Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Dr Mahathir regrets bringing Umno to Sabah

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KOTA KINABALU: Has Sabah Umno now become a liability and did former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad eventually regret taking the party to Sabah?
According to PKR chief of Sabah and Sarawak, Dr Jeffrey Kittingan, Mahathir had his regrets.
"After I was released from detention (under the Internal Security Act), I was brought to his ( Mahathir's) office.
"During our conversation, he told me he actually regretted bringing Umno to Sabah, because its leaders only cared about themselves and not the party," said Jeffrey.
Jeffrey said he had asked Mahathir why was it so difficult to disband the party in Sabah, and Mahathir told him he could not do so because of "maruah (pride)".
"Since Mahathir cannot take Umno back to the Peninsula, the people of Sabah should send Umno back to the Peninsula," said Jeffrey when officiating at the opening of PKR Kota Kinabalu division AGM at its office here. Also present were PKR Sabah chairman Ahmad Thamrin and deputy president-cum-Kota Kinabalu division chief Christina Liew.
The opposition leader, whose brother Joseph Pairin Kittingan is Sabah deputy chief minister, called on Sabahans to give Pakatan Rakyat the next five-year mandate to help change the fate of Sabah.
"After so many years and until today, even after PBS (Parti Bersatu Sabah) rejoined the Barisan Nasional, nothing has changed," he said.
He recalled that Pairin had told him once that the purpose of joining the BN was so "it would be easier for us to solve all problems like the illegal immigrants, poverty and so on".
"He told me this then. But after so many years, have they solved the illegal immigrant problem … the poverty problem?
"Poverty has become even bigger. Sabah is now the second poorest state in the country with the largest poorest population.
"Recently there was a news report quoting a state deputy chief minister as saying the poverty rate in Sabah has dropped by 7%. Do you believe this?
"If all the prices of goods have increased but the salary remains the same, is this possible? There are actually more poor people in Sabah now than the last two years."
He said despite a whole series of operations against illegal immigrants, nothing has actually changed and the problem remained unsolved.
Even the increase in allocations from the federal government to Sabah from RM2.7 billion to RM20 billion has made little difference, he said.
"What do we see from this (RM20 billion)? Maybe we see a little bit (development) here and there but the question is, where did the money go… I believe you all know where," he said.
He said if the opposition parties did not keep a careful watch "I believe all the development allocation would go into the pockets of the Barisan Nasional leaders".
"So we need to take away the Barisan Nasional fixed deposit because we do not actually gain any 'interest' from it... transfer the fixed deposit to Pakatan Rakyat and you will get your rightful 'interest'," he said.

Musa locks horns with Shafie Apdal

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KOTA KINABALU: A recent heated exchange between two top Sabah leaders is being viewed as a proxy fight between Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his deputy Muhyiddin Yassin.

In the table-thumping incident, Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman and Rural and Regional Development Minister Shafie Apdal had reportedly locked horns right under Muhyiddin's nose.

Shafie, the MP from Sabah's east coast district of Semporna, is Sabah's first Umno vice-president and is seen as a blue-eyed boy of the prime minister.

Lately, local Umno circles have been spreading the word that Musa, who has been able to keep his influence as the state Umno liason chief, could be moved to the national capital in the next general election.

When Muhyiddin made an official three-day visit two weeks ago on the heels of Malacca Chief Minister Mohd Ali Rustam's trip to Sabah, he had officiated a meeting of Umno leaders.

Verbal tiff linked to allocations

According to Umno leaders present at the closed-door meeting, a discussion on federal government allocations for rural development sparked off the heated argument between Musa and Shafie.

Those present claimed that Musa had insisted that all federal allocations channelled through Shafie's ministry this year, should go through the state government.

They said Shafie however stood firm that federal allocations should be managed by his ministry as the state government had its own allocations for rural development.

The standoff, they said, led to Musa and Shafie banging the table to emphasise their points with Muhyiddin paying more attention to Musa's argument.

This set Umno tongues wagging that the deputy prime minister was supporting Musa against Shafie, who is said to be in line for the chief minister's post.

The feud between Musa and Shafie over Sabah Umno divisions is a well known story in local political circles.

During the last Umno division elections two years ago, Musa's supporters openly backed candidates who contested against leaders linked to Shafie.

The latest incident between the chief minister and the Umno vice-president has taken a different turn and is now being interpreted as a proxy fight between the premier and his deputy in preparation for next year's Umno elections.

The Musa-Shafie feud is seen by some observers as a tussle for the control of money flowing from Kuala Lumpur to strengthen their hold in Umno divisions in Sabah through the allocation of projects.

Musa is seen as the richest Umno leader in Sabah with his hold on the state coffers, timber concessions and state projects, while Shafie has been trying to gain ground with the latest allocations for rural development in Sabah.

Sabah, with the second largest number of delegates in the country to the Umno assembly, could well provide a turning point for the national leadership.

Axis being formed?

For quite some time now Musa, who has been chief minister for over five years, has been strengthening his grip on the party.

Some Umno members have been complaining that they are not receiving a fair share of state allocations through Musa as they are identified as supporters of his rival.

They described Musa as a shrewd businessman-politician and Shafie cannot not match him when it comes to using projects and money to keep power.

So when news of the table-thumping incident leaked, rumours begin to circulate that Musa was on his way out.

