Archive for the ‘Sarawak’ Category


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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s Right With Malaysian Politics?

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

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

So What’s Wrong With it?

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

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

Too Many Questions….

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

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

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

Free and Fair…. Really?

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

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

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

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

Intolerance to Dissent is a Big Threat

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

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

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

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


For immediate release:

I laud Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed’s assurance on restoring the status of Sabah and Sarawak in accordance with Malaysia Agreement 1963.

It is indeed a timely announcement made on Malaysia Day, reflecting the true historical meaning of the date itself.

The restoration of the status of Sabah and Sarawak in accordance with MA63 is something that Sabah leaders have been striving for.

It is also one of the ideals that the previous administration pursued in the spirit of cordial Federal-State relations.

The announcement by the Prime Minister shows that he understands the sentiments of the people of Sabah and Sarawak.

I believe the support to restore the rights under MA63 comes from both sides of the political divide.

Hence, it is our hope that the proposal to restore Sabah and Sarawak’s status in line with MA63 will be hastened.

Such a move will strengthen the Federation of Malaysia, reduce the development gap between East and Peninsula Malaysia and improve the welfare of the people in Sabah and Sarawak.

Tan Sri Musa Haji Aman
September 17, 2018


musa_aman_c_c2427251_17910_965

Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman said the state government in no uncertain terms reject any claim by the Philippines on the state.

“I have made our stand on this matter before. Let me once again clearly state that we do not recognise or acknowledge any claim by the Philippines or any other country on Sabah,” Musa said.

He was responding to remarks made by a member of the Philippines Consultative Committee, Aquilino Pimentel Jr, which was reported in the media recently.

It was reported that Pimentel, who was appointed to review the 1987 Constitution, said he would propose the inclusion of Sabah in the Philippines as part of the country’s shift to a federal system of government.

He said Sabah is part of Malaysia and has chosen to be and would continue to be a part of the sovereign nation since the state became party to its formation.

”The people in Sabah choose to be in the state because it is in Malaysia. We have been enjoying peace, stability and economic prosperity within Malaysia,” Musa said in a statement today.

Earlier, Malaysia rejected the proposal by a member of a Filipino government committee to amend the Philippine Constitution to include Sabah as the “13th federal state” of the Philippines.

“Malaysia is aware of remarks made by Mr Aquilino Pimentel Jr, a member of the Philippines’ Consultative Committee, which appeared in the media on the claim on Sabah recently,” said Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman in a press statement.

“The Government of Malaysia reiterates its position that Malaysia does not recognise and will not entertain any claims by any party on Sabah. Sabah is recognised by the United Nations and the international community as part of Malaysia since the formation of the Federation on 16 September 1963,” said Anifah.

“Therefore, statements such as these will only expose the ignorance of history and international law of those who make them, as well as potentially harming the excellent bilateral relations which Malaysia and the Philippines currently enjoy,” Anifah added.

Aquilino Pimentel Jr is a member of a 25-member government consultative committee tasked with reviewing and proposing amendments to the Philippines 1987 Constitution. A key proposal is switching to a system of federal government from its current model where power is centralised.

“There should be a way that is acceptable under international laws to assert our claim to Sabah,” Pimentel, a former senator, told local ABS-CBN News network in an interview on Tuesday.

Pimentel’s proposal for the new federal government includes 12 federal states – Northern Luzon, Central Luzon, Southern Luzon, Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas, Western Visayas, Minparom, Northern Mindanao, Southern Mindanao, Bangsamoro, Metro Manila.

He reportedly said the government can add Sabah as the 13th federal state later on.

In 2013, some 200 men from the southern Philippines landed in Sabah and battled Malaysian security forces for more than a month in a bid to stake an ancient claim of the territory for the Sultanate of Sulu.

Scores died in the fighting. At least two Malaysian police officers were beheaded by the invaders.

Sabah on Borneo island joined Malaya, Sarawak and Singapore to form Malaysia in 1963.


Sarawak rallied behind Adenan Satem as he brokered greater autonomy and dealt with long standing issues such as recognition of native land rights since becoming chief minister in 2014. Adenan Satem a great leader, RIP Sir!

Here is a nice write up on Late Tan Sri Adenan Satem @ Tok Nan, I picked up from Bernama.

