Archive for the ‘PKR’ Category



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.


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!


The Third Rail of Malaysian Politics: True Leadership.


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.



President of Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) Taiko Yong Teck Lee’s romancing of the Barisan National may end his love affair with the Sabah opposition front soon. But this new love story bring up the moot question as to why he is so desperate when the Barisan National has hardly given any indication to warmly accommodate him under its fold. Sources in the Barisan National say Yong Teck Lee can’t be trusted. How can they depend on a leader who was willing to ditch the Barisan National—his decade-old senior partner — when he felt the relations between both were strained because of one man Pak Lah? Earlier too, Yong Teck Lee parted ways with Pairin Kitingan and formed the SAPP. The gainer of this triangular game being played in the state may be Shafie Apdal a good friend of Yong Teck Lee who is waiting and watching in the wings to take over as chief minister from Musa Aman.

Remember when Yong Teck Lee was chief minister he together with Shafie Apdal milked Yayasan Sabah until it nearly when dry? However, thanks to Musa Aman,he saved the day for Yayasan Sabah. Even Lajim Ukin, Sabah’s famous party hopper and old buddy of Yong Teck Lee from the Party Bersatu Sabah (PBS) days where both began their political career and where both plotted to destroy PBS are seen regularly together nowadays. If recent gathering in the meetings of SAPP is any indication, then Yong Teck Lee being adamant to go for a majority of the state seats (60 in Sabah) this coming looming 13th general election on what he termed as “the principle of Sabah autonomy” is all about splitting the opposition votes and helping Barisan National win big.

The political signal coming from Yong Teck Lee in the last few months indicate that he is trying to sail on two boats — Barisan National and Pakatan Rakyat — at the same time. His shifting statements to keep both the major political parties in good humour may end with a backlash. At the same time, Pakatan Rakyat camp specially The Democratic Action Party (DAP) feels that Yong Teck Lee is not dependable and his track record for the last couple of years shows that he is more committed to divide and split the opposition votes. It is a known fact that despite poor governance Yong Teck Lee ruled this politically vibrant state for 2 years but a lot say he worked 4 long years (pun added because he worked day and night 24hours a day making hay while there is sunshine with his partner in crime Joseph Ambrose Lee).

Yong Teck Lee’s new political strategy to oppose Pakatan Rakyat and hinting he would also ditch Dr Jeffrey’s State Reform Party (STAR) anytime is also meant to hijack Dr Jeffery’s old battle cry of ” Sabah For Sabahans” , “Sabah Rights” and now “Ini Kali Lah”, and keep his minority flock in his pocket. In the meantime, Yong Teck Lee is trying his best to sweep the issues of malgovernance and corruption during his time as chief minister under the carpet with the help of captive media. Being a shrewd seasoned politician, Yong Teck Lee knows his limitations; he also knows the art of handling the levers of the power equations. He has hardly missed any occasion to profess his loyalty to the Party Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), and Anwar Ibrahim in particular. Recently, he took the opportunity to welcome Anwar Ibrahim in the Kota Kinabalu International Airport and this says a lot. Though he is not a part of the Pakatan Rakyat but only supports it from the outside, he also denounced DAP Sabah strongly. Is Yong Teck Lee driving a wedge between Anwar Ibrahim and DAP Sabah?

In a given political situation, Yong Teck Lee doesn’t have any other alternative but to support the PKR in Sabah after his bad outing in the Batu Sapi Parliamentary by-election where even Ansari of PKR did better then him. He can’t think of joining Pakatan Rakyat because of DAP Sabah whereas Dr Jeffrey Kitingan can move in any direction. The challenge for the opposition is how to strike an agreement among themselves so that there will be only one-to-one fights with the Barisan. It will not be easy because SAPP and DAP are eyeing the same seats while Jeffrey is unlikely to give way to PKR on choice seats. Besides, there is no love lost between Dr Jeffrey and Anwar Ibrahim.

Now, as political churning is going on in Sabah, the situation is that the two political stalwarts Yong Teck Lee and Dr Jeffrey Kitingan are being used as pawns in a game played by the Barisan National and Pakatan Rakyat, both “Party Party Malaya” as they say here in Sabah.


