Friday, May 30, 2008

Call the Philippines' bluff on Sabah claim - NST

May 30, 2008 By JOHN TEO

Nur Misuari has broached the idea of referring the Sabah dispute to the International Court of Justice.

THE International Court of Justice's split decision in the case of Pedra Branca has established a clear precedent regarding sovereignty over disputed territories, in the two recent cases wherein Malaysia referred disputes to the court.

In an echo of the decision to award Sipadan and Ligitan off Sabah to Malaysia when sovereignty over the islands was disputed by Indonesia, the ICJ awarded Pedra Branca to Singapore over an indisputable premise: the island republic has maintained and operated a lighthouse there over many years. This despite clear documentary evidence that ownership of the island had originally belonged with Johor.

The case already has some regional ramifications. Nur Misuari, the disgraced former governor of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, the Philippines, recently reprieved from incarceration by President Gloria Arroyo, lost little time in pronouncing an intention to refer the question of Sabah to the ICJ.

Misuari is, of course, merely posturing in hopes of making a political comeback. Threatening a revival of the Sabah claim is every populist Filipino politician's way to rouse the masses, usually accompanied by attempts to whip up popular sentiment over alleged instances of mistreatment of the hundreds of thousands of Filipinos in Sabah.

Raising the Sabah bogey is also the weapon of choice for Philippine politicians whenever they have a particular axe to grind against Malaysia. And Misuari clearly has a personal grudge against us -- he had fled to our shores in hopes of escaping the long arm of Philippine law only to have the Malaysian government send him back home.

Whatever his personal agenda, Misuari broaching the idea of referring the Sabah dispute to the ICJ is obviously a non-starter, as any ICJ referral must first meet with the mutual consent of both disputant countries.

That said, the precedent set by the Sipadan and Ligitan and Pedra Branca cases should actually embolden Malaysia to heartily welcome any official Philippine proposal to refer the Sabah claim to the ICJ for final resolution once and for all.

While the Philippines may have a leg to stand on based on the proprietary rights of the heirs of the Sulu sultanate over Sabah, Malaysian sovereignty over Sabah is an altogether different matter entirely.

Sabah will have been 45 years independent within Malaysia this September, and is internationally recognised as a constituent state of the Malaysian federation. It was under British colonial rule before that and hardly any of us living today can recall a time when the Sulu sultanate exercised any political influence, much less control, over it. The ICJ will have an easy time deciding for Malaysia, if you ask me.

Political posturing out of the Philippines over Sabah is only a minor nuisance to us, and has not prevented both our countries from developing otherwise good neighbourly relations. We can easily live with the prevailing status quo because, if anything, the Sabah claim will only further weaken over time.

But if Arroyo is actually casting about for something appropriately statesman-like with which to end her presidency in two years' time, she might want to consider bringing closure to the wound afflicting our bilateral relations since her father initiated the Sabah claim when he was president, at the time of Malaysia's formation.

The avenue of impartial arbitration offered by the ICJ provides perfect political cover from any accusation of a national sell-out were the Philippines to initiate unilateral steps to drop the claim -- a fraught political process even if attempted.

Three of the five original member countries of Asean have now shown enough maturity to submit their territorial disputes to the ICJ.

The Sabah claim is, of course, in a league of its own, but if Malaysia and the Philippines can agree to also take this route to finally resolve it, Asean would really be leading the world in the peaceful resolution of such disputes between nations by adhering to the norms of established international law.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Call for ICJ arbitration dismissed - The Star

KOTA KINABALU: May 29, 2008

Sabah has dismissed Moro leader Nur Misuari's call for the Philippines to take its claim on Sabah to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as a non-issue.

Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman made the statement in reaction to the call. He declined further comment.

State leaders have repeatedly stated in the past that Sabah was an integral part of the Federation of Malaysia.

Nur Misuari, a former rebel leader and governor of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, was recently released on bail for charges of rebellion, and has returned to lead the Moro National Liberation Front.

In Davao in the Philippines on Sunday, he challenged Malaysia to show proof that Sabah belonged to the federation.

Nur Misuari was arrested in Sandakan on Nov 24, 2001 for alleged illegal entry when he was fleeing from Philippines forces and was later handed over to Manila in January 2002.

On the protracted migrant problem in Sabah, Musa said the authorities were finding it difficult to deport Filipinos because of the lack of cooperation of their embassy.

Truth sought on Project IC - The Star

KOTA KINABALU: May 29, 2008

In just six years from 2002, Sabah’s population grew a whopping 12% and a Parliamentary Select Committee on illegal immigrants is no substitute for a Royal Commission of Inquiry to address this issue, said Upko’s secretary-general Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau.

“Upko’s call for a Royal Commission is actually to address a very specific issue and that is to determine the truth behind Project IC which is the mother of all illegal immigrants-related problems in Sabah.

“A Royal Commission of Inquiry is no longer an option but a necessity if the Government is serious about putting things right,” he said yesterday.

The Prime Minister’s Department in a written reply to a question from Sepangar MP Datuk Eric Majimbun had disclosed that between 2002 and 2008, Sabah’s population had jumped by 12% or 333,500, from 2.73 million to to 3.06 million people.

“One cannot help but attribute the extraordinary increase in the population of Sabah to the existence of the so-called Project IC. There is no other credible explanation,” he said.

He also asked why no action had been taken on police reports concerning Project IC.

The former Tuaran MP also called on the Government to investigate claims by former ISA detainee Hassnar Ibrahim who, during the Likas election petition trial, testified that he was directly involved in a government-sanctioned project to award identity cards to foreigners in Sabah to tip the demographic balance in the state.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Yong: It's time for action - NST

KOTA KINABALU: May 27, 2008 By Julia Chan

The government should not be distracted by the debate over whether it was better to have a royal commission or select committee to deal with the illegal immigrant issue.

Sabah Progressive Party president Datuk Yong Teck Lee said action was needed urgently as ensuring the sovereignty of the country and security of the people was the government's duties.

"The government must not fail to defend the country's borders and protect citizens against huge numbers of illegals immigrants."

Yong said the government should show firm political will and bring in the military, as well as setting up a consulate in Davao, Zamboanga and invite the Philippines to set up a consulate in Sabah.

"Malaysia should use its leverage in international bodies like Asean and the OIC (Organisation of the Islamic Conference) to get the Philippines government to co-operate.

"Malaysia can also suspend the Zamboanga-Sandakan ferry, impose a bond on visitors, require ferry passengers to possess return tickets and step up enforcement at all levels."

Politicians have been debating over whether to have a parliamentary select committee or royal commission to deal with the illegal immigrant issue.

Yong is in favour of a royal commission.

He said a select committee was formed by the Sabah assembly in May 2001 with seven members, including himself, but after meeting twice in the same year and issuing an official document, there was no follow-up action.

