Posts Tagged 'Sabah Politics'

Is it nearly time already?

The recent double whammy by the Barisan Nasional  Government to retain handsomely Batu Sapi  and wresting the state seat of Galas in Kelantan with such an unprecedented majority speaks volume of the overwhelming confidence of the component parties in BN that perhaps it is nearly time already for BN to go back to the Rakyat to knock off the living daylights of the opposition parties once and for all as they are alleging that it has been for far too long that the latter have been given so wide a platform to exercise their rights so much so that at times, abuses of such freedom did occur when it came to tit for tat kind of verbal confrontation between the parties thereto.

Except for the Prime Minister, I suppose  it is not wrong to say that buoyed by the recent double victories,  everyone else is predicting that the 13th General Election would be called much sooner than later.  So much so that I for one is also tempted to say that the Prime Minister might just be contemplating with such a possibility.

However, there is always two sides  of the same coin which is  getting the transformation process underway and in the process making the people to feel good is a valuable consideration which the Prime Minister had to bargain for.  A half-baked cake may not be the proper treatment for the peoples’ current ailment and to suggest that the BN’s double victories in Batu Sapi and Galas could be a significant reflection of the peoples’ heartbeat in the country right now would not be entirely true.

Be as it may, I am quite sure that after about two years of hard work, it is fair to say that the Prime Minister had achieved quite a lot in bringing back the confidence of the people at large despite hiccups along the way. However, it is also fair to say that the Prime Minister’s success may not be that significant to say the least had it not been for the persistent contributions from members of the opposition parties in making the BN Government to always be on the alert lest they would be mistaken for deadwood.

The question now is whether we are going to face an early general election or not?  My take is that the 13th General Election will not be called as yet until and unless the PM is really satisfied that the component parties in Sarawak are ready and able to win in the impending Sarawak State election which must be called before  July 2011.  If that is the case,  most probable than not the 13th General Election will be held together with the Sarawak State Election sometimes in May 2011 as  I believe the prevailing political climate favours the Prime Minister to seek a fresh mandate by dissolving Parliament since there are so many positive developments around that could give the BN government the edge — the Government Transformation Programme, the National Economic Transformation Programme, the disarray in the opposition and, as Batu Sapi and Galas have shown, an improved support towards BN.

But then again, there will be a catch, would the opposition-held states follow in advising their Malay Rulers and TYT to dissolve their respective state assemblies as there is no provision in their state constitutions to prohibit them from holding a separate  state general elections because as a matter of political strategy,  it will enable the opposition parties to focus and utilise their resources better and therefore, improve their chances of winning.

So I say if it does happen, it will definitely complicate the prevailing political scenario.  In the end, it will not be good for the people at large.  Who is to blame?  I leave it to you Folks to ponder…

Cheers!

of one’s multiple membership

I chuckled upon hearing a declaration made by an up and coming local politician in Sabah recently that to that date,  in Sabah alone, his party has had the largest membership.

I was amused.  I think it would be worthwhile if a thorough investigation  is made to verify the facts that several hundred of these so-called members could have also, at the same time, been legitimate members of other political parties in Sabah.

I remember a time when I was fully active in politics, I had personal knowledge of several close associates of mine who were active members of a political party but without them knowing, I came to know that at some other times, they would also claim to be members of another party and attended its annual general meetings. There was no evidence of them having left the former party to subscribe to the ideology of the latter.

If this is the case then it may not be wrong to say that having a multiple party membership is the game they are playing on the ground so much so that they would be able to enjoy the best of both worlds and as such, I say,  no political party could legitimately claim to have the most number of membership in Sabah especially so amongst the KDM people.

Cheers!

The scourge of money politics?

Folks, please don’t get me wrong. I am not here to worship the virtues of money politics but rather to bring this much ostracised subject on the table for further deliberation as to its importance or otherwise in a political organisation and whether or not it is time that Parliament should legislate to partly legitimise to a certain extent the use of political funds as per practiced in America.

As of now, it is an offence for any election candidate be it in a political party election, a by-election or for that matter the general election as the case may be to use money to canvass for political support. In a party election, it is regulated by the Disciplinary Committee purportedly empowered under its constitution whilst in either a by-election or a general election, it is regulated by the Election Laws specifically under  section 10 (Bribery) and sections 19 (maximum expenditure) and 20 ( certain expenditure to illegal practice) of Election Offences Act, 1954.

