Archive for the ‘North Borneo’ Category

‘Rule of Law’ is Dr Mahathir’s new mantra!

Dr Mahathir wrote on his Chedet blog that the rule of law is no longer being applied in view of several high profile corruption cases dropped by prosecutors in recent months. Wonder where was the Rule of Law when he was in power? In fact the rot stated during his 22-year premiership.

In the 1988 judicial crisis, Dr Mahathir intervened at the highest level by removing a Lord President of the Supreme Court. Where was the rule of law?

At that time, Dr. Mahathir’s sacking of Tun Salleh Abbas, the then-chief judge, and other senior judges, was the start of the breakdown of constitutional checks and balance inherent in our parliamentary democracy. Dr. Mahathir’s handpicked judges signaled the beginning of an era when the judiciary became enslaved to the executive branch. Since then, the executive has given short shrift to matters of accountability, governance and transparency in the judiciary.

In 1988, the independence of Malaysia’s judiciary was subjected to “a dramatic coup by the executive.” In what is widely considered to be the single biggest assault on Malaysia’s constitutional system and on the rule of law, five of the country’s top judges were suspended and three later removed from office. In addition, substantive changes were made to the constitution effectively emasculating the judiciary of its constitutional position as a check and balance to the government

Let me add a little more, and around the same time Tun Salleh Abas was charged, in 1986, Dr Mahathir as Home Minister cancelled the work permit of 2 Asian Wall Street Journal journalists in Malaysia. They brought the matter to the Court and the Supreme Court held that Dr Mahathir’s action was illegal and therefore invalid.

Dr Mahathir was so upset. Even in the TIME magazine (issue of 24.11.1986), Dr Mahathir expressed his displeasure. Contempt proceedings were brought against Dr Mahathir. Dr Mahathir escaped as the proceedings were dismissed by the Court. However, the learned Judge remarked in his judgment that Dr Mahathir confused at the doctrine of separation of powers.

It’s a joke to preach the values of democracy and rule of law when it was Dr Mahathir that was openly flouting them when he was in power. Under Dr Mahathir, so many cases involving connected politicians or his business associates involved in illegal activities were all swept under the carpet or classified No Further Action.

Even during his 2nd time as prime minister in 2018, several high profile criminal cases were dropped as well. Shafie Apdal was investigated with misconduct over RM1.5 billion in federal funds meant for kampong folks had his case closed by the AG and classified as No Further Action. This included the corruption trial involving his then finance minister Lim Guan Eng and several sedition trials of other Pakatan Harapan politicians, including Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Deputy Minister Chong Chieng Jen and former Stampin MP Julian Tan for allegedly taking part in a Bersih 4 illegal assembly on Aug 20, 2015.

In Sabah, Dr Mahathir’s footprint was all over “Project IC” where dubious ICs were handed out to illegals in Sabah and entered them in the electoral rolls to bring down the PBS government. Where was the rule of law?

This shows the rot in Malaysia’s judicial system started during Mahathir’s 22-year premiership. Dr Mahathir should honestly look in the mirror and ask if he had poison the wells of democracy in Malaysia?

Came out in the Daily Express here http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/read/4130/the-rot-started-under-you-doc/

July 2nd 2020 – AirAsia Group Bhd secured a RM300 million loan from Sabah Development Bank Bhd (SDB).

Two weeks earlier, somewhere in June 2020 – prominent Sabah businessman Ambrose Lee, Kalimulah Hassan, Kamaruddin Meranun and Tony Fernandes and a few more from Air Asia were seen in Kota Kinabalu having sumptuous Fish Head Curry, celebrating the approval of 300 million loan.

Shafie Apdal has to answer how come loan approved without public knowing it and without the usual funfair when such huge loans are approved by a state agency? Even Air Asia only now in October 2020 was forced to admit and to come out to say that RM300 million loan from SDB was approved and already disbursed.

How can SDB being a state agency that should be serving Sabah Industries and businesses gave a huge RM300 million loan without letting Sabahans know?

And is it true that the RM300 million loan was hurriedly released to Air Asia when Chief Minister Hajiji Noor was in the intensive care unit (ICU) of Queen Elizabeth Hospital II (QEH II) receiving treatment in hospital for Covid-19?