"I doubt whether another select committee, even at parliamentary level, will make a difference.

"The formation of a royal commission, a favourite subject of the PBS before joining Barisan Nasional in 2003, is up to the federal cabinet, not Parliament. And as revealed by a PBS supreme council member, it was a PBS cabinet member who lobbied against the setting up of a royal commission.

"The only logical and remaining step is for ministers from Sabah to ask the cabinet to approve the formation of a royal commission similar to the commissions for the V.K. Lingam video clip, the police, the Anti-Corruption Agency and judicial appointments."

Parliament Deputy Speaker Ronald Kiandee had last week rejected a motion by DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang to amend the motion of thanks on the royal address to include a request for a royal commission to be set up to deal with the illegal immigrant problem.

Kimanis MP Datuk Anifah Aman backed the call and proposed a parliamentary select committee instead, citing that Sabah MPs would like to participate in the problem-solving process.

PBRS offers to help EC weed out phantom voters - The Star


The move to clean up the electoral roll is both urgent and necessary, Deputy Rural and Regional Development Minister Tan Sri Joseph Kurup said.

He said the Election Commission (EC) must carry out an extensive job to clean up the electoral roll in Sabah.

The problem is too massive, especially in Sabah« TAN SRI JOSEPH KURUP

“We can assist them. We can tell them who the phantom voters are,” he said when met in Parliament here yesterday.

He was commenting on EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman’s proposal for a fresh electoral roll to be drawn up to stop criticisms from various parties that it lacked integrity.

Kurup, who is Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) president, added that to be fair, the EC had been trying its best to clean up the roll over the years.

“But the problem is too massive, especially in Sabah,” he added.

He cited the example of the identity card of a dead person ending up in the possession of someone else, usually an illegal immigrant.

“In the March 8 general election, the problem still appeared but was not as rampant,” said Kurup.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad said “the whole thing is a non-issue”.

“I believe, if you have majority support, you will win the election. At the end of the day, it is about support from your voters,” he said.

Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said the move was timely considering it had been 50 years since the first general election was held.

“This is especially so as there have been many complaints of alleged discrepancies,” he added.

PKR vice-president Mohd Azmin Ali and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng agreed that there was a need for a new electoral roll and also urged Abdul Rashid to resign.

“The process to re-register must, however, also be clean and independent from the ruling government. The best is to conduct an automatic voter registration.”

Mohd Azmin said PKR had previously provided the EC with ample evidence of phantom voters.

“The EC chairman must take full responsibility for the problem of phantom voters. The chairman must be changed,” he added.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Pairin: Enough talk, time to act - NST

PENAMPANG: May 26, 2008

As the Barisan Nasional parties debate over how to deal with illegal immigrants in the state, Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan urged the government to take action.

The deputy chief minister yesterday said the large population of illegal immigrants had to and could be dealt with using existing means.

"The authorities are empowered to investigate, arrest and deport illegal immigrants according to the law and for now that is where the political will should be.

"This is where action and attention is needed and the request has been made by us long before any of these arguments surfaced," he said at the traditional food competition held in conjunction with the state's Pesta Kaamatan at the Hongkod Koisaan building.

He said the setting up of either a parliamentary committee, as proposed by Sabah BN backbenchers, or a commission, as proposed by the United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun and Murut Organisation (Upko), would take time.

"We have an existing force made up of various authorities such as the police and Immigration Department who can take action by going into the plantations, construction sites, squatter colonies and on the streets.

"The government should increase funds and manpower to these departments to effectively deal with the problem.

"It has been done successfully before," he said, referring to the 2002 integrated operation code named Ops Nyah II which targeted squatter colonies and their migrant residents.

Pairin said the state had detention camps to facilitate such operations.

"It's all about having strong political will.

"We cannot allow the problem of this large population of illegal immigrants to threaten our citizens and sovereignty. Action must be taken and now is the time."

Upko had said that the formation of a royal commission of inquiry on illegal immigrants would provide the platform for more effective action.

The Sabah BN Backbenchers Club, meanwhile, said it was in favour of a parliamentary select committee which included leaders from the state.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Lim: Committee not as powerful as Royal Commission - The Star

IPOH: May 25, 2008

The Parliamentary Select Committee on illegal immigrants in Sabah will not have as much powers as a Royal Commission of Inquiry.

In response to Kimanis MP Datuk Anifah Aman’s notion that Sabah MPs felt the committee was a better option, Ipoh Timor MP Lim Kit Siang said it would not be as a commission.

“The select committee will have no power to subpoena top government officials to turn up for questioning,” he told a press conference yesterday.

He said officials had refused to turn up and cooperate when the Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity tried to subpoena a top Immigration Department officer and a National Registration Department officer on the illegal immigrant issue in Sabah.

Lim said this was one of the reasons why Upko president Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, who was Minister in the Prime Minister Department at the time, resigned from the Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity.

“A Royal Commission is different because it has the power to subpoena and even take criminal action against those who refuse to turn up.”

Lim said the illegal immigrants in Sabah had been a problem for 30 years.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Deputy speaker: I rejected PKR's offer - Malaysiakini

Deputy speaker: I rejected PKR's offer
May 24, 08 5:59pm

Parliament deputy speaker Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar revealed today that he was once approached by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) to cross over to the party.

According to The Borneo Post, the Santubong parliamentarian said a few PKR members approached him in Kuching several days after the federal cabinet was announced in March.

However, the politician disappointed the opposition party by expressing his loyalty to Barisan Nasional.

“I also told them that I did not believe that other Barisan MPs would be willing to cross over to PKR to form the federal government with a simple majority.

“Why should 30 or so MPs cross over to the PKR just for the sake of forming a government with a slim majority?

“The BN has already formed a strong government though eight seats short of a two-third majority,” he was quoted as saying.

The Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) supreme council member said the coalition’s failure to secure a two-third majority in Parliament following the results of the March 8 general election should not be considered as a drawback.

According to him, the two-third majority was only useful when enacting and amending constitutional laws as other laws could still be passed even with simple majority.

More news at

Don’t dismiss the rumbles - The Star


Sabahan politicians are voicing their grouses, and a good piece of advice for Putrajaya would be to take what they are saying seriously.

THE voices of Sabahans are literally being heard in the Dewan Rakyat these days. Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia speaks in his heavily accented Sabah Bahasa Malaysia, which his fellow Members of Parliament are learning to follow.

Reporters on the parliamentary beat now have to check with each other what Pandikar is saying to ensure they get his quotes right.

But that’s not all. Sabahan MPs are now the centre of attention as speculation over the possible crossover of these politicians to Pakatan Rakyat (PR) fires the imagination of the nation.

