Archive for the ‘UPKO’ Category


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Douglas Lind’s contention the case is academic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In 1985, 1994 n 2018.

Peoples voices not recognised in this 3 instances of Sabah’s political history – 1985, 1994 and 2018. In all 3 instances, the decisions took a different turn and the government was formed by frogging and other means.

In 1985, Party Bersatu Sabah (PBS) won the Sabah State election with a simple majority of 25 seats. However, PBS was not allowed to form the Sabah State Government by the Istana.

Joseph Pairin Kitingan was kept waiting for more then a day while power grab was underway in the wee hours of the morning. In which, USNO’s 16 seats collaborated with Berjaya’s 6 seats and the Sabah State Government was formed before the sun rose.

The schemers of this plan decided they can still form the government by laying claim to the 6 nominated state seat. The then Prime Minister Dr Mahathir was in Scandinavia and his deputy Musa Hitam had ordered the plotters to give up. Joseph Pairin Kitingan was then only sworn in as Chief Minister after almost 48 hours.

In 1994, something similar happened again with Pairin Kitingan and PBS as victims. This time, Pairin also won with a simple majority of 25 seats despite massive frogging by his assemblymen to government side due to the scrapping of the Anti-Hopping Law (The Barisan Nasional government challenged the Anti-Hop Law that was introduced in 1987 by the then PBS State Government in court and had it scrapped).

This time Pairin had to camp for 3 nights outside the Istana as the then TYT claimed he was too sick to open the Istana gates for Pairin to be sworn in. By the time the Istana gates were opened Pairin had already lost many of his Assemblymen and a new Chief Minister was sworn in after about a month. This eventually led to the downfall of the PBS State Government as the PBS election winners had joined Barisan Nasional parties.

In 2018, it happened again following GE14. But this time there was a major difference. While in 1985 and 1994 Pairin was not able to be sworn in instantly after the election results, this time, Musa Aman was already appointed Chief Minister after an unexplained delay of about 48 hours. And despite being sworn in with his Cabinet members, Musa Aman still lost his government to frogging.

This time the Upko boys did the frogging probably on the orders and advise of Tan Sri Bernard Dompok and despite pledging that as KDMs they will stick together and decide as a bloc and only leave the BN after consensus among themselves. Five assemblymen from Upko and one MP left BN to throw their support behind Warisan and Pakatan Harapan, a day after the general election.

Their action caused the collapse of the BN government led by former chief minister Musa Aman whose cabinet, which included two Upko assemblymen, had been sworn in less than 12 hours before.

I was there on that night of May 9th in Sri Gaya when Tangau came out and answered a phone call apparently from Dompok asking him to go to Shafie’s house in Luyang. Tangau disappeared from Sri Gaya after this phone call and headed straight to see Shafie in his house, alone, leaving all his UPKO boys with Musa Aman in Sri Gaya. Upko then switched allegiance to the Warisan-Pakatan Harapan pact a day after the election.

For how long more must Sabah continue to be the only state where the Assemblymen decides who is to form the government by becoming political frogs and not by the people who voted them?

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

 

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


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Daily Express got it wrong.

Shafie should be grateful to Tan Sri Bernard Giluk Dompok and not Wilfred Madius Tangau.

According to my sources in UPKO which I believe, it was Bernard Dompok who convinced Tangau to jump ship on that night of May 9th 2018 and join Shafie after realising that PH had the majority to form the Federal Government.

I was there on that night of May 9th in Sri Gaya when Tangau came out and answered a phone call apparently from Dompok asking him to go to Shafie’s house in Luyang. Tangau disappeared from Sri Gaya after this phone call and went straight to see Shafie in his house alone, leaving all his UPKO boys with Musa Aman in Sri Gaya.

Upko then switched allegiance to the Warisan-Pakatan Harapan pact a day after the election.

Former Sabah Chief Minister Dompok was the first Malaysian to be made a resident ambassador to the Vatican in 2016 and he wanted to save his job when the PH formed the Federal Government. So, he had convinced Tangau to get UPKO jump ship from BN.

I can now understand why PBS is still bitter about UPKOs betrayal. It is because Dr Maximus Ongkili (PBS), Tangau (UPKO) and Joseph Kurup (PBRS) had signed a pledge a week before the May 9th GE14 elections to discuss together as “MISOMPURU” first, before deciding on the next course of action so as to safeguard KDM interests by acting as a bloc.