Jan 11 — Eight months after leading Sarawak to astounding victory in the 11th state election last May, capturing the hearts of the people through his ‘politics of wellbeing’ approach, Tan Sri Adenan breathed his last this afternoon.

Adenan who would be 73 this coming Jan 27, was Sarawak’s fifth Chief Minister, taking over from Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud on Feb 28, 2014.

In the last state election, the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) president won the Tanjong Datu seat by defeating Jazolkipli Numan from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) with a 5,892-vote majority.

Adenan leaves a wife, Puan Seri Jamilah Anu, four daughters and one son.

Born in 1944 di Kuching, Sarawak, Adenan received his early education at Sekolah St Joseph, also in Kuching, before studying law at the University of Adelaide, Australia.

Starting his career as a magistrate in Kuching in 1970, Adenan eventually joined politics where he became Sarawak Land Development Assistant Minister for two years until 1987. He was made Natural Resources and Environment Minister at the federal level in 2004. However, he returned to Sarawak in 2006.

His career path towards becoming chief minister began in 2010 when he was appointed as Special Advisor to the Chief Minister before becoming Minister in the Chief Minister’s Office and later in 2011, as Minister with Special Functions, mainly handling land-related issues.

As a political figure who had served well and contributed much to Sarawak’s development, Adenan was conferred with several federal and state awards, including the Darjah Panglima Setia Mahkota, which carries the title ‘Tan Sri”, besides the Pingat Perkhidmatan Bakti Negeri Sarawak and Johan Bintang Sarawak (1986).

Raising the living standard of the people in Sarawak was Adenan’s main political agenda and he proved his mettle as a very respected leader.

In his speech when launching the PBB Samarahan Zone 11th state election machinery at Dewan Suarah in Kota Samarahan, last April, Adenan had said: “As someone who has held many important positions in government before being appointed as Chief Minister, I am not crazy about positions.

“What I want is to see that the standard of living of the people continues to be raised. Please see what have been done throughout the two years since I was appointed as Chief Minister.” — Bernama

N.B. According to very reliable insiders, the new Chief Minister of Sarawak will be Parti Pesaka Bumiputera deputy president Abang Johari Tun Openg, swearing in will be today.


The Pan Borneo Highway has become a reality only under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said in the past, no Prime Minister “had the guts” to implement the mega project.

“We had asked for the Pan Borneo (highway) in the past, but no PM was brave enough to give it to us. I am not trying to talk bad (about others), but only PM Najib dared to give this to us.

“Barisan Nasional has a good track record and the Pan Borneo Highway is not the only example of their commitment.

“Based on (his track) record, our current PM is the most concerned over our welfare. He has given (Sabah) the most allocation, with thousands of millions, this is not a lie. Thank you sir,” Musa said during the launch of the Sabah Pan Borneo Highway Lahad Datu Bypass package here by Najib.

Musa said the support shown includes providing security assets, especially at the Eastern Sabah Safety Zone (Esszone).

“So, like the (Bahasa Melayu) term, we should not be ‘kacang lupakan kulit’. We should return the favour with our loyalty and support to the government,” stressed Musa.

Meanwhile this morning, launching the Sabah Pan Borneo Highway in Lahad Datu, Najib said he wants the Pan Borneo Highway project to become his legacy and something the Sabah folks will remember him by.

“Because I want to be remembered during my tenure as PM, that I gave this to Sabah. That this project is an effort under my administration for the people of this state,” he said at SMK Sepagaya here.

ALWAYS THE SABAH WAY!

Not long back, many provided immense praise to Adenan Satem for deciding to proceed with tabling the motion demanding for the return of State rights. Up until quite recently, some even mocked at Musa Aman for not heeding Adenan’s call to bring the motion of a  Sabah assembly. Everyone was of an expert opinion on the matter. So much hooha all over social media claiming how brave, how smart and how politically correct Adenan was. The kicker is of course, today Adenan makes a 360° and says “we have decided not to pass the resolution demanding our rights after speaking to Najib” whilst claiming “the state government believes in consultation not confrontation to resolve issues between state and the federal”. Strange but true, this is what Musa has been saying all along- that the ‘Sabah Government has its own “gentler” approach, – more effective, better than shouting and demanding’ – The Sabah Way, ladies and gentlemen! As Adenan parrots Musa, one can only see how Musa is well ahead of the game!

http://www.borneotoday.net/sarawak-will-no-longer-pursue-motion-on-state-rights-declares-adenan/

KUCHING – After much bravado and statements in the media, Sarawak will not be pursuing the tabling of a motion on the state’s rights in next week’s state assembly meeting.