The talk in Sabah political circles is that Muhyiddin, Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Higher Education Minister Khalid Nordin are forming an axis to test the political waters against the camp of Najib and his cousin Home Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.

Since Umno's entry into Sabah in 1990, the party's delegates have played a role as to how proxy fights at the national level could turn.

When former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad backed the late Ghafar Baba for the Umno deputy presidency, 14 Umno divisions led by Shafie's uncle Sakaran Dandai turned the tables on him.

They sent a memorandum supporting Anwar Ibrahim forcing Mahathir to drop his support for Ghafar.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Majimbun: I am ready to vacate my MP seat...

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KOTA KINABALU: A Sabah opposition member of Parliament is ready to quit his seat provided the Barisan Nasional government amends the federal and state constitutions to allow elected representatives who resign to re-contest or defend their seat in by-election or elections.

The Sepanggar MP was responding to a challenge by a state BN official to vacate his seat and defend it in a by-election.

Eric Majimbun said it would be even better if Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak called for the dissolution of Parliament to pave way for a general elections.

"Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman can also obtain the consent of the Yang Dipertua Negeri to dissolve the State Legislative Assembly to also pave the way for a State election," the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) deputy president told FMT.

He said the constitutions at the moment made it difficult for him to re-contest the seat as it disqualifies MPs or assemblymen for five years if they resign their seats.

Article 17(5) of the Sabah constitution provides that an elected member who resigns his membership of the legislative assembly shall be disqualified from contesting for five years from the date of resignation.

Sepanggar BN coordinating chief Jumat Idris over the weekend challenged the MP from the opposition party to vacate his parliamentary seat and defend it in a by-election.

Speaking at a Juara Rakyat gathering here Sunday, Jumat challenged Majimbun to quit yesterday and have a `replay of the March 8, 2008 election in Sepanggar.

Dissolve Parliament

The BN chief claimed that Sepanggar is the national coalition's stronghold.
"SAPP should stop dreaming of winning the seat again. They won before as their party was then still with BN. It will not be easy for SAPP through Datuk Eric Majimbun to win Sepanggar again," Jumat said.

Majimbun thanked Jumat for his timely proposal that elected representatives go back to the people for a fresh mandate.

"As the coordination chief for Sepanggar BN, it is for Jumat Idris to make his dream come true to be a Yang Berhormat. He should also call on BN leaders to amend the State and Federal Constitutions so as not to restrict any MPs from re-contesting in by-elections," Majimbun added.

He said Jumat should also call on Raymond Tan Shu Kiah (Tanjong Papat) and Au Kam Wah (Elopura) to resign from their respective state seats.The two assemblymen won their respective seats on SAPP-BN ticket in the 12th general election.

"Better still, If my good friend (Jumat) is a true statesman, he can always instruct his fellow BN leaders or himself to call on Prime Minister Najib to dissolve Parliament.

"Let there be a general elections for BN to go back to the people for a fresh mandate. Be my guest, Jumat can contest Sepanggar," he added.

Majimbun also said that BN leaders had, for too long, been trying to hoodwink the people with sweet talk and empty promises.

"BN should solve the major problems in Sabah … the explosive increase in population (due to the influx of illegal immigrants) and uplift the living standards of the people.
"Return the rights and power to the people of Sabah as promised by leaders during the formation of Malaysia. Sabahans are now only used as a tool by the federal government as fixed deposit in order to re-colonise Sabah." he said.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Ex-Minister dies

Bernama today reported that Former Federal Agriculture Minister Tan Sri Sulaiman Daud passed away today at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital after a long illness.

He was 77.

KLH director Datuk Dr Zaininah Mohd Zain said Sulaiman died at 8.10am and his remains had been taken to his home at 61, Lorong Lai Tet Lok Satu, off Jalan Gurney, here.

Sulaiman, who turned 77 on March 4, leaves behind four children, sons Mahathir and Azman and daughters Norshida and Zelda Raha.

His wife, Puan Sri Naemah Hasbi died on March 26, 2005 of lung cancer.

Sulaiman, who was a former vice-president of Sarawak's Parti Pesaka Bumiputera (PBB) and a former Member of Parliament for Petra Jaya, had held various federal ministerial posts.

He was first appointed Federal Territory Minister on March 19, 1981. He also served as the Minister of Education (from 1981 to 1984 and from 1991 to 1995), Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports (1984 to 1986), Minister of Land and Regional Development (1986 to 1989), Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (1989 to 1990), Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (1990 to 1991) and, finally, as the Minister of Agriculture (1995 to 1999).

The Kuching-born Sulaiman held a PhD in dentistry from the University of Otago, New Zealand, and had served as a dentist with the Sarawak government and the Brunei Medical Department in the 1960's.

Thursday, 18 March 2010


L-R, Dr, Nicholas Bawin of Sarawak, P. Waythayamoorty, Chairman Hindraf movement, Labour party MP, Virenda Sharma, and Daniel John Jambun of Sabah.





A Memorandum on the Fate of Sabah

in the Malaysian Federation


Presented by DANIEL JOHN JAMBUN, Esq.

At the House of Commons, London, the United Kingdom

March 9, 2010

Good afternoon all Honourable Members of the House, ladies and gentlemen.

