Dictated For So Long, Sabah Cries For Change; Would Pairin Do A Dr M


COMMENT: It was a shocker and it was universally condemned and rightly so especially by Parti Warisan Sabah.

Stephen Wong, the Pakatan Harapan Sabah deputy Chairman who is also DAP Sabah chief, told a mèdia conference after an overnight visit by Muhyuddin Yassin, the PH Elections Director, that Sabah PH had come to an agreement on the seat allocations with Parti Warisan this coming election (GE14).

Under the terms of seat sharing, Parti Warisan would get 36 out of the 60 state seats and PH would contest 15 out of 25 parliamentary seats here. That meant Shafie Apdal’s party would only get to contest 10 seats for parliament.

As a sweetener Stephen said Parti Warisan would lead the main opposition in the fight for the state.

Of course as it was rightly pointed out, why wasn’t such an important announcement made by Muhyuddin or Christina Liew, the Sabah PH Chairman.

Pakatan Harapan, with Muhyiddin Yassin, their director of elections who was in town last week. Feathers were ruffled when DAP’s Stephen Wong announced a 60:40 formula for working with Parti Warisan.

What was Stephen trying to prove? Was he talking for the DAP, or PH, as eventually it was revealed that nothing had actually being finalised?

Parti Warisan people didn’t buy any of that; Darrell Leiking, its deputy President, found it both amusing and puzzling, to say the least.

It was made to be seen that what Stephen was offering to Parti Warisan was to focus on the 32 Muslim majority seats (held by Umno), leaving some spare (read other) seats to Parti Warisan, with the bulk of the KadazanDusun and Chinese areas going to the Malaya-based parties in PH.

It was like saying Parti Warisan would play a similar role to Parti Pribumi Bersatu in Malaya; but then again, unlike PPBM, Parti Warisan is actually a multi-racial Sabah-based party.

Stephen’s political thinking was definitely influenced by Malaya, where Malay-based parties would go for Malay support and Chinese parties likewise.

It is a cliche now, but this is Sabah, where society and culture is different.

Sabahans simply don’t like racial compartmentalisation imported from Malaya spearheaded by UMNO hence this resentment towards Malaya-based parties. Being a Sabahan, Stephen should know better.

Shafie Apdal and Parti Warisan have been attracting huge crowds at his events statewide, and has also made inroads in Chinese-majority areas, which DAP claims are their strongholds.

DAP, being a party that originated in Malaya, is of the same mould as UMNO, though both parties are managed by locals here, but they take their cue from Malaya.

Our politicians who are with them are headless chickens; in most cases local conditions are ignored.

Sabahan politicians cannot be polite anymore; they are the ones who should be dictating terms. After all, Sabahans know their home state better than anyone else.

Voters are looking for sincerity in line with local autonomy after being dictated to for so many years, and they want change.

DAP has its influence here, but what Stephen did, highlighted further how Sabahans see Malaya-based parties, whether with the government or the opposition.

DAP is not well liked especially with Bumiputera voters; hence they should be grateful working with PH and Dr Mahathir Mohammad has given them a more palatable image to the Malay voters as the target is to get rid of the Big, Bad Wolf. It should not jump the gun and try to punch above its weight.

The fact they want to contest in some native-majority seats here is not smart politics but more of arrogance and greed as they should focus more on their traditional strength.

In a situation where you need cool heads, Christina at least came out with a mature statement on the whole episode by saying the 60:40 formula was not set in stone, and this should put it to rest for the time being.

Gabungan Sabah, a coalition of four local-based parties have made it clear that they do not wish to work with peninsula-based parties, so they will be offering a third choice to voters in Sabah.

It is not easy for the local opposition parties to be on the same page, with Gabungan Sabah coalition believing that they are better off not aligning themselves to any Malaya based parties.

Can they form the government with their somewhat limited base as compared to Parti Warisan’s broader sphere of influence?

If PH can come to a working understanding with Parti Warisan, things will look clearer for the voters here as there will be basically two opposition blocs of repute that will take on BN.

For voters who want change and who are fed up with the BN, they only have to decide which of the two opposition coalitions can actually win and form the government.

It is not rocket science.


Joseph Pairin Kitingan, our deputy Chief Minister and the longest-serving Assemblyman in Sabah, has confirmed he would not be contesting this GE14.

Sometime ago he had said he would like to write a book and spend more time with his grandchildren.

Pairin, right, having a word with Maximus Ongkili, his long-standing deputy in PBS. Pairin has openly stated he will not contest GE14, but with this indecisive veteran politician, we will have to wait and see if he’s really calling it quits.

After a long career in politics, it was a good decision, especially when you are 77 years old.

Under his watch as the State Minister of Infrastructure Development, one of the biggest corruption cases in history, the Water Works department or “Watergate” happened. Currently a Railway Department corruption case is making the headlines.

However, what most Sabahans will not easily forget or forgive is the non-action on his part regarding the illegal immigrants issue where he was authorised to make the necessary recommendation as a follow up to the Royal Commission of Inquiry on the this sensitive issue with the locals.

Pairin was never noted for being a decisive person; he has done a fair few u-turns in his political career.

They say once you have politics in your blood, it is not easy to disappear into the good night quietly.

Now, will he do a Mahathir?

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