Musa Aman has the distinction of being the longest serving Chief Minister of the state of Sabah. He firstly assumed this responsibility in March 27th 2003. Thereafter, he has had sweeping victories in two successive Assembly Elections held in 2004 and March 2008. He has also won successive byelections for Barisan National, example, the Batu Sapi Parliamentary elections where Taiko Yong Teck Lee the President of SAPP was trashed badly and so was PKR’s Ansari Abdullah. The victory of 2008 12th General Elections where he won 59 seats out of the total 60 seats is a reaffirmation of the people’s faith in his leadership, statesmanship and governance which he displayed as Chief Minister from 2003.

Widely regarded as a youthful and energetic, innovative and a determined leader, he has successfully communicated his vision to 3 million people of Sabah and has been able to instill a sense of confidence in what they have and a hope for a golden tomorrow. An astute politician, a skilled orator and a deft negotiator, Musa Aman has earned the love and affection of the people from kampongs, towns and city alike which makes him a rare leader of the masses. When he became the Chief Minister of Sabah for the first time in March 27th 2003, he already had experience in banking and business earlier, besides, he was Minister of Finance since March 27, 2001 in Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat’s cabinet. His utmost commitment and dedication have rendered him as an outstanding administrator and after being elected for the 2nd term, in March 2008, as chief minister, the Sabah Chinese Chamber of Commerce had a lot of good words to say about Musa Aman and the prudent ways he handle the state’s finance, a rare comment from Chinese business community.

When the Musa government was sworn-in in 2003, the economy of Sabah was reeling under several adverse trends. The growth in various sectors was stagnant, major parts of the state were facing water scarcity and power shortage, infrastructure was in shambles and investments had slowed down. Moreover, the mood of the people was despondent. The biggest challenge was to resurrect the spirits and the economy, revive the livelihoods and to construct the infrastructure. However Musa Aman, a master strategist enriched by national and international exposure and experience, decided to take the bull by its horns and turned an adversity into an opportunity. He re-oriented and re-organized government’s administrative structure, embarked upon a massive exercise for construction of infrastructure, recreation of the business environment and rejuvenation of the traditional entrepreneurial spirit of Sabah, putting Sabah back on the road to progress and prosperity.

Even when the construction of infrastructure was going on, Musa Aman did not lose sight of the bigger picture. He emphasized on all-inclusive and uniform development of all communities and districts. In the very first year of his tenure, he came out with an integrated strategy for overall development of the State which I call the EIGHT PILLARS:

1) Rural Development and Poverty Eradication

2) Quality and coverage in Education

3) Development of Human Resources

4) Power of energy Resources

5) Good Forest and Environmental Governance

6) Sustainable Development

7) Good Governance

8) Security and well being of people.

Sabah has registered a GDP growth of over 7% over past five years which is one of the highest growth rate among all the states in Malaysia. The efforts of Musa’s government have resulted into metamorphosis of a revenue deficit state into a revenue surplus state with reserves of 2.32 billion ringgit . Last year alone, the state’s export value stood at RM49.4 billion with trade surplus of RM16.6 billion.

Musa Aman mooted a model of development through people’s participation. USP of his development model has been a quantum leap (think big) and change right from the roots (no cosmetic changes). Sabah recorded the biggest gross output in agriculture compared to other states in the country. Agriculture production including short term and long term crops have quadrupled. Sabah produced RM13.21 billion or 24.7 per cent of the total of RM53.45 billion agricultural output in Malaysia last year. Sabah leads in energy production. Sabah has been able to supply uninterrupted three phase round the clock electricity to most of the kampongs in the state. The rural economy is now vibrant owing to this and some kampongs have turned into centers of production.