First of all, I would like to record our most sincere gratitude having been given this honour of presenting this memorandum before this esteemed House. Today, marks a moment of honour for the people of Sabah, the former North Borneo, for having been accorded this rare opportunity to present a Memorandum a matter of grave significance, a matter which affect our fate as the people of the Federation of Malaysia. We see this as a historical event, a moment granted by God’s grace, in which we can communicate under this honourable roof, to reminisce a milestone of history half a century ago which was followed by sad events that in too many instances happened with numerous misgivings.

For decades now, we the people of Sabah, have been haunted by ghosts of history dating back to August 31, 1963, the day we gained independence from Great Britain. Malaysia was conceptualised and constituted with the best of promises, endearing in us hopes and dreams for a greater future. It is with sadness that I stand here to witness that what had transpired since September 16, 1963 had been a series of events that had led us to the present situation in which we can justly proclaim to be a situation of shattered hopes and broken dreams!

We therefore stand before this House, in good faith, to seek redress and to appeal for an inclusive dialogue, which we hope will lead to a clearer and brighter tomorrow to all parties concerned. I seek the indulgence of this House to hear our side of the story and adjudge the events of the past with a clear conscience and a sympathetic eye, and to lend us a hand in seeking a just and righteous solution to our problem.

I would like to present three pertinent issues, which may or may not have direct concern of the present British government. Firstly, we need to take a critical review of the rationales and instruments for the formation of Malaysia. There is the nagging question of justice in the drafting of the critical Malaysia Agreement, the efficiency and integrity off the Cobbold Commission, the reliability of the promises of the Twenty Points, the Inter governmental Committee Report and the Malaysian Act, historical documents which must be familiar to the knowledge of the Honourable Lawmakers in this House. Secondly, is the perennial issue of security which now affect the sovereignty of Sabah within Malaysia. And thirdly is the case of the spiraling deterioration in the economic wellbeing of the people of Sabah.

Sabah’s Expectations of Malaysia vs Reality and the Malaysian Agreement

The facts of history is that Sabah, a former British colony, achieved its independence on August 31st, 1963. On September 16, 1963, it merged with Malaya, Singapore and Sarawak to form the Federation of Malaysia on terms agreed by all parties. The concept of merger and equal partnership was introduced by Tunku Abdul Rahman to allay fears in Sabah and Sarawak of the possibility of Malaya recolonizing them upon the departure of the British masters.

The terms of this Federation are contained in various documents such as the Twenty Points, the IGC report and of course the Malaysia Agreement, which on paper protected the interests of Sabah and Sarawak within this new Federation so that they do not lose their autonomy in certain areas of governance which gave meanings and substances to their independence.

Without doubt, this was the expressed hope of the founding fathers, principally Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first Prime Minister of Malaysia; Lee Kuan Yew, the former Prime Minister of Singapore, Donald Stephens and Mustapha Harun of Sabah, Stephen Kalong Ningkan of Sarawak, etc. Independent speeches were delivered by various leaders including Razak, Tun Mustapha, Donald Stephens and Sir William Goode to during the historic celebration of Sabah’s nationhood. I present several quotes from them below:

Today, is a historic day for Sabah. It marks the beginning of self-government and independence and the end of colonialism.

Sir William Goode, outgoing Governor of North Borneo

(Sabah Times, Jesselton, August 1, 1963)

The Tunku naturally uttered several historic statements on the matter:

“The granting of self-government too would enable Sabah to stand on its own feet as equal with Malaya, Sarawak and Singapore.”

(Sabah Times, Jesselton, August 30th, 1963)

“The important aspects of the Malaysia Ideal, as I see it, is that it will enable the Borneo territories to transform their present colonial status to ‘self government’ for themselves and absolute independence in Malaysia simultaneously...”

“The days of imperialism are gone and it is not the intention of Malaya to perpetuate or revive them. When the Borneo territories become part of Malaysia, they will cease to be a colony of Malaya, they will be partners of equal status, no more or less than the other States.”

(Strait Times, October 2nd 1962) The “other States” refer to the other States entities of Malaya, Singapore and Sarawak.”

Today, more than forty six years after independence, the people of Sabah are asking what happened to these rosy pronouncements and assurances. In fact the Sabahans have always been seriously clarification as to why Sabah is now functioning as if it is only a colony of Kuala Lumpur. Many still remember the warnings given by former Indonesian president Sukarno, who said that Malaysia will not change colonialism but will only shift its headquarters from London to Kuala lumpur. Has Sukarno’s prophecy come true today?

Tunku Abdul Rahman kept assuring us that Sabah was now independent; that it was no longer a colony and that Sabah will have its” absolute independence” in Malaysia. What Tunku Abdul Rahman said was exactly what we expected Sabah to gain and benefit from being part of the Federation, i.e. being a fully autonomous state within the Federation. But contrary to that promise, the reality today is that Sabah has become the 12th state of Malaya. Federal government leaders, dominated by Malayans, today can arbitrarily change, at their whims and fancies, whatever they wish to suit their needs and convenience. They even ignored the Twenty Points and the Malaysia Agreement and made it sensitive to even talk about them.

The Problem of the Illegal and Legalised Immigrants in Sabah

About half of Sabah’s population of 3.25 million today are foreigners. Out of this number, 750,000 are undocumented or without travel documents or work passes. Dr Chong Eng Leong paper, “Human Rights and Citizenship: Its impact on Economics, Social and Cultural Rights,” presented at the SUHAKAM Roundtable Discussion on July 31, 2006 refers.