This follows Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s assurance that he is willing to discuss the matter, said Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem who had been pushing for this tough stance since last month.

Citing media reports from Kota Kinabalu last Saturday, Adenan said the Prime Minister is open to discussions if the Malaysia Agreement and Federal Constitution had been misinterpreted.

“In view of what the Prime Minister said, that he is going to be very accommodating to our claims, there is no need for us therefore to pass a resolution in the assembly demanding our rights under the Constitution, the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) report and Malaysia Act.

“We trust the Prime Minister to do the right thing and we have confidence that he will do it,” Adenan was reported as telling reporters after chairing a state Barisan Nasional pre-council meeting here Wednesday.

He said the state government believes in diplomacy rather than confrontation and has achieved some results through this approach, particularly in its negotiations with Petronas on oil and gas matters.

These include the appointment of a Sarawakian to the Petronas board of directors and Petronas undertaking to increase the number of Sarawakians at executive and management level.

“There is now a clear understanding between Petronas, the Federal Government and the state government as to our objectives,” Adenan said.

He also said 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 Sarawak under the Malaysia Agreement and the Constitution.

Earlier this month, Adenan said the state government would table a “comprehensive motion” to restore Sarawak’s rights and status to its position in 1963.

He had said the proposed motion would cover all aspects of the state’s rights, including seeking to reverse the 1976 amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution that downgraded Sarawak’s status from an equal partner in Malaysia to one of 13 states.
The state assembly will meet on Nov 21 to 30.


The Sabah Government has its own ways, which have proven to work, in claiming its rights from the Federal Government as provided for in the Federal Constitution, said Chief Minister Musa Aman.

He said what was important now was that the way the state government had approached the matter all this while had borne fruit, compared with the “making noise” approach or publicity stunts that might not work.

“When we act on something, we don’t have to tell the whole world how we do it.

“We find that it is better to discuss when proposing something,” said Musa, who was responding to a question by Wilfred M. Bumburing (Independent-Tamparuli) during the Sabah Legislative Assembly here today.

Citing an example, Musa said the state managed to obtain 30% equity in on-shore oil exploration in Sabah through its negotiations with the Federal Government and oil companies.

“From zero (stake), we now own 30% equity regarding on-shore exploration. This has never happened before. This is what I mean by no need to make noise.”

Meanwhile, the state assembly was also told that main and technical committees were set up to review devolution of powers for the Sabah and Sarawak governments.

In responding to a question by Wilfred, Sabah’s Special Functions Minister Teo Chee Kang said both the national-level main committees would be jointly led by Foreign Minister Anifah Aman (for Sabah) and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri (for Sarawak).

He also said Anifah would lead the technical committee for Sabah.

Among the things to be discussed were to allow officers for Federal Government agencies in Sabah to make their own decisions without referring to Putrajaya and to give a bigger role to the state governments to decide its own projects, especially concerning location and priorities, he said.

The committee will also discuss holding interviews for civil service positions to be held in rural areas; reducing the public prosecutor’s powers under the Criminal Procedure Code to the State Attorney to prosecute offences under any ordinance or state enactment; and to allow Sabah and Sarawak to approve and to issue deep sea fishing permits, he said.


imgres

Bombala farmer, Hans Berekoven, and team of Malaysian nationals raised the Malaysian flag on the Luconia Shoals, 84 nautical miles of the coast of Borneo, Sarawak, while observed by the China Coast Guard.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-08/luconia-shoals-malaysia-flag-raising-incident-china-coast-guard/7681752

When he is not on his farm in the high country of south-east New South Wales, Hans Berekoven is an amateur marine archaeologist recovering artefacts from a shipwreck for a Malaysian museum.

He said during one trip, he had been harassed by a Chinese Coast Guard vessel that had been stationed off Luconia Shoals for the past few years.

The shoals are a cluster of reefs and a tiny island called the Luconia Breakers, 84 nautical miles off Malaysia’s Borneo coast.