Working in harmony with the Federal Ministries, Musa’s Government has brought qualitative change in health services and health infrastructure to ensure a healthy mother and child in the very remote areas of Sabah. Focus on cent per cent enrollment of children through campaigns and resultant drooping drop out rates have been able to reverse the trend of high illiteracy rate from Sabah. The focus is putting Sabah at par with the developed regions in Human Development Index and work towards the achieving Millenium Development Goals declared by the UN. To ensure all round, all inclusive and uniform development, comprehensive and well conceived packages like indigenous people welfare in remote areas, development of coastal dwellers, upliftment of urban poor are under implementation.

Musa believes in the fact that good infrastructure is the driver of economic development. He therefore, paid utmost attention on physical and social infrastructure and involved private sector in their development. The rapid and qualitative development of ports, roads, bridges, LNG terminals, water distribution networks and other infrastructure facilities are being implemented in a big scale. Setting up of Kimanis RM1.5bil gas-fired plant a 300MW power plant to address the power supply issue in the state and water grid are exemplary achievements in infrastructure. Musa Aman has also created excellent infrastructure at tourist places. Urban sector has been enlivened by up gradation of civic amenities, state of art sports complexs, parks i.e the Perdana Park in Tanjung Aru and emphasis on cleanliness and greening. The well conceived, meticulously planned and professionally organized Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA) the one stop authority to drive Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) have put Sabah as a preferred investment destination among global investors. SDC has managed to secure a planned investment of RM112 billion as at the end of June 2012. SDC have not only attracted investments worth billions of USD but also created huge employment opportunities in the state. Its logical fall out is skill development for various class of people on a massive scale.

Even in the forest sector Musa has done a wonderful job as he has been pursuing for good forest and environmental governance in the interest of future generations to come. Recently, The Sabah Forestry Department had decided to re-gazette 183,000 hectares of Class 2 Commercial Forests into Class 1 Protection Forests to expand the expanse of totally protected forests in the state. This “bold” upward reclassification exercise involves principally lowland forest ecosystem in Ulu Segama and Gunung Rara Forest Reserves, in pursuance of Musa’s decision. This exercise shall mean that Danum Valley on its eastern fringes will be buffered by totally protected forests and in particular, the biologically rich Ulu Segama Forest Reserve (127,890 hectares) can no longer be logged now or in the future because of legislative protection.

At the same time, Northern Gunung Rara (55,000 hectares), which forms a vital wildlife buffer from Maliau Basin and Imbak Canyon to Danum Valley, will also be accorded full protection. Both areas, although logged over, are important wildlife habitats and are homes to iconic species such as orang-utan, pygmy elephants and the Bornean clouded leopard. Class 1 Protection Forests are given strict protection primarily for safeguarding water sheds, maintenance of stability of essential climatic and environmental factors, in addition to biodiversity conservation. Under the Forest Enactment 1968 (Sabah), the law forbids any form of conversion such as conversion into oil palm plantations or timber exploitation in a Class 1 Forest. After the gazettement of the Protection Forest Reserves in 1984, a total of 44 were gazetted as class 1 Forests, including the controversial Kukusan Hill Forest Reserve, Tawau, which was declassified to Class 2 in 2003. The last Class 1 gazettement was Maliau Basin Forest Reserve in 1997.

The latest decision by Musa will increase the area under total protection to about 1,300,000 hectares or some 17.5 per cent of Sabah’s total land area, exceeding the IUCN standard of 10 percent. Musa’s model of good governance is being applauded within the country and beyond. The way he has won the hearts of people of Sabah and his popularity at the national level shows that ‘Good governance is also good politics’.



Finally Deputy Federal Minister and United Malays National Organisation Supreme council member cum Beaufort divisional chief Lajim Hj Ukim is saying bye bye to UMNO/Barisan national. In not so many words but in front of a crowd of about 500 people at Kampung Bukit Kallam on July 18 Lajim has openly stated that he intends to join the opposition Pakatan Rakyat headed by Anwar Ibrahim.

“I will sacrifice my RM20,000 monthly pay and perks as a minister for my struggle to uphold Sabah’s rights and fight corruption and cronyism,” he said. He also said that he is expected to be sacked from UMNO and that he did not expect to be re-nominated by BN-Umno to defend his seat in this coming 13th General Election which must be held before April 2013.