There was great hope that the presidential council of Upko, PBS and PBRS would pave the way to unite the three main Kadazandusun Murut (KDM)-majority parties in Sabah. The council was seen as a platform to eventually bring together the politically fractious KDM community.

Maximus Ongkili believed that the council could one day unite the KDM parties under a single symbol. That was before it was betrayed by UPKO, moments after GE14.

For UPKO to dishonour what they signed in public and carried in all the media was the  community’s biggest betrayal.

But it is something that is not a surprise considering that their Payar Juman went down in history as Sabahs first political frog. In 1967, UPKO left the Sabah Alliance after the state elections, then Upko’s assemblyman for Kiulu, Payar Juman, crossed to Usno, enabling Usno to form the government then.

Next was when Huguan Siou Tun Fuad Stephens himself betrayed the KDMs by waiting till GS Sundang was in United Kingdom before calling for an EGM to dissolve UPKO. In the EGM Stephens had asked all the UPKO members to join USNO despite angry demands by members not to do so but he himself leaving them in a lurch. Poor GS Sundang who was deputy president was played out.

So if according to historical fact if the Huguan Siou Stephens can do this to his own people, Dr Max should have known better than to expect there will be no betrayal.

The third betrayal, took place in 1994, when  Bernard Dompok from then opposition PBS joined the BN alliance to form the government. I know this vividly as I was a PBS member and I stood for elections in Penang as a PBS candididate.

So looking back,  I dont blame Madius, I blame Dompok!

I hope Dompok will come forward to answer all these allegations.

Besides all that, see  Tangau’s Facebook posting today :

See this video, UPKO leaders at a recent Public Forum in Kota Kinabalu raising the illegal immigrant issue. Not just public forums ,UPKO leaders should also be raising the (PTI ) illegal immigrant issue in the Sabah State Assembly (DUN). But its not laughing matter, UPKO is part of the Warisan-PH Sabah government.


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

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

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

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

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

The PPBM assemblymen now flatly outnumber the Upko assemblymen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seemingly, they were the power brokers and kingmakers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Momogun

This article came out in the Daily Express. See here


It may seem that the war of words between Dr Mahathir and Shafie Apdal began with some confusion over the issue on how many seats were initially secured by Party Warisan Sabah on the night of May 9th GE14 elections. On one hand, rumour has it that Dr Mahathir believed Warisan should have secured 35 seats instead of a dismal 21 seats. Today, Shafie Apdal has claimed to having 45 seats in the Dewan. The question here is, what are his intentions?

As soon as it was established by the court that Warisan had become the legitimate government, things began to change. As we all know, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Beginning with the repeal of the TYT term and giving him unlimited extension. Many opposed the move but those who have supported him did so to curry favour with Shafie with the hope of getting personal rewards, some say. Even the Minister of Finance was taken up by Shafie in vowing not to follow the footsteps of his predecessor Musa Aman.

After nine months in power it was later admitted that the state had in fact RM 4 billion in government reserve. In the beginning it was reported by Shafie that the treasury has empty coffer which readily made people believe.

Warisan became the state government only through the support of UPKO, without whom, Shafie could not have become Chief Minister and Wilfred Tangau, Deputy Chief Minister. In a sense, the two live for each other. Warisan leaders were also given a number of full federal ministry posts, Darell Leiking, VK Liew and Mohd Din Ketapi and their choice of Sabahan personnel.

The spate of fire in the squatter colonies in Likas/Sepanggar, Banggi, and elsewhere have suspicion ignited. All these fires only occurred in squatter colonies all over Sabah and this is unique and devoid of logic. During the fires people were said to be seen rushing to save their televisions, refrigerators, mattresses and other household goods, but not their personal documents. Those affected by the fire are known for their illegal statuses and it was suspicious that these acts of arson kept happening only in those squatter colonies.

Then, the State Minister of Law and Native Affairs Aidi Moktar claimed the government would review the law on whether the Bugis and Jawa communities can be considered as natives in Sabah. Rumours indicated that it is because of the fear that Datu Akjan the self proclaimed “ Sultan Sulu” was taking away the Suluk and Tausug vote bank from Warisan to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s (PPBM). It did seem apparent that there is a grand design to distort the Sabah political landscape and cause a racial imbalance for political purpose, once again.

