Archive for December, 2008

The Latest on Pensiangan

A former Pensiangan MP sharing his thoughts on Pensiangan

A former Pensiangan MP sharing his thoughts on Pensiangan

Datuk Taimin Lumaing, a Murut, was at one time a two term MP of Pensiangan during the PBS rule in Sabah between 1985 and 1995. He was at one time, prior to joining politics, a medical assistant working in one of the government hospitals. He had his fair shares of opposition politics due to PBS being an opposition government in Sabah then. Apart from being a businessman, he is now a member of Pensiangan UMNO as well as the Deputy President of Persatuan Murut Sabah (PMS).

During his heydays, he was known to be a maverick among his peers much to the displeasure of some of his colleagues then. He has since mellowed but his love for politics remains as refreshing as ever.

To him, whoever wins the by-election must not only offer lip service but must be seen to be delivering physically, promises made to the people of Pensiangan. But much as he wished for a murut candidate, as of today, he has not seen or read or heard any alternative development plan offered by Danny Andipai vis a vis the opposition party. That is why he is non committal as to whether PKR, would be able to deliver all their promises even if they won the By-Election, hypothetically speaking.

Now, could anyone correctly read his mind? Has he made up his mind already? Be my guest folks!

Cheers!

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Datuk Rubin Balang, the new Tenom UMNO Chief

Datuk Rubin Balang, the President of Persatuan Murut Sabah (PMS) in action with a traditional Murut Blowpipe

Datuk Rubin Balang, the President of Persatuan Murut Sabah (PMS) in action with a traditional Murut Blowpipe

” RUBIN WINS ” that was the New Sabah Times’ headline today. Yes. Would I be delighted of the news? who wouldn’t. He is my president, the current President of Persatuan Murut Sabah (PMS) of which I am currently the Treasurer-General. I have of course served as the Secretary-General of PMS when Datuk Rubin was first elected as the President way back in 2000.

Since then, we have gone back a long way in the rough and tumble of strenghtening PMS and getting it to be offically recognised by the state government as being the rightful platform for the Murut not only economically but I have to concede, the full recognition of the Murut culture, its beautiful traditions and of its people who would excel in producing eye catching original handicrafts. Under Datuk Rubin’s leadership, the evidence of PMS’ success is none other than the state-sponsored KALIMARAN Festival held annualy at the Pusat Kebudayaan Murut in Tenom.

Although he is currently the Kemabong Assemblyman, the Chairman of the Sabah Housing Development Board and a former Sabah Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, he is to me first, a president of our Murut association who, since his election, had done so much in bringing the association to where it is now. A place, aptly recognised by the state government. At the back of my mind, I thought, our association had also played a very important role in determining who the right BN candidate should be to contest in the Tenom Parliamentary seat in last general election? Any of you folks buying this? Unbelieveable? Believe it.

Honestly, I should say that although Datuk Rubin may not have the necessary paper qualifications, he is no doubt, a charismatic leader who had held the Kemabong state seat for four terms. When he was the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, he made it his mission to place the Murut warrior dance at the forefront of every cultural presentation culminating in, if my memory serves me right, a commendable win in a cultural dance competition in Spain?

That is why, I was very confident that where the majority of UMNO members are Muruts and if the Tenom UMNO Divisional election were to be conducted according to the true meaning of a democratic process, Datuk Rubin Balang would win the election this time around after failing to wrest it from Datuk Rizalman Abdullah in the last UMNO election. Well. He did it yesterday. He toppled Datuk Rizalman who had been the Chief for a record 17 years.

It was in fact, an open secret that there was bad blood between the two contenders. No stone unturned in the heat of the campaign. Each had his own pebble to throw at the other and vice versa. The heat became so unbearable that one of the contenders had to lodge a police report alleging someone from the other camp had purportedly hired a hitman to cause hurt to the complainant. I would not wish to dwell further on this as I believe the relevant authority are in the process of investigating the alleged incident.

But what a memorable farewell to the last UMNO divisional meeting in Malaysia!. Apart from the above, I was told later that the recount of votes went on for about 10 times last night. Imagine OMG. At one time, it was Datuk Rubin Balang who won by two votes but on count back, it was Datuk Rizalman winning by a mere one vote. Could anybody believe the tension filling the Chung Hwa school hall where the votes were counted? It was not only very stressful for the contenders but their supporters too. In the end, it was Datuk Rubin who triumphed. He won by a majority of 56 votes after ganering 189 votes to Rizalman’s 133 votes. I was told that the police and Rela had played a very important role in making sure that no untoward incident happened. A big thank you to them.