Of these, 60,000 are categorized as refugees and about 153,000 to 418,000 are those supposedly given work passes. In addition there are those with false documents but over and above these numbers are the 600,000 who have been given genuine Malaysian identity cards or MyKads by higher authority under “Projek IC Mahathir” (Dr. Chong Eng Leong, Ibid.)

The most serious and obvious injustices inflicted upon Sabah is the deployment of non-citizen to become voters, thereby depriving citizens of the right to democracy and self-determination. The main category of foreign voters comprise the 600,000 who have been given Mykads, under “Projek IC Mahathir.” This project was widely debated in the local papers in 2006. A witness to a trial on an election dispute confessed in court to possessing a dubious identity card, telling the magistrate that he obtained his IC through “Projek President Mahathir.” This evidence was never contested, and nor has there been any denial form the former Prime Minister.

Security and Sovereignty

Most of these foreigners come from a neighbouring country (the Philippines) which, incidently, has yet to drop its territorial claim over Sabah. By the sheer number of the illegals from the Philippines alone, with their settlements surrounding all the major cities and towns, this claim could be easily legitimized. Sabah is now a haven for escaping terrorists, rebels and kidnappers. JI or Jemaah islamiyah, a terror network, has been identified as having its presence in Sabah. So is Darul Islam Sabah. Hence, with the presence of armed foreigners on our soil, Sabah is no longer a secure state.

This begs the question: Where is the security that the founding fathers of Malaysia had promised us? With the explicit support of Great Britain, we had been hard-pressed to join in the formation of Malaysia, in the name of security from Indonesia’s Confrontation and Phillippines’ claim. But as it turned out, today Brunei, which opted out following a rebellion, and Singapore which was later expelled, are doing so much better. There is therefore no denying that Brunei had been far-sighted, and Singapore had been ironically blessed by its expulsion.

Reverse Take Over

As the number of non-citizens are now rapidly outnumbering the local population in some areas (Dr Jeffery Kitingan, Justice for Sabah, Table 4.1), it is merely a matter of time for this foreign population to spread and overwhelm the whole of Sabah. SUHAKAM’s former Commissioner, Prof. Hamdan Adnan, once said that a foreigner reverse takeover is imminent if the trend continues unabated.


Sabah is a rich state endowed with much natural resources such as oil and gas, timber, fertile agricultural land and tourism potentials. With a population of just about three million, Sabah offers abundant promises for vibrant economic development and enviable prosperity. Unfortunately, Sabah today is the poorest state in Malaysia (according to the government’s Malaysia Plan Report). Most of Sabah’s timber has already been harvested without any heed to sustainable supply management, and over eighty percent of the agricultural land develop for oil palm belong to corporate giants owned by west Malaysian companies. Ironically, Sabah is Malaysia’s largest oil palm producer with 60% of the nation’s palm oil being produced in Sabah. Sabah is also one of three Malaysia’s oil producing states, producing more than 73,000 barrels of crude petroleum per day. Why then is Sabah poor and financially dependent on the federal government? The answer is simple: It is either that Sabah is not getting its fair share of its own wealth or is the victim of mismanagement, or both. UNDP (United Nation Development Program) put the State poverty rate at 24.3% of the population.

Poorest State

Sabah, once the richest state in Malaysia, is now the poorest. Most of the poor are Natives in the rural areas, including paddy farmers, fishermen and smallholders. The state government of Sabah has one of the highest budget deficit in the country amounting RM252.89 million (2006). With a population of 3.25 million, its per capita income currently stands at RM9,536 compared to RM18,040 for Malaysia. This show a huge disparity with Sabah’s per capita income way, way below the national standard. Where do our riches go to? To be exact: to the Federal Government. Sabah can never be rich as long as our State cake” is continuously divided into thirteen.

Oil Revenue

Oil and gas belong to the state but in 1976 the federal government made the state surrender this state resource to a central government agency, PETRONAS. It is said that that the “Double Six” Tragedy (airplane crash at Sembulan which killed senior Sabah cabinet members, including the then Chief Minister Tun Fuad Stephens, the former Donald Stephens) was the result of the refusal by Stephens to sign away Sabah’s oil right in Labuan then. Soon after Tun Fuad’s funeral, Harris Salleh signed the agreement. In return the state gets only 5% of the oil revenue. Why? Why do we get only 5% of the revenue from oil, when in the first place, it is a state resource? Who gets the other 95%? How much revenue earnings have been generated from Sabah’s oil and gas, including their by-products?

Felda and Felcra

Land given out to Felda and Felcra by the State Government for the purpose of development assistance to the landless local was never implemented. According to the former Chief Minister, Harris Salleh, 300,000 hectares have been given to Felda/Felcra for this purpose. We know of no one Sabahan having benefited, although perhaps there may be a few. So who are the rest of the beneficiaries? Who is reaping the oil palm harvest from our land? Obviously, justice must be served. And these lands must revert back to the State Government and their utilisation reviewed as part of our economic revival and poverty eradication programmes.


The enormous political implications of the non-citizens currently holding citizens’ identity cards are mind boggling. It is frightening to contemplate the ramifications of the fact that they can vote, as they have been recruited and mobilised by certain political leaders in the BN (the Barisan Nasional or National Front) ruling coalition. In fact most of these “voters for hire” have been recruited as members of UMNO (the United Malay National Organisation), the backbone of the BN.

