Posts Tagged 'Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan'

Pesta Kaamatan (Harvest Festival) 2009

Miss Appey Rowenna Januin crowned as the state-level Unduk Ngadau 2009

Miss Appey Rowenna Januin crowned as the state-level Unduk Ngadau 2009

31st May 2009 saw the culmination of a month long kaamatan celebration in Sabah, Malaysia which was officially closed by the TYT Negeri Sabah, Tun Haji Ahmad Shah Abdullah.

Amongst the highlights of the closing day celebration was the crowning of Miss Appey Rowenna Januin of Papar as the state-level Unduk Ngadau (Harvest Festival  Queen) by the the TYT’s consort, Toh Puan Dayang Masuyah Binti Japar.

Folks, just in case, it slips from your memory, the national-level Pesta Kaamatan will be held on the 7th June 2009 at Padang Merdeka, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Come one! Come all!



5:3:2 Distribution of Sabah Cabinet seats…

What was once the top 4 state cabinet members of Sabah (courtesy of New Sabah Times)

What was once the top 4 state cabinet members of Sabah (courtesy of New Sabah Times)

What does it really mean for the non-muslim bumiputera in Sabah in so far as the long established convention of 5:3:2 distribution of cabinet seats between the Muslim bumiputera, non-muslim bumiputera and the chinese is concerned? Does it really matter?

Folks, it does not really matter if one had to listen to from none other than the PBS President cum the 1st Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Infrastructure Development, Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan who happens to be the Huguan Siou of the KadazanDusun in Sabah the majority of whom are non-muslim bumiputera. He was on record to say and I repeat it in verbatim ” the non-Muslim bumiputera quota in the State Cabinet can be changed at the discretion of the Chief Minister.

He said the matter had always been debatable but at the same time urged the people not to make it into a big issue. He said as much as he would like to have a more stable quota, the decision to have as many or as few non-Muslim bumiputeras in the State Cabinet remains at the discretion of the Chief Minister.

“Five, four, three or whatever the formula, has always been a debatable issue. I do not think we ought to be too stuck or too stiff about this kind of thing.

“We would like to have a stable quota but at the same time we must understand that this is the prerogative of the Chief Minister. It is up to him (Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman) to make the necessary adjustment or make the necessary appointments…”

“He, or anybody who is the Chief Minister, will always have to take into account the aspirations or the expectations of all component political parties. Whatever decision he made is his prerogative. I am confident it was done in the best interest of the BN Government and to ensure all government programmes would run smoothly.”

I beg to differ though. Personally, I am not quite convinced that the majority of non-muslim bumiputera in Sabah are receptive to the idea that as long as the present BN government could fulfill its obligations and covenants to uplift the socio-economic status of the non-muslim bumiputera, the question of missed opportunity on effecting a fair distribution of cabinet seats in Sabah as highlighted by the PBRS Information Chief, Rayner Francis Udong recently could no longer be relevant.

For the record, the said 5:3:2 ratio was a formula practiced by convention when the BN took over the state government in 1994 whereby 5 is meant for 5 ministerial posts allocated to the muslim bumiputera, 3 posts to the non-muslim bumiputera while the last 2 posts are for the Chinese representatives in the State Legislative Assembly.

However, as I see it, at present, the Sabah cabinet seat distribution is made along the lines of BN component parties’ strength in the State Legislative Assembly. After the last state general election in 2008, UMNO won 32 seats, PBS won 12 seats, SAPP won 4 seats, LDP won 3 states, UPKO won 6 seats, MCA and PBRS won 1 seat each. Hence, Prior to the departure of SAPP from BN, the state cabinet was composed of 6 for UMNO, 2 for PBS, 1 each for UPKO, SAPP and LDP respectively.

The seat quota remains unchanged even after Datuk Raymond Tan, the sole SAPP representative in the cabinet chose to stick with BN when SAPP left BN last year where he was retained as a cabinet member while being a pro-BN Independent for almost 9 months.

Folks, now that Datuk Raymond Tan has joined Gerakan, a Peninsular Malaysia based multiracial party, the status quo remains unchanged. In fact, he was rewarded for his unquestionable loyalty to BN by being retained as a cabinet member minus his Deputy Chief Ministership though. However, the gist of the matter is that, the current composition of the state cabinet is all about one’s political strength in the state BN rather than racial and / or religiously based.

To me, the current arrangement is rather flawed despite BN undeniable success in bringing progress in terms of socio and infra-structural development to the state. I am saying this on the fact that a particular community could be under represented in the powerful decision making body despite it being the majority group in the state.

Analytically, it is a very simple arithmetic, take for example, PBS, the multiracial but KadazanDusun Murut based party. Logically, being a strongly KDM based party, there should be more than one KDM ministers representing the party apart from a chinese minister in the person of Datuk Yee Moh Chai to reflect its ideal political equilibrium in the state cabinet so that when seen in totality, there should be a sense of equitable fairness among the major races in the state.

Be as it may, what more could they ask for if such prerogative power is used to hypothetically appoint cabinet members along such lines as 6 for UMNO (Muslim Bumiputera), 2 for PBS (Non-Muslim Bumiputera), 1 for UPKO (Non-Muslim Bumiputera), 1 each for PBS (Chinese) and LDP (Chinese), Hence, the ratio should be 6:3:2 so that it is to be more or less reflective of the previously accepted convention.

As for Gerakan (a chinese-based multiracial party), it would be, in fairness to PBRS and MCA, politically prudent to appoint its 2 representatives as Assistant Ministers in the state cabinet.

However, it is of course, very important to remember that it is the CM’s sole prerogative to appoint his cabinet members whom he thinks are capable of helping him in the administratioin of the state and lest we forget that if the present cabinet is workable and is the best one we have ever had to assist the YAB Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Aman to achieving his well-documented Halatuju for the state, we should support him and his BN administration wholeheartedly regardless of our previous reservation.


Sabah witness a minor cabinet reshuffle

Sabah Chief Minister, YAB Datuk Seri Musa Aman

Sabah Chief Minister, YAB Datuk Seri Musa Aman

The Sabah Chief Minister, YAB Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Hj. Aman effected a minor reshuffle to his cabinet late this afternoon by promoting LDP Vice President cum Minister of Youth and Sports to the much talked post of Deputy Chief Minister while the incumbent, Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah, a newly minted GERAKAN Vice President, retained his cabinet post but was moved to the Ministry of Industrial Development.

The PBS President cum 1st Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Rural Development, YB Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan took over Datuk Raymond Tan’s previous portfolio of Minister of Infrastructure Development while UPKO Vice President, YB Datuk Ewon Ebin moved from the Ministry of Industrial Development to the Ministry of Rural Development.

Speculation that YB Au Kam Wah, the Elopura Assemblyman would be appointed as an Assistant Finance Minister to fill a vacancy left by the defection of YB Melanie Chia with SAPP to the opposition did not materialise. Instead, LDP Merotai state assemblyman, YB Pang Yuk Ming was promoted to Assistant Minister of infrastructure development, replacing PBS YB Datuk Michael Asang who was appointed as Assistant Minister of Industrial Development.

Meanwhile, UMNO YB Datuk Jainab Ahmad Ayid, the previous Assistant Minister of Industrial Development was moved to the Ministry of Resource Development and Information Technology as an Assistant Minister, taking over from UPKO YB Donald Peter Mojuntin who was appointed as the Assistant Minister of Finance.

The portfolios of the other Ministers and Assistant Ministers remain unchanged. (courtesy of BERNAMA)


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


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