validity of Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal as the rightful Sabah Chief Minister in the coming weeks, it may help set the framework for resolving future such constitutional crises that had become a feature of Sabah politics after every election since 1985.

There have been four instances to date where the immediate outcome of the voting process took a different path than expected.

When it first happened in 1985, the Federal Government had to step in and call for the people’s mandate to be respected. Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan (now Tan Sri), whose month-old Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) won the State election with a simple majority of 25 seats in the then 48-seat State Assembly found the Istana gates locked around midnight when he and his victorious entourage went there after the result for the last seat was known.

Unknown to him, a Shakespearean plot was in play at the Istana with certain quarters accessing it via a back entrance and getting Tun Mustapha Datu Harun sworn in as Chief Minister before the cockerel crowed at dawn.

The crisis was resolved only when then Acting Prime Minister Datuk Musa Hitam (now Tun) called for the people’s mandate to be respected, Mustapha’s appointment revoked and Pairin installed as the rightful Chief Minister.

Pairin was sworn in at 8pm – or nearly 24 hours after the Election Commission had announced the results.

Then Election Commission Secretary Tan Sri Rashid in recalling the incident told the Sabah Daily Express recently that when he went to the Istana before dawn to announce the results, he was shocked to learn that another person had already been appointed as Chief Minister, describing it as “Sabah’s weird politics”,

Then Governor Tun Adnan Roberts told the court case that ensued that he was forced to swear in Mustapha when one of the plotters behind the “power grab” showed him that he had a gun and was afraid of what would happen if he had not obliged.

A dissatisfied Mustapha took the matter to court which upheld Pairin’s appointment.

Barely 10 years later in 1994, a three-day delay by then Governor Tun Said Keruak, who claimed he was too sick to leave his bed to swear in Pairin allowed sufficient time for elected representatives from his Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) to cross over to the then ruling Barisan Nasional coalition and form the new State Government.

It was soon to be an inglorious end in political supremacy for Pairin.

Like in 1985, PBS then had a simple majority of 26 seats in the State Assembly but Pairin’s grip on power began to fade due to crossovers one by one until he finally had to throw in the towel.

For unknown reason, Pairin declined to challenge the toppling of his fledgling administration in court, unlike Musa in the latest cases.

What is notable is that of four occasions where there had been disputes over the appointment of chief minister, two involved Pairin and the other two, Musa.

The latest similar instances happened within a space of two years beginning with the Barisan Nasional-led Musa losing the CM post to Shafie within 48 hours of his appointment after securing a 31-seat majority in the State Assembly with the help of Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan’s Star that made it 31 seats for Musa compared to Shafie’s Warisan-Plus coalition’s 29.

Even then, and reminiscent of Pairin’s situation in 1985, Musa had to endure an almost 24-hour nail-biting delay before his short-lived swearing in at around midnight the following day. He saw the CM chair being taken away from him after taking the oath before Tun Juhar Mahiruddin when BN coalition partner, Upko, defected to the side of Shafie’s Warisan Sabah.

And in a reversal of roles two years later, Musa was not able to claim back the post when he managed to command 33 seats in the 65-seat (including four Nominated Assemblymen) State Assembly to Shafie’s 32.

Just like Shafie following the 2018 election, Musa managed to upstage Shafie on July 29, 2020 also through crossover of a record 15 elected representatives from Shafie’s side.

There were accusations of enticement and money politics but could not be proven as no corruption reports were lodged, just like in 2018 when the defecting Upko election winners claimed they crossed over to Shafie’s side for the sake of helping his Warisan Sabah form the government, despite winning the election on platform, manifesto and funding by Musa’s Sabah BN.

Musa claimed that he was “played out a second time” when the Istana gates were closed to him on July 30, 2020.

The latest incident also saw corruption allegations levelled against a sitting Head of State for the first time, as well as police reports against both the Governor and Shafie by a Muslim NGO.

Sabah is the only state other than Perak to face such a situation where the appointment of a chief minister is no walk in the park if you secure a simple majority.

Not content to take things lying down, the resilient Musa succeeded in taking both “travesties of justice” as he sees it up to the Federal Court.

