Archive for the ‘Parti Bersatu Sabah’ Category


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

Well, I do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Even the Totally Protected Forest (TPAs) – now covers over 1.5 million hectares of the land area or some 22% of Sabah. The government policy has been launched to achieve 30% TPAs by 2025 or 2030 at the latest or over 2.2. million hectares of Sabah. Which state in Malaysia has set aside 22% of TPAs including rich agricultural lands and virgin forests at high opportunity costs? Only Sabah under Musa Aman!

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

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

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It appears that a critical mass of the Sabah electorate wants to reward Musa Aman for the good work he has done over the past several years, since he first assumed Chief Ministership in March 2003. Each person this writer spoke to heading for the early polls in Sabah had only good word to say about the chief minister. This is indeed what makes it difficult for a divided Sabah opposition – The United Sabah Alliance (USA) and its four State-based opposition parties namely Star, Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS), Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), Lajim Ukin’s Parti Harapan Rakyat, Shafie Apdal’s Parti Warisan Sabah together with Malaya based DAP, PKR & Amanah, to attack Musa on any of his development agenda. Shafie Apdal himself has characterised Musa’s regime as marked by fourteen years of malfeasance, but could never publicly attack him on the plank of development.

In a big public meeting outside of Sandakan late 2016, Shafie asked those who attended if Musa’s reign as Chief Minister was ever marked by a lack of accountability but the response was cold. In reply Shafie fumed before the crowd: “I have no other motive than to defend the rights of Sabah”, but having held five terms Member of Parliament of Semporna since 1995 and appointed as parliamentary secretary, Deputy Minister of Housing and Local Government in 1999, Deputy Minister of Defence from 1999 to 2004, Minister of Domestic, Trade and Consumer Affairs, and later Ministry of Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage, he has yet to prove that. On 10 April 2009, he became the Minister of Rural and Regional Development which coincided with his election to one of UMNO’s three vice-presidential posts. Shafie Apdal is hence the first Sabahan to hold a vice-presidency of UMNO but has done little to “defend the rights” of the varied population of this state.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that there is an authentic Musa wave in Sabah as is. It is no wonder that divided Sabah opposition groupies are very worried about the general sentiment generated before polling. The local opposition parties anxiety is reflected in the manner in which it is bringing issues like illegal immigrants, the re-issuance of identity cards, and the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

Elsewhere, near Penampang, Shafie Apdal is doing what he does best – playing the polarisation game. When he said Sabahans will celebrate if the BN is defeated in Sabah, he again betrayed the fact that the party’s desperation has reached newer highs. By invoking BN, Parti Warisan Sabah believes it can consolidate Sabahan votes across all races but the party’s attempts has failed to bear fruit as voters are seen shying away from Shafie Apdal’s new party. In fact, large sections of Sabahans seem to be inclined to give Musa Aman another term.

Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, the founding father of the second largest political party in Sabah, a long serving assemblyman, MP and Huguan Siou (paramount leader of the Kadazandusun community), has indicated an intention to retire from politic but is also complementing the broader sentiment in favour of Musa by holding on to his KDM vote base – to which opposition groupies have mainly tried but failed to break by raising numerous issues including the delayed Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) technical working committee report on illegal immigrants.

The KDMs, emotionally impacted by the down fall of the PBS Government in March 1994, seemed to have put their fullest weight behind the grand BN alliance. Pairin’s meetings are attracting unusually large crowds with hundreds of youths enthusiastically clicking away on their smart phones. I had seen a similar spectacle only during Pairin’s public meetings in Tambunan and Keningau during GE13 polls in 2013.

In many ways Sabah looks so much like a forerunner of events in national politics. Both Musa and Pairin speak the same language and the political grammar converges around a larger strategy of demanding Sabah rights under the Constitution, the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) report and Malaysia Act. The devolution of powers from the Federal Government to the state was an ongoing process, with the principal objective of addressing and resolving public concern over the erosion of the special safeguards granted to Sabah under the Malaysia Agreement and the Constitution.

Musa Aman articulates this strategy cogently as he says, “We are all Sabahans, who advocated a constant campaign to resolve issues between state and the federal and the Sabah Government has its own “gentler” approach – more effective, better than shouting and demanding” – “The Sabah Way”. When Musa said this a decade ago, the BN was the establishment. Today, the BN, and the forces its represents, have become the establishment, forging a front against the opposition and its divisive politics, the state government believes in consultation not confrontation.

Musa has repeated over the years that the Sabah State Government under his watch believes in diplomacy rather than confrontation and has achieved some excellent results through this approach, particularly in its negotiations with Petronas on oil and gas matters. These include the appointment of a Sabahan to the Petronas board of directors and Petronas undertaking to increase the number of Sabahans at executive and management level. Now there is a clear understanding between Petronas, the Federal Government and the state government as to Sabah State Government objectives.

UMNO is benefiting in Sabah due to the image of Musa Aman as an urbane, decent and efficient chief minister. The visit to Sabah by Wu Bangguo, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Catherine, and many other world leaders, confirms that Musa has placed Sabah ahead of many other states, making it the most successful state in Malaysia in attracting private investments. China’s decision to open a consul-general office in Kota Kinabalu confirms the state’s growing importance as a world-class city favoured by tourists and businesses. For the first quarter of 2016, Sabah under Musa Aman managed to attract private investments in the amount of RM10 billion, way ahead of other states. Apart from that, as of September 30, the amount of cumulative investments in the private sector, under the Sabah Development Corridor projects, had reached RM114 billion since its launch in 2008. Among the many reasons include having a stable, business friendly and a prudent government as well as stringent forestry laws and strong conservation programme. Totally Protected Area (TPA) – now covers over 1.5 million hectares of the land area or some 22% of Sabah. The government policy has been launched to achieve 30% TPA by 2025 or 2030 at the latest or over 2.2 million hectares of Sabah under forest.

So tell me, which other state in Malaysia has set aside 22% of TPA including rich agricultural lands and virgin forests at high opportunity costs? Only Sabah under the Aman administration, that’s for sure.


Sabah’s Watergate Scandal is the hottest news in town. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission seized RM114mil worth of assets RM53.7mil in cold cash stashed in houses and offices from two senior Sabah Water Department officials on Oct 4. The duo, a Director and Assistant Director of the Water Department are being investigated for alleged abuse of power and money laundering linked to contracts for RM3.3bil federal-funded projects channelled to the department since 2010.

This MACC seizure has opened many eyes, it is another reason why administrative reforms should be put in place, especially with regard to Federal development funds. This is what Musa Aman has been saying all along years and years ago.

The rural infrastructure allocation system for Sabah needs to be streamlined by the federal government through the channeling of federal funds directly to the state government to enhance the effectiveness of project implementation, particularly rural development projects. The total allocation provided by the federal government to the state for rural development projects is more than RM6 billion for the period from 2010 to 2013, which is approximately RM2 billion per year.

There is no justification for Federal to approve and implement projects in the State and ignore and not channel the funds to the State Government. The Federal Government should not be seen as usurping the authority of Sabah and creating a parallel government in the process.

