Archive for the ‘Musa Aman’ Category

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.


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.


Image may contain: 4 people

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.


img-20190523-wa0103-1-1504841988.jpg

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.

………….

This came out in the Daily Express

No photo description available.

……………..

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

No photo description available.


These are indeed interesting times for politics in Sabah and for Upko, in particular.

Now that all the PPBM assemblymen who once sat in the opposition bench are seated on the Government side means bad news for the opposition as well as for Upko.

So what is this bad news for Upko? The answer is simple.

They are no longer essential or important to the Warisan Government, not with so few YBs in their midst.

Recently they lost Datuk Bobby Suan to PPBM on top of Datuk Masiung Banah who abandoned them much earlier.

The PPBM assemblymen now flatly outnumber the Upko assemblymen.

Rumour has it that at least another 2 more Upko Assemblymen are set to join PPBM thus diluting the importance of Upko even further.

They were so much a part of the BN Government on the night when Musa Aman was sworn in as Chief Minister of Sabah in the presence of the now retired Chief Justice Richard Malanjum.

Their assemblymen were made Ministers in Musa Aman’s Cabinet.

But within 24 hours, Upko made an about-turn and switched their allegiance to Shafie Apdal and Warisan, thus creating a legal battle between BN and Warisan, and throwing the state’s politics into confusion.

In the end, Upko proudly made it known to the world that it was because of them that the Warisan Government was formed.

This had a domino effect on other BN assemblymen who also abandoned the BN and were rewarded with Ministerial positions in Shafie’s cabinet and their President was made a Deputy Chief Minister after being sworn in as a nominated Assemblyman

Seemingly, they were the power brokers and kingmakers.

Unfortunately for Upko, their wheels have come off the tracks.

So where does Upko go from here? They will no longer be welcomed by BN after playing the BN out.

They can no longer go back to the Presidential Council of PBS, Upko and PBRS because PBS declared openly and bitterly of being betrayed by their same kind and the pre-election agreement to consult one another before deciding the next move being thrown into the bin by Upko.

But whose decision was it really for Upko to ditch the BN in favour of Warisan within 24 hours? Was it really by Madius Tangau and his supreme Council or was there a hidden hand at work?

Some note that there were similarities in Upko’s withdrawal from BN and the time PBS pulled out from BN just before the 1990 GE when Tan Sri Bernard Dompok was PBS Deputy President.

Following the collapse of the PBS Government Dompok formed PDS and subsequently PDS became Upko 2.0.

Dompok should admit if the decision to team up with Warisan was from him rather than let Madius and Supreme Council be blamed for it.

If it was, did he do so in order to save his Vatican job since he complained about not being allowed to finish his term when asked to vacate by the new Foreign Minister. The new PH Government no longer recognised political appointees as Ambassadors.

To add to Upko’s worries, evidence in former PM Najib’s case revealed that RM 1 million from the 1MDB scandal was channelled to Upko.

Which means it stands to have its accounts frozen just like Umno’s until the 1MDB case is over and all the ministerial and other positions as well in the State Cabinet.

Momogun

This article came out in the Daily Express. See here


“One of the reasons people hate politics is that truth is rarely a politician’s objective. Election and power are” – Cal Thomas

This is one subject that could take an encyclopedia to wrap up but lets try and figure it out within the scope of this space.

Malaysian politics is often described as being feisty, vibrant, colourful, controversial, debatable, provocative, all of that and more. It all depends on which side of the spectrum you stand and there is a perspective, always. Ask a million people what is wrong with Malaysian politics and you will get a million perspectives. That, in itself tells a story. People are aware, concerned and involved, good or bad, it shows the vibrancy of politics in Malaysia.

People confuse politics with governance. That’s not true. Politics is the means to effect change. All countries and societies effect change all the time; politics is the means to bring about that change. The kind of politics practiced can vary and remain a subject of debate. However, it is at the core of people’s participation in deciding who governs them and how.

Governance is for administrators and bureaucracy, politics is for people’s representatives. People don’t really indulge in politics, they indulge in making political choices and gather groups that agree with them, to elect the leader of their choice. Politics is what the leaders indulge in before and after being elected.

The art of politics lies in being successful in gathering consensus through discussion, debate and persuasion and then pushing that consensus into legislation that results in action and implementation.

What’s Right With Malaysian Politics?

So when we ask what is wrong with Malaysian politics, you have to first acknowledge what is right about it. After all, after 55 years since formation of Malaysia in 1963, Malaysian politics and democracy is alive and vibrant. It becomes even more relevant when we take into account the sheer geographical size of the country and diversity of its people, culture, religion and lifestyle. To get all of that to come together and give people the freedom to choose their voice, can only evoke admiration. This is perhaps Malaysia’s single biggest achievement, since formation and one, it can be proud of.