“They were trying to push us out. When we arrived there and started diving, they would up-anchor and sort of circle around us, sometimes really close. It was a sort of gentle intimidation,” Mr Berekoven said.

China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei all have competing claims over the South China Sea.

The dispute has been a major flashpoint in the region, with accusations of China building artificial islands and damaging reef systems.

An international tribunal recently ruled China had violated the Philippines’ economic and sovereign rights as defined by the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention.

Since 1947, China has claimed a vast area of islands in the South China Sea, including the Luconia Shoals.

Professor Clive Schofield, an authority on marine jurisdictional issues, said that at 84 nautical miles from the Borneo coast, the Luconia Shoals were clearly on Malaysia’s continental shelf, and well within Malaysia’s 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), as defined by the Law of the Sea Convention.

“So if there’s any jurisdiction and rights over the feature [the Luconia Shoals], then they are Malaysian and not Chinese,” Professor Schofield said.

Mr Berekoven said he was angered by damage he alleged was being caused by the China Coast Guard vessel anchoring on the reef.

“She’s got a massive anchor chain. Every time the wind changes or the current changes that big anchor chain is just making a hell of a mess of that reef,” he said.

Mr Berekoven chose Malaysia’s independence day, August 31 last year, to protest against the situation by raising the Malaysian flag on the tiny island.

It is the first time the video of the incident has been released.

“I took the curator of the museum that we’re working with, and a couple of other Malaysian friends, and a journalist from the Borneo Post,” he said.

They mounted a stainless steel flagpole into a cement footing and raised the Malaysian flag, as the China Coast Guard vessel watched from about 500m offshore.

“They must have got on the blower to Beijing and Beijing must have got on the blower to Kuala Lumpur, because suddenly there was a big kerfuffle in KL,” Mr Berekoven said.

The next morning, a Malaysian aircraft flew low over Mr Berekoven’s boat and the island.

“A Malaysian coast guard vessel was despatched. Went out there and unbolted the flag,” he said.

“It’s absolutely absurd. It’s 88 miles, well within the 200 mile economic exclusion zone, and they’ve forced the Malaysians to take the flag down — their flag, asserting their authority, their sovereignty.”

Professor Schofield said he was not surprised at Malaysia’s action, because Malaysia had traditionally dealt with issues by taking a quiet diplomatic route with China and avoiding public conflict.

Tensions over oil, gas and fisheries rights

He said tensions in the South China Sea focused on the wealth of oil and gas resources in the region, and freedom of navigation in the busy maritime trade routes.

“However, the importance of the fisheries is often overlooked,” Professor Schofield said.

“The South China Sea has been estimated to provide around 12 per cent of global fisheries catch.

“It provides fisheries which are vital to food security within the region, where potentially hundreds of millions of people have their primary protein requirements met by the fish from these waters.”

Professor Schofield said a rare exception to Malaysia’s quiet diplomacy with China occurred earlier this year when about 100 Chinese fishing boats arrived at the Luconia Shoals.

“For Malaysia there was a relatively strong reaction calling in the Chinese ambassador to protest against that,” he said.

Malaysia’s national security minister Shahidan Kassim was reported by the Bernama news agency as announcing the despatch of assets from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, and that the navy had been sent to the area near the Luconia Shoals to monitor the situation.

Professor Schofield said such an action underlined the importance of the fishery to Malaysia.

He said fisheries in the region were over-fished and under extreme stress with fish stocks declining.

“You have overlapping claims and rival fisheries fleets and no unified or rational management of those stocks. The potential for a collapse in the fisheries is a real and present one,” he said.

Mr Berekoven is preparing to return to Luconia Shoals to resume recovering artefacts from the nearby shipwreck.


Kota Kinabalu: The passing of La Salle Brother Datuk Charles O’Leary once again poses the calling for Sabahans, especially from Tanjung Aru’s La Salle School, to take up the vocation of being a La Salle Order of Teachers Brother.

Bro. Charles’ top regret was no student of Sacred Heart or La Salle schools had the calling, thus far, to pursue what he dedicated as a vocation all his life, although there were Malaysians from other schools who had served under him when he was Principal of La Salle Secondary School like Bro. Yohan and Bro. Justin who was from Tambunan.

He had hinted so to many people, including his students, but none seemed to have had the calling. Fr. Cosmos Lee, one of his students, who eulogised in the homily at the funeral of Bro. Charles, is among the few who became members of the clergy.