The funds for all Federal funded projects should be channelled to the Sabah government for implementation and monitoring. State government knows better the ground situation and has in-depth knowledge of local conditions and requirements. Definitely the State government can chart Sabah’s own development course to meet local needs and requirements

The Federal Government should not play politics with federal funds …

In the wake of all this, here is an interesting take by Onn Ariffin. Onn was the former Director of Federal State Liason (USNO) an appointed post by Tun Mustapha in 1987, he was the “brain” behind the parallel government before Umno actually took charge in Sabah. Onn now Datuk, has been part of Sabah politics since the 70s and onetime he was Secretary-General of USNO.

Onn’s piece is in Malay but here it goes…..

ONN ARIFFIN

Tun Mustapha telah melantik saya sebagai Pengarah Perhubungan Persekutuan Negeri (USNO) sebaik sahaja tugas saya sebagai Setiausha Agung USNO tamat dalam tahun 1987.

Jawatan ini tidak mempunyai sebarang rujukan atau penunjuk arah tentang apakah peranan jawatan ini bagi kepentingan party mahu pun negeri.

Yang lebih saya fahami kerana Tun terpaksa menjawab soalan pemberita di Lapangan Terbang dalam sidang media tentang apakah jawatan seterusnya yang akan dipegang oleh Setiausaha Agong yang ada selepas tamat perkhidmatannya.

Jawapan Tun secara sepontan ialah perhubungan antara Kuala Lumpur dan Sabah.
Dari situlah timbulnya tafsiran disesuakan sahaja dengan panggilan nama Pengarah Perhubungan Persekutuan Negeri (USNO) oleh kerana terfikir kemungkin ada sesuatu yang boleh dijalankan untuk memenuhi tuntutan waktu .

Walau pun secara sepontan, namun ada juga kebijaksanaan Tun dalam mengumumkan perlantikan jawatan terebut kerana pada ketika itu pihak Kuala Lumpur merasakan suatu suasana kosong dalam poliitik Sabah setelah PBS mengambil alih Kerajaan Negeri. Lebih dari itu banyak isu-isu yang dibangkitkan sukar untuk dipertahankan kerana ketiadaan pemain tempatan.

Tugas utama jawatan tersebut adalah untuk meningkatkan perhatian rakyat atas kemampuan USNO sebagai kerajaan Alternative di Sabah. Oleh itu usaha utamanya ialah untuk memainkan peranan perang saikologi dan membidas isu-isu party lawan secara terbuka. Pada ketika itu juga dua akhbar kebangsaan yang hampir tutup laman Sabah dan menutup pejabat mereka kembali bergerak aktib. Dalam masa yang sama kita mengambil ikhtiar terselindung untuk mengambil alih Sabah Times walau pun sahamnya saling bertukar tangan, tapi untuk jangka waktu itu ia dapat dipergunakan untuk faedah USNO dan dasar-dasar untuk membawa lembaran pembangunan baru dinegeri ini.

Teringat saya atas pesanan Tun supaya tidak berunding dengan sesiapa pun dalam party atas tindakan-tindakan yang perlu di jalankan oleh Setiausha Agong Party, walau pun dengan Timbalan Presiden. Katanya buat apa sahaja yang perlu dan munasabah kerana pada akhirnya kita akan berhadapan dengan Majlis Tertinggi USNO untuk penjelasan.

Falsafah ini terus terbawa-bawa dalam tugas Pengarah Perhubungan Persekutuan Negeri (USNO) sehingga ia merupakan satu tenaga yang mantap dan kuat dan berperanan besar dalam menyelesaikan beberapa isu yang kadang kala melibatkan Kerajaan Persekutuan. Segala tindakan-tindakan dirahsiakan kerana strategy yang dirangka mestilah berperanan untuk mengukuhkan party.
Antara strateginya ialah mewujudkan kekuatan USNO melalui terbitan Lagu USNO. Mematahkan serangan-serangan Kartun party lawatan, memberikan pandangan atas gerak geri pegawai-pegawai persekutuan supaya bertindak dalam satu pasukan. Antara lain pula mengimbangi Lagu Hand in Hand dengan menerbitkan Lagu Gunung Kinabalu. Disini haruslah saya ucapkan terima kasih kepada Allah Yarham M.Y Ismail kerana telah mencipta lagu tersebut. Lagu tersebut sempat dilancarkan sehari sebelum lawatan Perdana Menteri untuk meresmikan Mesyuarat Agong terakhir USNO. Isteri saya Datuk Dayang Mahani dan Allah Yarham Datuk Norjan Badar turut dalam melancarkan lagu gunung Kinabalu, yang telah disumbangkan kepada RTM sebagai khazanah lagu-lagu patriotic Negara.
Saya cuma berharap pihak RTM sekurang-kurangnya memberikan perhargaaan kepada keluarga Allah Yarham serta kumpulan penyanyi atas sumbangan yang tidak ternilai dari Sabah.

Peranan harian pula termasuk meniliti dasar dan kenyataan-kenyataan kerajaan negeri sambil memberi jawapan dan penjelasan atas kedudukan sesuatu isu.

Oleh kerana perhubungan USNO dengan Kuala Lumpur semakin hari semakin baik, kita telah berjaya membawa masuk sejumlah 2juta ringgit peruntukan pembangunan untuk diagih-agihkan kekawasan ADUN USNO. Saya hampir merajuk kerana diberitahu oleh Pegawai Pembangunan Negeri yang wang tersebut mestilah melalui Kerajaan Negeri, lantas saya meninggalkan pesan supaya peruntukan tersebut dikembalikan sahaja ke Pusat kerana saya menganggap sia-sia sahaja usaha kita dan kehadhiran USNO sebagai Anggota Barisan NASIONAL diSabah tidak mempunyai sebarang makna. Sementara saya berada di Pejabat Pembangunan Negeri Pengarah ICU telah meghubungi saya supaya jangan berkecil hati kerana USNO sebagai party tidak mempunyai jabatan Khas untuk menerima wang pembangunan Kerajaan. Secara berseluruh saya katakan ada. Jawapannya Kemas negeri Sabah yang boleh memainkan peranan untuk menyampaikan peruntukan kekawasan2 ADUN USNO dan kawasan-kawasan tumpuan. Saya telah meminta Sdr Mustapha Mohd Yassin supaya memberikan butiran kepala code yang boleh digunakan. KEMAS serta merta melonjak naik dan bergerak selari dengan jabatan Pembangunan Negeri.

Begitu berpengaruhnya jawatan Pengarah Persekutuan Negeri (USNO) sehingga kerajaan Sabah terpaksa mewujudkan sebuah jabatan atas nama yang sama dengan melantik Datuk Chau Tet Onn sebagai Pengarahnya bertaraf Menteri Cabinet negeri.

Keputsan PBS keluar Barisan Nasional pada 15hb Oktober 1990 adalah tidak dijangka. Selang beberapa hari saya telah memanggil kumpulan pemikir untuk mengkaji impak hubungan antara Kerajaan Pusat dan Negeri walau pun BN kembali memerintah di peringkat pusat.