The Federal Court granted him leave to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s decision to be recognised as the rightful chief minister.

Federal Court Judge Abdul Rahman Sebli said “the people of Sabah had the right to know whether Musa’s removal was done lawfully and in accordance with the Sabah Constitution.” He also said the legal questions raised were of grave constitutional importance and have a far-reaching implication, which ought to be resolved by the Federal Court and should not be left hanging.”

A separate action also filed by Musa in the Federal Court which has also seen light of day related to the 32 elected representatives aligning with him on July 29.

Whatever the outcome of the two pending cases before the Federal Court, they may provide the guiding principle for the appointment of future chief ministers, especially in a simple majority election outcome, hopefully it may put to rest future such crises.

And whether it was right and proper for the former Chief Justice Tan Sri Richard Malanjum to advise the Governor to proceed with the appointment of Shafie when he already appointed Musa, is another discussion for another day.

N.B. this came out in MALAYSIA TODAY, see here & Daily Express see here

For 15 years, from 2003 to 2018, a remarkable confluence of circumstances generated and strengthened the view that Sabah had arrived. There was a structural upturn in the economy triggered by an unprecedented investment boom, accompanied by an unprecedented credit boom. Huge investments were made into construction, production and into infrastructure. Investment as a proportion of GDP went as high as 40%. The Sabah growth story started unfolding. In the fifteen years of Musa Aman before the May 9th 2018 elections, Sabah clocked 6% to 8.2% annual growth on average. Sabah weathered the global financial crisis reasonably well and came out of the crisis sooner than most states.

Things started unraveling after Shafie Apdal took over the CMship on 12th May 2018 when many projects got delayed and stopped. Investments soured. Bad loans mounted. The financial sector came under stress. In popular perception, this reversal in prospects is associated with crony capitalism. While there certainly was a bit of that, it will be misleading to attribute the entire downturn to crony capitalism; there were several other factors at play.

For example, just after taking over the Sabah state government, the Warisan-led government abruptly took action of terminating the concession contracts of companies operating 58 water treatment plants. Five firms involved in water supply and treatment plant maintenance filed a RM254 million lawsuit against the Sabah state government over what they claimed to be wrongful termination of their contracts.

Then in March last year, Pelangi Prestasi a company related to one of the richest bumiputras in Malaysia, Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary won a tender to acquire all the assets of the pulp and paper milling company Sabah Forest Industries Sdn Bhd (SFI) for RM1.2 billion. Pelangi paid a 10% deposit of RM120mil for the asset. In May 2018, Warisan led Sabah Government rejected the issuance of fresh timber licences to Pelangi in relation to Pelangi Prestasi’s proposed acquisition of Sabah Forest Industries (SFI).

Now, there is a civil suit between Pelangi Prestasi and the Warisan-led Sabah government. This is a RM1.2 billion legal suit against the Warisan-led Sabah government.

Another company, Boonrich Sdn Bhd, which is linked to former chief minister Harris Salleh is also suing the state government for RM91.6 million over the ban on log exports by the Warisan-led administration last year. Boonrich cultivates teak trees on its OWN LAND on a commercial basis for 27 years and have been exporting cultivated timber for years. Now with the blanket ban on log exports by the Warisan-led state government,  even commercially cultivated timber cannot be exported.

Perhaps, this is a record of the Warisan-led state government which is facing close to RM2.5 billion damages claim. Never in the history of the Sabah state government has it ever been sued for over RM2.5 billion in damages. Warisan starting off on the wrong foot is facing multi-billion-ringgit lawsuits in just within 26 months in power.

Then there were also delays in projects because of delays in clearances and permissions. Court orders cancelling some government decisions added to the delays. Contractors too were not getting paid. As a result of all these factors, the investment engine switched off. With investment and net exports not contributing substantially to GDP growth, during Shafie Apdal’s 26 months in office, the economy was firing on a single engine, the engine of consumption. But even that consumption engine has now petered out with the result that growth has declined sharply to negative territory. With Covid, its even worst now.