This loan was approved on July 2nd 2020 when in early June Air Asia had already started retrenching staffs, including in Sabah. The Air Asia staffs even complain compensation was not enough. It was even reported that the airline had laid off over 2,400 employees since Malaysia’s borders were closed on March 18 this year. So how can SDB approve RM300 million loan to Air Asia when airlines everywhere were grounded due to COVID-19 and international borders were closed? How can SDB approve this loan on July 2nd when Sabah also stopped Chinese flights in January followed by other international flights?

Since the emergence of Covid-19 in early 2020, demand for air travel has been hampered and exacerbated by international borders closures. This has taken a heavy toll on most airlines’ operations globally.

Even before this loan was approved and hurriedly disbursed bigger airlines like Virgin, Cathay Pacific, American Airlines were already retrenching tens and thousands of workers and also facing bankruptcy.

What was the collateral Air Asia gave the Sabah state government to secure this loan? If it was shares of Air Asia it has no value as Tony Fernandez owes creditors 60 billion as reported. Even Malaysia Airports Holdings is suing Air Asia for RM78.16 million. High debt levels have made the situation even dicier.

So how can Warisan government approve this loan to Air Asia on July 2nd?

Looking at some of the directors of SDB shows that they are mostly Warisan people, see here

And the Managing Director of Sabah Development Bank (SDB) –

Can we imagine how much RM300 million can do to the Sabah economy during this COVID times? SDB should be made answerable for the loan approval and Shafie has a lot of answering to do.

As coronavirus reduces travel, Air Asia is in a tough spot owing to its high levels of debt.

This is total madness and this doesn’t make sense at all!

UPDATED OCTOBER 28th

I’ve nothing to hide, says Shafie over MACC probe into RM300 million loan to AirAsia

KOTA KINABALU: Former Sabah chief minister Shafie Apdal welcomes any investigation into the RM300 million loan from state-owned Sabah Development Bank Sdn Bhd (SDB) to low-cost carrier AirAsia.

The Semporna MP said that as the former chief minister and state finance minister, neither he nor anyone in the previous administration had anything to hide over the approved loan, adding that “nothing was hidden” too in the whole process.

“This is because the loan was not approved overnight. Instead, SDB had carried out its own investigation and thorough risk assessment before deciding to approve the loan.

“AirAsia is a public-listed company with Bursa Malaysia, hence, the approval for any transaction worth RM300 million will only be given after all conditions of the loan are met by the borrower,” Shafie said, in a statement here today.

The Warisan president said as a favourite airline among Malaysians, AirAsia had a development plan that would benefit Sabah, adding the carrier had targeted to create 100,000 job opportunities in the state.

“As a state administrator, we cannot depend on one company alone, such as Malaysia Airlines. The role of other companies, especially AirAsia, should not be underestimated.

“In line with that, as a government responsible to develop the economy, close cooperation was needed with AirAsia because, if their plan worked, Sabahans will reap the benefits.”

Earlier today, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) office in Sabah had confirmed it had initiated a probe on SDB’s loan to AirAsia to establish if there were elements of graft involved.

A local daily had reported that Chief Minister Hajiji Noor had also ordered a probe into how the RM300 million approved by SDB, under the previous Warisan-led administration, was disbursed in a hurry to AirAsia after the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah government took over.

Meanwhile, Shafie disclosed that AirAsia had planned several projects in the state capital, including an agriculture produce storage facility known as “OurFarm”.ADVERTISING

He added this was in line with the airlines’ target of becoming the main distributor of agricultural fishery products that would be marketed through e-commerce channels.

The Senallang assemblyman said AirAsia was also planning to spend RM110 million to develop the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) as their international hub.

“All those plans will surely benefit Sabah as a state rich with agricultural and fishery resources.

“In fact, when I was the chief minister, the 2021-2030 agriculture development action plan was launched to make Sabah a distributor of agriculture produce besides ensuring the country’s food security,” he said.

Shafie said with the creation of a product supply chain, Sabahan farmers will then be able to generate more income with a larger market reach internationally through AirAsia.

In the tourism industry, he said Sabah’s glory days as a tourist destination will be restored if AirAsia’s target of making the state as its international hub becomes a reality.