Keputusannya walau apa pun terjadi kita mesti mencari jalan supaya wang pembangunan untuk Sabah mesti disalurkan terus walau pun Kerajaan negeri tidak lagi menganggotai Barisan Nasional. Perselisihan yang ada adalah diantara Party dan Kerajaan dan tidak ada kaitan sama sekali dengan rakyat dan mereka tidak harus menjadi mangsa

Saya telah menderafkan pandangan saya dengan imputnya daripada beberapa ahli pemikir kepada YAB Perdana Menteri untuk menubuhkan sebuah Jabatan Baru dengan nama Jabatan Pembangunan Persekutuan Negeri Sabah (JPPS). Antara kandungannya adalah untuk menyelesaikan hal-hal pembangunan dan kesaksamaan sosial dalam memulihkan peradaban masyarakat. Tujuannya adalah untuk mewujudkan system kerajaan selari yang mampu mengambil alih peranan dan kelemahan jabatan-jabatan yang tergelincir dengan arus dan peranan sosial mereka.

Saya telah menyerahkan nota tersebut melalui Pengawal Peribadi YAB Perdana Menteri pada 25hb Oktober 1990. Saya difahamkan YAB Perdana Menteri telah meneliti nota saya beberapa kali dalam pesawat dalam penerbangan beliau ke Kuala Lumpur.

Pegawai Kewangan Persekutuan telah memaklumkan andainya Jabatan tersebut menjadi kenyataan beliau telah meminta peranan JKR dalam memantau projek-projek tersebut diletakkan dibawahi Kewangan Persekutuan Sabah. Saya mohon maaf kerana Nota saya sudah disampaikan sehari sebelumnya.

Saya berpesan kepada Pegawai Research, supaya mana2 jabatan yang diletakkan untuk berbincang dan mengambil keputusan dalam projek pembangunan di Sabah mestilah mempunyai pendirian bebas tanpa dikongkong oleh jabatan lain. Tujuan untuk menentukan supaya pertimbangan check and balance sentiasa ada dalam pelaksanaan projek-projek.

Dalam hubungan yang sama projek mestilah berperanan untuk menaikkan taraf ekonomi Sabah, membentuk semula pemikiran politik yang matang, membangunkan kesejahteraan, kemajuan rakyat Sabah dan memelihara perhubungan antara pusat dan negeri. Untuk itu garisan quota penganggihan harus berada dalam skala, 30/30/30/10. Artinya 30% untuk bumiputera, 30% kumpulan politik, 30% pasaran terbuka sementara 10% atas kebijaksanaan Pemimpin politik itu sendiri.

Syukur Alhamdulillah YAB Perdana Menteri telah mengumumkan pembentukan Jabatan Pembangunan Sabah dalam Perhimpunan Agong UMNO pada 1hb November, 1990. Keputusan yang sama juga di buat untuk Kelantan.

Peruntukan pertama yang sampai di Sabah sebanyak 200 juta dan programme nya dilaksanakan oleh KEMAS negeri oleh kerana JPPS belum menyelesaikan structure Jabatan mereka di Kota Kinabalu.
Dalam melaksanakan cita-cita tersebut kontraktor-kontraktor di Sabah hendaklah didaftarkan semula dari Class A hingga F, sambil mengadakan kursus-kursus bimbingan. Perlu saya sebutkan ketika kita membuat research hanya seorang sahaja di Sabah ini yang mempunyai lesen kontraktor Kelas A pada masa itu. Kalau beliau berjaya dalam perniagaan dan kaya tidak siapa yang harus menyangkal kebolehan beliau kerana beliau tahu membaca keadaan perniagaan pada ketika itu, walau pun pada hari ini memegang jawatan kerajaan yang tertinggi di Sabah.

Jabatan Pembangunan Persekutuan Negeri Sabah yang wujud lebih 20 tahun telah melalui perjalanan yang begitu jauh untuk membangunkan Sabah dan pernah saya sebutkan kepada seorang Menteri kanan Persekutuan bahawa matelamat pembangunan melalui JPPS sudah pun tercapai. Oleh kerana Kerajaan Negeri didalam tangan BN maka peranan JPPS haruslah dihentikan. Ada perkara yang tersirat yang tidak diketahui oleh pelaksana bahawa kuasa JPPS boleh mengurangkan pengaruh pemimpin2 negeri kerana itulah matelamat utama JPPS.

Falsafah inilah yang mungkin menjadi ikutan di hari-hari muka ini, bahawa Kerajaan Negeri tidak perlu di maklumkan dimana projek-projek pembangunan akan dijalankan dan apakah nilai projek yang bakal dibawa masuk.

Saya tidak tahu sama ada Kerajaan pusat apabila mengumumkan sesuatu projek membawa nama Ketua Kerajaan Negeri dan Cabinet dalam acara-acara rakyat. Mudah-mudahan ada. Umpamanya bila menyebut Kerajaan Pusat setelah berbincangkan dengan YAB Ketua Menteri Sabah dan Cabinet Negeri bersetuju akan melaksanakan projek A atau B dikawasan ini. Ini adalah bahasa politik, bahasa Kerajaan yang harus menjadi amalan kepada setiap pemimpin yang masuk ke Sabah untuk membawa projek. Disitulah letaknya seni dalam menatang hubungan antara pusat dan negeri.

Sebab ada pendapat yang mengatakan satu-satu projek yang turun ke Sabah tidak semestinya datang dari Satu Kementerian sahaja. Dari Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Kementerian-Kementerian, EPU, ICU sendiri dan pelbagai agensi. Dalam satu segi ia dikatakan decentralise, wal hal ia juga centralise.

Kerana wujudnya suasana demikian pemimpin-pemimpin bawahan, malahan kontraktor2 juga berpusu-pusu ke Kuala Lumpur cuba mewujudkan rangkaian peribadi masing-masing.

Secara tidak langsung ini melahirkan suatu suasana untuk membangunkan power base masing2 dengan rangkaiannya terus kepada penyokong-penyokong dipelbagai peringkat pimpinan politik dan kontaktor-kontroktar. Saya teringat bila saya menjadi Ketua Bahaagian UMNO amat mudah untuk berjumpa dengan Menteri-Menteri Persekutuan.

Setelah saya tidak lagi dalam jawatan UMNO, walau pun bergelar Datuk, ada sahaja alasan yang diberikan oleh Pegawai Menteri tersebut untuk mengelakkan diri bertemu dengan saya. Satu hari saya aka namakan Menteri yang bahagia ini. Saya hampir menulis surat terbuka dengan Menteri tersebut supaya jangan panggil saya abang lagi, kerana dia lupa kepada budi saya memberi undi kepada beliau untuk jadi Ahli Majlis Tertinggi UMNO. Beliau bukannya tahu apa sebenarnya yang mahu saya sampaikan dalam pertemuan itu. Tidak semestinya projek.

Sistem seumpama ini sudah menjadi satu masaalah yang besar kerana terdapat kelemahan dalam cara pengagihan projek. Oleh kerana tidak dibendung awal timbul lah kejadian-kejadian dimana terdapat jumlah besar wang yang disorok dan dapat dirampas oleh Badan Pencegah Rasuah dari laci2, almari2 dan pelbagai tempat dari pegawai-pegawai yang mengambil kesempatan kerana terlihat oleh mereka ada kerenggangan para pemimpin dari maklumat-maklumat pembangunannya yang boleh diambil kesempatan untuk memesungkan dana-dana yang tidak bersih.

