The launching of the Pakatan Harapan Sabah this morning is one of the three mini political earthquakes to lead to the major political earthquake in the 14th General Election expected this year to peacefully and democratically change the government in Sabah and Putrajaya.
As Mat Sabu, the President of AMANAH, said just now, the issue is not whether one is a Sabahan or not, but whether the political leaders asking for popular support are men and women of integrity.
The next general election should be a choice between democracy or kleptocracy; good governance or injustices and abuses of power.
In the past year or so, Malaysia had become a global kleptocracy – which I said in Parliament is a government of 3Ps, Pencuri, Perompak and Penyamun. Equally shocking, Sabah has emerged as the most kleptocratic state in Malaysia.
In the last few days, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) arrested a Federal Ministry Secretary-General and a few millions of ringgit were found in his possession – but this was small fry compared to the tens and hundreds of millions of ringgit which the MACC found when it raided two top officers of the Sabah Water Department in October during the Sabah Watergate scandal!
China has caught and imprisoned “tigers” and Indonesia “crocodiles” in their anti-corruption campaigns but the Malaysian MACC has still to net and jail a single “shark”, and unless the MACC can net the “political sharks” in the fight against corruption, the focus on civil servants will not take Malaysia’s anti-corruption campaign very far.
There must a clean, honest and dedicated political leadership, both at the national and state levels.
Sabahans are entitled to ask why with Sabah’s vast wealth and natural resources, poverty in Sabah is so acute and abject with Sabahans among the poorest in the country.
Malaysia will be celebrating its 60th National Day in less than eight months to mark Merdeka on August 31, 1957, while the 53rd anniversary of Malaysia Day will be celebrated the following month.
In 60 years, Malaysia has had six Prime Ministers, but in 53 years of Sabah in Malaysia, there had been 12 Chief Ministers for Sabah.
One important reason why we have not been able to break the back of the problem of poverty in Sabah in 53 years is the problem of rampant corruption and abuses of power of those in authority, to the extent that Sabah has the dubious dishonour of being the most kleptocratic state in Malaysia, which is recently regarded world-wide as a global kleptocracy.
Pakatan Harapan Sabah will offer the voters of Sabah a choice between democracy or kleptocracy; good governance or injustices and abuses of power in the 14th General Elections, not only in Sabah but the whole of Malaysia.
We must save Sabah, and at the same time save Malaysia. One slogan in the coming general election will be: Save Sabah, Save Malaysia; Save Malaysia, Save Sabah.
The second mini political earthquake took place at the Kepayan DAP Christmas party in Kota Kinabalu last night, where one of the founders of PACOS, former Suhakam Commissioner, Chairperson of Sabah Bersih, and world-known campaigner for rights of Indigenous People and human rights, Jannie Lasimbang and her 80-year-old mother, Rosina Sogondu and her sister Pauline Lasimbang joined the DAP to widen the scope of her commitment for human rights and the rights of Orang Asal.
Rosina should a role model not only for Sabahans but also Malaysians.
She has brought up 12 children, eight girls and four boys, together with her husband, Benedict Lasimbang, without a single sen of government help and all her 12 children have gone on to establish a name for themselves in their chosen field of public service or profession.
In the struggle for justice, freedom, harmony and unity in a multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural Sabah and Malaysia, the contributions of all, regardless of race, religion, region, gender or age is a pre-condition for success of our noble cause.
Jannie’s joining the political battle in Sabah and Malaysia will add not only a new dimension to the struggle of human rights and the cause of Orang Asal in Malaysia, but also for gender equality.
It will be a challenge, not only to DAP but also to Pakatan Harapan to target at least 30% of women participation at all levels of the political struggle.
At present, there is one woman Minister in the Sabah Cabinet of 11 when there should be at least three women Ministers in the state; two women deputy ministers among 18 deputy ministers, when there should be at least five or six.
The third mini political earthquake in Sabah and Malaysian politics is the Pensiangan Formula to address the political and constitutional stalemate caused by UMNO’s support for PAS President Datuk Seri Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill.
I confess great shock and dismay that the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Tan Sri Joseph Kurup, has made a ferocious but baseless attack against me for visiting his constituency in Pensiangan some ten days ago.
In a statement, Kurup said he rejected the DAP’s “politics of hatred” as there is no space for DAP’S politics of hatred “among peace loving Malaysians, including those living in Sabah”.
He expressed regret that “instead of understanding and appreciating this”, he accused me of “sticking to his endless journey of polluting the hearts and minds of peace loving Malaysians living in Sabah with his scorching political hatred”.
Kurup said: “It seems that there is no limit to how low politicians like Kit Siang will go as long as his goal of expanding DAP’s influence in Sabah is achieved. Even if that means promoting political extremism in the serene and peaceful land of Pensiangan (an interior) district in Sabah.”
I cannot agree more with Kurup that there should be no space for politics of hatred or political extremism in Sabah or Malaysia, and I invite him to quote chapter and verse to substantiate his allegation that I had been guilty of the “politics of hatred” or “political extremism” during my recent visit to Tenom, Keningau, Sook and Pensiangan.
I have no hesitation in condemning any “politics of hatred” or “political extremism” if he could cite chapter and verse to prove that I had been guilty of them during my recent visit to Tenom, Keningau, Sook and Pensiangan – but he had clearly been misinformed and misled.
If Kurup cannot quote chapter and verse to substantiate his allegation that I had been guilty of “politics of hatred” or “political extremism”, would he have the decency to retract the charges and apologise for the false allegations?
Or does Kurup think that the Pensiangan Formula is proof of “politics of hatred” or “political extremism”?
This will indeed be a great tragedy, for the Pensiangan Formula was conceived to address the political and constitutional stalemate caused by UMNO’s support for Hadi’s private member’s bill and I had expected Kurup to embrace and advocate it in the Cabinet.
If Kurup still does not understand or have doubts about the Pensiangan Formula, I am prepared to meet him personally to explain it to him. Just name the place, date and time.
In the next few months, in the run-up to the 14GE, DAP and Pakatan Harapan must create more mini political earthquakes so that Sabahans can be fully conscious of their paramount role to bring about peaceful democratic change in Sabah and Malaysia.
One mini political earthquake is to educate Sabahans and Malaysians about the central importance of the three pledges of Batu Sumpah in Keningau on religion, land and adat.
In fact, I would suggest the erection of a replica of Batu Sumpah in the Sabah State Assembly to remind Sabah Assemblymen and women about an important and integral part of the history of Sabah when they enter the State Assembly for debates.
(Speech at the launching of Pakatan Harapan Sabah at Wisma Hakka, Kota Kinabalu on Sunday, 8th January 2016 at 12 noon)