Lajim was speaking in the house of former Kuala Penyu independent candidate John Ghani the former strongman from USNO, now PKR.

So, its no more rumour, this is final. Lajim wants out from UMNO and is hoping to be sacked so that he could get some sympathy votes and earn brownie points from his supporters.

By obtaining a sack, Sabah’s famous party hopper the Deputy Federal Minister of Housing and Local Government, is hoping to project himself as the sole champion of Sabahans who is oppressed by Putrajaya, as someone who is able to push and prod the Barisan National government at the Centre into working for the greater common good and struggle to uphold Sabah’s rights.

Lajim will do anything to enhance his political image, even if this means humiliating his senior colleagues in the party including Chief Minister Musa Aman, who heads UMNO and the BN in Sabah. Remember in 1987 he did the same, in-front of the press and dignitaries, in the Istana, he humiliated his boss Party President Pairin Kitingan during the swearing in ceremony because he was not appointed as Deputy Chief Minister. Instead Pairin appointed Baharum Titingan who lost his state seat as Deputy Chief Minister. Lajim was so frustrated then, he couldn’t control his emotions and was screaming profanity and vulgarity and used words like “menteri kalah menteri tewas”.

Then in 1994 he defected from the opposition Parti Bersatu Sabah which won the Sabah election. His action opened a floodgate of defections from PBS and saw the collapse of Pairin’s PBS government.

Now, Lajim has got an axe to grind with Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman. He thinks Musa Aman did not nominate him to defend the Beaufort Klias seat for BN in the last 2008 general election. This is not true because its Musa who actually pleaded to the BN chief the former premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi that Lajim be included in the BN candidate list. In fact Lajim’s own division didn’t want him as a candidate in Klias then.

Musa Aman is obviously not taken aback by the developments; if Lajim had only indicated what his grouses were, Musa would have presumably found a way to oblige Lajim. Musa Aman is a very fair man and always accommodating. But what Lajim wanted was not just development funds for his Klias constituency or BN cutting off his MP development fund allocation as he says, but one he could first criticise and then re-mould into his very own dream i.e to become chief minister of Sabah.

Lajim is working hand in glove with Shafie Apdal to pull down Musa Aman. Shafie Apdal too dreams to become chief minister of Sabah. Shafie Apdal is even rumoured to have given Lajim Ukim RM150 million road project from his Rural Ministry.

The strategy is, if Lajim continues with his tantrums, Najib, sooner or later, might come to believe there is no future in Musa Aman continuing as chief minister. And given this fractious relationship, any political development could serve as the trigger for a major upheaval. The moment Lajim withdraws support from UMNO, others inside and outside the alliance will begin to exercise their leverage. So he thinks. Lajim and Shafie wants the prime minister to intervene in Sabah’s affairs but that’s the last thing Najib would want to do because Musa Aman is doing a great job as chief Minister of Sabah and his governance is par excellence. So, why should Najib rock the boat?

Anyway, “Little Bird” has told me that Lajim Ukim will join join Anwar Ibrahim’s opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat once he officially leaves via a sack from UMNO which would happen pretty soon. It seems Anwar Ibrahim has agreed to make Lajim the No 1 man for PKR in Sabah. Anwar has even promised Lajim that if Pakatan wins the Sabah elections and if PKR gets the most number of seats Lajim would be chief minister, something Lajim has been dreaming since 1994.


In the next ten years, development will become the main political issue with different social groups demanding their share of the Sabah growth story.

The clearest evidence that the political paradigm is changing came from Musa Aman’s sweeping victory in the 2008 Sabah assembly elections. He cooked up a storm with a development plank that pushed traditional politics, both of patronage and identity, to the margins of irrelevance and gave him numbers that all political leaders dream of but rarely get.

