Thursday, 5 March 2009

A Fourth By-Election?

Will we have a fourth by-election held simultaneously on April 7, 2009. The Election Commission had fixed March 29, for nomination for the by-election in Perak and Kedah, and yesterday fixed the same date for a by-election in Sarawak.
Though at this point in time, this may be just a speculation but a fourth by-election is likely to be held in Sabah for the parliamentary seat of Pensiangan.
The Federal Court on March 13, 2009 (Friday 13) will deliver its decision whether or not to grant Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) president Tan Sri Joseph Kurup's apppeal against Kota Kinabalu Election Court declaration on Sept 8, 2008 that his win uncontested in Pensiangan during the March 8, general elections was null and void.
Polling for the Batang Ai state by-election in Sarawak will be held on April 7, simultaneously with the polls for the Bukit Gantang parliamentary seat in Perak and Bukit Selambau state seat in Kedah.
Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, who chaired the commission meeting in Kuching yesterday in Kuching, said nomination was fixed for March 29, like for the other two seats.
Notice of the writ would be issued on Friday.
The seat fell vacant following the death of incumbent Datuk Dublin Unting Ingkot, the Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) vice-president, on Feb 24.
Abdul Aziz said that after considering several factors, the EC felt that the Sarawak EC officer was ready for the by-election and it was timely to hold the by-elections simultaneously to avoid a long campaigning period.
An allocation of RM400,000 had been approved for the by-election, he told reporters after chairing a two-hour meeting to set the polling date.A total of 24 polling centres would be opened at schools, longhouses, kindergartens and government premises while 201 workers would be deployed, he said adding that Batang Ai had 8,006 registered voters comprising 7,963 ordinary and 43 postal voters.
Dublin won the Iban-majority seat in the state election in May 2006, beating Nicholas Bawin Anggat of Sarawak National Party (Snap) by 806 votes, and was appointed State Assistant Sports and Agriculture Minister.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...
‘Pasok Momogun’ as a way forward for Sabahans
Joe Fernandez | Mar 3, 09 11:46am

Former Berjaya minister Ayub Aman, 68, has a way out of the recurrent polemics in the search for a politically correct and broadly acceptable umbrella term for the “true natives of Sabah”, in line with the pre-1975 Native Ordinance Act.

The 1975 amendment, under then chief minister Datu Mustapha Datu Harun, gave a wider scope to the definition of native of Sabah to include the natives of the southern Philippines, Indonesia, Sarawak, Brunei, Malaya and Singapore “whose stay in Sabah is not limited under any of the provisions of the Immigration Act 1959/63”.

The result was the removal of Mustapha from power by Berjaya under Donald Stephens, who died in a tragic air crash with weeks of his victory, and his second stint as chief minister after a long spell in the political wilderness including as high commissioner to Australia.

Ayub also wants an acceptable term for the non-natives in Sabah to help delink themselves from their original motherlands and have a sense of belonging and ownership along with the original sons of the soil.

Rather than debate over whether Kadazan or Kadazandusun should be the umbrella term, he proposes a return to Pasok (son of the soil) which incidentally was half the name of an organisation, Pasok Momogun, which his uncles OKK (Orang Kaya Kaya) Sedomon and OKK Gunsanad Samson Sundang, once a deputy chief minister, helmed for many years before seeking a merger with other organisations. Both gentlemen were in the forefront of the struggle for independence.

“Momogun refers to the outsiders – Indians, Chinese, others – who came to the land of the Pasok and either lived with them or by themselves,” explained Ayub, who has an exotic mixture running in his veins, but is listed in his birth certificate as a Dusun.

“When you are Momogun, you can just identify with just that term instead of saying Sabah Indians or Sabah Chinese, etc. Momogun refers to where you are living or residing.”

He was commenting on the current polemics on the most suitable umbrella term for the natives of Sabah following the recent formation of the Dusun Society of Sabah (DSS) to rival the Kadazan Society of Sabah (KSS) which was incorporated in recent months

They compete with the KDCA (Kadazandusun Murut Cultural Organisation), headed by Huguan Siou (paramount chief), Joseph Pairin Kitingan, also a deputy chief minister and chief of PBS.
The Muruts and Bisayas, a Dusun tribe of largely Muslims, have separate societies.

