Sabah/Sarawak should get 10-11 Ministers and not just 5 in Cabinet

After the March 8 “political tsunami”, Sabah has been in the eye of the political storm in Malaysia, when the political leaders, MPs and people of Sabah woke up to the realisation of the completely new and critical role they play in Barisan Nasional politics.

For 45 years, Sabah politicians and people have been treated as step-children and progressively marginalised by the Barisan Nasional in its political chessboard.

I remember that when I spoke in Parliament in April last year about the discrimination and marginalisation of Sabah, with the Kadazan-Dusun-Murut community emerging as the new underclass in the state, the long-standing problems of illegal immigrants and the state having the highest rate of poverty in the country, no Barisan Nasional MP dared to speak up in support although privately outside Parliament they acknowledged the pertinence and relevancy of my speech.

The Barisan Nasional MPs and politicians from Sabah had not expected any change in their marginalised political role in the recent general election, but they were thrust into a completely unexpected status as a result of the March 8 “political tsunami” which saw Barisan Nasional suffering an ignominous debacle in Peninsular Malaysia – losing two-thirds parliamentary majority as well as power in five states, viz Penang, Perak, Selangor, Kedah and Kelantan.

Overnight, from a weak position of the marginalised, Sabah and Sarawak found themselves in the role of “king-makers” in Barisan Nasional in Malaysian politics for their 54 MPs from the two states were the crucial and critical ones which saved Barisan Nasional from becoming the Opposition at the federal level.

Sabah and Sarawak should have 10 – 11 Ministers in the Federal Cabinet of 27 not only because 38.5% or 54 of the 140 BN MPs come from the two states (Sabah 24, Sarawak 30), but also for saving the BN from becoming an Opposition in Parliament!

When this new critical role of Sabah and Sarawak dawned on the Barisan MPs and politicians from the two states, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had already formed his Cabinet, appointing three Ministers from Sabah and two from Sarawak.

When Abdullah tried to respond to heightened Sabah demands for a fair and just deal for Sabah under the Malaysian sun, particularly in the distribution of political offices, the Prime Minister offered the Parliament Speakership to a Sabahan and the two Deputy Speaker posts to another Sabahan and a Sarawakian.

However, such an accommodation was most inadequate and unsatisfactory to ameliorate the Sabah discontents as evident from the speeches of BN and DAP MPs in the current parliamentary debate on the first policy debate after the March general election.

One Barisan Nasional Sabah MP after another, and one BN leader after another one like Bernard Dompok and Yong Teck Lee, are beginning to speak out, whether in Parliament or outside, on the host of Sabah grievances, whether on illegal immigrants; the crime and security situation; the lack of proper infrastructure like provision of reliable water and electricity supply; the Sabah “localisation” of government and quasi-government posts in Sabah whether federal, state or GLCs; the regression of Sabah from one of the richest states in Malaysia in the 70s to one of the poorest states three decades later and the abysmal five per cent oil royalty for Sabah.

These Sabah discontents, which had been in existence for the past four decades though hidden away in subterranean channels, suddenly found expression after the March 8 “political tsunami”, creating a ferment which has led to rampant speculation that there could even be a change of federal power.

The Prime Minister is coming to Sabah again at the end of the month. The question is whether Abdullah is capable of mollifying the Sabah discontents with acceptable concessions like the political will to resolve the long-standing problem of illegal immigrants in the state, the quadrupling of the five per cent oil royalty to Sabah to 20 per cent; the appointment of Sabahans to lead federal and state government as well as quasi-government bodies, like Sabah Petronas.

[Speech when opening the DAP Sabah Ka’amatan (Harvest) Festival 2008 at Tanjong Aru, Kota Kinabalu on Sunday, 18th May 2008 at 11 am]

  1. #1 by donplaypuks on Monday, 19 May 2008 - 1:24 am

    Sabah can be managed. They are ready for justice and real change.

    But how to get rid of the Dictator Dynasty from the Land of the Hornbill? Get th eChinese there to understand that they must call Taib’s bluff and bury race-based politics once and for all.

    That, YB, will be the real challenge.

    We cannot afford ‘1 Nation, 3 Systems!’ We are not a Communist Nation like China!!

  2. #2 by mendela on Monday, 19 May 2008 - 1:35 am

    There are only 3 options left for Sabahans and Sarawakians.

    1. Demands immediately at least 11 cabinet posts.
    2. All jumb ship and join PR. A new federal government will be formed. Both states will get 20% of petrol and natural gas money.
    3. Declare independence from Malaysia

    Option 1 and 3 look remote; Option 2 is a sure win option.