Walau pun ada kecurangan tapi kerajaan masih mampu meletakkan system penyampaian Negara pada paras yang sehat, kerana badan pencegah rasuah berjaya mengesan permainan projek dalam jabatan Kerajaan sehingga berjaya merampas wang-wang penipuan. Ini berarti system mengesan keselamatan dan kewangan kita masih terjamin dan dapat dipelihara dengan sebaik mungkin

Beberapa tahun yang lalu saya telah mencadangkan supaya JPPS ditutup dan kuasanya di turunkan terus kepada Ketua Menteri Sabah. Sehari seleas membuat cadangan itu Kerajaan Persekutuan telah menutup JPPS dengan serta merta. Tidak semestinya ini disebabkan kerana ditegur, kerana sebelulm ini pun ada juga suara-suara yang memanggil supaya ia ditutup akibat terlalu banyak pertelagahan dalam pelaksanaan projek-projek di Sabah. Memang sukar untuk mengendalikan projek-projek di Sabah, kerana permintaan terlalu mendesak dan sentiasa diasak. Malahan kerap kali ia mencabar perasaan dan kesabaran. Namun banyak yang boleh dipelajari dari pengalaman JPPS apa bila bertemu dengan permintaan Kerajaan, para pemimpin politik dan rakyat. Apa pun ia juga merupakan satu lagi cerita kejayaan Kerajaan.

Sudah tentu terima kasih kepada semua pegawai-pegawai JPPS daripada mula jabatan ini diperkenalkan di Sabah adalah kena pada tempatnya.. Apa pun yang mahu diperkatakan namun indeks pembangunan di Sabah semenjak tahun tahun 1990 mencapai taraf yang amat membanggakan disebabkan usaha yang gigih dan keyakinan pegawai-pegawai dan pemimpin politik untuk melaksanakan programme pembangunan untuk rakyat.

Ketika Datuk Seri Panglima Osu Sukam menjadi Ketua Menteri, saya telah mencadangkan melalui akhbar supaya satu pasukan pemantau ditubuhkan untuk memantau gaya kehidupan dan kelakuan pegawai-pegawai dan pemimpn-pemimpin Kerajaan.

Memang sukar untuk membezakan diantara pergaulan yang sehat mahu pun yang jujur, disebalik perhubunganya manusia yang mempunyai muslihat. Kalau tidak ada kedudukan dan berjawatan sudah tentu tidak ada yang harus dipertikaikan. Akan tetapi apabila ada pihak yang berani berbelanja diluar dari kemampuan pendapatan pastinya ia akan menjadi tanda Tanya dan kecurigaan yang merupakan material kepada badan pemantaun.

Cadangan ini telah ditolak kerana ada yang merasakan Badan Pencegah Rasuah sudah memadai untuk memainkan peranan. Oleh kerana sudah ada isu, hari ini saya ceritakan. Tugas Badan memelihara integerasi boleh menegur untuk mengelakkan kecurangan. Dengan rasuah, kerana ia sudah berlaku maka tindakannya jauh berbeza. Teguran boleh mendatang pelbagai makna, dibuang kerja, diturunkan pangkat, dipindah atau hilang kedudukan.

Apa yang ditekankan oleh YAB Ketua Menteri haruslah dipandang serious oleh semua pihak dan mestilah diberikan sokongan dalam mencari punca masaalah yang menjadi penyebab kelemahan kepada system yang ada. Dari itu cadangan untuk membuat rombakan atau “review” memang wajar.
Dalam Kerajaan Berjaya, projek-projek dipamerkan dan mungkin spesifikasi juga dipamerkan bersama. Oleh itu semua pihak yang berminat maklum dan secara tidak langsung boleh menjalankan pelbagai odit keatas projek tersebut.

Adalah molek semua projek yang masuk ke Sabah di maklumkan kepada Ketua Menteri, setidak-tidaknya senarainya disampaikan melalui mesyuarat-mesyuarat Majlis Tindakan Negeri. Yang Paling baik lagi kalau sesuatu projek itu mendapat perkenan oleh Kerajaan Negeri supaya mendapat kefahaman bahawa projek itu dipohonkan oleh kawasan-kawasan dimana dengan Kerjasama dua kerajaan ia disampakan kepada rakyat.

Projek pembangunan adalah modal besar dalam politik, jika maklumat penuh tidak diperolehi, pemimpin-pemimpin tempatan yang berperanan sebagai “pegawai perhubungan rakyat” tidak akan dapat menjual cerita politik mereka dengan mudah dan dianggap tidak menjalankan tugas untuk membawa perubahan kepada kawasan masing-masing.

Mungkin kedudukan pegawai-pegawai Kerajaan juga harus dikaji semula supaya tidak seorang pun harus duduk dengan begitu lama dalam jabatan-jabatan yang strategic yang ada hubungannya dengan pembekalan dan pelaksanaan projek. Ini untuk mengelakkan jangan sampai pegawai-pegawai-pegawai di bebankan dengan tafsirarn atas keinginan dan hasrat untuk mencari kesempatan buat diri sendiri.

Dari titik tolak atas adanya kambing-kambing hitam, Kerajaan Sabah masih mempunyai ramai kakitangan yang dedikasi dan bekerja dengan tungkus lumus untuk memajukan Sabah. Sudah tentu sesuatu yang terbaik akan lahir selepas kita mengahdapi gejala rasuah yang menular dalam masyarakat.

Ketua Menteri adalah satu Institiusi. Dalam perhubugan antara Kerajaan Pusat dan Negeri, kedudukan Ketua Menteri haruslah sentiasa dipelihara demi menjaga keutuhan Kerajaan itu sendiri dimana para pemimpin saling bergantung untuk menjaga martabat masing-masing. Dari situ kita harus bangunkan keyakinan rakyat supaya Kerajaan dapat melahirkan satu wadah kecemerlangan disebalik kejayaan Kerajaan Negeri yang telah berjaya mengumpulkan dana yang besar sebagai reserve kerajaan.

Saya juga mencadangkan supaya segala wang penipuan yang telah dirampas oleh Badan Pencegah Rasuah dikembalikan ke Sabah dan di masukkan dalam tabung pendidikan, yang mana sebilangan besar penuntut kita hari ini sedang berhadapan dengan perbelanjaan yang meningkat akibat ekonomi dunia yang tidak menentu.

http://www.malaysia-today.net/dont-mess-up-the-system/



(A Facebook picture shows Rural and Regional Development Minister Ismail Sabri being served turtle eggs allegedly at the Restoran Indah Keranamu in Sandakan which went viral)

Media has always been a significant pillar of society. Media doesn’t just report happenings, it also builds public opinion. This puts the media in a powerful position in a democracy and wherever there is power there is a chance of misuse of that power.

In some countries, powerful media houses are said to have influenced election results by portraying people and events a certain way. In Malaysia too.

The media space has changed a lot with the emergence of social media. With social media, the public has eyes and ears everywhere. They are not limited to camera crews of a few TV channels or reporters of a few newspapers.

