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



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