Sabah recorded a slower growth of 1.5 per cent for 2018 and 0.5 per cent for 2019 as compared to a strong growth of 8.2 per cent in the previous year during Musa Aman at the helm. Mining & quarrying and Agriculture sectors too were affected to negative 5.6 per cent (2017: 15.7%) and negative 0.3 per cent (2017: 4.6%) respectively.

Overall, these numbers are not looking good for Sabah. From 8.2% economic growth nosediving to a paltry 1.5% and 0.5% all in two consecutive years says a lot about Warisan. 

While freezing timber licenses and curbing mining projects are positive steps, but what replaces these projects as sources of employment and job creation in Sabah?

Sand mining is still rampant, and so is timber logging even with the freezing of timber license.

According to former Chief Minister Yong Teck Lee, the Warisan-led State Government in its two years announced investments totalling more than RM70 billion but with nothing to show, just empty talk. “Where is the money?” he asked.

It is true that there was a lot of business support for Shafie when he first came into office nearly two years ago. In fact, in 2018, Shafie campaigned mainly on an economic platform — that he would create jobs and revive investment. There were high hopes and expectations that he would plunge headlong into implementing structural reforms to redeem these campaign promises. That required political capital, and he had plenty of that. Arguably he had more political capital than any other previous Sabah chief ministers. He had a rock solid majority in the Sabah state assembly from all the “froggy” Assemblymen. More than two-thirds.

Regardless Shafie seemed disinclined to invest his enormous political capital to implement the ‘politically’ difficult reforms. Sure, some important reforms got under way during his 26 months. But he initiated none of these reforms; these were all initiatives that he inherited. It’s happenstance that they culminated on his watch. On his own, Shafie did not initiate any notable fresh economic reform.

Shafie somehow seemed to have succumbed to the mistaken belief that the Sabah economy will run on autopilot.

JUSTICE HAS BEEN DONE. MUSA AMAN STANDS VINDICATED AND ACQUITTED OF ALL CORRUPTION CHARGES!

The charges were bad from the start and were subject to constitutional challenge. Musa was already cleared of all these allegations in 2012 by two independent bodies, namely the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Independent Commission Against Corruption of Hong Kong.

And in the absence of documentary evidence and witnesses, the prosecution “is unlikely to succeed”. No prosecution should be conducted unless there is a high probability for a conviction at the end of the day. AG did the right thing! Justice was served!

From the FMT Reporters – June 9, 2020 7:24 PM

PETALING JAYA: The attorney-general this evening cited the inability to obtain vital documentary evidence from Hong Kong as among the reasons for freeing former Sabah chief minister Musa Aman of his 46 corruption and money laundering charges.

Idrus Harun said the documents were needed to prove a case of such nature.

He said documentary evidence from companies and banks, which were expected, could not be obtained through the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters ordinance from Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Department of Justice, he said, advised that companies and banks there were only required to keep records for seven years.

It was highly unlikely that either the banks or the companies would still have the records, he said..

“Apart from that, there are witnesses for the prosecution who have passed away, suffered serious medical ailments or are not in Malaysia anymore.

“This recent development including the aforesaid affidavit in support that was filed has caused a situation wherein it is no longer tenable to continue with the prosecution of Tan Sri Musa Aman,” Idrus said in a statement, referring to the affidavit to strike out the application against all of Musa’s charges affirmed by former attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail.

He said the decision was strengthened by a letter dated Dec 22, 2011 from Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) stating that its investigation against Musa was complete.

The ICAC also said it would not pursue further investigative action “on the basis of known facts”.

SEE THE REST HERE

And the media release by the ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S CHAMBERS, MALAYSIA is here…

MEDIA RELEASE

PP V TAN SRI MUSA AMAN

1.On 5 November 2018, Tan Sri Musa Aman was charged in the Sessions Court (8) of Kuala Lumpur with thirty five (35) charges under section 11(a) of the Anti-Corruption Act 1997, for corruptlyobtaining gratification of USD 44, 111, 559.61 and SGD 507, 636.00 in relation to timber concession contracts in Sabah between the month of August 2004 and March 2008. Five (5) charges were later withdrawn on 18 October 2019.