Social media is a platform that showcases public opinion such that it cannot be easily doctored. It reflects the pulse of society. Even traditional media channels keep an eye on ongoing social media trends.

In the recent past, we have seen so many top news stories originate from social media. Apart from highlighting issues that are socially relevant and crucial, social media has also exposed the disconnect between the government and the population. People are more aware of what our leaders are up to and exchange notes on how laws and policies affecting them are being made. Gone are the days when the government could pass laws behind closed doors without the public realising it for months. Thanks to the social media, discussion on political issues and implications is widespread and immediate.

Some politicians thrive on keeping communities apart and playing one’s interests over the other to secure their votebanks. As boundaries between people blur over social media, and they become more aware and better informed, this will no longer be easy to do. One needs to be more aware and alert while making speeches or statements. People see through any gimmick done with an ulterior motive and any sign of a narrow mindset comes in for severe criticism, just like the ‘kafir harbi’ issue.

Like all powerful tools, social media should also be used with utmost care and responsibility failing which it can cause damage to the society. In the recent terror attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport in Turkey, terrorists used social media widely to plan and execute their attacks, 42 people were killed and injured hundreds of others. More recently, in Sabah, The Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA), headed by Huguan Siou Joseph Pairin Kitingan had to lodge a police report against the “Majlis Himpunan Rakyat Membantah Penarikan MyKad” (Council of the Gathering of Citizens to Protest the Withdrawal of the MyKad) which was planing to hold an anti-RCI event in Kota Kinabalu on May 31, a poster on the event circulating in social media went viral, social media was used to spread panic and fear among Sabahans leading to the police report.

However, with its potential to bring people together, social media also holds immense promise as a tool for social change. We have recently seen many successfully executed protests organised over social media that have made the right impact,like Bersih the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections, for the first time, the act of mass civil disobedience ran for 34 hours in Kuala Lumpur. Another application of social media could be to effectively utilize the vast diversity of human resource that Sabah has which is still lying untapped. For instance, in my SIB (Sidang Injil Borneo) church, somebody announces a dental camp in a locality on a date and others join, including doctors, dentist, dental nurses and even pharmacist. Likewise, somebody announces a tree planting drive or a cleaning drive and people support the initiative with their time or resources.

We are clearly passing through a phase of transformation. Sabah is a nation of youth who have a big role to play in that transformation.

Social media is a medium that connects them and gives them voice. This voice is growing louder. It is a welcome sign and I’m really glad Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman has embrace the social media in a big way and he is very active on Facebook and Twitter and WhatsApp groups, and he regularly updates events and photos.


Anybody vaguely interested in politics or international relations would be familiar with the term, “In politics, there are no permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests.” Today’s enemy can be a tomorrow’s friend and can be a best friend, in politics enemies are not permanent.

They say when words just cant say enough, a picture is worth a thousand words, Pairin, Musa Aman and Lajim Ukim during Tadau Kaamatan 2016 celebration – The Sabah Spirit- reflects the spirit of unity, brotherhood and humanity!


Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman in a meeting recently said – “Sabah of my dream is a vibrant, prosperous State where peace prevails and the people, irrespective of  race, creed or religion, live side by side in harmony and prosperity. I dream of a corruption free society and a people fully developed to take their rightful place in the bigger Malaysian society and propelling our beautiful State and country forward. I would like to see the government of the day being governed by people who, in turn, are governed by God. As Walt Disney said, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” My government has that courage.”

I felt very refreshing to know the kind of Sabah our present Chief Minister dreams of. “My government has that courage”, the Chief Minister said.  Read the below two articles by The Daily Express and The Star and you will know why he has the courage.
This is reported by Daily Express

Political instability, the State Government’s inability to formulate long-term development plans for Sabah and a stormy relationship with the Federal Government in the past were among reasons why it was necessary for Umno to expand its wings to Sabah.

Recalling the events 25 years ago, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, who is also Sabah Umno Liaison Committee Chairman, said it is crucial that young leaders contemplate the party’s historical entry into the State which was made possible after Sabahans realised they needed a new political model which could unite the people after unhealthy excessive politicking which put too much emphasis on racial interests.

Sabah Umno seized power from Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) which was then in the opposition in 1994.

“During those days, this change was no longer a choice but a demand, because we understood that instability and disunity benefit no one. This is why we see Umno as a new hope because of its track record in the peninsula.

“We hoped that Umno would be the glue that unites the people as it had done in the peninsula, and thus bring stability to our region which would mean, development in all aspects for the State,” he said.

Musa said this in his speech at the Sabah Umno Silver Jubilee celebration at the Umno Building, Monday.

Also present were Umno Information Chief Tan Sri Annuar Musa, representing Umno Central, all Sabah Umno State and Federal ministers and Sabah Umno division chiefs.

Musa added that Umno did not come against the will of the people but to bring Sabah out of political instability and to bring with it development and progress for the State as well as unity and harmony.

“This is our history. This is why we chose Umno. And we have to remember this always.

Our purpose had always been for the people and our State and we have to explain this to our new generations so they will understand what they have inherited,” he said.

Since Umno officially came to Sabah on Feb. 22, 1991, the party had gone from strength to strength, increasing its number to 25 divisions, 5,676 branches and 546,879 members, making it the largest State component within the party.

Currently, six of the 11 State Cabinet ministers are from Umno while 31 out of 60 State seats in the last general election were won by Umno candidates.

Despite its giant grip on the State Government, Musa reminded Sabah Umno members not to relax because defending something is a lot harder than obtaining it.

“Once upon a time even though it was hard, our work was made lighter when we were clear about our objectives.

We knew and saw our common enemies and we shared a common agenda.

“But once we have achieved the success we wanted, we are worried that the unity and togetherness will be lost little by little because of personal interest. Moreover, we forgot that the victory must be defended.

“Therefore, it is important that we put the interest of the party before self and continue the struggle,” he said.

Musa said party leaders and members must not dance to the tune determined by the opposition but to keep the course while at the same time, start to contribute to the national agenda.

“As the captain of the ship and the State, I vow to continue the fight to safeguard the rights of the people and defend the State’s interest. After 52 years, it had always been our desire to see Sabah and Sabahans be given more significant acknowledgement in bringing Malaysia forward. We believe that cooperation and teamwork is the best way towards this goal,” he said.

Earlier, Musa also announced that he had asked the State Umno Information Secretariat to kickstart an initiative to publish a special documentary to record the legacy of Umno’s struggle in Sabah.

The documentary will, among others, detail the identity of each individual who had contributed to the party especially those who have passed away.

The initiative, he said, is crucial in order to ensure their past contributions are not forgotten and will forever be memorialised within the party’s history book.

And this is reported by THE STAR

Sabah Umno will never waver from its key struggles, including safeguarding the state’s rights, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman (pic) said.

He said the members had every reason to celebrate Umno’s expansion to Sabah 25 years ago as the party had stuck to its original intentions of doing so.

Musa, the Sabah Umno chief, said the party’s presence had resulted in political stability in the state.

He noted that Sabah had seen tremendous progress and development since Umno’s entry in 1991.

“No one can deny the fact that our party has had an excellent track record in Sabah,” Musa said when launching Sabah Umno’s silver anniversary celebrations at its headquarters here.