  3. #3 by mendela on Monday, 19 May 2008 - 1:41 am

    Other plus points to choose option 2 is all illegal immigrants will be deported, corruptions and abuse of powers will be eradicated, CM Tahi will be charged and put into dungeon!

  4. #4 by novice101 on Monday, 19 May 2008 - 1:58 am

    Dear Sabah parliamentarians, if what you have claimed below are true, then you all shouldn’t be asking to be accomodated. You should abandon them, for they had long abandoned you and all your fellow Sabahans.

    This is what the Sabah parliamentarians alleged the federal government has done to sabotaged the sovereignity of one of its own state:

    > Fellow Malaysians (those who are supposed to enforce the laws) allowed the illegal immigrants to slip into Sabah, by hundreds of thousands.
    a) Sabah faces thre threat of being over-run by these illegal immigrants.
    b) The MPs claimed 75% of the crimes in the state was committed by the illegal immigrants.
    c) They said 90% of the drug in the state come from the Phillippines.
    d) Three out of four of the hospital beds are occupied by the illegal immigrants, thus straining the state resources.
    e) 60 % of the UiTM Bumi quota are taken by the illegal immigrants.
    > Illegal immigrants are issued illegal identity cards and were even listed in the electoral roll;
    > 600,000 of the illegal immigrants own Identity cards which were obtained either legally or illegally;
    > 366 were issued with IMM 13 cards which are meant only for refugees.

    Haven’t they suffered enough? Don’t they have the right to seek redress?

  5. #5 by albert308 on Monday, 19 May 2008 - 3:20 am

    Umno BN is new form of colonial.
    All Sabahan, Jom Ubah! Jom Lompat

  6. #6 by undergrad2 on Monday, 19 May 2008 - 3:34 am

    What is stopping these renegade MPs from jumping on to the opposition bandwagon? Positions in the new administration? Well, give it to them so long as there are positions and so long as the requests are reasonable. Anwar shouldn’t expect anything less.

    Sabah is about to make history!

    Pakatan leaders have only themselves to blame if the opportunity for ‘change’ is allowed to pass.

  7. #7 by undergrad2 on Monday, 19 May 2008 - 3:42 am

    mendela Says:

    Today at 01: 35.49 (2 hours ago)
    There are only 3 options left for Sabahans and Sarawakians….
    Declare independence from Malaysia.”

    Are you sleeping, are you sleeping
    Ms. Moderator
    Morning bells are ringing, morning bells are ringing
    Ding, dong, bell
    Ding, dong bell.

  8. #8 by pulau_sibu on Monday, 19 May 2008 - 4:16 am

    In politics you never know what is next to happen. Will Pakatan be able to do as well in the next election? Will the Sabah and Sarawak MPs be as important next election? We don’t know. The best thing to do is to make use of the chance whenever it comes by. Make full use. No dragging, along please.

  9. #9 by Jeffrey on Monday, 19 May 2008 - 5:01 am

    Post Political Tsunami politics of 8th March 07’ sees BN and PR almost neck to neck in terms of numbers in Dewan Rakyat, neither strong enough to rule to implement policies, whether old politics based on ‘Ketuanan’ & TDM’s legacy or new Politics of Reform to rid of the former, unimpeded by the other side.

    The situation is temporary. It is unsatisfactory; it needs to be resolved. The imperative is one side to decisively cripple the other…….to take over the mantle of governance and rule convincingly and decisively. Which side will that be that holds better promise to win over the other??? The answer is obvious.

    One of major players is defacto PR leader DSAI who is not expected to be patient in this game. He has been uncharacteristically quiet. (It is YB Kit’s role to highlight issues and keep BN’s failed policies rejected by rakyat in limelight . Maybe DSAI is busy snitching up the cross over deals. For he knows that time is not on PR’s side, and time to move is not too long from now. The reason is simple : delay means BN can slowly strangle PR controlled state governments via its control of federal funds which will make PR look incompetent to rule in supporters’ eyes.

    The other factor to consider is UMNO camp being divided at this moment between those inclined to populist approach of reform to reinvent – and redeem – themselves in ballot box next time around and those comfortable with old TDM’s politics opposing this approach. If the latter faction prevails, then repressive measures may be resorted against PR politicians to resolve the impasse and deadlock.

    This is where option no. 2 put forward by Mendela is an important factor.