Fr. Cosmos Lee said during the funeral Mass: “I am not sure if Bro. Charles would have agreed with the Archbishop asking me to deliver the homily as I was among the few who dared to stand up to him.”

Bro. Charles once jested that if La Salle brothers were allowed to get married, probably there would be more than a few from the La Sallian family who would take up the calling in health and poverty and devote their life to God in the service of education for the young.

He had experienced the church’s trial and tribulation from the Usno era when the work permits of some foreign priests were not renewed and had to leave Sabah to the present challenges posed by extremist elements.

After the fall of the Usno regime, the new Chief Minister of the Berjaya administration Tan Sri Harris Salleh arranged small part of the funding for the construction of the school senior block hall.

Harris also lifted the Usno ban on Chinese cultural activities like unicorn and lion dances, which benefited the school as the renowned La Salle Lion Dance Troupe raised funds from performances for the construction of the school’s senior block canteen first besides others.

In many ways, the fear felt by some complacent and ignorant Sabah civil servants for Harris’ inspection tours during the Berjaya regime was what La Salle School students felt under Bro. Charles’ watchful eyes.

They appeared unreasonable and at times punitively harsh, but that’s what Sabah requires from a leadership perspective to get things done and achieved amid an environment of mediocrity and apathetic attitude, as a saying goes: “Progress depends on the unreasonable man…”

It may be that being the non-populist example of Bro. Charles as an educationist exemplar is too hard to follow for the younger generations. But the challenge is still open for Sabahans to consider the La Salle Order as a life vocation in the service of our youths.

Following are some of the late Bro. Charles’ sayings: “Stars shine and they show the way to safety, security and maturity, and that is the work of teachers whose vocation is to touch and form minds and hearts.

I wanted to be a star with a small ‘s’ no doubt, so that I could and can form and mould young minds and hearts and prepare them for life both here and hereafter.

God has blest me in my life and work and I would not forfeit the peace, satisfaction and fulfilment I have acquired in my calling for anything else that this world might offer. To God be the Glory.” – (Bro. Charles M. O’Leary F.S.C.)

DAILY EXPRESS SABAH

image

image


Several unique characteristics go along with the name of Musa Aman. In him, Sabah has had a three-dimensional leader: a statesman par excellence, an astute businessman banker and a thinker with the courage of conviction.

Musa was a successful businessman/banker long before he entered politics but all his life he had strived to make everything he touched more value oriented. He had an inimitable style of winning hearts. He has several friends with views diametrically opposite his, but that has never come between him and them when it comes to frank sharing of ideas and feelings. Rarely does one find a leader with such a fine blend of toughness and tenderness.

Musa has contributed to Sabah polity in multiple ways. He remains the epitome of alternate political thought and functionality. He personifies patriotism. If attributes such as informality in interpersonal relationships, spirit of accommodation, respect for the opposite viewpoint, a complete non-compromising approach towards politics of hate and injustice, etc. are still to be found in present day politics, Musa – among others – deserves credit. His most important contribution is strengthening Sabah democracy. When power politics sounded extremely monopolistic and people wondered if the element of choice had completely vanished from Sabah polity, he didn’t need words to send the message “Boleh Bah Kalau Sabah” to the people with all the strength at his command.

He remains the first genuine leader, the first truly Sabah chief minister who managed to convince Putrajaya to have a Royal Commission of Inquiry on Illegal Immigrants and address Sabah’s Mother of All Problems – “Illegal Immigrants”. He also remains one of the first politician from East Malaysia who is working quietly with the Prime Minister to get an equity in Petronas for Sabah state apart from the oil and gas royalty of five per cent. And for his effort so far Sabah has gotten a 10 per cent stake in Petronas LNG Train 9 Sdn Bhd in Bintulu, Sarawak, which would generate additional revenue to the state and its people. Speaking at the investiture ceremony in conjunction with the 61st birthday of Head of State Tun Juhar recently, Musa Aman said ” Our commitments does not end here. Instead we will continue to double our efforts by working together with the Federal Government to mobilise various programmes to further raise the social status of the people and life quality.”