Even a fellow BN member had openly admitted that illegals could be in BN parties. Chin Su Ling, Youth Chief of the Liberal Democratic Party, a component of the BN said there is a possibility that many illegal immigrants have become members of various BN component Sabah. (Borneo Post, Tuesday, September 19th, 2006). These foreigners may just be “voters for hire” at present but once they can organize themselves, they could be in a position to control Sabah UMNO and elect their own representatives into the State Assembly and Parliament. Once this is achieved they could take over the government and change the rules of the game in their favour. This is not impossible.

How did Sabah’s population grow so fast? Are we more fertile than Sarawak or the peninsular? NO! The high growth in Sabah’s population is explained by the high arrivals of foreigners, many of whom were later exploited to become voters through the “Project IC.” Worse, these foreigners who obtained MyKads through the backdoor also claim to be Bumiputeras (sons of the soil). They are in fact The New Bumiputeras! These new “natives” are now the same number as the natives!

Source of Socio-economic Problems

This large foreign population in Sabah also presents a heavy drain on the economy and social services fund. One estimate puts this cost to the State between RM271 million to RM811 million a year. They also take away from the local quota for education in schools and institutions of higher learning. They use a lot of medical facilities and health care services and encroach onto natives lands, producing squatter colonies. They also rely on low cost housing schemes provided by the government. They are also involved in drugs. According to the police, 90% of drugs are from the Philippines. They steal water and electricity through illegal connections and pollute the environment. Employment wise, many illegals are now running taxis, mini buses as drivers.

“The illegal immigrants are the mother of all problems in Sabah” – Dato Bakri Zinin . High ranking Police Officer, Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur


The root cause of Sabah's dilemma is the fact that the Inter-Governmental Committee Report had failed to ensure Malaysian Government compliance with the Malaysia Agreement on a continuous basis. Various ‘modification’ and ‘adjustments’ had been surreptitiously inserted into the national governance mechanism which had trapped us into subservience and compliance and in the process eroding much of our rights and privileges.

The IGC must be revived and the United Kingdom, along with Singapore, Sarawak, Sabah and Malaya (the Federal Government), must play an active role as sympathetic and just former master to institute effective and enduring rectifications. This is the least that we can ask for. This is also the way forward. The United Kingdom is the first stop in our mission to revive the IGC. Efforts are also being made at this material time in Kuala Lumpur by Dr Jeffrey Gapari Kitingan, the chairman of the Common Interest Group Malaysia (Cigma) to seek the same redress and review of the terms of independence And formation of the Federation of Malaysia. Likewise we are mobilising a similar mission to Singapore prior to seeking a dialogue with the Sabah and Sarawak State Governments on the same issue.

With respect and reverence we lay our hopes and desires before this honourable House for a redirection of the negative trends that beset us in Borneo, in the full confidence that a vehicle to the future can be chartered for justice and truth, to pick up the pieces of the shattered hopes and broken dreams.

Thank you.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Change the shirt (Tukar baju)

Change the shirt

Tue, 16 Mar 2010

By Phlip Rodrigues, Managing Editor of


After nearly 50 years in Malaysia, Sabah is not a story that has a happy ring to it. It is still a backward state; in fact, it remains one of the poorest in the country. The gulf that separates the "land below the wind" from the peninsula is as wide and deep as the South China Sea.Let's take a walk down history lane. In the early years, politics over there had a laid-back quality. After the northern Bornean state joined Malaysia in 1963, Sabah was ruled by a succession of parties -- the United National Kadazan Organisation (1963-64); the Sabah Chinese Association (1965-67); United Sabah National Organisation (1967-75), which continued to hold power until 1976; and the shortlived reign of Berjaya (44 days). Then a new leader named Datuk Harris Salleh helmed Berjaya and went on to govern the state from 1976 to 1985.

It was during Harris' watch that politics took a turbulent turn and Sabah was never the same again. Harris grew increasingly autocratic and arrogant and thought the sky would not fall on him. But one man in his ruling party had had enough of his antics. The rebel: Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan.

Pairin quit Berjaya and formed Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) to challenge Harris. But "dirty" Harris went ballastic – he immediately abolished Pairin's district of Tambunan. This audacious act got the people all riled up and they finally threw him out of office when he clashed with Pairin in the 1985 state election.

When Pairin was in the driver's seat, his nine years in power as Chief Minister were anything but peaceful. He was in an uneasy partnership with the BN coalition. Dark forces in the form of Umno overlords were already preparing to get rid of this upstart Huguan Siou (paramount chief of the Kadazandusun).

When Pairin took the bold step to pull out of the coalition to join forces with a prince named Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Umno declared open warfare on him. It marched into Sabah on a spurious invitation of self-interested allies and promised the people a Sabah Baru in its strategy to wrest control of the state.

In the 1994 state polls, PBS managed to ward off the bullies but fell on the sword when PBS assemblymen defected to the other side. Pairin spent his time in the political wilderness while Umno and the band of PBS traitors gripped the levels of power firmly.

There was bad blood between Pairin and the man who was mostly responsible for grounding the state to dust – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The doctor held the favourite son of Sabah and his Kadazandusuns in utter contempt, describing his state as Malaysia's "Wild West". He went all-out to diminish their influence by changing the electoral boundaries to give the Muslims a dominant hold on power. It was nothing short of the colonisation of Sabah.