“We know that before Covid-19 hit, Sabah’s economy had increased rapidly in the tourism sector and the people enjoyed the economic windfall, not only in Kota Kinabalu but also all the way to the east coast of the state.”

from FMT, see here: https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2020/10/28/ive-nothing-to-hide-says-shafie-over-macc-probe-into-rm300-million-loan-to-airasia/

UPDATED OCTOBER 30th

AirAsia: RM300m SDB loan complies with laws, procedures

Bernama Published 9:14 pm

AirAsia Group Bhd has reiterated that the transaction whereby it secured the aggregate RM300 million loan facilities from Sabah Development Bank (SDB) was completed in accordance with all laws, policies and procedures pertaining to its application.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia today, the budget carrier also said the transaction took five months to complete from the time of application.

The facilities have been approved by SDB for the development of the various projects and are intended to bring about significant positive socio-economic impacts to the state of Sabah, it said.

“With the facilities, AirAsia’s contribution (currently at almost one per cent to the state’s gross domestic product) is expected to double within the next 10 years and help Sabah regain its position as a top tourism destination post-Covid-19,” AirAsia said.

The company said the transaction would, among others, enable AirAsia to accelerate its expansion plans to transform Kota Kinabalu into an international hub for its passenger and logistics operations.

AirAsia said it had been providing domestic and international connectivity to Sabah since 2001, flying in 660,000 visitors to the state and supporting almost 60,000 jobs in the state.

The facilities, it said, would also be used to develop and enhance cold chain facilities in Sabah that would increase the marketability of the state’s fresh produce domestically and internationally through AirAsia’s Ourfarm digital food supply platform.

“This would potentially result in increased profits for farmers and fishermen in the state, which is in line with Sabah’s mission of becoming a top food-producing state in Malaysia and contributing towards the country’s food security,” the airline said.

AirAsia’s statement follows various news articles regarding the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigating the RM300 million loan facilities given by the Sabah state-owned bank to the airline.

At the close today, shares of AirAsia fell 0.9 per cent to 55 sen.

– Bernama

https://bernama.com/en/news.php?id=1895484

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

One thing I want to say about the political outcome is that although it is a backdoor government, it may be bad for the Peninsular Malaysia but very good for Sabah.

At last the illegal immigrant problem in Sabah will be tackled effectively because it was during Dr Mahathir’s time that the illegals problem worsened as Mykads were issued to hundreds of thousands of illegals to bring down the Christian-led PBS government.

Suddenly Sabah had the largest UMNO members after Johor. This too failed to bring down the PBS Sabah state government because PBS managed to obtain a simple majority of 25 seats in the then 48 seats Sabah State Assembly in the 1994 elections, and PBS president Joseph Pairin Kitingan sworn in as chief minister of Sabah. However, as a result of defections of PBS assemblymen to the Barisan National, Pairin was forced to resign on 17 March 1994.

With horse-trading PBS assemblymen were promised numerous political positions, power and even money to switch allegiance. PBS was then left with only 5 seats. After 1994, PBS was split into PBRS, AKAR, SAPP and PDS.

So it was UMNO that bought over PBS Assemblymen to form Malaysia’s FIRST backdoor government in 1994.

Before that, Dr Mahathir said the Anti-hopping Law would violate the constitution because it forbade the elected representatives jumping over to the other side for monetary gains and he was in the know that millions had changed hands. Dr Mahathir defended the removal of Anti-hopping Law saying it was against the freedom of association right of the assemblyman, regardless of the rakyat who voted for the assemblyman.

So when all this was happening to Sabah, nobody in Peninsular said anything. Why be angry now that a backdoor government was formed at the federal level? And why is Dr Mahathir so afraid that the states including his Kedah state will fall due to defections to Muafakat Nasional/Perikatan Nasional?

Dr Mahathir the doctor is getting a taste of his own medicine!

Isu utama yang kian menonjol di media sosial di saat-saat pilihan raya Kimanis kini telah beralih daripada isu PSS kepada tempat lahir asal Shafie Apdal. Media sosial kini kian membara dengan khabar bahawa tempat lahir asal Shafie Apdal adalah Jolo di Filipina. Ini boleh dikatakan kerana ramai yang mempertikaikan polisi Parti Warisan yang kian memihak kepada PATI daripada orang Sabah.