    Another factor is factionalism within UMNO between multiple players vying for power but basically divided along broad schism of those inclined to populist politics of reform discarding TDM’s legacy and those clinging on to it. (As Godfather noted all roads lead to Roam in many contentious issues of the day!).

    The recent decision to make public the Lingam Commission’s findings public implicating TDM is part of process making him focal point on which battle lines are drawn within the ruling coalition along lines that one is either for his style and legacy of politics or against! Which of course makes it ideologically easier for the side against to collaborate with PR whose policies are definitely against!

    If East Malaysian politicians – and the reform faction within UMNO –collaborate with PR, then there will be a solution because such a coalition, with significant defection/realignment from BN’s side, will have the numbers to rule by two thirds proceeding on the assumption that Gerakan & MCA and the rest are followers, looking for positions, and will follow the side that wins and could rule ……
    Malaysian Politics will have to reconfigure along this line to be viable.

    So it makes sense for PR strategist politicians, Kit to keep BN’s failing policies on radar screen especially those pertaining to East Malaysian marginalisation as evinced in last two blog threads and DSAI to work quietly behind the scenes negotiating, cutting, sewing up the political fabric of the new deal for the country….

    If time is of the essence, then solution begs to be delivered soon.

  10. #10 by Jeffrey on Monday, 19 May 2008 - 5:04 am

    Sorry for typo – “all roads lead to ROME”….

  11. #11 by Bintulu on Monday, 19 May 2008 - 9:32 am

    Sabah maybe in the state of uneasiness, but rest assure – Sarawak will not follow suit. Our MPs are those of self-serving kinda, and only care about protecting their status quo.

    The sad thing is that we can’t kick them out, as they in most cases are often better than the candidates that opposition like DAP, PKR fielded.

    Take for example the candidate they fielded in Bintulu recently. They should have fielded someone of a little bit more experience that Lim Su Kien. She did well, but against heavyweight and people’s favorite in Datuk Seri Tiong – no one would dare to bet on her.

    Another factor is that – DAP, PKR is often seen as ‘outsider’ in Sarawak as these parties are not a ‘homegrown’ opposition. You go to any longhouses, anywhere in Sarawak, they would rather vote the worst BN candidates than opposition candidate.

  12. #12 by cheng on soo on Monday, 19 May 2008 - 9:42 am

    Jeffrey Says:

    Today at 05: 01.48 (4 hours ago)
    Post Political Tsunami politics of 8th March 07’ sees
    HEY ! date wrong lah, should be year 08

  13. #13 by limkamput on Monday, 19 May 2008 - 10:06 am

    Yes, Sdr Lim, just load the pressure on the MPs from Sabah and Sarawak. They have to make a choice now – don’t just talk the talk, but walk the talk. It is time All Sabahans and Sarawakians realise that our leaders have taken all of us for a ride. Our leaders and their families have it too good. Governing is just simply too lucrative in this country. Time to change all these. We the rakyat deserve better. If this country is managed properly and prudently, I dare say by now this country would have been a little Switzerland in Asia. Just look at the standard of living of an average Malaysian today – miserable income, poor housing, filthy environment, pollution, dirty water, endless traffic congestion, haphazard planning, zero public transportation, hopeless education, millions of unskilled and disease carrying foreign workers and endless scandals. It is enough.

  14. #14 by cvl on Monday, 19 May 2008 - 10:49 am

    Simply find it difficult to miss:

    If AAB is the typical product beneficiary of the NEP, and LKS is the the typical product side lined off the NEP…..then it lends credence a side effect of crutches does make a person permanently limp. He would need more than crutches in the end.

    Such a vivid contrast LKS can etch just on one issue in Sabah. And thank to AAB calendars he is busy doing home sewing.

    Anyone cares for NEP hand outs??

  15. #15 by joehancl on Monday, 19 May 2008 - 7:59 pm

    For what its worth I think Anwar (Warts and all) is in the best position to take malaysia out of its mess. The man was damned six years in jail(rightly or wrongly). But now he is lifted up to can be PM. This I say he could not do on his own but by the perception of malaysians or by God. If he truly wants to serve as PM he had better have HONEST values to serve all malaysians. A man who has gone through such sufferings (himself and family) still wants to be corrupt in govt. will be damned by his people if not by God.

  16. #16 by gundam on Tuesday, 20 May 2008 - 12:23 pm

    sarawak and sabah should launch a referendum to leave malaya. tat’s the only option.

  17. #17 by northborneo on Monday, 13 October 2008 - 12:00 am

    If my housemate treats me like an outsider and deny me of my rights, I would gladly leave the house or kick them out and take over the house.

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