Then thousands turned up at NRD centres, all allegedly foreign looking individuals. The state director of NRD said that the department was conducting census, an alteration of shifting demographics. There was even a report that thousands have been issued late birth certificates in several parts of Sabah with substantial population of immigrants.

With all these happenings in Sabah the last nine months, for sure the Special Branch must be reporting to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir. And those receiving big favours from the government especially the millions changing hands at the Harbour Trade legal firm in Kota Kinabalu have plenty to be worried now. Naturally nothing is secret anymore especially with social media i.e Facebook, Whatsapp and blogs that could go viral and influence the course of events.

The tide has certainly shifted with the sudden change of mood between Warisan and Bersatu.Their arrival in to Sabah leaves no credible opposition in the state. Bersatu’s arrival can be seen as an attempt to monitor the activities of the state government. As a part of the PH central government, Bersatu or its appointed allies in Sabah can provide check and balance, based on the “rule of law”. The fear many locals share with me is that any uprising in the future is possible when a large population of illegal immigrants is present in the state and comfortable with a sitting government. Sabah is facing an existential treat and I’m certain Shafie is aware, which is why he has met with the Philippines ambassador to raise Sabah’s concerns that security threat in the southern Philippines might spill over. I can only caution the state of the events in 1976 fall of USNO. That too was a similar threat to the then ruling PM, and if left not monitored, history will indeed repeat itself.


Life is all about imponderables. What was unthinkable a few years ago, can become the go to mantra of the present. This is all the more true of politics. Take Sabah, for example. Fourteen years ago, if anyone with some knowledge of Sabah’s ethos, its conundrum of frog-jumping politics and abysmal law and order situation in the east coast of Sabah where kidnapping-for-ransom works like a market, had suggested that the Sabah model of governance would one day be hailed for replication, he or she would have been considered loony. Ditto for somebody daring to compare the Sarawak model of development with that of Sabah, and deeming the latter a better standard.

But Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman changed that. Over fourteen years since 2003, he successfully steered Sabah Barisan National government through the stormy waters of coalition politics in a State where Christian Bumiputras have a 27 per cent population, and managed to return to power with landslide victories on 21st March 2004 (GE11), 8th March 2008 (GE12) and 5th May 2013 (GE13).

He managed this laudatory feat for Umno Sabah by holding together a coalition of Sabah based political parties PBS (Party Bersatu Sabah), Upko (United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation), PBRS (Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah), LDP (Liberal Democratic Party), together with Malayan based MCA (Malaysian Chinese Association), MIC (Malaysian Indian Congress) and Party Gerakan (also known as a rainbow coalition), complete with Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Taoist, Animists and even Sikhs. And let me remind you that it was the women of Sabah, who voted for his return with a hitherto unseen gusto.

The improved law and order situation in Sabah after the formation of Esscom (Eastern Sabah Security Command) and Esszone (Eastern Sabah Security Zone), coupled with the deportation of 558,680 of illegals since 1990, and while still 6,226 illegals currently held in detention centres awaiting deportation, was responsible for enthusing Sabah voters. Esscom also had been able to thwart many kidnap attempts by cross-border criminals as a result of predictive intelligence and also the curfew imposed in seven districts in Esszone, all these have increased the support for the Sabah BN. Where law and order improves and the State functions in a better way, the best impact is felt by women and the minorities.

Both women and Muslim Bumiputras played a major role in the return of the Sabah BN over and over again. Across the board, there was patronage of Muslim voters for the coalition candidate, whether from Umno Sabah or the Sabah BN.

Increased aspirations and expectations, however, pose even more dilemmas to any dispensation, and the Umno-BN government in Sabah is no exception. Musa displayed the least exuberance at his election victories because he knew it came with massive responsibility. Spelling out the challenges before him, till now the development of Sabah has been central, in that hospitals, schools, power plants, dams, roads and bridges were built, electricity and clean drinking water and services improved. This benefited everybody. But now the Government has to bring in governance, which will be a challenge but Musa has done a fantastic job in this area over the last fourteen years.