Sure, it has its flaws, but then what system doesn’t. It’s all about evolving and bringing about change, for the better, through people consensus. That’s politics and it has worked for Malaysia. So before we pull out the knives on Malaysian politics, bear in mind what we have achieved, thus far. It may not be without flaws but it is still the best option. This is our brand of politics and it has worked, for us.

So What’s Wrong With it?

Plenty. We shout over roof tops that we are a democracy and assume that it is also the best. Well, look again. Is the system truly representative? At the time of voting, people make choices based on their belief and understanding of the leader they choose and that leader, post being elected, represents the people, as their voice. That’s idealistic but is that really true? Does the elected leader really reflect what the people want or is it mostly about what that leader wants, often for his own reasons?

Look at the fact on the ground. Majority of Malaysians still live in rural areas and in poverty and poor living conditions especially Sabah and Sarawak and Kelantan and Terengganu and Kedah and Pahang, and with little education or awareness of matters outside their areas of residence. Yet, 98% of the people who would fall in this category are responsible for choosing a government which will legislate over the future of the country.

Too Many Questions….

It is one man – one vote and that is all that matters. Well is it? Is the vast majority really capable of understanding and judging the leaders they choose? The lack of education and awareness, coupled with poverty, often forces the voters to elect leaders who seem to offer them solutions for a better life but instead end up buying or coercing them to vote. So do they really represent the people?

Isn’t it common to see votes being bought and sold in its crudest form? Don’t we see vote bank politics being practiced in its worst form, or votes being garnered on the basis of race or religion? What about votes garnered through threat? It all happens and is part of Malaysian politics.

So can anyone stand up and claim the virtues of Malaysian democracy as being truly fair and truly representative? Should we really beat our chests with pride while proudly claiming to be a democracy?

Free and Fair…. Really?

The ground reality is that politics played at the grass root level can be nasty, coercive and corrupt. Electing representatives is often based on clan and kinship. And most times, its money that buys a position. After all, at the village level, it’s the Ketua Kampung, JKKK, Kapitan Cina, Temenggong, Pemanca or Penghulu that determines the level of respect and influence that an individual commands. That’s the reality and plays a part in the election process.

So can one really say that Malaysian politics be it Sabah or Sarawak or Malaya, at all levels, is truly free and fair? The voting process may be free and fair, at least in most cases, but the process of politics that goes into the run up to elections, and thereafter, is what is questionable. And that’s what is wrong with Malaysian politics.

Let’s take a look at another example. Sabah has always been in the forefront of entertaining politics. But after elections when the courts have to decide who is the rightful Sabah Chief Minister and not wait for a vote of no confidence in the state assembly, it is time to sit up and question the ‘quality’ of politics that we practice. GE14, Musa Aman was first sworn in as Chief Minister at 11.10pm Thursday (May 10) before the Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin at Istana Negeri. In less than 48 hours, Warisan’s Shafie Apdal was sworn in as Chief Minister at 9.30pm Saturday (May 12) by Juhar at the Istana Negeri also. The general election saw a hung assembly when both Sabah Barisan and the coalition of Warisan-PKR-DAP had won 29 seats each in the 60-seat state assembly. And then Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan’s Sabah Star party, which had two seats, became the “kingmaker”. Sabah Star supported Sabah Barisan to give a simple majority of 31 seats, thus allowing Musa to be sworn in as Chief Minister. But by the next day, six Barisan assemblymen – four from Umno and two from Upko – had declared their support for Warisan and its partners PKR-DAP. With the majority support of 35 (out of 60) assemblymen, this allowed Shafie to be sworn in.This matter is still not settled yet, The Court of Appeal will soon decide who is the rightful chief Minister, till then we have to wait and there is still a cloud of uncertainty, its more than 8 months since GE14.

The list of misuse in politics is endless and the ‘quality’ of politics practiced, questionable. The intelligentsia and civil society is aware of the failings, as you and I are too, but the big question before us is – what are we doing about it?

Intolerance to Dissent is a Big Threat

Question, dissent and debate are an essential part of politics and democracy. The ‘quality’ of democracy and politics is judged by the level of debate and dissent allowed, within the party and outside of it. Malaysia is witnessing increasing levels of intolerance to the above and that is very visible in state and national politics. Older parties like the UMNO and PAS have shown signs of intolerance, as have new age parties like Bersatu, Amanah and Warisan. All parties are guilty of quashing dissent in any form. What is a worrying trend is that several parties are resorting to violent means whenever questioned by the people or members of their own parties. Even the media, which serves as a watchdog for the people, has not been spared.

