Archive for January, 2009

P182 Pensiangan: On the record

The bare facts and figures of previous parlimentary elections in P182 Pensiangan

The bare facts and figures of previous parliamentary elections in P182 Pensiangan

Folks!, It is said that a picture tells a thousand words. So, just in case, any of you are interested to know about its recent elections history, I have taken the liberty to post a copy of the above for the whole world to see and analyse the bare facts and figures of previous parliamentary elections held in P182 Pensiangan, Sabah, Malaysia. (courtesy of Azlan Zamhari/Malaysiakini)



Happy Chinese New Year 2009

Chinese New Year of the Ox

Chinese New Year of the Ox

Year of the Ox 2009 牛年: 己丑年
Happy New Year 新年快樂
Jan. 26, 2009 – Feb. 13, 2010
Best wishes to all! 恭喜! 恭喜!

Folks, you may be interested to learn more about the meaning of the year of the Ox. If you do so, Please bear with me! This is what Marites Allen, a master on the Chinese art of feng shui and a local franchisee of the World of Feng Shui chain of boutiques said that the Ox itself, known by its formal name Yi Chou, is characterized as hard-working, responsible, patient and calm. It is also a strong leader who is great in organizing, honest and reliable. On the flipside, however, it can be stubborn, narrow-minded and low on public relations skills.

Perhaps emblematic of this new change is the ascension to the US presidency of Barack Obama, who is expected to usher in sweeping changes both in the domestic and international fronts. Coincidentally, Obama was born in the Year of the Ox.

Allen says there will be a similar transformation in local politics, as this year will herald heightened discourse among our politicians. “The rule of law and justice will prevail,”


War of words on Pensiangan (Take 2)

There it was again. On the frontpage of the Daily Express today, Tan Sri Kurup challenged Datuk Pairin to a one to one debate over what had transpired between the two parties lately.

This was what he said “I would like to meet face-to-face with Pairin to debate on what he said and what I said on his statement on the candidacy in Pensiangan and implication of that statement, the meaning of ‘colourful and well documented history’ and Pairin’s performance as a two-term Pensiangan Member of Parliament,”
but refused to debate further over the matter in the media with Datuk Radin as to him, the latter was merely sheltering his President who hid behind his back over the issue he himself raised in the first place.

Folks! would you be able to imagine a picture of two overgrown bulls fighting head on in defence of their own niches.

a bullfight to claim territorial supremacy To me, if the fight persists, BN will have to bear the political consequences of having to face the Pensiangan by-election in turmoil. I believe no political party in such a condition will survive the scourge of a very tough election, if, as predicted by many, would come true in Pensiangan.

I thought it would have been wiser if the top BN leadership kept a tighter rein on component members from making untoward comments against each other especially during these crucial times of uncertainty. However, on the other hand, as commented by several prominent members of the public, it was indeed prudent for Tan Sri Kurup to act the way he did, as to have kept his peace a minute longer would have been seen by PBRS members as a surrender to other bigger BN component parties. This I think would be disastrous to its image.

Folks! I leave it to your wisdom to decide.


War of words on Pensiangan (Take 1)

Datuk Pairin meeting with the Rakyat recently

Datuk Pairin meeting with the Rakyat recently

Tan Sri Kurup's official opening of a Library in Kg. Marasak, Sook

kurupThe war of words between the President of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan and the President of Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS), Tan Sri Joseph Kurup seems to escalate into an open warfare today when the PBS Secretary-General, Datuk Radin Malleh chided Tan Sri Kurup to be ever mindful of the fact that had it not been for the BN spirit, PBRS would not have got Pensiangan for free as the latter had never won Pensiangan in the “real sense”.

This latest skirmish between the two predominantly KDM based political parties was triggered by Datuk Pairin’s assertation on Tuesday that should a by-election is unavoidable in Pensiangan, the selection of a BN candidate would not have to be automatic in the wake of BN’s loss in Kuala Terengganu. Reading between the lines, I can only assume it as urging Tan Sri Kurup to reconsider nominating himself to recontest the Pensiangan paliamentary seat as although it was denied he seemed to be, on the other hand, stressing “as to who is the candidate is a very important factor” as for “chances of winning would be better if the people favoured the candidate”

I believe it is very damaging to PBRS at a time when it is trying its very best to rally and reinforce grassroot support in Pensiangan. It has also infuriated Tan Sri Kurup so much so that the PBRS president had to come out with all guns blazing questioning ” the credibility of Datuk Pairin to assess the suitability of a candidate for Pensiangan as although Pairin had been the Pensiangan MP for two terms his performance record in bringing developments to the people there speaks for itself “. and that Pairin’s ill-conceived remarks had hurt the BN Pensiangan parlimentary election machinery prepartion which in Tan Sri Kurup’s belief, the pensiangan people were well-prepared and knew who they would vote for in the by-election but whatever it was, he mockingly suggested that Datuk Pairin should be excused considering his colourful and well-documented history with BN.