2.On 5 March 2019, Tan Sri Musa Aman was charged with sixteen (16) charges under section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-TerrorismFinancingAct 2001, for laundering money of USD 40, 345, 492.35 between the month of June 2006 and May 2008. Thereafter, on 6 May 2019, the prosecution applied for both cases to be transferred to the High Court of Kuala Lumpur for trial. The High Court (4) of Kuala Lumpur fixed the trial dates on 14-18 September 2020, 24, 26 October 2020 and 10-27 November 2020.

3.On 13 February 2020, Tan Sri Musa Aman filed two Noticesof Motion as follows:i.to set aside and quash the charges as groundless;andii.torefer a constitutional question to the Federal Court (question regarding a Certificate by a Diplomatic Officer under section 82(2) AMLATFAPUA 2001).

4.The High Court fixed 9 June 2020 as the case management for both applications. JABATAN PEGUAM NEGARA, MALAYSIA(ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S CHAMBERS, MALAYSIA)NO.45, PERSIARAN PERDANA, PRESINT 4PUSAT PENTADBIRAN KERAJAAN PERSEKUTUAN62100 PUTRAJAYATel. : 03 -8872 2000Faks : 03 -8890 5609W eb : http://www.agc.gov.my2

5.On 13 May 2020, Tan SriMusa Aman sent a representation to the Attorney General’s Chambers(AGC)seeking the case against him to be withdrawn and all charges to be quashed.

6.On 5 June 2020, AGC received an Affidavit which wasfiled in the High Court by Tan Sri Musa Aman. This Affidavit was affirmedby the former Attorney General, Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Abdul Gani Patail supporting the application by Tan Sri Musa Aman to quash all the charges against him. The former Attorney General defended the decision taken in 2012 to take no further action against Tan Sri Musa Aman asinvestigation revealed the monies involved were political funding.

7.The former Attorney General also stated that the decision was made collectively, by high level individuals beingDatuk Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah (the former Head of Prosecution Division), Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamad (the former Chief Commissioner of MACC) and Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali (the former Director of Investigation Division MACC). After studying and perusing the Investigation Paper from a legal stand point, the former Attorney Generalin exercise of his discretion decided not to proceed with prosecution.

8.In light of the representation and the recent development in the form of the Affidavit by the former Attorney General, it is the responsibility of this Department to review the whole evidence forthis case.

9.Having studied the whole available evidence and upon discussion being held with the prosecution and investigation team, I decided to withdraw all the charges against Tan Sri Musa Aman. In cases of this nature, documentary evidence is vital to prove a case. Documentary evidence from companies and banks which were expected could not be obtained through Mutual Legal Assistancein Criminal Matters from Hong Kong. The Department of Justice Hong Kong advised that companies and banks in Hong Kongareonly required to keep records for seven (7) years and it is highly unlikely that neither the banks nor the companies would still havethe records. Apart from 3that, there are witnesses for the prosecution who have passed away, suffered serious medical ailments or are not in Malaysia anymore.

10.This recent development including the aforesaid Affidavit in Support that was filed has caused a situation wherein it is no longer tenable to continue with the prosecution of Tan Sri Musa Aman.This decision is strengthened by a letter dated 22 December 2011 from the Independent Commission Against Corruption Hong Kong stating that their investigation against Tan Sri Musa Aman is complete and on the basis of known facts no further investigative action will be pursued. Mydecision is taken in accordance withpowers exercisable at mydiscretion under Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution.

ATTORNEY GENERAL MALAYSIA

9 JUNE 2020

Happy Birthday, Tan Sri!

Posted: March 30, 2020 in Musa Aman
Tags: ,

Happy birthday, Tan Sri Musa Aman, and many happy returns of the day. You are 69 today. With sincerity and humility, I pray for your good health.

You have come a long way, finish what you started, perjuangan mu belum selesai! Keep going Sir!

Stay safe and God Bless You Always Tan Sri!

Here is a song for you….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Something ponder!

Will Sukau Bridge 2 Project be Peter Anthony’s next Pot of Gold at the expense of Bornean Pygmy Elephants, Orangutans and Proboscis Monkeys?

Peter Anthony is looking into reviving the Sukau Bridge 2 Project.

