Recently a Twitter follower asked me to read an article about Sabah in The Malaysian Insider titled "The special position of Sabah and Sarawak", written by my learned friend YB Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, the Selangor state assemblyman for Seri Setia and Parti Keadilan Rakyat's Communications Director. I was more than happy to oblige. Original article is here. I appreciate his pleasant comments on his recent visits to Sabah. As the native Bajaus always say to their visitors, I greet him with "Pesorong Kam (Welcome)!".
I am also elated to note his personal acknowledgement of the special position of Sabah and Sarawak in the context of greater Malaysia. Certainly it is a very refreshing view considering many "Orang Malayas" (no disrespect meant), are unaware of this special position provided for under the federal constitution.
What really got me going is when my friend YB Nik Nazmi proudly declares
that it is his duty to defend the special position and urges West Malaysians to respect Sabahans and Sarawakians. Very honourable indeed!
I have no intention to doubt that PKR, of which YB Nik Nazmi belongs to, is serious to defend and respect Sabahans' rights. But I feel it is important to see how PKR has been treating Sabahans so far, for their action today could very well mirror what they would do if they capture Putrajaya in the 13th general elections. In short, where is the beef?
So while we wait for that magical Putrajaya moment, a lot of people ask why did PKR keep on marginalising, demonising and undermining their own Sabahan PKR leaders? For example, the appointment of Dr Wan Azizah as the head of PKR Sabah was seen by a lot of Sabahans as done at the expense of local leaders, as it was the case with YB Azmin Ali before that.
Why did PKR sideline prominent Sabahans like Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, Christina Liew, Tamrin Jaini and Ansari Abdullah? Does it mean after 12 years in Sabah, PKR could not find one single Sabahan worth his salt to be Sabah PKR leader? Must it be "Orang Malaya"? What happened to the spirit of borneonisation policy as stated in the Malaysian agreement?
Recently, a lot of PKR own leaders claimed that Anwar Ibrahim, Azmin Ali and Saifuddin Nasution manipulated and rigged Sabah PKR divisional elections during the recent controversial Deputy President contest. These leaders said that PKR was disrespectful to Sabahans and that PKR had trampled upon the rights of Sabahans to freely decide on their own.
Sabahans and Sarawkians also wonder why PR leaders like to stir parochial sentiment, provoke narrow racial nationalism and stoke religious emotion in Sabah and Sarawak? Dont they know that this could potentially disintegrate both state's delicate social fabric, all in the name of political interest?
Most Sabahans take Anwar Ibrahim's rosy promises to them with a heavy pinch of salt. Too many left unfulfilled and many are too good to be true. Like what the Prime Minister has said, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Anwar should have made the promises and fulfilled them when he had all the power to do so, not when he did not have it. What specific help or extra ordinary policy did Anwar Ibrahim introduce in Sabah in the 16 years he was in the cabinet (8 years as the all powerful Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance)? Did he provide enough funds to build what YB Nik Nazmi claimed as lack of decent roads and sanitation in Sabah which existed even then? Or was he just as constrained then as is BN now by budgetary considerations?
It is also unfortunate that YB Nik Nazmi alleged BN government exercised stranglehold over Sabah. It may interest him that in the whole of Malaysia, Sabahans are the most conscious of their democratic rights. No state government could stranglehold Sabahans. If they do, they would be shown the exit door. In fact Sabahans have no qualms changing governments. Since independence, Sabahans have changed governments four times and had 13 Chief Ministers from Christian Bumiputeras, Muslim Bumiputeras and the Chinese ethnic groups and whose religions were Islam, Christianity and Taoism.
I believe Sabahans would have voted BN out in the previous general elections, just as what they had done to USNO, BERJAYA and PBS if they felt BN had a stranglehold over Sabah. The truth is BN was elected because of its competency, its far sighted economic blueprint and its ability to look after the welfare and interest of all Sabahans, irrespective of their races and religions.
By the way, to conclude, Sabahans are wondering what happened to Anwar Ibrahim's promise to appoint a Sabahan to the post of Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia? Why is it not specifically included in the 100 days promise of Buku Jingga. Change of heart? Sabahan is not capable? Or is it just mere rhetoric to gloss over PKR's imaginary call for respect of Sabahans?
Where is the beef?
*Note: Someone mentioned that PBS was not actually voted out. Yes I agree. And I wonder how much Anwar Ibrahim played a part in it. (2:27pm 20-06-11)