They have cleverly voiced their unhappiness at the state of affairs back home in the Dewan Rakyat, issuing subtle threats of crossing over but remaining non-committal to any side. In short, they have said plenty but have not committed themselves to anyone.

Sabahan politicians are known for their political skills, having pulled the carpet from under the feet of the Barisan Nasional before.

I remember the PBS pulling out of the Barisan on the eve of a general election. Then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was at Angkasapuri for a concert when Datuk Joseph Pairin in Sabah announced that his party was pulling out from the coalition.

Ironically, the 70s catchy disco song, Hands On, by Ottawan was being sung as the power play took stage.

As the finale ended, Dr Mahathir adjourned for supper, and it was then that Information Minister Datuk Mohamed Rahmat whispered the bad news to him.

Dr Mahathir displayed no emotion and continued to eat. He finally decided to speak to the press close to midnight.

But he struck back hard at the rebellion, which he described as “a stab in the back”, and he used the full federal authority to punish the PBS.

Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili was arrested under the Internal Security Act on charges of endangering national security while Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, who headed a PBS think-tank then, was arrested for plotting to take Sabah out of the federation.

That was not all: Umno decided to expand to Sabah and by 1994, splinter parties from the PBS had been formed.

Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, the PBS deputy president, had set up the United Pasokmomugun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation with himself as president.

Datuk Yong Teck Lee, another PBS deputy president, formed the Sabah Progressive Party and the MCA also set foot in Sabah, splitting the Chinese clout deeper.

It took a long time before the PBS was allowed back to the Barisan.

Now, more than a decade later, PBS leaders, having learnt the painful lesson of being left out in the cold, prefer to be less vocal even as the country’s political temperature shoots up and the uncertainties continue.

But Yong and Dompok are speaking up again. Together with other Sabah leaders from Umno, they are grumbling that they have got a raw deal.

Citing issues from the allocation of seats and positions to the lack of development in Sabah, they are now demanding to be treated rightly and fairly.

We have delivered the votes and now, it’s your turn to deliver: that’s their call, if not an ultimatum, to the Prime Minister.

Last week, both Yong and Dompok warned Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi of the very real possibility of crossovers to PR, saying the Sabah MPs were frustrated.

It is reliably learnt that when Yong met Abdullah, he appealed to the latter three times to take it seriously in order to drive home the point.

Yong gave Abdullah until August, barely three months from now, because the Sabahan politicians are aware that if the defections cannot be executed, the issue would fizzle out.

PR also realises that it needs to show some results, at least a few defections, or its threat would not be taken seriously.

The media-savvy Sabah politicians understand the short attention span of Malaysians.

If it takes too long, then the likelihood of a strong crossover to reduce the numbers on the government bench, if not topple the Government, would diminish.

From the media focus on the Olympics to the fasting month in September, it would also have its impact on the timing of the defections.

A good piece of advice for Putrajaya would be to take what the Sabahans are saying seriously

Government must take immediate steps to develop Sabah - The Star


SABAH Barisan’s Members of Parliament are flexing their muscles to get a better deal for the state. They are demanding that the federal government immediately look into their grouses.

Basically, they want more development for the state, and that its MPs be given important portfolios in the federal Cabinet. Otherwise they might look for other options to fulfil their objectives.

They based their latest demand on the fact that Sabahans had been taken for granted for too long though the state Barisan had always delivered support to prop up the federal government.

They are becoming more vocal because it is their support that is keeping Barisan’s simple majority in Parliament. They would now like to be given due recognition for their unstinting support all these years.

Their timing is also excellent, with the emergence of the opposition Pakatan Rakyat. The Pakatan gained an astonishing 82 parliamentary seats and control of five state governments.

With Barisan reeling from this shocking election result, Sabah MPs believe it is now the right time to ask for their due, as their support is crucial to the survival of the Barisan government.

In the past few weeks, all the talk of crossovers to Pakatan had created uncertainties in Barisan ranks, and there were daily reports that Sabah’s MPs were the target.

But even if all the Sabah MPs were to defect, it would still not be sufficient to topple the Government of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

In this respect, it is encouraging that all Umno MPs threw their support behind Pak Lah at a meeting on Tuesday and, hopefully, this will put to rest all speculation on crossovers.

Sabah MPs from all component parties had managed to put across their unhappiness personally to Pak Lah, who had taken note of all of them.

However, even the state’s MPs realise that it would take some time to implement all that they asked for. In fact, such development had already been spelt out in the 9th Malaysia Plan, which is now in progress.

Even if all the money is available, a quickened pace of implementation could only be possible when all the elements, such as manpower and equipment, are in place.

It is also quite unrealistic to expect that all the basic amenities, such as electricity, water, roads, clinics and other facilities be installed immediately on par with those in urban areas.

So, just handing money over to the state government will not solve all the problems. The Peninsular Malaysia experience has shown that after 50 years of Merdeka, many rural areas are still lacking facilities.

The state government should be happy that its complaints have been acknowledged, and its federal ministers and deputy ministers should keep on monitoring the situation

PBS leaders at odds over Royal Commission on 'Project IC' - The Star

KOTA KINABALU: May 24, 2008 By Muguntan Vanar

The issue of Sabah’s illegal immigrants appears to have put Parti Bersatu Sabah leaders at odds with each other.

Outspoken PBS supreme council member Dr Chong Eng Leong wants the party to support the opposition motion for a Royal Commission of Inquiry on illegal immigrants associated with Project IC or more popularly dubbed Project Dr M.

Chong said that the proposal for a commission of inquiry by DAP’s Lim Kit Siang was not anti-Barisan or pro-Pakatan Rakyat but a matter of defending the sovereignty of Sabah within Malaysia.

He said that a Parliamentary Select Committee on Sabah illegal immigrants was not going to work, as a previous similar committee headed by Tan Sri Bernard Dompok failed to get relevant agencies to give replies to hard questions on the identity card issue.

He described his party’s deputy president Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili’s efforts in pushing for solutions to the illegal immigrant problem after becoming a federal minister in 2004 as a disappointment.

Chong said that Dr Maximus had blocked him from representing PBS to present memos on illegal immigrant papers to Suhakam and also the Parliamentary Select Committee on Unity between 2004 and 2006.

“Dr Maximus is only interested in self advancement,” he alleged and accused his deputy president of trying to stop Sabah MPs from voting for the Royal Commission of Inquiry motion that was disallowed by Deputy Speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee.

He said Dr Maximus had told him in late 2001 that once PBS returned to Barisan, the illegal immigrant problem would be solved but since becoming a minister he had been advising Parti Bersatu Sabah president Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan against PBS sending in memorandums to various groups as it was tantamount to stabbing Barisan in the back again.

He said that the issue was serious and with Sabah holding up the Federal Government’s majority in Parliament, it was important for the state and its political parties to pursue issues pertaining to Project IC.

