The Silly Season Is Just About Back

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I SAY! C KARADAU
COMMENT: For the last few years, politics in Sabah has been very predictable.

With the coming of UMNO, days of unruly and indisciplined political “frogging” culture seemed to have vanished to God knows where.

Bland and boring indeed.

Is it so?

If early signs are to be believed, things might just go back to the old wild wild east days, Sabah was renowned for.

Pictures of thousands of people attending political ceramahs in various parts of Sabah have gone viral.

Shafie Apdal
Shafie Apdal

These are not government sponsored events, and such scenes have not been witnessed for a long time in the state.

So,what gives?

It is all about the man of the hour….. Shafie Apdal.

A former federal minister and an UMNO vice president, Shafie decided to quit the backbone of the Barisan Nasional, and goes opposition after being suspended for breaking ranks over the 1MDB scandal that implicated the Prime Minister, Najib Razak.

Shafie, in white shirt, mobbed by his ardent supporters in Semporna, his stronghold.
Shafie,fourth from right, mobbed by his ardent supporters in Semporna, his stronghold.

Upset and angry, he decided to travel around Sabah to explain his side of the story.
And they came out by the thousands to listen to him.

Yes, Shafie is strong in the east coast of Sabah, but he managed to attract thousands to turn up to listen to him in the interior/west coast towns of Tenom and Kimanis last month. Many have begun to sit up and take notice.

Is he the real deal?

That he always wanted to be the chief minister is an open secret, and the fact incumbent head honcho Musa Aman is not going to give way, is also known to all.

The push has now come to shove.

But at gatherings in Tenom and Membakut, thousands of people came to hear him speak.
But at gatherings in Tenom and Membakut, thousands of people came to hear him speak.

Shafie was quick to talk about State rights as agreed in the Malaysian Agreement 63 (MA63) reading correctly the sentiments on the ground. He has even flirted with ‘Sabah for Sabahans’ war-cry, eventhough he had never said anything about state rights all those years ago when he was in the federal cabinet.

He was a federalist true and true, at least that was the perception.

Therein lies his problem.

Jeffrey Kitingan
Jeffrey Kitingan

It has since been reported that he had taken over a local based party and some changes had been made to the logo and other aspects, and is now awaiting approval from the Registrar of Societies (RoS).

Once his political platform is in order, we will surely be seeing more of Shafie.

The word is he will work with the other state opposition parties. And that’s a good sign.

The current opposition big-wigs - Yong Teck Lee, second from left, Bumburing, Datuk Mohd Noor Mansor, a former Berjaya minister, Jeffrey and former Bersih Sabah chief, Jannie Lasimbang, left. Shafie is in touch with this group that calls itself the United Sabah Alliance.
The current opposition big-wigs – Yong Teck Lee, second from left, Bumburing, Datuk Mohd Noor Mansor, a former Berjaya minister, Jeffrey and former Bersih Sabah chief, Jannie Lasimbang, left. Shafie is in touch with this group that calls itself the United Sabah Alliance.

A few days ago most of the opposition politicians like Lajim Ukin and others left their Malaya-based parties, essentially ‘crippling’ the state PKR and DAP here. Though both Pakatan Harapan partners have said they are very much alive and kicking.

It is now a crowded field alright.

Darell Leiking
Darell Leiking

You have Wilfred Bumburing and his PCS, Yong Teck Lee and his SAPP and Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan and his party.

All these parties have come under one umbrella calling themselves the United Sabah Alliance (USA).

Lajim Ukin
Lajim Ukin

While Shafie, Lajim, Darrell Leiking and the rest have yet to reveal their true intentions, except to take on BN, to the political observer, what is obvious is that there is too much confusion, and there is no relief in sight.

Unless all these local players forget their egos and come to some kind of understanding, where there will have to be much give and take, and candidates fielded under one common banner, then they are strong and have a good chance of winning on a one-to-one, and then there is hope.

Without a united (opposition) front, status quo remains.

Sabahans await with bated breath as the silly season is just about back.

  • C Karadau has witnessed the rumble and tumble of Sabah politics. He takes a keen following but leaves the politicking to the politicians. He prefers to strike up a cigar and contemplate the future, in particular the next general elections or GE14. If encouraged, he may write more.
  • The views expressed herein are solely that of the author.