With the Malaysian public thoroughly sick and tired of the antics of the political parties in the peninsula, it came as no surprise that the big guns of Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Harapan (PH) have descended on the shores of the East Malaysian states, especially Sabah.
There was BN president Zahid Hamidi promising that there would be a deputy prime minister from Sabah/Sarawak if his coalition wins!
It is deeply frustrating that Sabah keeps getting the short end of the stick from the federal government. Could it be because Sabah politicians are known for jumping from one lily pond to another and thus cannot be relied upon?
Maybe this could be why federal politicians can make such ‘offers’ – because they know that no Sabah party aligned to the federal government would make it an issue if promises are unfulfilled.
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It is no wonder Sabah is still stuck in a rut, unable to pull itself out.
Sabah has also been given the dubious honour of being a ‘fixed deposit’ for BN – a disparaging label that has hung over the state ever since it became part of Malaysia. Some say this label was given because the state never had the backbone to vote for any other party except BN for over 50 years.
It is now up to Warisan or any other Sabah-based party to come through for the state and the people to become a party not dictated to by the federal government. But that is a miracle yet to happen!
So, in the meantime, what is going to happen in Sabah? The government of the day is led by Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (comprising Sabah Bersatu, PBS, Sabah Star, SAPP and Usno), supported by BN and Perikatan Nasional (PN) component parties and other Sabah-based parties.
GRS leader Hajiji Noor and Sabah BN chief Bung Moktar have reportedly agreed on an electoral pact. But how is this going to be possible when in the peninsula, GRS (which includes Sabah Bersatu), BN (led by Umno) and PN (which includes Bersatu) are not on the same page?
GRS and BN have their own objectives and goals, so how will a ‘pact’ help? There will come a point where choices will have to be made – plus GRS is beholden to Putrajaya. The possibility of PN winning big in the peninsula is slim; thus, there might be a power struggle after the general election is over.
In Sabah, during the campaign period, federal politicians, as is their norm, make many promises to Sabahans. Zahid, for instance, promised to improve the lives of Sabahans and appoint a deputy prime minister from Sabah if his team wins the upcoming general election.
But what would be the point of appointing a deputy PM from Sabah, should BN win? That post is a ‘dead’ job with no real prospects of anyone being able to do anything for Sabah.
The same promise came from PH chairman Anwar Ibrahim in his usual speech about getting rid of corruption and abuse of power, reforming the government and ensuring that the people will have a voice.
It would be more refreshing if Anwar would just stop this “when (if) I become PM” line already. Most people know that this is what he desperately wants, but it is time to discard this idea and instead focus on getting his party to win the general election.
If and when that happens, only then fulfil whatever promises made in the party manifesto and to the people and country. Until then, just be Anwar Ibrahim, a member of the PH coalition, who is out to win the election. Don’t make promises that cannot be kept.
This rush into Sabah is also due to there being quite a bit of anti-federal sentiment in the state. What the country and the people need now is political stability and an upturn in the economy. Sabah, a state that once had immense natural resources, is now known as one of the poorest states in Malaysia.
Doesn’t this bother any of the Sabah politicians? It is high time Sabah politicians stand up for their own state and not hang on to the coat-tails of politicians from the peninsula. Be responsible leaders for your own state because federal politicians are only out to save their own skin, and Sabah’s needs are way down on their list of priorities!
What can we hope for come election day?
Will voters think about how the parties are only concerned about their own survival and that the needs of the public are the least of their worries?
Will they think about what happened in 2018 and how they voted for change? Can this happen again?
There is always hope!
jem, an Aliran reader, still cares deeply about Sabah, despite having lived in the peninsula for some time