“What is there to hide? We can reason out with the Prime Minister,” he added

Illegal Immigrant Issues in Sabah

May 24, 2008

Sabah MPs prefer select committee (The Star)

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Barisan Nasional MPs are likely to pursue the setting up of a Parliamentary Select Committee on illegal immigrants in Sabah.

Kimanis MP Datuk Anifah Aman said Sabah MPs felt that it was a better option than the move by DAP adviser and Ipoh Timur MP Lim Kit Siang to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry on the longstanding problem.

Anifah said Lim’s move for an amendment to the motion of thanks for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s address on Thursday in order to establish the commission was just to gain political mileage.

“We don’t need a Royal Commission of Inquiry, we prefer a Parliamentary Select Committee as all Barisan components can be involved,” he said, adding that he suggested for a committee during his debate on the Royal Address.

He said that Royal Commission would not include MPs and may not even have Sabah leaders on the commission.

Lim’s motion was rejected by Deputy Speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee stating that it was impolite and that the motion had no connection with the King’s address and should be tabled as a separate motion.

Yesterday, Lim applied for the House to review Kiandee’s decision on the motion to amend the motion of thanks, claiming that the decision was wrong and misconceived as it was contrary to parliamentary conventions and practices.

The move by Lim was widely seen as a test of the support of Sabah MPs who have been critical about Sabah’s illegal immigrant problem which they say is threatening the social fabric, security and sovereignty of the country.

Sabah MPs want direct involvement (NST)

KOTA KINABALU: A Parliamentary Select Committee is a much better way to go about finding a solution to the illegal immigrant problem in Sabah, rather than a royal commission of inquiry.

Sabah MP Backbenchers Club chairman Datuk Anifah Aman said the state MPs were not in favour of a royal commission of inquiry as it would exclude them from the problem-solving process.

"We here in Sabah don't agree with the idea.

"It's not that we are evading the issue, we just want to be directly involved with it and we are capable of doing it ourselves. There are a lot of channels to address the problem," said Anifah.

The Kimanis MP said as the illegal immigrant problem was a long-standing issue, most MPs have had to answer questions about it and were thus able to put forward the people's grievances and be part of the solution.

"Why should we have to sit back and listen to what an outsider decides about our problem and tell us what to do? We don't know who will be on the panel. Maybe only one or two people from here (Sabah).

"We, as the people's representatives, know the people's problems and we, from all the BN component parties, will be represented.

"We want to help and be part of solving the problem permanently for the good of our people."

Anifah said he would propose the Parliamentary Select Committee in June, where he will table a motion in Parliament.

Deputy Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat Datuk Ronald Kiandee had on Thursday rejected the motion by DAP adviser and Ipoh Timur MP Lim Kit Siang to amend the motion of thanks to the royal address by adding: "That a royal commission be established to tackle the issue of illegal immigrants in Sabah as it is feared that their number may be bigger than Sabah's population following statements made during the debate in the first term of the 12th parliament session".

Friday, May 23, 2008

ACA quizzes Kota Belud MP - The Sun

ACA quizzes Kota Belud MP

KUALA LUMPUR (May 22, 2008): by S.Tamarai Chelvi

The Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) has started an investigation into a disclosure in Parliament by Kota Belud MP Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan that he was offered enough money to last "two or three future generations" to defect to Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

Its Director of Investigation Datuk Mohd Shukri Abdul told theSun when contacted today that an ACA officer had lodged a report on the disclosure which was reported in the newspaper, adding that Abdul Rahman is also being investigated on why he failed to report the bribery attempt.

Shukri agreed with a statement by Transparency International-Malaysia (TI-M) president Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam that it was an offence not to report bribery attempts and that Abdul Rahman had also a moral responsibility to do so, as a people's elected representative.

Shukri said once the investigation is completed, the ACA will submit investigation papers to the Attorney-General (A-G) and it is up to the A-G to make decision on whether there was a case for prosecution.

TheSun had reported today that Abdul Rahman had yet to lodge a report with the ACA. He told the newspaper he would do so when PKR names 30 MPs it claims are jumping ship so that the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) can form the next government.

The MP had said in Parliament last week that he was promised a cabinet post as well as money to cross over to PKR, describing the sum as sufficient to "last two or three future generations".

The issue created waves in Parliament today, when Ipoh Timur MP Lim Kit Siang accused Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs of not being committed to fighting corruption, citing Abdul Rahman's case.

In reply, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Nazri Abdul Aziz refuted theSun report, saying the ACA has contacted Abdul Rahman on the matter.

“I was contacted by the ACA to ask what kind of action to be taken. I told him to see Kota Belud to get his information,” he told Lim.

Mahfuz Omar (PAS-Pokok Sena) then interjected, asking why the ACA was contacting him first and ask for his instruction before taking action, saying it was as if the agency does not know its own jurisdiction.

Nazri then clarified that the ACA did not seek his permission but was only informing him about the case as he is the minister in charge of Parliament.

Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor) then asked whether Abdul Rahman could confirm in Parliament that he made such statement (that he was offered the money), and if it was true, he could be arrested immediately under citizen's arrest.

Abdul Rahman was seen standing for some time, waiting for deputy speaker Datuk Wan Junaidi’s nod for him to speak and for Nazri to give way.

However, Nazri ignored Abdul Rahman, saying it was true that Abdul Rahman made that statement in the Dewan.

"Let me give the answer. No need (for Abdul Rahman to speak). He can only stand to seek explanation from me. I am still the Minister in the PM’s Department. If you (Karpal) Singh want to ask him, do it outside. He (Abdul Rahman) cannot stand up. He’s a new MP. He does not know. It’s okay. He cannot stand up," he said repeatedly to shouts by Karpal Singh asking him to give way to Abdul Rahman to explain himself.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dissatisfaction against leadership - The Star

KOTA KINABALU: May 20, 2008

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi must take note of the dissatisfaction against his leadership, Kimanis MP Datuk Anifah Aman said.

“There must be something deeply wrong. It is not one person’s (Dr Mahathir) dissatisfaction or Sabah's ... if you talk to MPs from Sarawak or even Peninsular Malaysia, you'll see that they are unhappy, but because of party line, they keep quiet.

“I think it is time for the leadership to differentiate between self-interest and the interest of the party and nation,” said Anifah, who made it clear that he intends to remain in the party.

Sabah Progressive Party president Datuk Yong Teck Lee said Dr Mahathir’s resignation was sending shockwaves because of his immense influence among Umno grassroots.

“I think the nation is in for exciting politics. I also believe Sabah MPs will now consider supporting Lim Kit Siang’s motion in Parliament today for a Royal Commission on the Sabah illegal immigrant problem,” he added.

Kalabakan MP Datuk Abdul Ghapur Salleh said that Dr Mahathir, as a veteran politician, had sent a message by quitting the party and it was another call for the leadership to listen to the voices within the party.