Another problem with Malaysian politics is increasing rowdyism in parliament and state assemblies. On paper, it’s a forum for free and fair debate but in practice, only those with high decibel shouting and aggressive behaviour get heard. What chance does a Dr Jeffrey Kitingan have against a loud and aggressive politician from another party? Yet, on a daily basis we have incessant shouting that passes off as debate. So is this fair on those who do not possess the requisite shouting ability? Is that supposed to be a pre-qualification? The voice of each representative in Parliament must have equal and fair weight and must be given equal opportunity to express his or her viewpoint. That’s easier said, as in practice, it is almost always to the contrary.

And now for the biggest problem of them all, influence and impact of money on Malaysian politics. Politics has degenerated into a business which has a lot of money, some legal but mostly unaccounted, being plowed into it by vested interests. It’s a global phenomenon but a big problem nevertheless. As long as unaccounted money makes its way into politics, it will never be free or fair. And we, as a nation, have to come together to try and figure out how to address this, if Malaysian democracy has to prosper on the bed of fair politics.

It is time for the people to raise their voice and question their leaders and political parties, and force them to change for the better. For we have one non-negotiable weapon, our vote. Isn’t that what democracy is all about?


2017 Auditor-General’s Report Series 2 has vindicated the previous Musa state government. As published in the 2017 Auditor-General’s Report , the accumulated balance in the Sabah State Treasury was RM3.8 billion in 2017.

KOTA KINABALU, Dec 5 — The Auditor-General’s 2017 report on Sabah clearly vindicates former Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman, whom the current administration accused of mismanaging finances, Datuk Hajiji Mohd Noor said today.

Hajiji said that they were not surprised by the A-G’s Report as it was just a continuation of similar reports for the last 15 years under Musa as Sabah Minister of Finance.

“It is not too far-fetched to even say that Musa was one of the best financial managers Sabah ever had. He managed to present a surplus Budget for 2018 despite the dismal price of oil back then and surplus accounts for 16 years in a row,” he said in a statement here today.

Hajiji said in terms of basic accounting, the report means the previous administration did not spend more than it earned, and Warisan’s claims that the state’s finances were badly managed and that the party was left with not enough to fulfill their manifesto, were untrue.

“In the wake of May 12, Warisan openly claimed the state’s finances were in dire straits. Sadly, this alleged lack of funds is the old song and dance that they keep using as an excuse to not deliver to the people…however, the figures for 2017 speak for themselves,” he said.

May 12 was the date Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal was sworn in as Sabah chief minister.

“The recent revelation of the A-G’s report proves that the state government has contradicted itself when presenting the Sabah Budget 2019 recently. Since helming the office, the Warisan government has committed numerous flip flops on Sabah’s financial position,” Hajiji said.

“Initially they said there is no money in coffers and then, suddenly there is money but wait…it looks like there is money but it is through accounting manipulations,” he said.

According to the report from the A-G which was released on Monday, the state’s consolidated fund increased, there was surplus resulting in the accumulated balance rising, revenue collection increased, and also an increase in operating expenditure.

The consolidated fund rose last year by RM390.64 million or 16.2 per cent to RM2.8 billion in 2017, compared to RM2.41 billion in 2016. There was also a surplus of RM56.66 million in 2017, resulting in the accumulated balance rising to RM3.8 billion or 1.5 per cent while revenue collection increased by RM444.44 million or 12.9 per cent to RM3.89 billion in 2017.

Investments in fixed and state deposits reached RM2.51 billion and investments in public corporation and statutory bodies totalled RM6.58 billion. The two investments brought in RM112.67 million and RM140.43 million in interests and dividends.

Hajiji said that in spite of Musa’s achievement, the Warisan-led government chose to mislead the people on Musa’s performance as chief minister and finance minister for the last 15 years, which was not only an act of incompetence but malice in an attempt to belittle the achievements of the previous state government.

“If the new administration does not have the decency or the courtesy to acknowledge the milestones of its predecessor, the least it can do is to not mislead the people. In civil society, in spite of political differences, gentlemen still shake hands and give credit where credit is due,” said Hajiji, who is also Sulaman assemblyman.

After taking office as chief minister, Shafie announced he was taking up the Finance portfolio as well, to clean up the “financial mess”. He also later said that the state Barisan Nasional government had not been forthcoming about the state’s financial status, claiming the state’s RM4 billion reserves were non-existent.

Musa was chief minister of Sabah from 2003 to 2018, when he was ousted from the post despite a controversial narrow win in the state and general elections.

He has since been trying to get the courts to declare his ouster as unconstitutional but is also facing several charges of corruption.

This piece came out in the Malay Mail

http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news.cfm?NewsID=129243