When Musa took over as chief minister, Sabah was literally on the threshold of the 21st century. And it was a new, young and assertive Sabah with surging aspirations, contrary to the old status quo-ist elements who were in denial. Musa recognised these burgeoning aspirations, and successfully struck a balance without compromising on Sabah’s fundamental values. His regime witnessed the stabilisation of the new economy, and he created an appetite for development-oriented governance.

In ensuring the success and excellence of the public delivery system, Musa pledged to provide good governance. He said, “Our first commitment to the people is to give a stable, honest, transparent and efficient government capable of accomplishing all-round development. For this, the government shall introduce time-bound program of needed administrative reforms, including those for the civil services”. Musa not only strengthened old bridges, he also tried to create new ones to overcome the distances between different social groups, districts and economic strata. His Midas touch impacted every sector of governance. His programmes and policies demonstrated his commitment to a strong and self-reliant Sabah, prepared to meet the challenges of the coming decade.

To make Sabah an economic power in the 21st century, he transformed the economic policy framework. Sectors like public sector enterprises, agricultural produce marketing, small-scale industries, urban land ceilings, highways, rural roads, elementary education, ports, electricity, communal land titles, oil and gas were all subject to far-reaching reforms and raised Sabah’s power graph in Malaysia. Sabah continue to be sought after by foreign investors, especially in the manufacturing sector. Last year Sabah received RM2.4 billion from local investors and RM1 billion was injected by foreign investors. Since the launch of the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) in 2008 until August 2014, RM135 billion worth of cumulative investments have been planned and committed, out of which, RM45 billion have been realised.

The State Government has even implemented various programmes for the development of the people such as the Prosperous Mini Estates (Mesej), 1Azam, Local Economy Enhancement, Agropolitan Project and Housing Aid Programme as well as the Prosperous Village Programme. These programs aim to transform selected villages holistically by involving three main aspects, namely the development of human capital, economic progress and improvement in the quality of life.

On the forest front, Musa’s commitment to increase the Sabah’s total protected area must be appreciated as his role for making things happen, without whose support, the translation of policies into actions would not have come about. Today Sabah’s Total Protected Areas (TPAs) of 1,553,262 hectares or about 21 per cent of the State’s total land area is arguably the largest in Malaysia. This percentage has exceeded the original IUCN (International Union of The Convention of Nature) target of 10 per cent and even CBD’s (Convention on Biological Diversity) 17 per cent of various types of ecosystems. What is more important is that, TPAs of Sabah cover a wide range of ecosystems including : pristine lowland forests, pristine highland forests, montane forests, freshwater wet lands, mangrove swamps, peat lands, regenerating lowland Dipterocarp forests and Heath (Kerangas) forests, amongst others. Danum Valley, Maliau Basin and Imbak Canyon, have additional buffers for reinforced protection and dedicated wildlife corridors to address connectivity and fragmentation. All these possible because of Musa Aman.

Musa has launched to date many ambitious projects: highways to connect to Sarawak, Kalimantan and Brunei along with other towns like Tenom to Sipitang, and to every kampong by road. These projects also revolutionised the real estate sector, commerce and the rural economy. The improved road connectivity further integrated the state through a network of world-class highways, which puts Sabah on the fast lane to socio-economic development. This is indeed, the highway to prosperity!

Musa as the Sabah Security Chief encompassing governance doctrine is also seen in his strategic vision in regards to Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom), a security area that stretches 1,733.7km along the east coast of Sabah, from Kudat to Tawau. Esscom was established on April 1, 2013, following the Sulu intrusion in Tanduo, Lahad Datu. With the setting up of Esscom and its restructuring last July 17, cases of cross border crimes in the Esszone have become less rampant. Efficient and effective mechanisms have been introduced such as curfew, and integrated operations which are ongoing. The establishment of the Esscom, re-evaluation of Sabah’s decades old illegal immigrants problem, economic diplomacy, and engagement with the Manila has re-written Sabah’s strategic governance system.

Under Musa Aman, Sabah has become a powerhouse of growth and had emerged as an important contributor to Malaysia’s development journey. Under his able leadership Sabah became known for its quality infrastructure and excellent financial management. Musa Aman’s governance in Sabah saw a government that listened to the people and one that built its success through equal economic growth in all sectors. Through innovation and emphasis on detail he brought in record investment that benefited people of Sabah and drew people from all over Malaysia to work in Sabah and make a living.