It was a personal triumph for Musa Aman but the real significance of his win lies in what it says about the emergence of development as a key political issue in today’s Sabah.  So when the Sabah 2012 Budget was unveiled, it was the Biggest Ever budget in the history of Sabah and it amounted to RM4.048 billion, recording an increase of RM979.62 million or 31.92% as compared with the 2011 Budget of RM3.068 Billion, and this increase is all to be spent on development of the state. With the economy projected to continue growing at between 5-9% annually over the next decade, there is every reason to believe that development and governance issues will increasingly dominate public discourse with different social groups demanding their share of the GDP pie.

The Barisan National party’s politics of patronage of vote banks had currency in an underdeveloped economy. Race and religion-based identity politics took over as the process of economic and social empowerment began with the opening up of the economy.

Today, after a period of rapid growth, politics is set to enter another phase, which is likely to be defined by battles for a more equitable distribution of wealth and resources. The lessons from Sabah are slowly being assimilated. Musa Aman’s mastery over the emerging new idiom reaped him huge electoral dividends.

Now Sarawak’s  Taib Muhamud is seeking to emulate Musa Aman as he scrambles to set his house in order before the 13th General Elections although he just won the Sarawak state polls, but losing much support in the urban areas. Like Musa Aman next door, he too is concentrating his energies on targeted development projects for marginalized native communities. Dayak villages are at the top of his list, but he is also trying to ensure that roads, electricity, water, schools and primary health care centers reach areas populated by extremely backward natives and minorities.

In fact, Sarawak’s utilization record of funds allocated for development of minority concentration districts is one of the best just like Sabah — almost 60%.

It is important to understand the nature of the development politics taking shape.

It’s not just a simple matter of building roads or providing electricity. The question to which voters are demanding an answer is: development for whom?

Musa Aman’s success lay in the focused manner in which he took development to different social groups to create a wider constituency beyond the narrow race and religion base. This is identity politics of a different kind in which mobilization is not merely on the basis of race and religion but also on economic, gender and age subgroups.

The coming decade will see an acceleration of the factors responsible for altering the political dynamics in the country. The three important ones are the mainstreaming of marginalized social groups, the communications revolution and increasing urbanization.

The biggest success of Sabah democracy has been empowerment of natives and communities that existed outside the social pale. The spread of adult franchise, a series of affirmative steps like communal land titles, a slew of welfare measures and the growth of market forces are changing the feudal nature of social and economic relations. The rise of native-based parties like PBS, UPKO, PBRS  and even the spread of Jeffrey Kitingan’s STAR Sabah chapter which is allign to Sarawak’s State Reform Party and Jeffrey’s own UBF (United Borneo Front) which promotes the Borneo Agenda, are all signs that those at the bottom are demanding to be heard.

Besides, increasing connectivity in Sabah and Sarawak has only strengthened the process of empowerment. Mobile phone connections have already zoomed beyond 3 million and are expected to cross 5 million by 2015 in Borneo States, while internet penetration, according to industry estimates, will cross the 60% mark by 2020. It means people in every corner of the Borneo States are rapidly getting connected and acquiring independent means of accessing information. It also means that voters can no longer be fooled by mere rhetoric and empty promises. They want delivery and are acquiring the means to monitor it.

The third factor, urbanization, has the potential to take politics beyond race to include class. More than one third of the population is likely to be living in cities and towns by 2020 and their concerns and issues will be shaped by their urban environment and the growing disparity between the rich and the poor, between those who live in gated communities and drive shiny, big cars and those who live in kampongs without basic civic amenities and have to make do with shoddy public transport.

A transforming Sabah means a changing polity. Those who keep pace with the times will emerge as the powerhouses while others will fall behind. The visible process of fragmentation into subgroups, subregions and subcultures gives regional forces an advantage over national parties which have to work with a larger canvas.

Regional satraps like Musa Aman or Taib Muhamud or Pairin Kitingan or even Jeffrey Kitingan (except Jeffrey Kitingan, while the rest who despite belonging to the Barisan National are really regional chieftains) are better connected to the grassroots. They also have the flexibility to knit together an electorally successful social alliance specific to their state without having to worry about the bigger national picture.

The Barisan National was compelled by local Sarawak considerations to allow scam-hit Taib Mahmud to continue as chief minister even as it fought a high-pitched battle over corruption allegations during the recent Sarawak state elections 2011. Taib’s victory underlines the continuing relevance of the satraps.