The first hurdle was the long-pending land issue of land ownership and native customary right. Musa came up with the excellent idea of Communal grants to protect native rights to Native Customary Rights (NCR) land ownership. With the Communal Titles, land cannot be sold. There are plenty of cases where lands were quickly sold off, some even before approvals were granted, and for a mind-boggling small sum to outsiders. Communal Titles are not only a solution for the landless to own land, but a way of protecting rural folks from dubious people who entice them to part with their land for a measly amount.The only condition in Communal Tittle lands is that the land cannot be sold but passed down the family to develop on a long-term basis for sustained income that can lift the Natives out of poverty. So far 72 communal titles had been established involving 119,083 acres in 12 districts and have benefited 213 villages or 10,462 Sabah natives.

Next, Musa took on the role of just and fair enforcer by punishing civil servants guilty of corruption. Massive sums of money are being spent from Plan outlays … billions of Ringgit is being spent on various development schemes, there will be far greater opportunity to make money through corruption, and this will have to be checked and Musa is extremely hard on this and had even instructed The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to go all out on all those who are on the take, corrupt bureaucrats will be convicted, and their ill-gotten wealth and property confiscated.

Sabah’s Watergate Scandal is such an example. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission seized RM114 million worth of assets, RM53.7million in cold cash stashed in houses and offices from two senior Sabah Water Department officials on Oct 4 last year. The duo, a Director of the Water Department and his former deputy are being slapped with 34 money laundering charges.The sum seized was said to have been siphoned off from part of the RM7.5 billion allocated for rural projects in Sabah, channeled through the Federal Rural and Regional Development Ministry between 2009 and 2015, when Shafie Apdal was Minister.

Then again last week MACC Deputy Chief Commissioner, Dato Azam Baki claimed some RM1.5 billion of the allocated RM7.5 billion from the Federal Rural and Regional Development Ministry for basic infrastructure of road, water and energy for the interiors of Sabah and Sarawak for 2009 to 2015 was squandered. Some RM170 million in bank accounts and assets of the companies involved in the projects has been frozen by MACC.

A series of MACC seizures are the reason why administrative reforms should be put in place, especially with regard to Federal development funds. Musa Aman has been saying this all along year after year since he took office in 2003.

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. This will 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, but where are the projects?

There is no justification for Federal to approve and implement projects in the State 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, like what they did during PBS rule where contracts and payments were made direct by Federal Treasury to contractors in Sabah.

The funds for all Federal funded projects should be channelled to the Sabah State Government for implementation and monitoring. Sabah 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.

Sabah’s model of development is a shining example of impeccable governance and indeed its anti-corruption measures should be replicated elsewhere in the country.

That naturally brings us to the possibility of Musa Aman emerging again as Sabah’s chief ministerial candidate in the next polls which will take place within the next six months. Clearly, his credentials, tough stance against corruption and clean public image have caught the nation’s fancy.


In February, Musa Aman seemed a trifle embattled. The Lahad Datu standoff the intrusion of almost 200 armed Filipinos in Lahad Datu, 10 of our Security Forces were killed – for the first time in his decade-long rule in Sabah, the Chief Minister was feeling the pressure.

But come April, as he announced his election manifesto, neatly appropriating the legacy of the state leader, Musa Aman had put behind him all disadvantages of the month before. He then set off to the length and breadth of the state showcasing his “Vibrant Sabah” policy. The message was lost on none – Musa Aman was still a crowd puller.

After eleven days of campaigning, as the Sabah Chief Minister reaches the fag end of his final round of campaigning, the biggest question being asked is – will that charisma continue to translate into votes for the Barisan National? Surveys and analysts predict yet another victory for man who has adroitly changed his image to development role model. At stake are bigger ambitions – Musa Aman reckons another impressive victory could propel him to be the longest serving chief minister of Sabah, breaking the 9 yrs jinx. But is this road a smooth one?

All I can say is- The situation in 2004 and 2008 is very different from that of 2013.

The ending of the rotation of chief minister every 2 years in 2004 saw Musa winning hands down. By 2008 Musa had begun constructing his new avatar, that of able administrator. But 2013 is without any emotive issue except for the Lahad Datu standoff. The fragmented opposition has managed to keep the election battle low profile, avoiding another bad showing like 2008. That has forced Musa Aman to keep his campaign confined to development as the key agenda.