In a party election,  a very glaring example of the might of the Disciplinary Committee is the three year suspension of a former vice-president of UMNO, YB Tan Sri Isa Samad of Negri Sembilan who was found guilty of indulging in money politics and the prohibition of an UMNO Vice-President and current Malacca Chief Minister, YB Datuk Seri Mohd. Ali Rustam from contesting the UMNO Deputy President post in the last party election. 

However, in both cases, there was no follow-up action taken by the MACC to further investigate and bring these very prominent UMNO politicans to book as it is now said that a political offence i.e  indulging in money politics is merely a technicallity. However, a technical offence or not, the victim of such an offence would be forever traumatised and very often than not, becomes a political liability to his political organisation unless of course, if he is Tan Sri Isa Samad. 

It is of course incumbent upon UMNO to show the good example to its fellow component parties in Barisan Nasional.   And its component members, whether big or small, prominent or negligible, one has to emulate the big brother in so far as taking action against indulgers of money politics in its respective organisation.

However, the perennial question is to what extent the maxim of procedural fairness in bringing the alleged politician to book before the Disciplinary Committee has been adequately complied with?  and whether or not certain aspect of the definition of fair campaigning and the expenditures involved have been adequately addressed by the Committee before a decision is handed down or meted out to the alleged politician? 

In a small component political party in Barisan Nasional for example, the maxim of procedural fairness has to be strictly adhered to especially so when the said party is trying its level best to portray its image as being multi-racial and all.  When I say to adequately adhere the practice of procedural fairness, it means the party has to follow an established practice that is indeed being widely accepted as fair by political parties in the United Kingdom for the greater good of the party concerned.

What is an established practice is not subjective but rather very objective and specific that should be followed barring any political complication on the face of the party concerned. For example, if a party member has lodged a complaint against an aspirant for a political post in a party election to the Disciplinary Committee, it must first take cognisance of the following factors:-

(1)  the time when the complaint is lodged. Is it inordinate?  Meaning has it been lodged after the time provided for lodgment of complaint and therefore, time-barred?;

(2) if the complaint lodged is within the time frame allowed aforesaid, How soon can the Disciplinary Committee convene to deliberate on the complaint  for the purpose of appointment of  its officers to do preliminary investigation;

(3) after preliminary investigation wherein the complainant and relevant witnesses are called to give their statments, the member being complained against must be informed and required to appear before the said Committee to enable it to hear his or her part of the story;

(4) when both parties have been given the opportunity to give statments, the said Committee will have to deliberate the evidences presented before them and if they feel that there is a case for the said member to answer, only then would they have to call him or her to answer the charges; and

(5) In the event that the said member failed to present himself or failed to rebut the charges preferred against him or her by the said Committee, then the proper penalty shall be meted out  after his or her mitigation (if any) has been adequately considered.

All the above must be strictly adhered to lest we will be perceived as being merely witch hunting or arbitrarily taking the law into our own hands.

Cheers!

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.

Cheers!

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)

Cheers!

Is it a fair deal for PBRS?

Tan Sri Joseph Kurup (courtesy of the NSTP)

Tan Sri Joseph Kurup (courtesy of the NSTP)

Folks, I am going to say it point blank. The new Malaysian Cabinet does not reflect very nicely on PBRS. Why is it so?

Although I should be thankful for the reappointment of the PBRS President, Tan Sri Joseph Kurup as a Deputy Minister by the new PM, Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak, I remain quite disappointed though, when he was moved from the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development which is considered to be as one of the most important Ministry in the country to the lowly regarded Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. At least, that is what the majority of Malaysians perceived it to be. A low ranking Ministry in the Federal Cabinet.

As such, I can’t help but consider this move as a demotion for the PBRS President. Am I alone having this perception? I don’t think so based on the various conversations I have had with some very influential politicans, businessmen and people on the streets.

And therefore, I can only deduce that PBRS had NOT indeed received a fair deal despite its well documented history of being part of the “catalyst” that led to the formation of a BN government in Sabah in 1994.

What’s your take on this, Folks?

Cheers!

Who is this guy in the blue shirt?

Guess who comes for lunch?

Guess who comes for lunch?

Folks! let me give you a hint. He is well-known for saying on TV “a meeting held under a tree will remain under a tree” So, guess who? Yes, he is none other than BN lead counsel, Datuk Hafarizam Harun who was instrumental in obtaining a court injunction to restrain Perak Speaker, V. Sivakumar from holding any unlawful meetings in Perak.

He happens to represent Tan Sri Kurup in his appeal at the Federal Court sitting at Kota Kinabalu on the 13th. March 2009.

Cheers!


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