The KL strongman even threatened to cut off funds to the state, prompting Pairin to retort: "You can criticise America for imposing sanctions on Iraq but you should not impose sanctions on one of your own states."

There was no stopping the devious machination of the federal leaders. They introduced the politics of development, pouring funds to develop this economic backwater. To soothe the ruffled feelings of the non-Muslims, it rotated the chief ministership post. This Sabah Baru gambit paid off handsomely – the haughty coalition won convincingly in the 1999 state election.

Even the Huguan Siou was shaken by the massive BN victory. For him, there was only one way out – and that was to join the BN boys. He was admitted to the graft-ridden club – and has ever since remained docile, quiet, obedient.

Meanwhile, the BN juggernaut went about with its destructive ways. Emboldened by the solid mandate, it scrapped the rotating chief ministership to ensure that only Umno is in control. It even allotted to itself half of the state assembly seats (32 out of 60), while relegating the others to the background.

The greedy, grasping centre implemented several policies designed to strip the state of its wealth and make it beholden to Kuala Lumpur. They "annexed" Labuan on the pretext it wanted to help ease the financial burden of administering the island. They made it a federal territory without paying the state a single sen. They packed most of the top posts in the federal departments with civil servants from the peninsula. And they made sure that big businesses went mostly to peninsula-based companies.

Even in education, there was a whiff of perfidy – Sabah found that it could not call Universiti of Malaysia Sabah its own when it was built on its soil. Its students made up less than half of the student population, with the majority of them from Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia.

The biggest blow was dealt when Sabah, a resource-rich state, found itself deprived of oil and gas wealth. The ravenous federal masters decided that oil did not belong to the state but to Malaysia. So, you must share your oil with the big peninsular brothers. In return for giving up its rights to the oil and gas, the state received a paltry royalty (five percent or RM351 million annually).

Once considered the second richest behind Selangor, Sabah has fallen on hard times: its poverty rate is now 16 percent. The RM19 billion allocated to the state under the Ninth Malaysia Plan was regarded as mere pittance – it formed only 8% of the national budget.

All these years, the big brothers have been riding roughshod over Sabah although they couched their cold treatment in the guise of national unity. Even after getting battered in 2008, and were luckily saved by the voters of Sabah, the previous flip-flop regime continued to give the state the cold shoulder.

Today, there are signs of restlessness in Sabah. We are not surprised. The rumblings of discontent and anger are getting louder and louder. We can feel it. In haste, federal leaders have been making quick trips to Sabah to show their phony concern. But the people over there know that the politics of development – exploiting natural resources, buying votes, under-representing the majority – has failed, and failed miserably.

New forces have reshaped the political life of the country and one slogan may triumph in Sabah, come the next battle – takaron bankad. It's "change the shirt". Change the shirt because the current government is not looking after the interest of the Sabahans.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

The Federation of Malaysia

A federation in name only
Reported on Thu, 11 Mar 2010 HERE

By Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah

Malaysia was formed in 1963, when the eleven states of the previous Malayan Federation came together with Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore to create the Federation of Malaysia.

Federalism is a system of government in which legislative power is divided between a central or federal legislature and a number of state legislatures. Both levels of government derive their authority from a written constitution.

Unlike in a unitary state, sovereignty in a federal state is decentralized. Thus the rights of citizens are secured at two levels, federal and state. In Malaysia, federation was a way to accommodate the different histories and pre-existing sovereignty of the member states of the federation.

Federalism is a way of dividing and sharing power. In the system envisaged in our constitution, this division and sharing of power is part of a system of checks and balances meant to protect the rights and freedoms of our citizens.

The separation of powers between the judiciary, the legislature and the executive are part of that complex interlocking system.

People often remark at how complex this country is, made up as we are of a patchwork of ethnicities and religions. But we are also complex in our political history.

The nine sultanates of peninsular Malaysia, did not suddenly acquire their sovereignty upon the Federation Agreement of 1948. Instead it is by their voluntary coming together in that agreement that the federal authority was created.

Federal sovereignty and authority, although wider than that of the member states, is derived from the prior sovereignty of the states. In the nine sultanates of the peninsula, for example, we had sovereign states before we had a federation, and before the various forms of colonial rule.

The federation derives it powers by the voluntary and binding agreement of the
states, not the other way around. This conviction was well tested in the way the
Malayan Union proposal was rejected.

Thus we had an auspicious start as a country, because our political arrangement guaranteed our rights within a system that reflected and protected our cultural and historical diversity. Federalism provides for the right measure of local autonomy.

Decision-making, particularly about the allocation of resources, could be made in a way that more closely reflected the interests of people on the ground, that is to say, more efficiently.

This system did was not born overnight. The sovereignty of our member states is hundreds of years old. Our constitution was established on an 800 year old tradition of constitutional law. These are solid foundations for constitutional democracy.

If Malaya were not already a federation, Sabah and Sarawak would not have come together with us to form Malaysia in 1963. Federation is the only political basis on which Malaysia is a viable political venture.

Restating foundational truths In present company these facts must seem so well-established that I hope you will forgive me if I come across as stating the obvious. Today we find ourselves in the position of having to state and re-statefoundational truths about our country.

As a country we have come unmoored from our foundations in constitutionalism and federalism. We are now, for most intents and purposes, a federation in name only.

