For over four decades, the Members of Parliament in Sabah and Sarawak had been taken for granted by the UMNO/Barisan Nasional Federal Government, regarded as useful “cannon fodder” to make up the numbers to ensure UMNO’s increasing hegemony in the Federal Government but not critically important, as the ruling coalition had always won with two-thirds majority in Parliament.
The political landscape and electoral equation began to change in the 12th General Election in 2008, when the UMNO/Barisan Nasional Federal coalition government lost its two-thirds parliamentary majority for the first time in Malaysian history.
But the 57 Parliamentary seats from Sabah and Sarawak became critically important only in the 13th General Election in 2013, when the 47 Barisan Nasional MPs saved the UMNO/BN coalition from going to the opposition ranks.
This was because the UMNO/BN coalition only won 86 parliamentary seats in Peninsular Malaysia, which was not enough on its own to constitute the simple majority out of a Parliament of 222 seats to form the Federal Government in Putrajaya.
It was only with the 47 Parliamentary seats won by the UMNO/BN coalition in Sabah and Sarawak that Datuk Seri Najib Razak could continue as Prime Minister with 133 parliamentary seats, though as the first minority Prime Minister of Malaysia as UMNO/BN coalition only won minority popular support of 47% of the national voter turnout.
The 47 Barisan Nasional MPs from Sabah and Sarawak were therefore the kingmakers of the UMNO/Barisan Nasional Federal Government after the 13th General Election in 2013, but unfortunately, they have so far failed to exercise their proper influence, role and input on national policy direction and developments.
Without the support of the 47 Barisan Nasional MPs from Sabah and Sarawak, Najib’s Federal Government in Putrajaya will fail and fall.
I call on the 47 Barisan Nasional MPs to effectively play their historic role as the “king-makers” of the Najib Government by discharging three important tasks to defend the basis of Malaysian nation-building and Malaysia Agreement 1963 as well as to save Malaysia from the fate of a “global kleptocracy”.
Firstly, the 47 BN MPs from Sabah and Sarawak should make it very clear to Najib that they will withdraw their support to the Najib Federal Government, leading to its collapse and downfall, if Najib violates the fundamental basis of Malaysian nation-building as a democratic and secular nation, as for instance, giving support to PAS President, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s hudud-enabling private member’s bill motion in Parliament.
Secondly, the 47 BN MPs from Sabah and Sarawak should demand that the Najib Federal Government undertake all necessary actions and measures to restore full autonomy for Sabah and Sarawak in accordance with the word and spirit of the Cobbold Commission Report, the Inter-Government Committee Report and the Malaysian Agreement 1963.
Thirdly, the 47 BN MPs must send a clear and unmistakable message to Najib that the infamy and ignominy of Malaysia from being regarded world-wide as a global kleptocracy – a country ruled by thieves and robbers – must be rebutted and refuted, or cleansed and purged, so that Malaysians can hold their heads high and proud to own up as Malaysians when they travel to other countries overseas and not looked askance as people coming from a country ruled by crooks and knaves.
The 47 Barisan Nasional MPs from Sabah and Sarawak should make it clear to Najib that these three demands cannot be compromised, as they concern the very basis, integrity and good name of Malaysia and Malaysian nation-building, and unless the Prime Minister and his Cabinet are committed to these three noble national goals, they have to withdraw their support for the Najib Government in the national and patriotic interests.
Are the 47 Barisan Nasional MPs from Sabah and Sarawak, who are placed in the historic “kingmaker” role at this important juncture of the nation, up to these three great tasks of the nation with far-reaching consequences for future generations of Malaysians?
(Speech at the DAP Kota Kinabalu forum held in Kota Kinabalu on Saturday, 29th October 2016 at 9 pm)