“They (leadership) have to listen and rectify. It is not necessary for Abdullah to resign but respond to the voices of the people,” said Ghapur, who added that he had no intention of quitting the party but wanted to see Sabah's needs attended to.

Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin said it was unbecoming of Dr Mahathir to abruptly quit from the party as it would trigger speculation among the people.

“My hope is that the Umno top leadership will make an effort to meet Dr Mahathir and thrash out the problems between them,” he said.

Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman, who is Sabah Umno chief, is expected to issue a statement today, according to his office while Upko president Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said he would wait for further developments before commenting

Monday, May 19, 2008

Lim to bring up Sabah’s problem - The Star

KOTA KINABALU: May 19, 2008

Sabah’s longstanding illegal immigrant problem may be discussed at length in Parliament this week if a motion concerning the issue is allowed.

DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang said yesterday he would table a motion to amend the motion of thanks on the royal address on tomorrow’s sitting.

The amendment, he said, called for the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry to resolve the long-standing problem of illegal immigrants in Sabah, to the extent that there was legitimate fear that Sabahans were being outnumbered by foreigners in their own state.

Lim, the Ipoh Timur MP, said he had given notice to Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia on the motion on Friday.

He said the establishment of the Royal Commission of Inquiry would become a reality if Barisan MPs lent their support to the motion.

“It can be considered somewhat a test for the Barisan MPs who have voiced their concerns in and out of Parliament over the Government’s complete indifference to the problem.

“Malaysians will be watching to see what the Sabah and other MPs will do,” he said Sunday after launching the Sabah DAP Kaamatan (harvest festival).

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Dompok: Crossovers a real threat - The Star


Another president of a Sabah Barisan Nasional component party has sounded the alarm bell that the possibility of crossovers is very real.

United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) president Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said the frustrations of Sabahans and their representatives in getting the Federal Government to solve their long list of problems are “extremely real” and talk about MPs crossing over to join the Opposition is symptomatic of this frustration.

He said the longstanding issues affecting Sabahans could no longer be “swept under the carpet” and MPs were under a lot of pressure to resolve the people’s problems.

Any decision for Upko to leave the Barisan fold will be made by the party and not by him, Dompok stressed to the press Friday.

He said that while Upko’s three other MPs had not raised the subject of leaving the party “at the moment,” he admitted: “Their frustrations are real. I think no one can deny it”.

When asked if any of the Upko MPs, including himself, had been approached by the Opposition leaders, Dompok replied: “Not yet as far as I know.

“But if these people (from the Pakatan Rakyat) want to talk to me in Parliament, there is no reason why I should not talk to them. We are all MPs anyway.”

He said there were still many issues, among them immigrants and basic infrastructure, waiting to be resolved in Sabah.

“The people of Sabah have been taken for granted because we are a laidback, easy-going people. The state is thousands of miles away from the nation’s capital. As they say, out of sight, out of mind,” he said.

Dompok said constituents in Sabah have always been vocal but failed to grab the media’s attention until “recent changes in the political environment”.

To a question, he said that the majority of the grassroots wanted action and they would not mind if their MPs crossed over to the Opposition, as long as their problems were ironed out and their demands were met.

“There are people who condemn crossovers, saying that it is immoral and such. But who are they and why are they taking the moral high ground, when in their previous lives, they too, have done it.

“But if you ask me, I don’t think the Opposition will make the numbers,” he said.

Asked if Barisan should be worried that crossovers would eventually become a reality, Dompok said that the Government must be confident of doing the right thing.

“If you are confident, no one is going to desert you,” he said.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

'YB lain usah sibuk jawab bagi pihak Pak Lah' - NST

'YB lain usah sibuk jawab bagi pihak Pak Lah'

May 15, 2008

AHLI Parlimen Kalabakan, Datuk Seri Abdul Ghapur Salleh memberi amaran kepada wakil rakyat yang lain supaya tidak mempersoalkan keikhlasan Ahli Parlimen dari Sabah terhadap Barisan Nasional (BN) dan berhenti bertindak bagi pihak kerajaan dalam menjawab sebarang isu mengenai Sabah.

Sambil membidas Datuk Mohamed Abdul Aziz (BN-Sri Gading) mengenai kenyataan beliau mengenai Ahli Parlimen Sabah ketika membahaskan usul terima kasih terhadap titah diraja semalam, Abdul Ghapur berkata, sepatutnya dalam BN, Ahli Parlimen tidak patut mencabar satu sama lain.

"Sri Gading masih berpemikiran penjajah, tidak terbuka. Apa yang saya titik beratkan ialah kita mahu BN diperbaiki, saya bercakap mengenai Sabah, pembangunannya, mengenai masalah pendatang tanpa izin...kenapa orang lain mahu mencabar kami," katanya ketika ditemui di lobi Parlimen di sini, semalam.

Kelmarin, Mohamed menasihatkan wakil BN Sabah supaya tidak mempertikaikan pelantikan menteri oleh pucuk pimpinan dan jangan bongkak dengan kemenangan mereka pada pilihan raya umum lalu.

Abdul Ghapur berkata, setiap pandangan yang dibangkitkan Ahli Parlimen Sabah di Parlimen ialah untuk menyuarakan kebimbangan rakyat, terutama isu pembangunan dan pendatang tanpa izin.

"Jangan salahkan kami (membangkitkan itu) sebab kalau salahkan kami, penduduk Sabah mendesak kami berhenti daripada parti," katanya.

Abdul Ghapur berkata, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi patut diberi masa menangani masalah di Sabah.

"Tak apa... Pak Lah mungkin sedang memikirkannya, tetapi jangan tanya Sri Gading (Mohamed) untuk menjawabnya pada kami," katanya.

Sementara itu, Menteri Perpaduan, Kebudayaan, Kesenian dan Warisan, Datuk Shafie Apdal menolak tanggapan Ahli Parlimen dari Sabah yang membidas kerajaan Pusat pada sidang Dewan Rakyat sebagai antiperpaduan dan anti-Semenanjung.

Katanya, mereka (Ahli Parlimen Sabah) hanya inginkan pendapat atau pandangan mereka diberi perhatian serta mendapat tindakan sewajarnya dari Kerajaan Pusat.

"Ahli Parlimen dari Sabah bukan hendak bergaduh, cuma membangkitkan masalah yang timbul. Ini tidak boleh dijadikan tanggapan mengatakan Ahli Parlimen Sabah tidak suka perpaduan dan anti-Semenanjung.

"Ia bukan jalan memecah belahkan perpaduan. Apa yang mereka minta ialah lebih banyak pembangunan di Sabah," katanya.

Mengenai keluhan pembahagian portfolio menteri yang kurang penting kepada Sabah, Shafie berkata: "Kita sudah biasa dalam keadaan ini. Apa yang diberi, kita terima."