The central government hands out allocations that belong by right to the states as if these were gifts from on high. State governments are starved of resources, particularly if they are governed by the Opposition. How has this happened?

We have undergone two and a half decades in which, while hard infrastructure has sprung up everywhere, the deep infrastructure of the constitution has suffered great
damage. Our federal arrangements provide for a fine balance between state and federal powers which provide multiple levels of assurance for the rights of citizens.

That balance has been removed as power has been concentrated in the federal government. Within the federal government that power has come to be centralized in the executive. In the executive, that power is concentrated in the hands of the prime minister.

This forum addresses the question "should states be given more power?", but really what needs to be done is to restore the constitutional rights of the states first.

The constitutional rights of the states are clearly violated in the way petroleum profits are being distributed and managed.

The federal government says Kelantan and Terengganu have no right to the "cash payments" agreed between the states and Petronas. These denials have been published in the newspapers and are repeated by official representatives of the government.

The full implications of their denial are not trivial. The federal government's authority over these resources, as in all other things, is an authority derived from the original
sovereignty of the states.

By the Federation Agreement of 1948, the states of the Malayan peninsula came voluntarily into a federation and created a common federal government. As part of that agreement, the federal government had jurisdiction over waters beyond three nautical miles. The states had jurisdiction within three nautical miles.

Oil had not been discovered in Malaya at the time. Had it been found, however, anything within three nautical miles would have belonged in its entirety to the state, and anything beyond that to the federal government. In 1974, we formed Petronas as a common trust between the federal and state governments for all petroleum found anywhere in Malaysia, onshore or offshore.

We did this by persuading the states governments, one by one, to vest their entire rights and claims to petroleum, onshore or offshore, in perpetuity to Petronas. The federal government did the same.

By design, this obliterated any considerations of whether the oil was found within or beyond three or 12 nautical miles. So long as Malaysia had any share in the oil, the profits would be divided between the federal government and the relevant state government according to a simple formula: five percent to each.

That series of vestings was secured through deeds signed according to the Petroleum Development Act. As the founding chairman of Petronas I signed these deeds with each chief minister and with the federal government.

Selective denial of fund.

The federal government's refusal to pay Kelantan, and it's arbitrary treatment of Terengganu's oil money – on and off according to whether the state was in Opposition hands—is in violation of a solemn contract, sealed in an Act of Parliament, between the state governments and Petronas.

The federal government is reneging on a contract and in contempt of Parliament. Its attitude to these oil payments is transparently based on one criterion: those states whose legislatures are not controlled by Barisan Nasional are denied payment.

This practice punishes citizens for their choice of state government. This is an attack on the right of the people to choose their own government within our system of parliamentary democracy. Oil payments are just one form of selective denial of funds to the states.

Putrajaya behaves as if we are a unitary state and not a federation. Ironically we have become in practice the Malayan Union which an earlier generation resisted and defeated.

The autonomy of the states, their rights to development and to the husbandry of their own resources, and the proper role of the rulers and the way in which religion is governed in public life are displaced in favour of increasingly centralized and absolute power.

This is unconstitutional and must be resisted with just as much vigour as we resisted the Malayan Union. Malaysia is not viable in the long run as a unitary state.

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah is Umno's MP for Gua Musang.

These remarks were made at 'Conversations on the Constitution - Federal–State Relations: Should states be given more power?' which was organised
by the Constitutional Law Committee, Bar Council of Malaysia on March 11,

Monday, 8 March 2010

Pairin stays as PBS chief

Pairin retirement delayed by PBS power-struggle?

This story from

KOTA KINABALU: Former Chief Minister and Parti Bersatu Sabah president Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan is doing his best to head off a looming vacuum and tussle for his post in the party.
The 70-year-old Huguan Siou (paramount leader of the Kadazandusun community) reaffirmed this week that he has no intention of stepping down from his political posts as yet.

He told reporters that he would embrace retirement "when the time comes".

"The (party) struggle will continue. I will do my part and contribute as much as I can. I don't want to go on forever.

"Sooner or later, I will have to say bye-bye lah, but as long as I'm able to contribute and work with others, I will do so… even after retirement... put it that way."

He was speaking to reporters at a special event honouring him called "Colloquium of Thinking and Struggle of Datu Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan" held in conjunction with PBS' 25th anniversary celebrations.

The colloquium was attended by the party's deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili who is seen as waiting in the wings to take over from the reportedly ailing leader.

Considered something of a hero in his stronghold of Tambunan where he has been assemblyman for more than three decades, Pairin, despite his ouster from power in 1994, commands the utmost respect among the community's elders.

It is a reverence which makes him untouchable within and outside the party though younger Kadazandusuns may have different political views.

Pairin was in fact rudely challenged by Maximus' older brother Victor in 2006 to quit his position and make way for younger leaders.

Maximus supporters fear a drifting away of the younger generation from the party to other community-based political parties.

Since returning to the BN fold in 2002, Pairin has largely been outshone on the community stage by his former party colleague Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, the president of the United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation.

"The younger generation find people like Dompok more vocal in articulating the frustrations of Sabahans to the federal government," said an insider who requested anonymity.

Grand old man of politics

Maximus' supporters see him as the person to correct this shift in support from the party.

However, there is an emotional link to the PBS succession chain. Pairin's advisers and supporters believe his younger brother Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, the current PKR chief for Sabah and Sarawak, should be the obvious choice to take over the reigns of the party when Pairin retires.