With this defeat, it is anybody’s guess about the political future of Datuk Rizalman. Would he be able to make a come back? Only time will tell.

Cheers!

Unity in Diversity

A picture of some medical students with the Malaysian Ambassador to Russia at Kursk State Medical University, Russia

A picture of some medical students with the Malaysian Ambassador to Russia at Kursk State Medical University, Russia

Dressed to kill ? These young and lovely would be doctors are proud to be Malaysians in a foreign country

Dressed to kill ? These young and lovely would be doctors are proud to be Malaysians in a foreign country

Malaysian students performing the Magunatip on Deeparaya Nite at Kursk State Medical University, Russia

Malaysian students performing the Magunatip on Deeparaya Nite at Kursk State Medical University, Russia

Their happy faces after the performance reflecting Unity in Diversity

Their happy faces after the performance reflecting Unity in Diversity

On the local front, it saddens me to hear some disturbing news that local university students in Malaysia are having so much problem with racial intolerance in their respective universities. If I am not mistaken the issues of racial intolerance or that of matters having racial undertones were said to have reared its ugly head again in the UPM campus at Serdang, Selangor where a group of malay undergraduates who were said to have allegedly intimidated and harassed a chinese undergraduate group for having set up a HELP counter for new students without, as alleged, permission from the University Authority.

To me, if indeed the allegation were true, it was a very unfortunate incident in the 50 year history of our nation where we, as Malaysians in a multi-racial country, are supposed to live in harmony, perfectly comfortable in our belief that our rights as citizens of this beautiful country are safely guarded and guaranteed by the Federal Constitution. To all intents and purposes, apart from having to observe the sanctity of the 5 pillars of RUKUN NEGARA, we are supposed to uphold the most sacred theme of ” UNITY IN DIVERSITY” in Malaysia.

I remember when I was studying Marine Biology and Law in the United Kingdom, courtesy of the state Government of Sabah and the British High Commissioner’s Chevening Award in the middle of the 80s, all Malaysian students in our universities, irrespective of race and creed, post and undergraduates would make it a point to celebrate anually a Malaysian Student Night where all of us would proudly be on our best formal or traditional dresses. All of us, I believe, were proud to call ourselves Malaysian and indeed, to show to the whole world then that although Malaysia was a multi-racial and multicultural country, we live in harmony subscribing every moment of our way of life – UNITY IN DIVERSITY !

I truly believe that such a patriotic and caring attitude towards our country and our fellow citizens overseas is still very much alive and embedded in our citizens living or studying abroad. Folks, a collection of photographs posted above tells it all. But the question that still lingers on my mind is: Why is this only happening in a foreign country?

Why can’t it be happening right in our own backyards?

Could we blame the BN Government for this unfortunate incident? i.e. the occurence of racial intolerance in our own country. I don’t particularly think so. In fact, the Government had gone through great length to introduce Race Relation as a subject in the local universities so much so that as recent as 2 years ago, its contents were further amended to improve its eficacy as a taught subject at tertiary level.

Whatever it is, before I end this post, let me quote in verbatim what the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) Malaysia Chairman, Dr. Yoo Chong Young had to say in his opening speech at the Ambassadors for Peace seminar in Kota Kinabalu yesterday:-

” … Malaysia is a promised land for reconciliation and peace … Malaysia is also special because it is multiracial, multicultural and multi-religious country, Geopolitically, Malaysia has a special symbolic significance… In such a country, we must learn to develop mutual respect, mutual understanding and mutual support in order to make harmony and peace. Only then we can reach mutual prosperity and stability for co-existence….Malaysia would be like a well where one can find a spring of peace…. Only in this way Malaysia can flourish..”

So, folks, what’s gone wrong?

Cheers!

Down Memory Lane

The rear view of the wooden shophouses

The rear view of the wooden shophouses

A front view picture of the same old wooden shophouses

A front view picture of the same old wooden shophouses

The other day as I was having coffee with several relatives and friends at Kedai Kopi Kun Sang in Keningau, it dawned upon me that this particular block of very old wooden shophouses were the only remaining evidence of Keningau modern history as far back as the early 1950s.

The shop at the corner of this block was used to be owned by one very prominent local sino-dusun/murut community leader popularly known as Uncle Endiu whose mother came from a small village in Bingkor. He used to rent the upper floor of his shop to UPKO in the early 1960s but was sadly vacated when the then Datuk Donald Stephens as he was then called dissolved UPKO and took the name of Fuad Stephens when he embraced Islam.

These shophouses withstood the test of times and became a source of nostalgic reminiscence of the good old days where Muruts from around Keningau, Sook and Pensiangan would converge every end of the months to buy food and other basic necessities.