So based on the above, it is understandable that Datuk Radin, being one of the highest ranking PBS leaders, had to come to Datuk Pairin’s defence. He said that “in fact, Kurup was the one who did not know how to read the political situation and local sentiment in Pensiangan”

“The voters there want a candidate from the majority Murut community” “They said that Kurup who had been the Assemblyman for Sook since 1985 until 2008 except for the period between 1999 and 2004 and even though having held the posts of a full Minister, Finance Minister and Deputy Chief Minister, the area remained lagging in terms of basic infrastructure and other development” and added that “The voters can vouch for that,” As such, he was also saying that “Kurup should do some soul-searching for the sake of the people’s future in Pensiangan as well as the fate of the BN and should put the interest of the people in Pensiangan and BN before anything else”

Now, folks! what can you deduce from this very unfortunate incident? To me, it is not only damning to PBRS’ but to BN’s political future in Pensiangan as well. If, taking a cue from BN’s loss in Kuala Terengganu, as many political analysts believe it to be so, Dr. Mahathir’s insinuation of BN’s wrong choice of candidate, had caused the voters to rethink their voting preferences as what happened on election day.

Does this similar act of insinuation about having to put the right candidate in Pensiangan result in a Kuala Terengganu copycat?

Just this morning, I had the opportunity to meet with a very well-connected friend from Keningau who happened to be in town to settle some outstanding family matters. I asked him about the prevailing political sentiments in Pensiangan by referring to what Datuk Pairin had said in the press lately. This was what he said to me ” You know my friend, given Datuk Pairin’s political standing and stature in Malaysian politics, it would not of course, be politically prudent for him to say what he said if he had not received very credible evidence of the said subject-matter. For a moment, I was left thinking logically of what I had just heard. My friend might be wrong on this folks. Imagine, a multi-racial based party having to champion a cause i.e. a Murut candidate must be fielded in Pensiangan. Don’t you think by doing so, it had actually ran contrary to its fundamental struggle?

Hence, is it pertinent for us to take Datuk Pairin’s premonition seriously? Would the ghost of KT be decending upon Pensiangan in the days to come?

Much as I wish that it might not become a reality in Pensiangan, my conversation with Pensiangan UMNO Head, Datuk Ghani Yassin yesterday, seemed to shaken my belief that unless (1) we worked very hard; (2) election funds be fairly distributed amongst the component parties; and that (3) there is unity in fighting and addressing the election issues by all BN component parties, the BN would risk losing the by-election.

It shudders me to even think of such a possibility in the face of modern technology in so far as processing and dissemination of political information to the people is concerned regardless of localities.

But the question of whether it is time to think seriously about nominating a well-qualified Murut candidate to stand in Pensiangan should not have been brought to light as we have, at present, regardless of race, a very well experienced and well connected politican in the person of Tan Sri Joseph Kurup. Rumour has it that he will be allowed to keep his job as the Deputy Minister of Rural and Regional Development should he win the by-election (if there should be one)
” Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book”. Ronald Reagan


Influence of PAS’ win in KT over Pensiangan

With the opposition PAS’ commendable win in the Kuala Terengganu by-election, Pensiangan becomes the next focus of political attention by Malaysians who care about the intriguing political development taking place in the country since the last 12th March 2008 general election.

Indeed, if there were a need for a by-election in Pensiangan, by convention, it should be the President of Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS), Tan Joseph Kurup who would be most likely to be nominated as the BN candidate to stand against the opposition parties. I am saying parties in the plural because apart from PKR, other opposition parties like the SAPP and independents could be joining the fray too.

As it is now, Danny Andipai is the only identified candidate to stand for PKR since Dr. Jeffrey had earlier removed his name from the list of potential PKR candidates. However, rumour has it that his foot soldiers are still pushing all out for their boss to reconsider as they believe the prospect of winning is very good to the extent of saying that the inexperienced Andipai might not stand a chance against the onslaught of BN oil-laced election machinery. What more when Andipai has got a very shallow pocket to face the by-election as the chances of getting sufficient election fund from Central PKR are basically in doubt. I may be wrong here as PKR vis a vis Pakatan Rakyat has formed 5 state governments in Peninsular Malaysia.