According to their thinking, Jeffrey as a Tambunan leader should be next in line. Their argument is that as the birth place of PBS is Tambunan, it logically follows that its next leader should also be from Tambunan.

Tambunan is the place where the revolt of Sabahans began in the early 1980s against years of domination by non-Sabah leaders and interference in state affairs.

It began through Pairin and PBS and therefore its next leader should also be from among the community there. Who better than the brother of the Huguan Siou, is the argument his supporters put forward.

Pairin, to the people of Sabah, is the grand old man of politics who had seen it all. He had been at both sides of the political divide.

A lawyer by training, he began his political journey through Parti Berjaya in 1975 contesting the Tambunan seat in the state election the following year, the seat formerly occupied by Anthony Gibon. He has held the seat ever since.

When the Tun Fuad Stephens-led Berjaya Party toppled the USNO government, Pairin was made Assistant Minister to Chief Minister Harris Salleh (1976-1985). He was made a full minister (Local Government and Housing) less than a month later when Stephens perished in an aircraft crash at Sembulan in Kota Kinabalu on June 6, 1976.

He formed PBS and went on to topple Harris' Berjaya government in 1985. He was chief minister from 1985 until March 1994 before he was toppled by BN-inspired defections despite PBS winning the election.

Pairin recently came under attack by the opposition for allegedly being unable to handle the multiple tasks he is charged with. He was urged to vacate his Keningau parliamentary seat and duties as he was already staggering under the weight of holding two ministerial posts as Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Infrastructure Development.

Maximus, the man in his shadow in the party, is currently high up in the Barisan Nasional hierarchy of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's government and is in his cabinet as Minister of Science,Technology and Innovation.

Younger brother Jeffrey

Harvard-educated Jeffrey is Pakatan Rakyat leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's handpicked PKR pointman in Sabah and Sarawak and charged with gearing up the two east Malaysian states for broad political and social reforms. It is an election platform on which he is hoping to woo the Sabah and Sarawak electorate to the opposition fold

He was detained in 1992 under the infamous Internal Security Act on suspicion of plotting to secede Sabah from the federation of Malaysia, but critics say he was just a political prisoner arrested by federal authorities out to topple the opposition PBS government.

Jeffrey's entry into PKR has not been smooth. He quit the post of vice-president last year but accepted to remain in the party as PKR chief for Sabah.

At the time, speculation was rife that PBS leaders, including Pairin, were trying to convince him to return to the BN fold through PBS.

Another Public Holiday for Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: The official birthday of the Yang Dipertua Negeri (Governor) of Sabah will now be celebrated on the first Saturday of October every year, State Secretary Datuk Sukarti Wakiman said Monday (Marcvh 8, 2010).

In a statement, he said the new official birthday was decided as the previous date of Sept 16 had been declared as Malaysia Day.

"In line with this change, the Yang Dipertua Negeri's official birthday for this year will celebrated be on Oct 2," he said.

-- This story from BERNAMA

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Kalakau - BN loss, PKR gains

KOTA KINABALU: Popular Sabah Dusun leader Datuk Kalakau Untol will be unveiled in the
coming days as the latest Barisan Nasional heavyweight to join PKR, bringing with him vast experience and the Dusun support for the party.
Kalakau, a former deputy labour minister in the BN-held state government, had resigned
from the ruling coalition and from all his posts in government-related agencies on Feb 18.

Immediately after his resignation, he had said that he would be focusing on supporting the policies of PKR but did not reveal any immediate plans to join any of the Pakatan parties.

"However, he has decided that he wants to join PKR. He will be officially unveiled as a new PKR man next week in Kuala Lumpur," a party insider told FMT.

"Kalakau's decision to join PKR is also due to his belief in PKR vice-president Datuk Jeffrey Kitingan as someone who can help change the situation in Sabah," added the insider who requested anonymity as the news of the new arrival has not been officially released yet.

Kalakau had submitted his membership form to party adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in gathjering in his village in Tuaran last Sunday.

PKR leaders believe that Kalakau, 55, is a good catch for the party, given the latter's strong standing among the Dusun people. He is currently the president of United Sabah Dusun Association.

"While PKR is hit by the resignations of three elected representatives in the peninsula, the timing of Kalakau's entry into the party in Sabah, which is long considered BN-safe deposit state, is perfect," added the party insider.

The Dusun swing

Until his resignation from BN, Kalakau was the chairman of Superpanel (Sabah) Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary company of the Sabah Housing and Town Development Authority, and a member of the Sabah Economic Development Corporation board of directors.

He had served as deputy labour minister from 1986 to 1990 and was United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) Youth chief for 12 years from 1985.

Upon his resignation, former senator Kalakau claimed that state and federal leaders had appeared uncommitted in defending the state's rights.

Kalakau is expected to work closely with Jeffrey in consolidating the Kadazandusun support, especially among the Dusun voters, in the state for PKR. The Dusun voters are in a position to swing the votes in many seats in the state.

"The Dusuns are an important group of people who have long been marginalised by the BN. With Kalakau in PKR, they will have a strong voice in the party to represent their interests," added the party insider.

Kalakau joins a long line of ex-BN leaders to have joined PKR, among whom include Jeffrey, former Umno leader and cabinet member Datuk Zaid Ibrahim and former MCA deputy president Datuk Chua Jui Ming.