He said prior to Umno’s entry, there was much political instability in Sabah, frequent changes in government and no long-term planning and policies.

Musa said Sabah began sliding backwards in terms of development compared to Sarawak and other states.

“There was far too much politicking, and Umno provided a refreshing change,” he said.

Despite being just 25 years old, he said Sabah Umno, which has nearly 547,000 members in 5,676 branches and 25 divisions, had become a significant presence within the 70-year-old parent body.

Among those present at the celebrations was Umno information chief Tan Sri Anuar Musa.

Also present were former Sabah Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Sakaran Dandai, Information and Communications Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Tun Said and former chief minister Datuk Osu Sukam.



Creating history in Sabah’s politics, Musa Aman is once again back to the power of the state as the poll result of the just-concluded 13th General Election of May 5 showed that he won a landslide victory. The UMNO and Barisan National alliance grabbed more than two-thirds of the seats (48) in the 60 state assembly seats and 22 of the 25 Parliamentary seats. Musa Aman’s victory is said to be due to the triumph of development, progress, and good governance.

From the very beginning, the 2013 assembly poll counting hinted that the UMNO-BN alliance would create a history in Sabah with their new win and they proved by attracting a total of 442,493 votes for state seats and 434,522 for parliamentary seats which total 877,015 in all. The opposition, on the other hand, received only 59,862 votes for the State seats and 287,559 votes for Parliamentary seats.

Musa Aman, received the biggest chunk of votes with 16,637 for a state seat in Sibuga among the coalition’s state component leaders, a majority of 11,569 votes, underscoring the popularity of his Halatuju policy for the state’s development. His acceptance of a renewed term as Chief Minister also makes it the first time a Sabah Chief Minister had broken the nine-year jinx and continued to hold the fortress, basically what I have been saying all along.

Also as predicted, the Sabah Progressive Party led by former chief minister Datuk Yong Teck Lee was wiped out losing all the 41 state and eight parliamentary seats contested. Yong himself was beaten by DAP’s Youth leader Junz Wong in Likas state seat. Apart from Bingkor, Dr Jeffrey’s STAR candidates lost all 48 state and 21 parliamentary seats it contested. Except for the Klias state seat, Sabah UMNO retained all its 13 parliamentary and 31 (out of 32) state seats it contested.

While many facile analyses will attribute the electoral outcome in Sabah to factors that were marginally relevant, the more astute of analysts will see in the turnout figures what this election was really about. Of particular interest would be the number of first time voters and of even greater significance the spike in the Women Voter turnout. It would not be exaggeration to describe this election as the one where Women and Youth reposed their faith overwhelmingly in Musa Aman. In the processing putting up a Firewall against Race, Religion and every other political construct from the decades gone past that have come to define incumbencies.

This win signifies 6 things for Musa and Sabah:

#1 – He is a trend setter and has established that pro-incumbency sentiment can firewall against even the toughest of incumbencies and a 10 year run for the Chief Minister.

#2 – He is able to break from the past, having able to discard political constructs of the past 5 decades to analyse this election. This requires a new political construct to analyse how elections of the future will be fought as well.

#3 – He proves that Technology can be a winner – and that is necessary to stop being apologetic for being tech friendly.

#4 – He has sent a signal to the Pakatan Rakyat and its extended ecosystem of Sabah Progressive Party and Star that the cliche victimhood card as a permanent political agenda is past its sell by date. Cynicism no longer sells.

#5 – It is reflective of what the future can hold for Malaysia.

#6 – It shows Sabah is kingmaker in Malaysian politics.

Between women and youths lies the “New Sabah”. The story of this election’s win is really the story of how the ‘New Sabah’ came to be and how Musa Aman has laid out a political roadmap to realise its aspirations. Musa Aman preferred to call this a ‘Covenant of Commitment’. But I would go a step further to call it the ‘ladder of opportunity’.

For the first time in the middle of a high stakes election for an incumbent Chief Minister in a country like Malaysia to go on record and express his commitment to Development takes both courage and conviction. It is much easier to resort to cheap populism. What I find striking about this election is the creativity with which the “Safety of Net” has been promised. This has been done so while being steadfast about creating a “Ladder of Opportunity”. Thus there is the opportunity for more citizens to cross over that much riled “Poverty Line” through targeted interventions and join the “New Sabah”. The “safety net” that has been promised is less of a trap that sucks you into dependency but more of a trampoline that helps you bounce right back to find your way up that ladder of opportunity.

The earliest indicators of the rise of the ‘New Sabah’ came from the Census data of Rural Households. Between the fall of Harris Salleh’s Berjaya that was wrongly attributed to “Sabah Shining” and the re-election of Pairin Kitingan’s PBS that was once again wrongly attributed to ‘Sabah rights based entitlements’ most commentators have ignored what the Census data told us going as far back as 1985. In block after block, district after district, when queried over what kind of assistance Rural families preferred one message came out loud and clear – education, skills and security.

Musa Aman’s comments on the rise of the ‘New Sabah’ during the release of Sabah BN’s manifesto for the May 5th 13 General Elections may come as a surprise to many but there is a sound demographic basis to it. Back in 2008 as an academic exercise an economist friend had dissected the electoral landscape in Sabah through the prism of the 2006 Census data. It was found that the opportunity exists to materially alter the battleground in Sabah through a platform that emphasized on ‘economic issues’ that can size up to the ‘economic aspirations’ of the “New Sabah”.

It is this “New Sabah” that a hunger for job opportunities and infrastructure is shaping a different kind of electoral discourse where development and economic growth are viewed as essential to the ladder of opportunity while concerns over inflation manifest into the desire for a subsidy-oriented safety net. This is markedly different from the Pakatan Rakyat, SAPP and Star rhetoric which is all about imaginary rights and entitlements with the lure of cash transfers. The key difference is that the “New Sabah” is far more impatient to climb the ladder of opportunity rather than militate like the opposition parties for a safety net woven out of rights and entitlements.

Social engineering and victimhood narratives have been political anomalies for some time now with a young and impatient Sabahans hungry to satisfy its aspirations making electoral choices that defy conventional political wisdom. Soon they will become anachronisms with the Sabah victory marking the first time an explicit agenda targeting Sabahans being advanced by Musa Aman receiving such a resounding endorsement from the citizenry.

The opposition hasn’t been able to counter Musa Aman, but they say they have been able to contain him. That is one way of looking at it. What Musa has won is 18 seats more than the required majority, which is not spectacular, but the number is still more than what the opposition has managed to win. In fact, this is more a personal victory for Musa Aman than for the Barisan National.

There is no question Musa Aman is a master strategist.


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

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

and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


As the hours zero in on the closing of the Sulu standoff and a possibility of some intense immigrant backlash in Lahad Datu and her neighbouring coastal towns, one may wonder what is next for Sabah. Although speculations have indicated that the prolong stand off is due to meek and uncharismatic leadership by the top guns of BN, one could also say that they have been making calculated and planned moves to ensure success and simultaneously lessening the anti- BN war cry among neigh sayers. After all, an early move could result in multiple riots among Suluk immigrants throughout Sabah. As predicted, Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman, has had his share of publicity amidst the standoff as well. The Suluk Filipinos are after his head as they eye the Chief Minister’s post in a renewed bid and Musa, affectionately known as Moses among his fellow Dusuns, has Foreign Minister and brother, Anifah Aman along for the ride, this time around.