'Opposition offered us millions to switch camps' - NST

KUALA LUMPUR: May 15, 2008

Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin was approached by PKR leaders.

Millions of ringgit have allegedly been offered to tempt Barisan Nasional MPs from Sabah to join the opposition.

Sabah backbenchers yesterday said they were approached with incentives of cash and positions to jump ship, as rumours swirled in Dewan Rakyat of impending defections to the Pakatan Rakyat camp.

The rumoured amounts ranged from RM5 million to RM30 million for each MP - more if he brings others with him.

Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin said he was approached by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) leaders after the general election and enticed to abandon BN.

Talk of crossovers intensified after the formation of the cabinet in March, and has been kept at fever pitch by the PKR leadership ever since.

"There was a discussion but it did not go to the extent of money being offered," Bung Mokhtar said.

"Maybe because I did not show much interest from the outset that they did not go to the next stage of offering me money," said the Kinabatanagan Umno division chief.

Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahalan (BN-Silam) was lured not just with money but the prospect of "making history in creating a new Malaysia".

"They made it sound like it was some sort of national duty," he said.

He voiced his displeasure in the House while debating the Royal Address on Tuesday evening.

"I will say that a certain amount of money was offered," he said.

Pressed further on the amount, he said: "If I take it, I will be wealthy for two or three generations."

Abdul Rahman said a cabinet post was also thrown in as part of the deal for him to leave BN. He denied he would switch sides, saying to do so would go against his stand against corruption.

Abdul Rahman said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was looking into the needs of the grassroots in Sabah and Sarawak.

"You have to give time for all this to be looked into and implemented," he said.

Kalabakan MP Datuk Seri Abdul Ghapur Salleh who, along with Kinamis MP Datuk Anifah Aman, had been at the centre of defection rumours due to his vocal discontent in the Dewan, said he did not see what the big deal was about BN MPs jumping ship.

"They can jump if they are not satisfied but I won't jump. If I am not happy, I will leave BN and form my own party because the party that we jump to may question us again.

"We have to voice out what is necessary. Yes, I did mention that Sabah and Sarawak contributed 54 seats and if it was not because of us, BN would have lost but no one should question our credibility or sincerity because of this.

"If we keep quiet, the people of Sabah will start pressuring us to quit the party," he said.

Ghapur refused to comment on rumours that he had been offered RM30 million.

Anifah was equally evasive about the opposition's offers.

"The offers are not important. What is important are the interests of the Sabah people," he said.

The former deputy minister was upset that his call for the federal government to pay more attention to Sabah was taken out of context.

"If we can't raise our issues and grouses in Parliament, then where else can we go?"

Both Ghapur and Anifah had declined deputy minister's posts two months ago.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat vice-president Azmin Ali (PKR-Gombak) said the party's doors were open to all MPs but denied monetary rewards were involved.

Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, however, attributed the rumours and allegations of defections to Anwar.

"I was told that they were going to form a new government today but here I am still doing my duties as the education minister.

"We are moving forward by reinventing BN and Umno while they have been moving the dates on which they would be forming a new government."

He said the people were tired of Anwar's boasting of being the prime minister-in-waiting.

"I do not deny that things are not perfect in Sabah and Sarawak but we spent billions to bring development to both states and we are trying hard to address the issues," he said.

Those who bait others are 'political prostitutes' - NST

KUALA LUMPUR: May 15, 2008

Sabah Umno deputy chief Datuk Mohd Shafie Apdal has come out strongly to condemn political crossovers as immoral.

"Crossing over is not impossible. But what (Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim is doing is immoral.

"It's the basic fundamental of democracy - the people's right to chose - that he's trying to wipe out. People have given their mandate.

"We don't buy over their people. We can afford to, but we don't," Shafie said.

Shafie's condemnation was echoed by Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek who slammed politicians who tried to persuade members of opposing parties to switch sides, labelling them as "political prostitutes".

"It is the peak of immorality and is similar to prostitution. Leaders who try to plead for crossovers are political prostitutes," he said after visiting New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad at Balai Berita yesterday.

Shabery said only those who were addicted to prostitution would use such methods to achieve political satisfaction.

He said he had heard the views of party members, including those from Sabah.

"Nobody said they wanted to jump parties."

He said Sabah MPs had issues they wanted to bring up in Parliament.

"Although their views have a certain sting, they were well received by other members and the government will pay attention," he said.

"Just because they have a strong stand on certain issues, it does not mean they are going to leave the party," said Shabery.

He agreed. "They (Sabah MPs) are raising concerns of the people on the ground.

"You can't conclude that they want to cross over just because they raise them.

"But I won't say that they won't (cross over). But my advice is they should not do that.

"How can we be sure that it will be a better world if we jump over? Is there any guarantee we'll be treated better just by promising us 20 per cent oil royalty?"

When asked about promises made by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) to provide water and electricity supplies besides increasing development in Sabah, Shafie said: "When Anwar held the position of deputy prime minister and finance minister, he gave the same promises but failed to deliver or improve the situation in Balung or my constituency."

Shafie said BN members had pride and were not "cheap politicians".

"Our leaders are not swayed by money or status."

On rumours of offers of up to RM30 million being offered for BN reps to cross over, Shafie said: "That is immoral on the part of the person offering it and on the part of whoever has the intention of accepting it.

"It means they are looking at RM30 million and not the people's needs. That is not worthy of a person who was elected.

"If an MP no longer believes in the party he or she stood for, then switch parties in the next election but don't hop because someone is paying you to.

"Not being responsible in this case amounts to treachery."

On whether he could vouch for the loyalty of Umno MPs in Sabah, Shafie said: "So far, I believe in them, unless they're lying.

On the strong statements by Sabah MPs about crossovers, including that there was "no harm" in doing so, Shafie maintained that they were only raising concerns of the people on the ground.

Asked to comment on Kimanis MP Datuk Anifah Aman's comments that there was no harm in crossing over, and Datuk Seri Ghapur Salleh's warning of the tsunami hitting Sabah next, he said: "It's not a question of betrayal but a question of the trust the people have given you.

"When I stood as a BN candidate, I convinced voters that BN is the right platform to fight for development, and the people voted for it.

"Voters believed that BN can deliver, but when what is promised is not delivered... It's just a reflection of sentiments on the ground."

On Sabah Progressive Party president Datuk Yong Teck Lee's statement that something must be done before September or BN faced the risk of crossovers, he said this reflected the views from the ground.

"Come to Sabah and listen to the ordinary folk. They're asking for more development."

Questioned why the talk revolved around crossovers if the complaints were about development, Shafie said: "Because Anwar is the one raising it, the one trying to woo BN MPs over."

