Home TA Online ‘It’s the biggest battle for the future of Sabah’ – Sabahan youth

‘It’s the biggest battle for the future of Sabah’ – Sabahan youth

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Let this election fully reflect our Sabahan values as a state that upholds unity, justice, diversity and all things good for our beloved state and country, Enoch Lim Ee writes.

Nomination day is over. Candidates have been named. All parties will be vigorously campaigning until that fateful day of 26 September.  

From a three-way battle in Usukan all the way to a 12-cornered fight in Bengkoka, this is a bizarre yet crucial election to shape a new future for Sabah. Regardless of the outcome, this state election will affect the electoral dynamics in the next general election, perhaps a snap election soon. Meanwhile, the battle in Sabah intensifies as the entire nation watches closely.  

In this piece, I would like to highlight not so much the election or the possible outcome but the values that Sabah and its people cherish. This is more than just a state election; it is also a struggle to uphold our principles, values and integrity as faithful citizens.

I am a Sabahan born in the humble town of Sandakan, a place proudly referred to as the “Little Hong Kong” of South East Asia.

I am disheartened by the actions of self-serving MPs who sell themselves to the idols of Wealth and Power and those who undermine the democracy this nation upholds. We could have had a peaceful and stable government, but these people have ruined it all. If these MPs had been more sensitive and more self-aware of their actions and the implications of their actions, then Sabah would have been in a better place.

But the actions of the “frogs” who hopped around were irresponsible, especially during this time of pandemic. Alas, they do not care for the people, just themselves and their power. It is truly a sorry state, what our state politics has become. The actions of certain leaders reflect poorly on our values as Sabahans.

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As a Sabahan, I am deeply embarrassed and mad. So, in this election, we must fight for the noble values many of us cherish.  

From what I see, the lack of principles, unity and strong values among the Barisan Nasional-plus-Perikatan Nasional and their allies has resulted in much bickering. Sad to say, they can’t even agree on who their candidate for chief minister should be. Even if they do decide, such a decision would cause more disagreements. Meanwhile, leaving Musa Aman out of the picture has raised suspicion and left many puzzled.

Despite the infighting inside Warisan-plus and Pakatan Harapan-plus, they have at least maintained their composure and come together to fight against the “traitors” who jeopardise the people’s interests.

I applaud the efforts of the DAP and Amanah in standing united under the Warisan banner to contest the election. It shows the power of solidarity – a pragmatic approach to prevent the BN and PN parties from winning. The DAP and Amanah have set aside political differences to ensure a victory for Warisan.

Although PKR insisted on using its logo, its decision to accept just seven seats to put up its candidates and its willingness to work together against Warisan’s political opponents was commendable – though I cannot fully fathom its actions.

We must carefully choose as our leaders those who have excellent credentials and calibre. Pick leaders who have firm principles and high trustworthiness, those aligned to the voices of the people – not self-serving politicians. Clearly, the likes of certain BN politicians fall outside these criteria.

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We need credible leaders to fight for the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and our state powers and who are capable of astute handling of foreign relations, especially the claim by the Philippines over Sabah.

I hope Sabah MPs and the government will break free from the curse of being labelled as “a land of kataks” (frogs).  

I applaud efforts by the various parties, whether from BN-plus-PN or Warisan Plus, to pave the way for young people to lead Sabah into the future. As a young student myself, I am glad that the parties have now recognised the strength of the young people as viable leaders, instead of nominating senior incumbents. It is an excellent strategy to draw more support from young voters, and it is heartening that Sabah will have young leaders to be the voices of the people. 

To the people of Sabah, both young and old, vote for people of integrity to lead Sabah into the future. It is a battle Sabahans must not lose if they envision a better Sabah and a better Malaysia. Reject what is detestable and wrong, legally and morally, such as dirty politics, corruption, coup attempts, racism and extremism.

Set our eyes on God, who is just – the ultimate judge of nations and people. I speak as an individual who integrates my Christian values with my daily life and rejects things that are lawless and evil in the sight of God, based on my interpretation of events.  Fear God, rather than fear human beings.

The Sabah state election is the most important election since the 2018 general election and will set the tone for the next general election. Let this election fully reflect our Sabahan values as a state that upholds unity, justice, diversity and all things good for our beloved state and country.

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Let us no longer live under the leadership of incompetent and divisive leaders, whose actions scream “rules for thee, but not for me”. No longer will we believe their blatant lies when they say they champion Sabah rights, but do not.

As we are in still in the season of Malaysia Day celebrations, let us reclaim the honour of Sabah by voting for principled leaders.

I bid all Sabahans safe voting during this pandemic, and may God bless us all.

“In God we trust, united we must.”

Enoch Lim Ee studies politics and government studies at a university in East Malaysia

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