These were the times when the people from the interior would take the opportunity to meet and celebrate with their relatives and friends. And of course, almost at all times, uncle Endiu would be on hand to welcome them and celebrate together in his coffeeshop.

For those folks who do not have the privilege of meeting and knowing uncle Endiu, suffice to say that he was a man of great integrity, down to earth and would go to great length to help the Muruts whenever they were in financial difficulty. In other words, he was ever willing to offer financial assistance regardless of the fact that repayment would not be forthcoming. That was uncle Endiu, a selfless man who cared more for the people than his own. That was why, I thought, with due respect to his blessed soul and family, he was just “cukup makan” until the day he died in the early 80s.

However, he left a legacy for all of us to remember in the good persons of his children who amongst them are Henry Chu, a Senior Corporate Manager in Sabah Credit Corporation and Fr. Charles Chu, a catholic priest who had earned two Ph.Ds from one of the most distinguished universities in the USA.

Now, as times goes by, would this historical wooden shophouses give way to modern development? Folks, only time will tell. Yes, only time will tell.

Cheers!

Wisdom Quote

” The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart, and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. Even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained; and even in the best of all hearts, there remains a small corner of evil. It is impossible to expel evil from the world in its entirety, but it is possible to constrict it within each person. ”
By: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

SAPP is in the frame?

Although it was long time coming, it was quite a surprise to me when several of Datuk Yong Teck Lee’s supporters in Keningau demanded that their President should stand in the said By-Election instead. I understand that SAPP is now out of BN and therefore is free to determine its own political course but when they asked for their President to contest in Pensiangan? I thought that was way too much to ask from the people of Pensiangan. Or was it just a political posturing?

On the other hand, by deciding to participate in the coming by-election, SAPP is now playing the cards very close to its chest. The question now, what is going to happen to the so-called understanding with PKR Chief, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim? Is SAPP conveying the message that SAPP being a local opposition party, they stand a better chance than PKR? and therefore, they should be allowed to represent Pakatan Rakyat instead of PKR? Be as it may, I can feel something is brewing within Andipai’s group. As an insurance, Andipai is said to be playing a hide and seek game with PKR and flashing signals that he will ditch the party if his terms are not met. Thus, benefitting SAPP. If that is the case, then, there will be a 3 cornered fight or even a 4 cornered fight if Datuk Bernard Maraat were to realise his threat to stand as an independent.

Who is going to benefit? the answer is a definite Yes for BN as there would be split votes for the opposition parties as had always been proven time and time again. For one, the parliamentary seat of Ranau in the 2004 election was a very good example. Tan Sri Bernard Dompok barely won, thanks to the split votes among the opposition parties then.

Despite all the above, rumours are also brewing that SAPP Vice President, Datuk Frankie Chong is also actively campaigning for candidacy in Pensiangan. If indeed, that is true, SAPP is actually insulting the intellegence of the people in Pensiangan BIG TIME. I for one, wouldnt mind if SAPP were to contest. This is afterall, a democratic process to elect the next MP of Pensiangan. The more the merrier but in our eagerness to embrace democracy, one must not forget that today Pensiangan is not totally devoid of local candidates who are also highly qualified in terms of academics and work experiences. Hence, it is the best opportune time for them to show to the world that they are truly a multiracial party by nominating a local candidate to contest in Pensiangan. Otherwise, the locals will definitely be offended.

But as I said, unless it is a one to one contest, I don’t see the slightest chance for the opposition to gain a foothold in the interior for now.

Bernard Maraat may claim overwhelming support in Pensiangan but in my conversation with some very prominent local personalities, in the 4 years he was MP, I was told he had stepped on so many people’s toes. It was also disclosed to me discreetly that his professional relationship with Datuk Bobbey Suan, the current YB for Nabawan is frosty. He had so often offended the feelings of the administrative staff in Nabawan. His support is localised and selective. He was said to spend time only in certain villages in Pensiangan which were seen to be alligned to him only and as such I m not quite convinced that the call for him to enter the fray is from the voice of the majority. But on a personal level, he is a very good person though brash at times but genuinely, it could only be his style of leadership and therefore, in the name of democracy, he is most welcomed to test his so-called popularity with the grassroot BUT be prepared not to put the blame on the democratic process if he were to lose miserably.

Cheers!

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Dr. Jeffrey or Mr. Danny Andipai for PKR in Pensiangan?

As of today, there seems to be a discord amongst PKR members in Sabah as to who should be more entitled to contest the By-Election in Pensiangan if indeed there is going to be one in the very near future.