Their major critics, Suluk Filipinos and the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), allege that Anifah is Musa’s “real nominee”, who is involved in all sorts of shady dealings involving timber and even the recent arrest of Manuel Amalilo aka Mohammad Suffian Syed who scammed 15,000 Filipinos of 12 billion pesos (RM895 million) in a ponzi scheme in Philippines is purportedly engineered by the Aman brothers which is so ridiculous. Those who know Anifah will swear that the Kimanis MP is one shrewd operator too. He’s strictly scrupulous about the way he arranges his public and private life. Having made his money and tons of it before he went into politics, Anifah has since then stayed out of business and professional dealings which would cast aspersions on his character and his integrity in public service. So, the critics would appear to be barking up the wrong tree on Anifah. I mean, why would you kick a dog just because you hate its owner?

Many want to see Anifah destroyed along with Musa to minimize any possibility that the younger brother taking up the challenge of being the Chief Minister if ever the opportunity presents itself. Anifah is getting closer by the day to the Chief Minister’s post as he has since chalked up an enviable record as Foreign Minister. Aside from Anifah, Pairin is the only other leader who will get Musa’s support as his successor. But Pairin has been Chief Minister from 1985 to 1994, and is unlikely to accept his old post even if offered. He is also extremely pleased with Musa’s performance as Chief Minister since he took over the reins of the state government. He works quietly without getting into needless politicking, or like PKR, promising the sun, the moon and the stars in between.

It’s not surprising that PKR has no qualms about walking on the wild side of politics in Sabah. It’s an open secret in the state that Opposition Leader and de facto PKR chief Anwar Ibrahim was among the chief architects responsible for placing illegal immigrants, mainly drawn from Suluk Filipinos, on the electoral rolls. He was then in the BN Government as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister. Anwar’s shady past in Sabah has caught up with him in the present to haunt his future. That’s why the call is getting louder in Sabah for Anwar to be called in as witness to the ongoing RCI on illegal immigrants in the state. Besides, PKR has even pledged, in an act of political suicide, that illegal immigrants in Sabah would all be given permanent residency (PR) status should the opposition alliance seize the reins of power in the state.

Between the Suluk Filipinos and Anwar’s PKR, they are not too happy that Musa convinced Najib Tun Razak and mobilised UMNO Sabah to pledge support for the RCI. More alarm bells have gone off when Anifah lashed out publicly not so long ago against attempts by the a special unit at the National Registration Department (NRD) in Putrajaya to issue birth certificates and MyKads to 40,000 people in Semporna alone without going through the local Mobile Court system. Anifah doubted that there could be that many people in one district alone without personal Malaysian documents. But the truth is, Semporna is undoubtedly infested with illegal immigrants, especially Suluk from the nearby Sulu Archipelago in the Philippines.

Anifah’s outburst on Semporna, coming on top of his brother’s public support for the RCI, was the last straw for the Suluk Filipinos. They, led by the Godfather, decided that the Aman brothers would have to go sooner rather than later. Their “secret weapon” is to recycle the old Chinaman’s story, of Michael Chia Thien Foh being nabbed with some Singapore $16 million at one time at Hong Kong Airport, and allegedly close to Musa. But the truth to the matter is, Micheal Chia is a bosom buddy to Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, minister in the Prime Minister Department. So close is Chia that he had even given Nazri’s son a Hummer SUV, as a gift of sorts.

The story, as it now transpires, is that Chia was never caught in the Hong Kong Airport with bag load of foreign currency. Chia’s hotel room in Hong Kong was raided by the Hong Kong authorities, acting on a tip-off which came from an estranged business partner of Chia, now at loggerheads. In that hotel raid, the Hong Kong authorities found in Chia’s room Singapore $ 16 million. So, this whole story about Micheal Chia getting caught in Hong Kong Airport is a whole lot of rubbish. It never happened in the Hong Kong Airport but indeed took place in the hotel room in Hong Kong where Chia was staying.

The Hong Kong case, if any, has been closed but PKR and Musa’s Suluk Filipino political enemies do not want to cease and desist. They are doggedly flogging the Hong Kong in various recycle versions and liberally dishing them around among the alternative media with known links to PKR and Anwar. A new spin from both PKR and the Suluk Filipinos, is that Attorney-General Gani Patail is related to Musa through his wife. Hence, as the spin continues, his reluctance to prosecute the Sabah Chief Minister and his brother “despite the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) having concluded its investigations”.

The fact of the matter is that it’s not the AG who immediately decides on the prosecution of Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders suspected of being involved in corruption. The MACC files on such leaders have to be sent to the Prime Minister who in turn will have to return them to the Commission before they are sent to the AG for further action, if any. In Musa and Anifah’s case, even if there’s an MACC file on both of them, it’s unlikely that it has been sent to Prime Minister Mohd Najib Abdul Razak. Indeed, even if such a file exists and it has been sent to the Prime Minister, it’s highly unlikely that he would be so foolish as to send it back to the MACC for onward transmission to the AG.

This is the system first initiated by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. The MACC files on Eric Chia of Perwaja Steel and Kasitah Gaddam were under lock and key in Mahathir’s office for years. It was his successor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi aka Pak Lah, who sent these files back to MACC. The rest is history. Even if there’s a circumstantial case against Musa and Anifah, current PM Najib is unlikely to rock his Fixed Deposit state of Sabah just because some Suluk Filipino got too big for his boots and wants to be Chief Minister. For one, no Suluk Filipino will ever become Chief Minister of Sabah.

The Dusuns in particular — including the Kadazan and Murut – would not allow it. That would be the worst imaginable political scenario for them as it would open the floodgates to further influx of illegal immigrants from the Philippines in particular. Mindful that the Dusuns and Muruts through Joseph Pairin Kitingan and the Parti Bersatu Sabah are solidly behind Musa, the Suluk Filipinos recently tried to sponsor KDM Malaysia as an NGO to further split the non-Muslim Natives as a political force to reckon with in the state. Their efforts came to nothing and the NGO is currently on the verge of being deregistered by the Registrar of Societies (ROS).

For another, the Suluk Sabahans and other local Muslims – Dusun, Bajau, Barunai, Irranun, among others – are dead set against a Suluk Filipino taking the reins of the state government. The stand was made clear by the Suluk Sabahans who have re-grouped under the old United Sabah National Organisation (Usno) in a protest against the disproportionate political role being played in Umno by the Suluk Muslims. The Suluk Filipinos running amok in Sabah, like other illegal immigrants, should thank their lucky stars that they have not so far been detained and deported to the Philippines and banned forever from entering the state. If they think that they can cover up their tracks and buy political protection by seizing the Chief Minister’s post, they are sadly mistaken. Already, local Muslims feel increasingly marginalized and disenfranchised by the continuing influx of the illegal immigrants who go on to enter the electoral rolls and monopolize opportunities which would have otherwise gone to them.