Netizen-netizen kian menyuarakan bahawa Shafie Apdal akan mengumumkan sebuah pulau bagi PATI dan juga untuk membenarkan pam bot serta membenarkan tempat tinggal PATI. Selain itu, terdapat janji daripada Shafie Apdal untuk mengambil 200 ekar laut Tanjung Aru untuk dijadikan tanah bagi pendudk di Pulau Gaya. Dan kini untuk memberi PSS kepada PATI!!

Bekas Ketua Menteri Sabah Yong Teik Lee juga menyuarakan bahawa tindakan Shafie ini menghantar mesej kepada penduduk Filipina untuk berhijrah ke Sabah.

Adakah patut penduduk Sabah dipersalahkan dalam menyuarakan kebimbangan mereka sedangkan semua jawatan utama kerajaan negeri dan badan-badan berkanun diisi oleh penyokong Shafie Apdal daripada kawasannya.

Terdapat kebimbangan di kalangan penduduk berkenaan hala tuju Warisan namun mereka memilih untuk mendiamkan diri.

The question is not just whether it is legally right because even legally it is highly questionable.

Just because the 3 Appeal Court Judges accepted the Preliminary Objection (PO) does not mean they are right. Simply because, according to the lawyer on the other side, they were not given a chance to explain why it is illegal for a Chief Minister to be dismissed by the TYT within 48 hours of appointing him, when the Constitution states that only the Assembly can unseat a CM by Vote of Confidence.

As the Federal Constitution now stands, the Agong cannot arbitrarily dismiss the PM. Neither can any Menteri Besar be dismissed by the respective Sultans without undergoing the due process as laid out in their respective Constitution.

In the case of Sabah, following the May 9th GE14 and almost 48 hours after the election results were announced, and despite the eventual winner who had 29 seats and commanded a simple majority, with and addition of 2 more seats, had the rug pulled out from under his feet despite having been sworn in.

After unexplained lengthy delay, a swearing-in was promised at 8pm, until 11pm Musa was kept waiting to be sworn in. Almost 24 hours after results were announced, and that within 10 hours the next day he was asked to return the Appointment Letter. This lead many people to believe that horsetrading was going on. Which was confirmed when Upko Assemblymen frogged to Warisan side. At the time of the appointment of the CM this was not the case and he was sworn-in, so why did he have to lose his job after being sworn-in? With the new victors, resorting to Statutory Declaration (SD) rather than people’s vote, which is more important.

Similarly, the Prime Minister was made to wait several hours by the previous Agong after PH victory and that he too complained loudly that this should not have happened as people have spoken. In his case, the previous Agong apparently was abroad.

So, if this was unacceptable to the PM, what happened on the 9th May 2018 be acceptable to Sabahans? Fortunately, in the case of the PM, no Pakatan members frogged-over to BN to deny Dr Mahathir and Pakatan Harapan a victory. Perhaps it was due to the margin of seats being wide unlike in the Sabah case. Nevertheless, an unacceptable delay was allowed to happen with the PM being appointed but in Sabah a CM was also being constitutionally appointed. But yet, losing it due to horsetrading, never-mind the constitution, a Law Expert even joked in a seminar in Kota Kinabalu that Sabah politicians can win a medal for frog politics or something like that.

Its a pity that the Appeal Court Judges accepted the PO to deny the aggrieved in court.

The Counsel for the other side claimed on the grounds that any outcome is academic and he  based it on two main arguments :

1) even if Musa succeeded with his appeal there will be no consequence/outcome because Musa can never satisfy the threshold of Article 6 (3) of the Sabah Constitution which expressly states that the TYT appoints a member of the Assembly to be CM who has the command of the confidence of the majority of the members of the Assembly.

2) even if the Assembly is summoned, with the support of only eight out 60 assemblymen factually and mathematically Musa can never win a vote of confidence for himself or a vote against Shafie and unseat him.

Douglas Lind’s contention the case is academic.

However the larger question is not whether the successor commends the majority in the house the present moment, but whether it was Constitutionally correct to ask back from the CM, the letter of appointment. Just because subsequent to the appointment a bunch of politicians leapfrogged. Hence it is a question of whether it was legally right as well as morally right. From my understanding of the Constitution it was both legally and morally wrong and  I remain to be convinced.