But does that suit Musa Aman? “Not at all,” says a political commentator, who later add that, “His political existence and shrill rhetoric is what makes him an unstoppable leader. But this time there seems to be no emotive issue. The developmental plank can’t excite voters to a decisive point.”

Musa Aman, the master strategist, realises this. And so, analysts say, he has attempted to add another element to his electioneering this time, projecting this to be not only a Sabah vs Pakatan Rakyat battle but also the personality battle between Musa Aman and Anwar Ibrahim. By taking the battle to a new level, he is sending a very subtle message to the electorate. He may not concede his national ambitions but when he talks about the Sabah vs Pakatan Rakyat battle, he is sending out a message; here is a Sabah leader who can stop Anwar Ibrahim from taking the throne in Putrajaya. If that’s the case, 2013 will, in a way, establish what connects Musa Aman to three million Sabahans. If he wins yet again it clearly establishes that even without a polarized vote, Musa Aman can win based on a campaign revolving around development.

But this road is not without potholes.

Though pre-poll survey and pundits say former Deputy Chief Ministers Lajim Ukim and Wilfred Bumburing are unlikely to do much damage to Musa Aman. The L & B factor, as it’s is called in these parts, could play spoiler at least in the politically critical Beaufort and Tuaran region. Lajim had won a huge majority in the Beaufort Parliamentary last time in 2008, but this time both Lajim and Wilfred could play a role in obtaining less than half a dozen seats. After all Lajim represents the all-powerful Bisaya community and Bumburing represents the Dusuns to an extend, which is a sizable chunk of the electorate. But the basic problem with L & B would be absence of an organizational structure since both are using unregistered NGOs PPPS (Pertubuhan Pakatan Perubahan Sabah)and APS ( Angkatan Perubahan Sabah) riding on Pakatan Rakyat, to topple Musa Aman as chief minister. Lajim is politicising the position of “Janang Gayuh”, causing disunity among the Bisaya, a Dusunic group, found only in the Beaufort region. Lajim ran away from UMNO because he knew he would not be fielded this time, the same with Bumburing and UPKO who didn’t want him to stand in Tuaran. To be honest, what has Lajim and Bumburing done the last 30 years? Zilch.

After eleven days of campaigning in this 13th General Elections, Musa Aman is looking to retain power again, thus enabling Sabah to live up to the tag of being “the fixed deposit” of the BN. Despite the opposition pact’s onslaught for the parliamentary battle, Sabah BN is likely to win most of the seats won in the 2008 general elections. However, BN can expect tough fights for Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, Tawau, Beaufort, Tuaran, Penampang, Sepanggar, Pensiangan, Kota Belud and Kota Marudu parliamentary seats. In the 2008 general elections, Sabah BN won 59 of the 60 state seats and 24 of the 25 parliamentary seats, losing the Sri Tanjung state seat and the Kota Kinabalu parliamentary seat to the opposition DAP.

The determining factor for BN’s ability to continue ruling Sabah lies in the fact that the coalition is more united in facing the elections, while the oppositon is pitted not just against BN but also against each other. Despite pre-election calls for the opposition parties to reach an understanding so as to ensure straight fights with the BN, only the Tanjung Batu State seat and Sandakan parliamentary seat are seeing one-to- one contests.

The decision by Star Sabah (Sabah Reform Party), SAPP (Sabah Progressive Party) and PKR to field almost equal number of candidates for the state seats is clear example of serious faction among them. Given the bickering among them, its hard to imagine any one of them winning enough seats to become the leader of the pack. On top of that, PKR’s insincere gesture of offering SAPP a limited number of state seats has resulted in the latter completely abandoning the hope of wanting to work with the peninsula-based party. There are campaign whispers alleging that SAPP had received RM60 million from BN to split votes in favour of the ruling coalition. Worst still during a ceramah in Foh Sang Kota Kinabalu which I personally witnessed, SAPP was on a DAP bashing spree causing distrust among the voters.

Dr Jeffrey Kitingan’s STAR on the other hand, the youngest parties of the lot, is making unexpected inroads particularly among the mostly Christian Kadazandusun Murut community in the interiors, and the BN message is as such tailored to them. So, if Pakatan cannot turn things around, it can only likely bag the Chinese-majority seats of Sandakan, Tawau and Kota Kinabalu, while in Beaufort where incumbent Lajim Ukin, who is contesting on PKR’s ticket, is likely to pull through. Pensiangan could be taken by Dr Jeffrey’s Star Sabah. SAPP is most likely not able to get even one seat.