The Barisan National Sarawak in its glory days was an umbrella party of strong regional leaders. Its decay began when Taib Mahmud started cutting them down one by one till the Chinese based SUPP party stood decimated as can be seen in the recent Sarawak State polls 2011. Today, regional chieftains have created their own political units while Baru Bian and Wong Ho Leng survive in national party like the PKR and DAP only because they have been given almost complete autonomy.

Yet, as Musa Aman understood and as Taib Mahmud seems to be realizing, regional leaders have to expand their political horizons beyond race and religious identities to remain on top. They have to put together broader social coalitions while national parties will have to put aside their dreams of single-party rule and contend with political coalitions to run Putrajaya. This is one reality that is unlikely to go away even as the political frame expands to include issues of development and governance and Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on Illegals getting Malaysian Identity Cards to become voters.

Past tense In politics, every player works and waits for a big moment. A real leader emerges when there is perfect harmony between his ideas and the people’s mood. But, at some point, he has to fade away. The leaders who make desperate attempts to cling to their receding turf often face humiliation. Taib Mahmud, once the giant of Sarawak politics, was rejected by the urbanites and even in one or two rural constituencies in the recent Sarawak State Elections 2011.

So, lets see what is there in the cards come the 13th General Election which should take place anytime before March 2013, and, with Anwar Ibrahim now acquitted from sodomy2 charges, things might move quite differently.


It was a great experience watching in CNN how on that night in US, Obama became President-elect. That election energised people across the US – and the world. There was great hope and expectation. How I wish we could say the same about Malaysia’s leaders.

Here, there is an air of resignation, of politics as usual, like the gutter politics of sex videos. We need a leader who can energise us, whom we can relate to, and who embodies a vision for the New Malaysia. We need to get a large percentage of our citizens involved in the community process – which is what Obama managed to do.

So, who can be Malaysia’s Obama? I think we have elections happening in the next 6-odd months. We need change, but will probably not get it this time. The three choices this time are likely to be Najib Tun Razak (who has disappointed more than delighted), Anwar Ibrahim (let’s hope he governs as well as he talks), and a dark horse in Muhideen Yassin (also a total disappointment). I think we will have to wait a few more years before Malaysia’s Obama emerges.

What helped Obama was the Internet – in raising cash for the campaign and mobilizing millions of supporters across the country. In Malaysia, that change will come in 5-6 years although we saw something close to it in the 2008 elections with the mobile platform. But we also need leaders who can think big and put Malaysia first, but sad we don’t have that kind at this moment.

So, who will be Malaysia’s Obama? Any ideas? If I had to pick one person, it would be Nurul Izzah Anwar Ibrahim. She is young even younger than Obama, relatively young compared to the people we have now. She is liberal, hardworking and gone through baptism of fire when her dad was thrown in jail for sodomy and portrayed as the biggest sex maniac in Malaysia, all trumped up by the system. She survived all that shame and continued to be a good efficient Member of Parliament and to the people in her constituency. Mind you she is a women, a mother, a daughter and what shame she has been put through, and she still stands tall in spite of all the shit thrown at her father.

Obama used the electronic media effectively to build his brand and channelise the tremendous support for his message of hope and optimism. A few years down the line, we might have a large number of Internet subscribers but I seriously doubt that we will have a politician who can rise above the cesspool and generate the same kind of enthusiasm among common people.

Of course the two names I have mentioned the current PM, his Deputy, has been a massive disappointment. They maybe effective campaigners and communicators but they rely heavily on the same old strategy of divide and rule. In summary, our search for Obama is going to be a long and hard one.


The Best Choice!

VOTE NURUL FOR DEPUTY PRESIDENT!

 

Also got word that 10 Divisions in Sabah has so far indicated that they would nominate Nurul for Deputy President. In Sarawak too, about 12 Divisions so far has indicated that they would nominate Nurul. This means Nurul has more than enough nominations for the Deputy Presidents post.