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Monday, August 30, 2010

Sabah belongs to Sabahans


It will be a fatal mistake if opposition politicians from the peninsula ride roughshod over the sensitivities of the people of Sabah. It is well known that the land below the wind (now the land of illegals) has long been seething with anger at the federal masters. Rich in natural resources, bigger than the peninsula, they should be enjoying the fruits of their natural wealth and holding the future in their hands. Instead, fate was unkind to them and today they live under the yoke of “alien” rule. For a brief spell, they had power but because of the machination of a devious dominant peninsular party, they lost their high seat. Though their politically emasculated Huguan Siou (paramount leader) now sits at the same table with the hated “conquerors”, life there does not seem to change for the better.

In PKR the people have found another promising platform to advance their cause. The party is open to all races and in Sabah it has made quite an impact. Its standard-bearer is a fighter for justice and fair play though his future is nebulous. By forging a link with one of the favourite sons of Sabah, the way ahead looks clear and bright. The partnership seems solid and PKR appears to have hit off well with the crowd. But to their dismay, PKR is behaving more like its peninsular foe. It wanted to impose its own brand of leadership on its partners. In short, it wanted peninsular politicians to run the show in Sabah. It met with stiff opposition.

Though the error was rectified with Sabah's favourite son in control of his state, the ceasefire did not last long. It was bound to happen: some disgruntled members got together to form a breakway party and fight their own battle. They nearly got away with it if not for the peace deal reached with PKR. But dirty politics intervened. Imperiously, PKR came down hard on the rebels with the recommendation that they be suspended. It acted tough and rough. The damage was done and another blunder committed. PKR had acted in a manner that reminds its Sabah brothers of the treacherous peninsular politics.

Even if the recommended suspension is not acted upon, the undercurrent of distrust will persist. The dissidents have made their point and Sabahans, inside and outside the political arena, have taken note of the haughty yet fragile opposition party from the peninsula. If the rebels are shown the door in a display of extreme petulance, it would not sound the death knell for Sabahans. It would instead strengthen their resolve. If the PKR supremo in a magnanimous gesture brings them back to the fold, it would do nothing to calm the troubled waters. Whichever way the story is played out, the stark reality is that Sabahans, irrespective of their political leanings, simply do not want peninsular leaders talking down to them.

PKR must know that it cannot dictate terms to its Sabah partners. Dissidents, present and future, will rise up to challenge the party of justice. They are not acting alone. Behind them are the people, now living in misery, who are keen to support any “parti that cinta Sabah”. They are raring to toss outsiders, current and impending, into the sea. PKR must not misread the political undercurrents in Sabah, or worse still, underestimate the intelligence of the people. Political awareness there is intense. Hit a Sabahan politician and you take on an army behind him.

Sabah does not need to hold PKR hands to walk down the corridors of power when the current puppets are thrown out of office. The destiny of the state lies in its own hand. Peninsular style of politics is not its cup of tea. Sabah is not a wild cowboy country that must be tamed by the “western” gunslingers. There are sensible, intelligent, upright local-born leaders who can lead the state to fairer climes, calmer seas, clearer future. Let Sabah be Sabah.

courtesy of FMT

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