I am not making a mountain out of a molehill but apparently, there appears to be two camps in the making or aren’t they already in existence? Going by press statements lately, it seems it is more probable than not that there is indeed such camps and the crevice in the wall is beginning to show sign of stress.  Take for example today’s press release by one Jumin Jeffrey Masuling, the PKR Tuaran Division Secretary in the Daily Express. (He is obviously a very close confidante of Ansari Abdullah, the State PKR Chief)

 Daily Express cutting dated the 11/12/2008

 

Daily Express snippets dated the 11/12/2008

newslatter2

In a nutshell, it is not that difficult to decipher who would be the preferred personality to stand as a PKR candidate in Pensiangan if and only if the selection criteria is based largely on personal commitment to make the By-Election a reality, hypothetically speaking.

a snippet of the Daily Express "CONFUSION" ??

a snippet of the Daily Express "CONFUSION" ??

As a matter of fairness and good common sense, I tend to agree with Jumin Masuling.  I am quite sure the man on the street would also agree with him. But it is rather unfortunate the perennial question of  who should be the ultimate PKR candidate  in Pensiangan has become a source of disrepute and confusion among  PKR members.  To me, the line should be clear for Andipai to be given back his then loss opportunity to contest in Pensiangan. He was the one who initiated the petition, went for it, fought  and won it in Court.  Please tell me honestly, who on earth can dispute that.

Now,  would he be able to carry it through for PKR against Tan Sri Kurup, the Deputy Minister of Rural and Regional Development?

Danny Andipai is a local murut born and bred in Nabawan, Pensiangan. He used to work as a Pharmacist Assistant in a Government Hospital before resigning to venture into his own business.  During my travel to the interior in the Pensiangan parlimentary constituentcy, I have had the honour to meet several villagers in Pegalungan.  I am not being biased here but it is true.  The majority of them then was not quite comfortable with Andipai. In other words, Andipai himself at that time was not that well known in this part of the contituency as compared to Tan Sri who had made every effort to visit all the villages as far as Kg. Bantul closest to the Indonesian Border in Kalimantan even before the last  general election in March 2008.

That was about 2 months ago.  The political situation may have changed as in politic, 1 week is considered very short when it comes to canvassing for votes. There are so many areas to cover but with very little time to spare especially when one’s opponent is playing the race card.

The Pensiangan parliament is comprised of 2 state seats namely Nabawan and Sook.  Voters in the former is almost 90% murut whilst in Sook it is almost 50-50 for the Murut and Kadazandusun respectively.

As recent as 1 month ago, the rumour was that if Andipai were to be the PKR candidate, his race would be a factor against Tan Sri Kurup, a kadazandusun and not how much infrastructure development had been delivered.  Now, if that were the case,  Andipai would stand a chance of getting as high as 80% of the Murut votes in Nabawan and most probably, 60% of the murut votes and just about 20% of the kadazandusun votes in Sook.  So, folks, on this score alone. I think the line is very clear who would win in the coming By-Election barring any unforeseen circumstances.  Yes. Some of you may not agree with my analysis but I truly hope, yes honestly, that my ominous prediction is not true at all.  As if  like rubbing salt to an open wound,  a very prominent member of the local administration did disclose to me discreetly that in fact,  it would be the most likely case in Pensiangan  to the extent of saying that the moment Tan Sri Kurup’s name is announced as the BN candidate, the support for BN would drop to as low as 20%.

But to me, it is not for Andipai to win the battle but for BN to lose it.  The fact is,  to ensure victory, all BN component parties must be sincere in working together and support each other with a common objective to hold the seat they won uncontested.   However, it is my honest belief that to achieve this goal, the BN spirit of consensus must always prevail at all times.

What about PKR  chances if Datuk Dr. Jeffrey were to be its candidate?

Honestly, if  the voters were to play the race card and wished for a local murut to be their next MP, then the answer is very crystal clear. With all the extra baggages that Dr. Jeffrey is said to be carrying  and I am quite sure you all know what I meant by “extra baggages”, he would not stand a chance against Tan Sri Kurup.  It is a very simple arithmetic.  Since both are kadazandusun, it is most probable than not that the Pensiangan voters would go for Tan Sri Kurup.  As the saying goes  when we are faced with a choice in a difficult or fearful situation there is an old cliche that decribes what we tend to do i.e. we choose “the devil we know” over “the devil we don’t know”. Yes we choose the comfort and security we have now and what other good things promised to us over the unknown future. Period.

So, that’s all folks for today and we will meet again soon over the next topic of  ” Is it proper for Tan Sri to distribute assistance at this point in time after the High Court ruling?”

Cheers!

 

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure … We ask ourselves: “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be …? Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you… As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”–Marianne Williamson

 



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