With the end of the race just days away it is evident that winning big is extremely important to Musa Aman and how Sabahans vote will decide the road map to power politics in Putrajaya.


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.


The shadow boxing by certain UMNO politicians using Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) a Barisan National component in Sabah and the Kadazandusun Murut Association Malaysia (KDM Malaysia) may be a precursor to a battle for the gaddi in Kuala Lumpur.

Sabahans often accuse their politicians of being short-sighted. Judging by the rhetoric’s, lobbying, mudslinging, conniving and scheming by the principal parties, we are actually looking at least as far into the future as the 13th General Elections, parliamentary and state polls, which must be held before 2013.

If you ask me the most interesting part of this coming election is the shadow-boxing within the Barisan National in Sabah.

Some UMNO leaders in Sabah namely Shafie Apdal is vying for the chief minister’s chair– not for today but definitely for tomorrow.

It is a bit silly to accuse — as Senator Chin Su Phin the Deputy President of LDP who with his President VK Liew has done — Musa Aman for being ‘opportunistic’ about the alliance with the Gerakan Party and for appointing Dr Yee Moh Chai of PBS as the new Deputy Chief Minister. To set the record straight, Musa Aman a fair man, has always has been loyal to UMNO and the Barisan National.

Musa Aman has stayed loyal and calm despite being accused by all sorts of things by LDP, even the UMNO chaps associated with Shafie Apdal are doing the same, hitting him under the belt. In spite of all these never once has Musa Aman lost his cool.

That loyalty — or political necessity — was also strong enough to withstand the disappointments of being accused and attacked by the his own UMNO fellows like Shafie Apdal using proxies like Senator Chin and VK Liew and now even KDM Malaysia trying to undermine him. Of course now after the story about VK Liew’s shenanigans with his Rungus staff  and the police report in Kota Marudu which came out in Malaysia Today website, things have cool down and now VK Liew is throwing heaps of praises on Musa Aman. Whatever other adjective you may use of Musa Aman he has proved anything but ‘opportunistic’.

Given this 10-year history why is Shafie Apdal now eyeing Musa Aman so warily?

The simple answer is that Shafie Apdal believes that UMNO shall be a real contender for power come the 13th GE. Shafie also believes that, in the absence of a towering figure such as Musa Aman, the leadership of the Sabah BN may be up for grabs.

Finally, Shafie Apdal also knows that he is — again Musa Aman apart — probably the most visible face of  UMNO Sabah and he thinks and he gives the impression that he has got Najib Tun Razak’s  blessings to replace Musa Aman. I doubt this very much because Najib Tun Razak openly acknowledges that Musa Aman is doing a fantastic job in Sabah.

In the ordinary course of events Musa Aman would probably be the clear front-runner. He is by far the best chief minister Sabah has ever seen, articulate, workaholic and has propelled his state ahead of the rest when it comes to development, and has won every electoral challenge thrown at him — Parliament polls or state assembly polls since taking over in 2003.

Now lets look at KDM Malaysia and see how Shafie Apdal’s hidden tentacles has come into play.

Datuk John Ambrose is the founder and President of the newly registered KDM Malaysia (KDMM) and its number one purpose is to get Kadazan Dusun Murut (KDMs) to support Umno and its second most important intention is to break the KDMs away from PBS, Upko and the PBRS. In other words it is a tool to divide the KDMs.

Everyone knows that Musa Aman has got a perfect relationship with Pairin Kitingan and PBS, and PBS is the second most important party in the BN Sabah after UMNO.  So in order to weaken Musa Aman,  Pairin and the PBS must be weaken. And this can be done if a sizable number of KDMs are taken away from the PBS. Even Upko will be weaken in so doing.

After the failed Umno KDM Task Force, Shafie Apdal together with John Ambrose and one Peter Antony hatched this idea of KDM Malaysia. The objective was basically to weaken the PBS in order to weaken Musa Aman.