Even World’s No 1 environmental icon Sir Richard Attenborough and international environmental NGOs were heavily critical of this project. Sir Attenborough had said that Sabah’s global appeal as an ecotourism will be doomed if the Sukau Bridge 2 Project went ahead.

The UK Guardian newspaper published an article highlighting Sir David Attenborough’s concerns over the proposed bridge that would span 350m across the Kinabatangan River, threatening one of the last sanctuaries of the rare Bornean pygmy elephant.

Musa Aman had scrapped this project. Looks like Musa is the only true defender of the environment. Musa’s track record in saving Sabah’s environment cannot be denied.

The Sukau Bridge Project is RM223mil and split into two phases.

Phase 1 is RM67 million and it involves an approach road followed by a bridge across the Kinabatangan at Sukau.

Phase 2 is RM150 million and it involves upgrading 0.3km of the IOI dirt road before constructing an ambitious 1.38km of elevated bridge featuring a raft of viaducts for animals to cross a forested Lot 3 of the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary in addition to upgrading 1km of dirt road till Kg Moresem.

What Peter Anthony is suggesting is a slap in the face of Shafie Apdal as only yesterday Shafie had issued a stern warning to businesses, that the protection of wildlife in Sabah is absolute, and no compromise on wildlife.

The Kinabatangan Conservation Area is described as “Sabah’s Gift to the Earth” and has been dubbed the “Corridor of Life”.

Lets see if WWF opposes this project again as they did it in the past. In the past, the WWF representative RAHIMATSAH was vehemently against the Sukau Bridge 2 Project but now I hear RAHIMATSAH was recently awarded a project in the Danum Valley and may choose to stay silent.

I also heard last year a couple of soldiers were caught for poaching wildlife in the Danum Valley and so far nothing has come out of it.

Editor’s Note: 23rd August 2020, 1.20 AM

We have verified with our sources, Mr Rahimatsah was not awarded any projects in the Danum Valley and he did speak out against the Sukau Bridge Project. We apologise to Mr Rahimatsah for the mistake and we regret the error.

This article has been amended since publication.

Besides the economy, Sabah and democracy are themselves undergoing a stress-test.

It is commonly understood that the most acceptable marker of economic growth of a state is its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Economists, who rarely agree with each other, acquiesce with this economic measure; that is a considerable achievement by itself.

However, since CM Shafie Apdal took charge of Sabah on May 12, 2018, after the defections of Upko assemblymen who after winning their five seats on the BN symbol, flags and manifesto led to the loss of Musa’s majority. Ever since then, Sabah’s GDP has become a subject of controversial discussions, especially since it accompanied several grotesque claims of government achievements that appeared questionable.

While the Opposition decried the GDP chest-thumping roar as akin to cockamamie, the Shafie Government gloated on its spectacular accomplishment, its spokespersons hyperventilating on TV screens and social media.

Something is clearly amiss. Many think Sabah’s data under Shafie is not just cooked but barbecued.

I try to unravel this intriguing conundrum, in brief, by addressing questions that crop up with predictable regularity.

What was the GDP inherited by the present Shafie’s Government from the former Musa’s Government?

It was 8 per cent – healthy, strong and recovering robustly.

But, Shafie and his Warisan coalition through their massive propaganda machine spread the canard of apocalyptic doom that “Sabah was on the verge of a collapse”, as fearmongering and manufacturing anxiety suits. In May last year, Chief Minister Shafie Apdal claimed that Sabah was in financial difficulty and the previous Musa administration did not leave RM4 billion reserve as claimed. Shafie, who is also Sabah’s finance minister, insisted that the state’s reserves were in the negative.

Since then, however, the auditor-general’s report for 2017 has indicated otherwise, leading the state’s Opposition to dispute Shafie’s claim.

After confusion and controversy over Sabah’s financial health, state treasurer Rusdin Riman said that the state grew its reserves by over RM4 billion last year-2017.

What about the claim by Shafie that his government is responsible for the miraculous turnaround to make Sabah the fastest growing economy?