The Lahad Datu armed intrusion and the Malaysian armed forces’ operations against the Filipino Suluk intruders claiming Sabah belongs to Philippines is a real eye opener. We have lost 8 of our security personals so far in this skirmish since the events began unfolding in Lahad Datu. For decades, we have allowed the influx of illegal immigrants and granted citizenships to Filipino immigrants under Project IC. The security threats posed by the large presence of illegals in Sabah has been highlighted by Sabahans for decades but this has fallen on deaf ears in Putrajaya. News of Azzimuddie Kiram’s brother who resides in Sabah, being placed on the police’s wanted list shows the complexities of the situation. Many of the Suluks and Moros, numbering 500,000 in Sabah, are ardent followers of the Sulu sultanate. Will they still support BN?

Although still too early to say who Sabah will decide to be their next leader, how they will go about it and the reasons behind it is no mystery. It has to be a “Sabah for Sabahan” stand for now, and having outsiders, local or otherwise, just may not make the cut. The tic-tac-toe of Sabah’s next Man will eventually be dealt with in good time. And who knows, perhaps other media oulets like Reuters, Al-Jazeera and Bernama just may have their own take on the socio-political landscape of Sabah, allowing for newer and more different ideas and even evidences to be discussed and showcased.

But for now, ladies and gentlemen, back to the stand off.


The coming state assembly elections for Sabah may be a pivotal moment in determining the future trajectory of the state’s political economy and indeed progress, in the near term. Pitted against each other are two contesting visions of Sabah: the incumbent coalition government comprising the Umno-led BN in a coalition with local parties Party Bersatu Sabah (PBS), United Pasok Momogun Kadazan Organisation (UPKO),Party Bersatu Rayat Sabah (PBRS) and Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), are campaigning on a platform of good governance which is supported by the arithmetic of rapid economic growth — approximately 7 per cent on average — in the last ten years of Musa Aman’s government.

On the other side is the Pakatan Rakyat combine shepherded by Anwar Ibrahim and Bumburing’s Angkatan Perubahan Sabah (APS) and Lajim Ukin’s Pertubuhan Pakatan Perubahan Sabah (PPPS), which still believes that it can acquire power in Kota Kinabalu by manipulating the state’s race and religious arithmetic in its favour. The Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) and Sabah STAR is the third front in this contest — trying to take on the incumbent government on a Borneo agenda-Sabah autonomy, rather than governance plank — but not yet powerful enough to be a credible alternative in government, leaving many to believe that both the SAPP and Star Sabah have been planted by Barisan National to split the opposition votes. After all, President Yong Teck Lee himself will have plenty explaining to do on what he did during his tenure as chief minister when SAPP was in the BN.

It would be in the larger interest of the state of Sabah and its people if this election puts to rest the notion that power can still be captured based on old social divisions and grievances. It is important for Sabah’s political economy to move on to a politics of aspiration, where people vote for a party or coalition that delivers governance. This will force all serious political parties (including the SAPP and Sabah Star if they want to remain relevant) to contest future elections on a forward looking governance plank in the spirit of the Malaysia Agreement within the framework of the Federal Constitution, rather than a backward looking social engineering plank. This time round, such reasoning undoubtedly favours the UMNO-PBS combination which is the main pillar of Barisan National Sabah, and a majority of opinion polls, for what they are worth, suggest an easy victory for the Musa Aman-led coalition.

But a political economy which puts governance at its centre may not favour the incumbent government for all times to come, such are the huge challenges facing any government that is elected to power in Sabah. To what extent can Musa Aman’s government claim credit for Sabah’s apparent turnaround, powered by a growth rate higher than Malaysia’s average over the last five years? A dissection of the growth figures shows both the contribution of the government and the challenges that remain. Most of Sabah’s growth these past five years has been powered by agriculture, construction, tourism and services, particularly hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, trade and, to an extent, oil and gas. The impressive growth in these sectors isn’t matched by the lethargic performance in manufacturing — those are challenges that still face the next government.

The state government can claim credit for fuelling the growth in agriculture, fisheries, tourism and construction, since much of this has come through rural development projects, water supply, electrification, bridges and roads funded through the federal and state’s exchequer. In fact, the government’s public spending record has been good, and a massive improvement on the poor spending record of the previous governments before Musa Aman that preceded it. Planned spending was tripled within ten years of the Musa Aman government taking office. This has spillover effects, in a Keynesian “stimulus” sense. Apart from increasing spending, the government has also taken huge strides in improving the law and order situation especially in the east coast of Sabah where bulk of the illegals with fake or questionable Malaysian identity have outnumbered the locals. That has helped boost not just agriculture and the construction activity but has also given a fillip to service industries in the tourism sector like hotels and restaurants which have registered impressive growth.

In short, the government has effected the turnaround in the state’s economic fortunes by simply doing the two things any good government ought to: implementing law and order as well as spending on infrastructure. In doing so, it has reversed the long decline in the state’s fortunes that took place before Musa Aman took over the chief ministers in 2003. It is also important to remember that a lot of this impressive growth in the last five years has plenty to do with Sabah starting from a very low base — and that there is a limit to the sustainability of a growth rate that is powered largely by government spending and a small section of services industries and not forgetting that Sabah is the 2nd largest state in Malaysia with an area of 74,500 sq. km which is 260 times bigger than Penang, which is only 293 sq. km in size even, smaller than Sabah Forest Industries (SFI). Therefore for growth to be sustainable it needs to be more broad-based into manufacturing and agriculture.

Here, the task gets a lot harder, and will involve massive policy reform in land, labour and product markets. What makes Sabah’s task of industrialisation harder than that of some other states is the fact that goods are more expensive in Sabah due to the federal government’s cabotage rules a policy set in the early 1980s, making sure that all the domestic transport of foreign goods could only be done by Malaysian vessels, reducing Sabah’s attractiveness as an investment destination. This protectionist policy has led to excessive shipping costs, importers and exporters in Sabah had to pay more than RM1 billion for shipping services as a result, causing prices everywhere in East Malaysia to go up and ultimately a higher cost of living and higher price of goods as producers hike up prices to compensate the increase in cost of production. Further more, Sabah lost a lion’s share of its industries after Labuan became a Federal Territory.

What may also turn out to be an unforeseen advantage is the rather shambolic state of governance in surrounding states — Sarawak, Brunei, The Sulu States, and even Kalimantan. If Sabah can consistently outperform these states on governance, it could easily become the industrial hub of East Malaysia — a region which still trails Penang and Selangor on most economic parameters by some distance.

But to capitalise on these potential advantages, the Musa Aman government will have to do much more than maintain law and order and actively engage in spending which has been done of late with a huge budget approval of over RM4 billion this year. It will also need to take bold policy steps to liberalise rules that deter investment. In doing so it may have to go further than other states which already have a head start in attracting investment. The government will, for example, need to ease labour laws and better wages, so that Sabahans can be gainfully employed within the state. It will need to take aggressive steps to ease land acquisition so that it can have an advantage over neighbouring Sarawak. If the government fails to do this and more, growth will begin to slow, giving the opposition plenty of ammunition. At any rate, Sabah’s future elections ought to be fought on these issues of the future rather than the outdated legacies of the past. This leaves Musa Aman still the best man for the job.