On the other hand, the former MP of Pensiangan, Datuk Bernard J Maraat is also rumoured to be very keen to contest as an Independent, although, at this point in time, he is still a PBS member eventhough his Liawan PBS Division had been indefinitely suspended by the party. Rumour has it that he has already instructed his foot soldiers to do the groundwork in preparation for the by-election. It was, I think purposely leaked from among his inner circle of trusted lieutenants to test the water that his candidacy would be a definite YES if and only if Tan Sri Kurup should be the BN candidate in the by-election. However, rumour has it also that he would not go forward but would instead pull all his weight to support BN if a certain personality who happened to be his previous election rival were to be chosen as the BN candidate.

Be as it may, I truly believe the opposition’s win in Kuala Terengganu would generate greater influence on the Pensiangan voters in choosing their next MP. Pakatan Rakyat would have to play the mind game with the people here as, in terms of providing instant development, they are incapable of doing it there and then as they are neither the state government nor the ruling party in Putrajaya.

But mind game is a very effective tool nowadays. PKR would be trumpeting for the Pensiangan people to emulate the voters’ wisdom in Kuala Terengganu that despite BN’s promises of more development, big increases in federal funding as compared to other states and its good choice of a very capable candidate, the voters of KT still voted for the opposition with even a bigger majority.

In their quest for votes, PKR would be making allegation that after 51 years of being the government, the BN leadership especially UMNO have grown aloof, elitists and quite detached from the ordinary people on the ground. They would also be saying that BN leaders should earn the peoples’ respect and be grateful to the people instead of the other way round.

Pakatan Rakyat leaders like Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang, Lim Guan Eng and of course, SAPP president, Datuk Yong Teck Lee are veteran politicians who are very well versed with playing the mind game to psychologically influence the voters. I would not be surprised if populist issues like land acquisition by big private companies and the burning of native huts in forest reserve lands are to be inflamed like wild fires to show the state government’s inhuman treatment of the natives as compared to illegal immigrants from Pulau Gaya and other places in Kota Kinabalu who were being well-treated and given decent houses to live in by the state government.

But to many, as in Kuala Terengganu, it finally boiled down to the personality of the respective candidates. Who they can trust? who they can get along with? who they can bear with? whose presence they can tolerate? whose words of comfort and promises they can believe? who they can easily meet and discuss with? whether he is all ears when they are talking to him of their problems? whether he has the same background as them to enable him to intergrate with their life styles and finally whether he would have the same wavelength as them and be able to speak aloud their inner thoughts of cry for help from the clutches of poverty.

I believe these are the fundamental qualities which the voters are looking for in the respective candidates. And I further believe that for BN to counter the mind game that would be perpetrated by the opposition parties in the by-election, it has to give ample airtime to them so that they can in turn tell the voters what sort of development they have done so far to the people since the last general election, which I believe is very negligble, and in so doing, BN would have the opportunity to counter attack the opposition rhetorics by making comparasion of who has the greatest ability and promises fulfilled in the very short time since the last general election. Only by doing this, BN would be able to decamouflage the real meaning of opposition politics to the people of Pensiangan.


PAS won big in Kuala Terengganu By-Election

The winning PAS candidate

The winning PAS candidate in green Batik

PAS candidate Mohd Abdul Wahid Endut won big in the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary seat by-election. He polled 32,883 votes to Barisan Nasional candidate Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Salleh’s 30,252 votes for a majority 2,631 win. While the Independent candidate Azharuddin Mamat obtained only 193 votes. There were 665 spoilt votes.

With this latest victory, the Opposition is now one seat nearer to its previous attempt of trying to oust and form the next federal government. They are presently controlling 82 seats plus 2 opposition leaning seats from SAPP in Parliament while BN has 137 seats. ( I consider Ibrahim Ali’s independence as suspect as he could be on either side of the divide going by his previous record of speeches in Parliament) However, realistically speaking, it is my personal opinion that it would not materialise for the rest of the remaining lives of the present Parliament especially so, when we are going to witness the changing of the guard at Putrajaya in March. I believe with YAB Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak at the helm, the present BN MPs should be rock solid in their belief the new leadership would be able to introduce new measures namely,

(1) to check the decline of BN support among the Malaysian voters;
(2) to attract those who had “temporarily” shifted their support to the opposition in the last general election;
(3) to attract the younger generation of voters who might have been, by accident or by their own free will, attracted to the opposition; and
(4) to cure open wounds inflicted against fellow BN components parties by certain overlord in BN.

But, what went wrong for BN? This seems to be the most popular question asked by many political analysis including me. They were saying that in the KT campaign, BN had among others:-

(1) projected its very good track record of developing the state of Terengganu since it was captured from the opposition in the 2004 general election;
(2) promised to increase more federal funding than other states in West Malaysia since it is an oil producing state; and
(3) its BN candidate who is an UMNO division head would be reappointed to his old job as a Deputy Minister if he were to win the by-election.