My point is that the PM complained about having to wait long before being sworn-in following the GE14 results. In Sabah, a delay also happened in swearing in the CM but with different consequences.

Imagine if the PM was asked by the Agong to return the appointment letter just because some Pakatan Harapan winners decided to frog over to Barisan Nasional?

Would it then be a case of asking the PM to resign and not sacked?

The larger issue is also, does not what happened in Sabah raise the question, if unchallenged in the Federal Court, that to ordinary people like me, the TYT is the only head of state that can decide whether a CM that he had just constitutionally appointed can be dismissed by him within hours of doing so without going through the State Assembly, which is the rightful place to determine this.

By the same reasoning, does it not seem that the Sabah TYT may be seen to have powers that even the Agong and Sultans do not? I stand to be corrected?

Courts should have looked at whether a Sabah TYT enjoys greater powers than the Agong and Sultans in appointing the head of government and to help rectify if indeed this is the case now.

Because this problem is not addressed and peculiar to Sabah, this tendency of a Sabah TYT to delay appointing a CM has created crises on 3 occasions.

In 1985, 1994 n 2018.

Peoples voices not recognised in this 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 after about a month. 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, 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?

In the end the CM is appointed through political frogs producing statutory declarations  (SD) instead of the peoples wish being respected.

 

This piece also came out in MALAYSIA TODAY. SEE HERE!!

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!

The court declaration that the appointment of Sabah Water Department director Amarjit last year was unlawful has revealed how a thoughtless decision by the Shafie Government has opened a Pandora’s Box with incalculable consequences for the state.

People are now saying we don’t know what other appointments made by Shafie Apdal after taking charge of Sabah Government was illegal or didn’t follow SOP (Standard Operating Procedure). We need another Yong Teck Lee, they are saying.

Even the appointment of a non-Sabahan Sarawakian timber-man Hu Chang Lik @ Hii Chang Lik’s to the president of the Sandakan Municipal Council (MPS) is raising question, with many questioning the state government’s move of giving senior position in the civil service to private citizens.

Was the appointment of Sarawakian Hu Chang Lik as Sandakan Municipal Council President legal?

Hu Chang Lik mysteriously held the position as Sandakan Municipal President for only 1 year, why only 1 year?

And if Hu Chang Lik’s appointment as Sandakan Muncipal Council President is found to be illegal, all decisions made by him as President of Sandakan Municipal Council will also be subject to lawsuits.

Then the appointment of a non-Sabahan from Penang as a nominated assemblyman by the Warisan-led state government which was Never in the history of Sabah. It goes to show they have no respect on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63). This is again a blow to Warisan’s slogan of “Sabah for Sabahans” which they stole from Party Bersatu Sabah. Which was also criticised by Dr Mahathir recently. All along it was very clear that the appointment of Nominated Assembly Member is to represent Sabah’s own minorities and not a West Malaysian from Semanunjung.

The appointment of Johan Arriffin A Samad  as the Chief Executive Officer of Institute For Development Studies (Sabah) (IDS) also lasted for only 6 months although Shafie gave Johan all the hopes that he would continue to be CEO. The decision did not depend on the chief minister but with the board of directors of IDS, who voted 6-5 against him. Johan had to leave the IDS abruptly.

Then there is also talk that Shafie could replace Jamalul Kiram the Director of Yayasan Sabah cum Chief Executive Officer of Innoprise Corporation Sdn. Bhd (ICSB) with Former Sabah State Secretary, Tan Sri Sukarti Wakiman. It seems Jamalul Kiram did not live up to Shafie’s expectations.

Under Shafie’s rule, an unprecedented and dire situation has arisen, as key institutions have squirmed under the overbearing pressure of interference. Some have raised the banner of revolt, some have buckled under the weight. Although institutions have always had to negotiate with political rulers, and there have been periods in Sabah’s past when things came to a flash point, but never before has such a sweeping discontent been visible to the people. It poses a danger for the country’s democracy if institutions like the Court and the MACC and the police are pressurised to function for political ends. As the Court of Appeal hearing of the legitimate Sabah CM approaches, many of these institutions are sensing that the Warisan-led state government could be on the losing side, and that has emboldened them to speak up. It is a hint of the shape of things to come.

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.