It is an absurd proposition that even a kindergarten child will debunk. How can a economy make such a dramatic turnaround within 15 months, one which was being disingenuously trashed by Shafie as a failure just a few months earlier?

The truth is that Sabah moved into the global financial arena taking giant footsteps under the 15-year period of then CM Musa Aman.

Many have called it the golden period of Sabah’s economy, as for the first time ever, we witnessed a 10-year average GDP growth rate of 7.7 per cent and lifted a million people above the poverty line, reflecting the successful model of inclusive growth.

In successive years, between 2003 to 2018 April, Musa’s government reached growth rates of 8 per cent, hitherto deemed unreachable, almost reaching double digit growth levels.

In short, Sabah was much better under Musa than under Shafie now. How do you compare the Musa’s GDP performance over that of Shafie?

There is no comparison whatsoever; GDP went up by over 300 per cent during the 15 years of Musa government. The Musa government performed extraordinarily better compared to the anaemic, almost lackadaisical numbers of Warisan-Upko-PH government.

In fact, Shafie’s government had a great opportunity to build on a strong inheritance from the previous Musa’s government, but wasted a burgeoning growth momentum.

One must remember that the Musa’s government succeeded despite facing Malaysia’s worst economic crisis, recession of 2007-08, low oil prices, drop in timber royalty due to export ban and running a difficult coalition government, and facing repeated sabotage by Shafie at the Federal level and a very difficult Vice President of Umno to deal with.

Why is the ground reality so different from the headlines and the hype?

Under Shafie, what you see is not what you get; there is selective cherry-picking, exaggerated claims, new methodologies adopted to make a sheep look like a lion, and in many cases, data that inspires grave apprehensions about their authenticity. Shafie indulges in a lot of puffery.

Thus, we have this atrocious contradiction where Shafie claims that Sabah is a growing economy, but the farmers are crying under severe rural distress, joblessness, private investments, exports, aggregate private expenditure are all looking dismal.

It hardly needs further assertion that the rural economy, in particular, has crippled small businesses. Lucky for Shafie, there is tourism, thanks to previous Musa’s government for laying the groundwork and logistics.

The damage is still being undone.

Is GDP the only macro-indicator of the health of the economy?

No, it is not, it is just the easiest one. The true health of Sabah is determined through a more detailed biopsy of economic and social indicators, mostly job creation, per capita income, export performance, gross fixed capital formation, reduction in poverty levels, per capita expenditure allocations to health and education.

On all these factors, Shafie has slipped by having both feet on a banana peel. We must not forget that the relevant index for Sabah is Human Development Index. The fact that we have seen an alarming dip in Poverty Index, or the Gender Disparity Index should tell us that this government has merely indulged in headline-hunting, rhetorical speeches, statistical manipulation and massive publicity blitzkrieg.

Besides the economy, Sabah and democracy are themselves undergoing a stress-test due the presence of huge number of illegals immigrants with fake IDs.

About time. Governance in a democracy is like a fishbowl, everyone must know the truth. But under Shafie opacity rules, or as Salman Rushdie would say, there is a lot of chutnification going on. But truth does ultimately win.

Daily Express got it wrong.

Shafie should be grateful to Tan Sri Bernard Giluk Dompok and not Wilfred Madius Tangau.

According to my sources in UPKO which I believe, it was Bernard Dompok who convinced Tangau to jump ship on that night of May 9th 2018 and join Shafie after realising that PH had the majority to form the Federal Government.

I was there on that night of May 9th in Sri Gaya when Tangau came out and answered a phone call apparently from Dompok asking him to go to Shafie’s house in Luyang. Tangau disappeared from Sri Gaya after this phone call and went straight to see Shafie in his house alone, leaving all his UPKO boys with Musa Aman in Sri Gaya.

Upko then switched allegiance to the Warisan-Pakatan Harapan pact a day after the election.

Former Sabah Chief Minister Dompok was the first Malaysian to be made a resident ambassador to the Vatican in 2016 and he wanted to save his job when the PH formed the Federal Government. So, he had convinced Tangau to get UPKO jump ship from BN.