'We keep our faith private'

Ayub, the executive chairman of the New Sabah Times and elder brother of Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman, admits that others might dispute his use of the terms Pasok and Momogun, especially the latter, “but how far can they go from the crux of the matter?”

Pasok Momogun, adds Ayub, would in the Sabah context be similar to the constitutional definition of Malay in Peninsular Malaysia.

“In the early years of Malaysia, there were attempts to extend the term Malay to Sabah but it fizzled out in the end probably because of the vast sea distance that separates us,” noted Ayub.

“Also, Sabah is unique in that respect because there could be so many ethnic groups within just one family and just as many faiths. While we flaunt our ethnicity, we keep our faith private unlike in Peninsular Malaysia where Indians, for example, are Malays if they are Muslims.”

“The Malay Muslim identity is not suitable for Sabah and Sabahans. If we have been speaking of a Bangsa Malaysia since the 1990s, we in fact have had a Bangsa Sabah from the very beginning.”

He cites his own family as an example of Pasok Momogun approximating the ideal of Bangsa Sabah.

His paternal grandfather was a Pathan from southern Afghanistan who enrolled with the Bengal regiment in Calcutta during the British Raj in India and ended up in Sabah where he married a Dusun Kinabatangan or Orang Sungei.

His maternal grandmother’s father was Chinese and the mother a Murut. She married a Dusun and the result was Ayub’s mother who was born in Keningau like him.

“We had relatives from so many different tribes from even among the Dusuns and Muruts and others. I remember celebrating all the festivals including Chinese New Year,” recalled Ayub who served as a choir boy in Keningau for two years and even topped the Christian boys in Bible studies.

'Used to sing hymns in Latin'

“We used to sign hymns in Latin in those days. All of us were very close and then for a period of time there was this influence from Peninsular Malaysia to separate us in the mould there. But it didn’t work out and today we are finding ourselves again.”

For a time, the terms non-Muslim bumiputera and Muslim bumiputera were used until former chief minister Harris Salleh, an Indian-Brunei Malay, introduced the term peribumi (indigenous), a hugely unpopular term, which led among others to his fall from power in 1985.

Sabahans felt that too many illegal immigrants were accommodated under the term peribumi and replaced Berjaya with the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS).

Ayub opines that perhaps Sabah could have been integrated even further had not Pasok Momogun merged with Unko (United National Kadazan Organisation) to form Upko (United Pasok-Momogun Kadazan Organisation) led by Donald Aloysius Marmaduke Stephens, the first chief minister of Sabah, who was English-Kadazandusun on his father’s side and English-Japanese on his mother’s side.

Eventually, the Upko membership merged with the Suluk-led and Bajau-based Usno (United Sabah National Organisation) of Datu Mustapha Datu Harun, the first governor of independent Sabah in Malaysia and later chief minister after Stephens.

The Suluks are more recent immigrants from the southern Philippines. The first Bajaus arrived in Sabah from the Philippine islands some 300 years ago.

The Usno membership made way for Umno and the former was deregistered by the then Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The membership of Akar (Angkatan Keadilan Rakyat), a Dusun-based organisation, likewise joined Umno en bloc and the party was dissolved. Akar gave Umno its first Chinese members.

The acceptance of the terms Pasok and Momogun, according to Ayub, could go some way in resolving the “identity snatching” among the Dusuns of Sabah, among others.

He counts himself lucky that he ran the gauntlet of Kadazan nationalism, as a Dusun, and “lived to tell the tale”. But he would be less than happy if he did not help other Dusuns, who had their identity snatched away at birth by petty bureaucrats, win back their badge of honour.

His fifth child, a son, is among the victims of “identity snatching”, laments Ayub.
“When I went to register my fifth son’s birth, I produced my own birth certificate which states that I am a Dusun. But when I got his birth certificate, they had listed him as Kadazan. All my other children are Dusun.”

Ayub hopes that more will join the chorus of voices in the great recurrent debate on whether the tribal indigenous communities in Sabah should continue to come under a controversial umbrella term like Kadazandusun, for reasons of political expedience and the numbers game which benefits only a few leaders, or go their separate ways and celebrate their differences as Pasok in partnership with the Momogun.

In search of the right label for Sabah natives
The search for the right label for Sabah natives