Ambrose says, KDM Malaysia is an NGO and it will undertake welfare programs and build houses for the KDMs poor. But, where will KDM Malaysia get the money to build thousands of houses for the poor KDMs? Ambrose says, KDM Malaysia will get funding from the government to built houses for the poor KDMs. Is this true? Is it true that the Ministry of Rural Development under Shafie Apdal will be the money man? Is it true that Ambrose got a yearly RM 40 million landscape project from University Malaysia Sabah to fund his KDM Malaysia? Is it true that Najib wrote a letter to the Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Malaysia Sabah, YBhg Prof Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Kamaruzaman Hj Ampon to give the yearly RM40 million landscaping contract to Ambrose’s company?

Little bird tells me Bernard Dompok is very sore with the whole game play in trying to divide the KDMs further.

Little bird also told me that Bernard Dompok has met Anwar Ibrahim recently with a view to pullout Upko from the Barisan National if there is no Royal Commission of Inquiry on the issuance of blue IC’s to illegals.

Little bird also told me that Jeffrey Kitingan has agreed to stand on  SAPP ticket for the coming 13th General Elections.

Little bird also told me it seems Pairin may also step down as the President of PBS in order not to face the dilemma and let the party decide to whether to side with UPKO in the worst case scenario. Pairin is really disappointed with “the plotters” trying to divide the KDMs further. According to Little Bird, Pairin did ask Najib Tun Razak about the KDM Malaysia and Najib just smiled and didn’t respond.

So, in the end, only PBS, PBRS and KDM Malaysia may represent the KDM’s in BN, it is feared.

If KDM Malaysia is not handled properly, this will put a severe dent in Musa Aman’s acceptability, particularly in those pockets of the KDM belt where KDMs constitute a major chunk of the electorate.

Looking to 2013 is all well and good but there is the small business of winning in 2013 that looms ahead just now.


First Party Bersatu Sabah (PBS) called for the setting up of a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the issue of illegal immigrants in Sabah.

Then yesterday in the Daily Express, Bernard Dompok says he wants to meet Najib Tun Razak to bring the demand for a Royal Commision of Inquiry (RCI) into the drastic population increase in Sabah.

Today, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) also joins the clamour for a transparent investigation just to gain brownie points and not wanting to be left-out, after Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) and the United Pasok Momogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) called for the setting up of a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to probe the scandal.

So now there are at least three Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties demanding a complete investigation on the issue of illegal immigrants in Sabah.

It is clear that the RCI involves real potential for political controversy as to administrative conduct of Kuala Lumpur and successive Sabah state administrations since 1970’s.

The issues for inquiry may become far more politically charged than imagined.

Federal Government, the Party who just doesn’t get it or pretends, because, they are responsible for creating this mess in Sabah. Kuala Lumpur, the Party who selfishly will do anything to stay in control and power, in order to satiate their own greedy needs allowed this problem to escalate on the expenses of genuine Sabahans. The Party who pretends to care, whilst pilfering and scheming behind Sabahans back. Now, Sabahans the real ones, have become minority in their own state all within 20 years…thanks to Mahathir and the Federal Government!

So Najib Tun Razak is coming to Sabah this weekend after completion of his pilgramage to Mecca. I hear from “Little Bird” that Najib might announce the following :-

1) Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into the drastic population increase in Sabah and to address the long standing illegal immigrant issue in Sabah

2) Dissolution of Parliament????

I’m getting some strange signals here. As the grapevine has it, Yong Teck Lee’s SAPP might join back the Barisan National. Surprise? No surprise because SAPP has got no axe to grind with Najib Tun Razak, only with Pak Lah SAPP had differences, so no surprise lah if they go back to BN and what better time to announce when Najib is in town.

Looks like Najib has to pay special interest to Sabah because the state is a “fixed deposit” for votes, Barisan Nasional won 24 of the 25 parliamentary seats in Sabah during the 2008 elections.

And one more thing, this so-called ” Sultan of Sulu” Datu Mohd Akjan Datu Ali is now on bail and can be seen regularly at one of the coffee-shop in Kampong Air.

We shall see what happens the next few days!

In the meantime digest these figures on Sabah’s population explosion:

Note : Just got word that Najib Tun Razak has cancelled his trip to Sabah tomorrow, it seems Najib would be making some important announcement tomorrow in Putrajaya and it could be the dissolution of Parliament.