Despite all the above, BN not only failed to retain KT but lost by a bigger margin. But to me, all is not lost. To lose a by-election is quite normal and prevalent in a free democracy. Likewise, it is also normal for the voters to return the seat to the other party comes the next general election. Afterall, after licking its wound, I am confident that BN will once again rise to the occassion provided always, the new leadership is prepared to introduce and implement new measures as I have suggested aforesaid.

Before ending this post, I would just like to highlight that as the parties’ candidates were cruising on their final laps to the finish line. Rumour has it that it was more of a personality clash of the candidates than anything else. Folks, I let you be the Judge and Jury.

Be as it may, the next important question is, to what degree of influence, PAS’ win in Kuala Terengganu, has on the Pensiangan voters, in the event of a by-election should Tan Sri Kurup failed in his appeal at the Federal Court?? Now that Pas had won big today, I stand to be corrected in my perception posted here on the 7th January 2009.


Tan Sri Kurup’s appeal postponed yet again..

The Palace of Justice at Putrajaya where the Federal Court sits

The Palace of Justice at Putrajaya where the Federal Court sits

At about 1414hours this afternoon, I received sms from a lawyer friend of mine who attended the appeal hearing at the Palace of Justice, Putrajaya that Tan Sri Kurup’s appeal was postponed yet again for the second time to the 12th and 13th of February 2009. This time around the said appeal would be heard in Kota Kinabalu.

Having read the SMS, I texted him back to ask what was the reason given (if any) for the postponement. The reply I got was that “Sabahan lawyers who have not been called to the Malayan Bar have no right of appearance in West Malaysia. To do so will mean the said lawyers will be committing a criminal offence” For a moment, I was baffled!. It never occured to me that Sabahan lawyers who lack the authority to practice in West Malaysia would be barred to appear before the Superior Courts in Putrajaya on the ground that previously, we were allowed to do so. (For your information, the Superior Courts in Malaysia are comprised of the Federal Court, Court of Appeal and the Special Court).

I am of course, speaking based on my personal experience of having appeared before a three judge Court of Appeal hearing in 2001 at the old Sultan Abdul Samad courts building. It was an appeal case originating from the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak at Kota Kinabalu. There was no question of me being barred from appearing before one of the Superior Courts in West Malaysia then although, I was not called to the High Court of Malaya Bar. Why now? I would have no qualm about not being allowed to appear in the High Courts in Malaya as under Articel 121(1) of the Federal Constitution, there are two High Courts in Malaysia i.e the High Courts of Malaya and the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak with coordinate jurisdiction and status while under Article 121(1B), a Court of Appeal and Article 121(2), the Federal Court, the apex court of Malaysia.

There were of course, lots of arguments lately about the above subjects but to me the simple logic is for example, if one is called to the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak at Kota Kinabalu, he or she should only be allowed to practice law within the coordinate jurisdication of the said High Court BUT in the case of the Superior Courts, there is only one Court of Appeal and one Federal Court in the country so basically therefore, irrespective of where any one of these superior courts sits in the country as may be determined by the Chief Justice of the Malaysian Judiciary, any legally qualified lawyer in Sabah should be able to appear before this Court without any legal impediment so long as the case he or she is appealing originated from the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak at Kota Kinabalu and provided always the adversarial parties thereto would not mind having to suffer great inconveniences.

Likewise, there should not be any legal impediment for any West Malaysian lawyers practising in West Malaysia to appear before this Court sitting for the time being in either Sabah or Sarawak as may be determined by the said Chief Justice as long as the case appealed of originated from the High Court in Malaya and provided always such practice, would not cause any untoward inconveniences to the adversarial parties thereto. Folks! Don’t you think it sounds logical and practical ?

Now, I am inclined to propose that a three-pronged question is very much in order:

Firstly, if there was already such previous decision not to allow Sabahan lawyers to appear before the superior courts in Putrajaya like what happened this morning, why would the Federal Court Registrar fixed the hearing of Tan Sri Kurup’s appeal be held at Putrajaya in the first place? Baffling? Yes?

secondly, what should happen to decision made on previous cases where there were similar appearances made by Sabahan lawyers at the Sultan Abdul Samad Court buildings in KL and at the Court of Justice in Putrajaya respectively?

and thirdly, all these lawyers could have, as a consequence, committed a criminal offence in the performance of their duties before the Superior Courts then if that was indeed observed this morning.

Whatever it is, be my guest folks! BUT on hind sight, I thought, on another ground, analysing it from a political perspective, the postponement would somehow rather provide a breathing space for BN considering their concentration of political energy in Kuala Terengganu right now.


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