I can now understand why PBS is still bitter about UPKOs betrayal. It is because Dr Maximus Ongkili (PBS), Tangau (UPKO) and Joseph Kurup (PBRS) had signed a pledge a week before the May 9th GE14 elections to discuss together as “MISOMPURU” first, before deciding on the next course of action so as to safeguard KDM interests by acting as a bloc.

There was great hope that the presidential council of Upko, PBS and PBRS would pave the way to unite the three main Kadazandusun Murut (KDM)-majority parties in Sabah. The council was seen as a platform to eventually bring together the politically fractious KDM community.

Maximus Ongkili believed that the council could one day unite the KDM parties under a single symbol. That was before it was betrayed by UPKO, moments after GE14.

For UPKO to dishonour what they signed in public and carried in all the media was the  community’s biggest betrayal.

But it is something that is not a surprise considering that their Payar Juman went down in history as Sabahs first political frog. In 1967, UPKO left the Sabah Alliance after the state elections, then Upko’s assemblyman for Kiulu, Payar Juman, crossed to Usno, enabling Usno to form the government then.

Next was when Huguan Siou Tun Fuad Stephens himself betrayed the KDMs by waiting till GS Sundang was in United Kingdom before calling for an EGM to dissolve UPKO. In the EGM Stephens had asked all the UPKO members to join USNO despite angry demands by members not to do so but he himself leaving them in a lurch. Poor GS Sundang who was deputy president was played out.

So if according to historical fact if the Huguan Siou Stephens can do this to his own people, Dr Max should have known better than to expect there will be no betrayal.

The third betrayal, took place in 1994, when  Bernard Dompok from then opposition PBS joined the BN alliance to form the government. I know this vividly as I was a PBS member and I stood for elections in Penang as a PBS candididate.

So looking back,  I dont blame Madius, I blame Dompok!

I hope Dompok will come forward to answer all these allegations.

Besides all that, see  Tangau’s Facebook posting today :

See this video, UPKO leaders at a recent Public Forum in Kota Kinabalu raising the illegal immigrant issue. Not just public forums ,UPKO leaders should also be raising the (PTI ) illegal immigrant issue in the Sabah State Assembly (DUN). But its not laughing matter, UPKO is part of the Warisan-PH Sabah government.

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This woman Rohani Ismail was charged in the Kota Kinabalu Magistrate’s Court with CHEATING 127 ILLEGALS for supposedly helping to obtain “entry permit” and converting IMM13 documents to MyPR through letters addressed to Deputy Home Minister Datuk Azis Jamman.

The case management date was on May 15, 2019. I hear from legal circles this woman has been given a Discharge Not Amounting to an Acquittal (DNAA) by the Magistrate. Can the Magistrate do this? This is public interest. Cannot simply charge a person and later say discharge not amounting to an acquittal without a trial. If you charge a person means got sufficient evidence. Our new Chief Justice Datuk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat who is committed to improving the image of judiciary should act on this matter urgently.

This is a very serious matter, even Azis Jamman’s name who is the Deputy Home Minister and Ketua Wira Warisan Sabah has been dragged into this case.

And Azis Jamman is saying that the issue of illegals getting documents is being played by the opposition party who claim Warisan is a party that gives identification cards to undocumented immigrants. This is so pathetic, Azis is the Deputy Home Minister and his Boss Muhyideen Yassin is the Home Minister.

And conveniently, Azis Jamman is pointing fingers at former chief minister Musa Aman’s involvement in Project IC based on Dr Chong Eng Leong’s one book – Lest We Forget . The book itself contained outlandish generalities and unsubstantiated statements. Simply blaming Musa now. It was under Musa’s administration when the highest number of illegal immigrants were deported out from Sabah – 582,139 people.

Warisan should get real and be more robust in their efforts to flush out illegals, that’s how to counter allegations. Stop the blame game. All these are causing alarm among Sabahans who fear that citizenship documents are being dished out to foreigners and this casts a cloud of suspicion on what is actually happening.

Unfortunately, the issue has become so politicized that common sense has been thrown out the window. The matter is now strictly viewed through partisan lenses.

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This came out in the Daily Express

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30th June 2019, this came out in the Daily Express.

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