Why The Silence On Sabah’s 13 New Seats? Being Competitive With DLP

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IS THE SABAH BN RUNNING SCARED AND KNOWS IT CANNOT WIN IN THE 13 NEW SEATS, HENCE THE DRAGGING OF FEET TO GET PARLIAMENT’S APPROVAL IN TIME FOR GE14

COMMENT: Things are still hazy on this front.

With elections around the corner, political watchers are wondering if Sabah polls going to be fought on the existing 60 seats or what.

The Election Commission (EC) posted the list of 13 proposed new State constituencies on September 15, 2016; so far nothing has been heard about it.

The voters are of course eager to know whether there will changes made for their polling states, besides wanting to know the prospective candidates standing in these new seats.

For political parties they too need to know soon so that they can make the necessary preparations.

Despite the situation, political parties, especially the Kadazandusun based parties in BN like PBS, PBRS and UPKO had publicly stated that they should be given priority to stand in some of the new seats on top of their existing quotas.

And they had also staked a common claim on three different seats of Telupid, Mengaris and Dambai.

The Election Commission posted the list of the 13 proposed new State constituencies on September 15, 2016, after the Sabah State Assembly had voted for it earlier; so far nothing has been heard about it.

What was clear even if they were in the same BN coalition and the picture about the new seats was still murky, the competition is stiff.

Maybe the exception could be made for LDP, the Chinese based party in the coalition as their focus is more on urban and suburban seats and where competition within the coalition is less competitive.

Then there is big brother UMNO and their interests need to be taken into account, probably more than others.

While the Federal side has been dragging its feet on the matter, our State Assembly in one of its sittings in 2016 had actually passed a Bill allowing seats to be increased pending Parliament’s approval.

This 16-month delay is pretty embarrassing to the ruling party in Sabah; after all they had pushed for it, but now big brother in Putrajaya seems to be delaying things unnecessarily.

So, what’s holding things up?

General elections must be held some time this year, but Sabahans are wondering whether GE14 will see 73 seats being contested, or just 60.

Of course we cannot rule out that the BN-majority government will hold a special (Parliament) session to bulldoze the redelineation exercise through before the election or GE14.

The delay among other things can be attributed to the sitting government assessing the risks with the new proposed seats as they have to win at all costs, no prisoners will be taken in this election.

The question is, once the State Assembly is dissolved, then, will there be 73 State seats up for grabs, since the new seats have been gazetted. And will it be a legal issue if only 60 seats are contested. Is someone about to take this matter to court?

If the Sabah government is confident of winning the new seats, then why isn’t it pushing for its inclusion in GE14? This probably then can be interpreted that the government is not confident at all that they can win the 13 new seats.

The last delineation exercise in Sabah took place in 2003. A decision is long overdue.

Fairness has been in short supply from the government when it comes to dealing with the opposition parties where they go into elections with one hand practically tied behind their backs, yet they have managed despite the odds.

If not for Sabah and Sarawak support in the last elections, the BN government would have been history.

The government must therefore go deep and analyse their shortcomings and the message sent out by the voters especially over in Malaya.

If the idea is to catch the opposition off-guard so that they are not well-prepared because of the uncertainties surrounding the new seats, then it could also be a double-edged sword as the voters will definitely see thìngs differently.

There is no guarantee in life, what more in politics!

ENGLISH IS DEFINITELY PART OF OUR HERITAGE WHETHER WE LIKE IT OR NOT, WHY NOT MAINTAIN A CERTAIN DEGREE OF PROFICIENCY OF THE LANGUAGE SO WE DON’T LOOK DUMB AND IGNORANT

Famous for its flip flop approach in managing education in this country, it’s heartening to hear that the Education Ministry had decided to proceed with the Dual Language Programme (DLP) in some chosen schools this year.

There were claims that the Ministry in its usual habit might not go ahead with DLP.

But by issuing a statement on the matter – it said a total of 1,303 schools nationwide would be implementing it – it cleared the air. And an extra 88 schools had been given permission to carry out the programme this year, it added.

For parents this must be music to their ears, as the programme would be made permanent and our pupils would be more competitive at a global standard as their exposure to English would improve.

With some public notices in poor English gone viral recently, decision makers must not be too complacent.

It is important that our students are proficient in the English language to make them more marketable in this competitive world.

Tourism Minister, Nazri Aziz was quoted on the matter as saying he wasn’t bothered with poor English in this country as he had seen worse in Thailand and China. Then these countries didn’t have the English language background like us; why must we go down to their level?

Why is it so difficult to maintain a certain degree of proficiency as the language is definitely part of our heritage whether we like it or not or at least don’t make us look dumb and ignorant. Certain standards must be kept.

On record, Rahman Dahlan, our Sabah minister in the Federal cabinet, is a vocal advocate for English schools in this country, but nothing has come out of it, only good sound bites so far.

Is it any wonder why people don’t take what politicians say seriously in this country?

We as a nation cannot afford not to know English.

Enough said.