Sabah for Sabahans - The Star


The disenfranchisement and the resentment in Sabah towards federal politics and policies are very real, realities created by the BN administration. The dynamics that are being witnessed today is just a situation ripe to play mind games with.

SABAH for Sabahans” gained its zenith of popularity during the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) rule in the state.

To a puritan federalist it is almost treasonable. But to many proud Sabahans who remember the 1980’s struggles, it was a term that gave rise to a generation of Sabahans whose political consciousness was awoken by a sense of identity that was multi-racial, open and most of all, confident. We stood tall because we had dared challenge the federal regime of the day.

With all the talk of Sabah MPs crossing over to Pakatan Rakyat, and if anyone believes this to be another wave of Sabah defiance, they are dead wrong.

Sabahans still stand in awe when we see the shape of Mount Kinabalu sitting in the blue hues of our state flag. And in reality, the mountain is an awesome sight by itself. “Sabah Maju Jaya” is still sung with great pride by every Sabahan with no exception to any race.

We should be so insulted to be painted as a bunch of shenanigans with no virtue, moral standing or principles.

The disenfranchisement and the resentment towards federal politics and policies thus far, are very real. But these are realities created by the BN rule. The dynamics that we witness today is just a situation ripe to play mind games with.

Sabahans have to live every day of their lives alongside reportedly, two million illegal immigrants compared to one million locals. Their children litter the streets in the cities begging for scraps and odd jobs, unable to attend school, as they have no official papers.

By the day, Kota Kinabalu is looking more like Manila than Malaysia. By any moral standard, how can we allow poverty and human suffering to come to this level – whether or not we choose to recognise them as full citizens is another matter.

Sabah ranked from being the richest state in 1970’s to being the poorest state. Using UNDP’s numbers, Sabah has a poverty rate of 23.0% compared to Wilayah Persekutuan-KL of 1.5%!

In the district of Nabawan, the poverty rate is as high as 70.8%, as 21,568 households live in hardcore poverty. The dropout rate is 50%, twice the national figure and most schools located in the rural areas are equipped with very poor facilities.

Children are so poor that they do not even have soap to clean themselves with. Children attend classes naked because parents sell their free uniforms to feed their families.

In the Ninth Malaysia Plan, the total allocation for Sabah makes up 7.69% compared with 15.06% for the Federal Territories.

These are just hard numbers.

Sabah won 24 out of 25 seats contested. However, it’s still only 25 seats out of the 140 seats garnered by the BN. The lack of representation at ministerial level in truth is limited when both the states combined only represent 1.7 million out of the 10.9 million registered voters.

While Sabah and Sarawak may have held a crucial deciding factor to retain BN’s simple majority in this elections, many of the seats were won due to lack of cohesion among the Opposition parties. The extent of gerrymandering also contributed to no small amount to BN’s wins in the state.

Is this why Sabah representatives often complain that they are not treated with respect in all the political platforms from the Cabinet to grassroots, including those within their parties?

Today, both sides of the political fence paint Anwar Ibrahim in the same breath as how we saw Pairin Kitingan or PBS in the 80’s.

To begin with, Anwar Ibrahim is no Sabahan. In the 90’s, he was Finance Minister and PM-in-waiting “hero-rised” as a leader with international stature but in small-town Sabah, the people saw him as no more than an errand boy for Tun Dr Mahathir.

That said, has there been a credible Sabah leader that has been able to articulate our pain and concerns?

Is it really about more representation in the Cabinet and more royalties? Younger generations of Sabahans, unlike previous decades, are less likely to be anti-Federal.

Many of them have studied in Peninsular Malaysia in both private and public colleges and universities. They know what is like to live in a greater Malaysia beyond their Sabah shores.

Most also know that the 20-point agreement (signed when Sabah joined Malaysia) cannot be practically implemented if we are to finally come to terms with being part of Malaysia.

But what does it mean to be a Sabahan when two-thirds of the population are illegals? If the BN government does not want the situation to be hijacked by the Opposition, this is the first thing it must address – bring back what matters most to Sabah, our land.

The illegal migrant situation has become so bad that we already have a second, if not third generation of Filipinos and Indonesians born in Sabah.

In the name of humanity, I am not sure if we can even morally deport them without causing social mayhem and a localised economic collapse. But we need a definite closure because we need to move on.

“Sabah for Sabahans” conjures a lot of idealism as well as realities for many Sabahans even today but it does not mean we are less proud of who we are and what we still stand for. RESPECT and DIGNITY.

Whoever captures that, gets to rule.

Fui K. Soong is CEO of Institute of Strategic Analysis and Policy Research (INSAP), a think tank of MCA, an organisation dedicated to research on the removal of barriers and bias in policies that impede Malaysian unity, racial harmony and economic prosperity. You can e-mail her at

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Anifah: Once the defections start, there's no stopping - The Sun

KUALA LUMPUR (May 14, 2008): By Liew-Ann Phang

If and when East Malaysian Barisan Nasional (BN) parliamentarians defect, the ruling coalition cannot do anything anymore (to stop the defections), said Datuk Anifah Aman (BN-Kimanis).

Anifah, one of the many Sabahan and Sarawakian MPs who voiced their concern and dissatisfaction over BN’s lack of attention to issues in the two states in debates on the motion of thanks on the royal address, did not discount himself from doing the same.

"I will do it (defect) if it is in the best interest of the people," he told reporters in Parliament lobby today.

However, Anifah defended that the Sabah leaders were actually trying to stop the people from defecting.

When asked about the up till August time frame given by Datuk Yong Teck Lee (Sabah Progressive Party President and Gaya MP), Anifah said people were getting impatient and were drawn to the 20% oil royalty offer by Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

"It makes a lot of difference for Sabah. Whether it becomes a reality, is debatable. What we are saying is 'look into our grievances', the problem of illegal immigrants.

"If you can set up the Judicial Appointment Commission and the Malaysian Commission against Corruption, why can’t you set up a commission to look into this matter," he lamented.

Parti Bersatu Sabah president Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan likened the situation to the government being the doctor who is not treating the aches and pains of the people, the patient.

"It is just like when we are sick, the doctor doesn’t treat you to get rid of that pain in the body, you will continue to feel sick and unhappy and miserable. The aches and pains have been expressed in the Dewan and the patient has been talking and telling the doctor they need treatment," he said, adding that Sabah MPs were merely protecting the country and its sovereignty.

"This means illegal immigrants must be sent away. We have laws which must be enforced. Who are you choosing, your citizens or the illegal immigrants? Of course your citizens must be protected," said Pairin.

On the oil royalty, Kitingan said it needed to be considered "as I see it as a lopsided agreement".

"It is also being fully exploited by the Opposition and the agreement has to be studied. You can’t just dismiss it as not being lopsided but there must be a discussion with all the MPs and leaders to look at the facts and figures so that the people are satisfied," he added.

