The people’s mandate was sacrificed for political expediency and gain when several Sabah’s assembly members defected from the ruling party, Mustafa K Anuar writes.
Hari Raya Haji commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s divine devotion and willingness to sacrifice his beloved son Ismail when ordered to and tested by the Almighty.
Subsequently, Allah substituted Ismail with a ram, which was to be slaughtered instead. For some, this also denotes that humans are expected to make self-sacrifices for a higher good.
It is, therefore, most disturbing that a sacrifice of the sacrilegious kind instead ushered in such a religious festivity in Sabah, throwing the Land Below the Wind into political uncertainty as a result.
The people’s mandate was sacrificed at the altar of political expediency and gain when several Sabah’s assembly members defected from the ruling party and switched to the camp of recently acquitted Musa Aman. This led to the fall of the Warisan government and the dissolution of the state assembly.
It is a case of the ordinary Sabahans being betrayed by politicians whom they voted into power to supposedly represent the people’s wishes and concerns in the state assembly.
Although blessed with natural resources, the state lags behind others in the federation in terms of its socioeconomic status. Thus, horse trading and leapfrogging, which give rise to political disturbance, is certainly something that the people did not wish for.
Such ‘party-hopping’ must cease – especially in a state where the political allegiance of some politicians is known to be as uncertain as babies pooping – as it doesn’t serve the larger good of the state.
To trigger a new government in the middle of a five-year term of rule is disruptive.
That is why it is rather rich coming from a politician of the party anxiously waiting in the wings, or rather stalled outside the Istana Negeri Sabah gate, to preach that is is a waste of the people’s money for caretaker Chief Minister Shafie Apdal to have prompted a state election and that it risks exposing voters to the coronavirus pandemic.
To be sure, the lack of political integrity and moral fibre is not the preserve of Sabah politicians because similar elements have emerged in the peninsula, particularly in recent months.
If leapfrogging at the expense of the ordinary Sabahans is bad enough, alleged political bribery involving huge sums of money is morally reprehensible and deserves investigation.
It goes without saying that such alleged disbursements of enormous amounts of money would have otherwise served a better purpose for the benefit of the rakyat in Sabah.
To reiterate, ordinary people who hunger for a better life in the state should not conveniently sacrificed by these politicians. Their votes must not be an easy ticket for politicians to lead an undeservedly more prosperous life.
The Sabahan electorate must, through the ballot box, let it be known in no uncertain terms to the politicians concerned that self-sacrifice for a larger goal is much more noble and likely to blessed by the divine.
It should be obvious to the powers that- be that the welfare of the ordinary people – particularly the vulnerable, the poor and the marginalised – must be a priority, especially in an economy battered by the pandemic.