Datuk Seri Panglima Abdul Ghapur Salleh (BN-Kalabakan) denies any knowledge of MPs "jumping ship" and says he isn’t one, for now.

However, he quipped: "If I am not satisfied, I will form my own party. Why should I jump? I don’t want to jump because the other party will also tie my legs, like BN". "All I am saying to the leadership is we don’t want to be second class citizens."

Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan (BN-Kota Belud) said the election gave the people a chance to change the political model of country and he is all for a two-party system in the country.

On Yong’s ultimatum that his party may leave BN in August if the state issues are not resolved, Abdul Rahman said he believed Yong said it in good faith as he was only presenting the views of the people in Sabah and Sarawak.

Koh: BN must address issues, grievances of Sabahans - The Sun

GEORGE TOWN (May 14, 2008): By Bernard Cheah

The Federal Government should take concrete steps to address the issues and grievances of the Sabahans as expressed by their Barisan Nasional (BN) component party leaders, said Gerakan acting president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon.

"Some of these issues, such as illegal migrants from the Philippines and Indonesia, have been long-standing issues, affecting the livelihood, social fabric and security of the Sabahans," he said in a press statement today.

"This undesirable situation had led to much discontent amongst Sabahans who have also raised questions about how some illegal migrants managed to get permanent resident and even citizen status."

Koh said it is necessary to set up a Royal Commission of Enquiry to prevent more illegal migrants from entering Sabah, as requested by some BN component parties.

He also added that there should be more basic infrastructure projects in Sabah, especially to improve road transportation and utilities, such as water and electricity supply, in order to provide better quality of life.

"From my recent conversations with Sabah BN leaders, it is clear that they are very much concerned about seeking policies and programmes to provide acceptable solutions to such issues affecting the Sabah people, and not so much about seeking high positions for themselves," Koh said.

Although Sabah is blessed with many natural resources, such as petroleum, gas and rich bio-diversity of tropical forest, Sabah still has the highest rate of poverty at over 20%.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sabah, S'wak reject 'tai ko Umno' - Malaysiakini

Sabah, S'wak reject 'tai ko Umno'

By Tony Thien | May 13, 08 1:29pm

If Umno wants to save Barisan Nasional, it has to stop its MCPXtai ko (big brother) stance, especially with component parties in Sabah and Sarawak, said an academic based in Kuching.

The two states, especially Sabah, have been trying to get federal attention to problems associated with illegal immigrants, who are deemed to pose a serious threat to security, welfare and livelihood of the local people.

The academic, who declined to be named, said increasingly critical parliamentarians from Sabah have raised valid demands, but “federal leaders appear not to be interested”. He warned that
political allegiance could shift any time if this continues.

Kalabakan MP Abdul Ghapur Salleh (left), a former Sabah deputy chief minister, said yesterday that state leaders would have no qualms about switching parties - although not immediately to Pakatan Rakyat - or forming a new party in the interim.

Abdul Ghafur had questioned why certain states - including Perak which the BN lost to Pakatan - have more representatives in the federal cabinet.

In a latest development, Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) leader Yong Teck Lee, a former chief minister, said today that none of its two MPs would defect for now.

However, he did not discount the possibility of crossovers after August.

Sarawak leaders less vocal

Although Sarawak leaders have been less vocal, they appear to be no less unhappy with Kuala Lumpur. Despite contributing 30 parliamentary seats to the federal BN's tally in the general election, they feel that they have not been given a fair share of cabinet representation.

“This is clearly a ‘big brother’ attitude, taking the best for themselves and leaving the crumbs to others,” noted a political observer.

Another analyst pointed to the way the Election Commission has listed the political parties in the table of election results. In spite of severe losses, the MCA and MIC are placed second and third after Umno.

The analyst said that the right order should be: Umno (79 seats), MCA (15), PBB (14), SUPP (6), PRS (6), SPDP (4), UPKO (4), MIC(3), PBS(3), SAPP (2), Gerakan (2), LDP (1) and PBRS (1).

The BN won 140 seats, while opposition parties improved their performance with an unprecedented 82 seats.

SAPP gives Barisan an ultimatum - The Star

SAPP gives Barisan an ultimatum


SAPP President Datuk Yong Teck Lee has given Barisan Nasional until August to resolve the issues in Sabah.

After August, there will be no guarantee that SAPP members will remain in Barisan, he said.

He however said the 16 Sabah MPs, who were speculated to cross over to Pakatan Rakyat on Wednesday, were not from SAPP.

He added that this did not mean Barisan leaders should rule out the possibility that his members could leave the coalition in the near future.

He said now is the time for Sabah to demand requests from the Federal Government.

"This is the best time for Sabah but it is also the most important time for Barisan to do something for Sabah because if we do not do something, Sabah will be returned to its subservient role after August as September is the fasting month, October is the Hari Raya festivities and December is when the Umno general election will be held.

"If nothing happens, an explosion will happen in January, where the Opposition will come into play," he told reporters Tuesday in the Parliament lobby here.

Asked if he was approached by Pakatan Rakyat or the party’s de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, he said it was not necessary to be approached as Anwar had already announced an attractive offer during the election campaign.

"Anwar is clearly a factor, the announcement of Sabah getting 20% of oil royalties means we will get RM2bil a year," he said.

Yong also said the real issue in Sabah was not whether the Barisan MPs would cross over but the actual problems that Sabah had been facing.

"A crossover only concerns the central Government because it is worried about its own stability," he said.

He also said if nothing happens until next January, Barisan leaders would "come after those Sabah MPs who are speaking up now."

Earlier, Yong met with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and requested that he resolve the issues in Sabah.

He said Abdullah was concerned and said that the Government would look into the issues.

Yong also said the issues such as illegal immigrants and cooking oil subsidies were not new but Barisan had not been doing anything to help them.

Citing the example of the Cooking Oil Subsidy Scheme, he said it was not fair for the Government to force Sabah palm oil planters to bear the subsidies since June 2007, when cooking oil is consumed by the whole country.

"Sabah planters made up two-thirds of the numbers in the country so basically they are paying two-thirds of the subsidies.

"We have raised this issue but the Government kept saying they will look into it and they have been looking into the issue for 11 months already," he said.

PKR came a-courting, say Sabah MPs - The Star

PKR came a-courting, say Sabah MPs

May 13, 2008

SEVERAL Sabah MPs have been approached – directly or indirectly – to cross over, Batu Sapi MP Datuk Edmund Chong said.

Admitting that he had been approached by PKR, the second-term MP said democracy allowed the “freedom of affiliation”.

“It is a pressure cooker. We are listening to feedback from the ground and we are in the middle of the people and the Federal (Government).

“We are all adults and it is nothing wrong for other people to come and talk to you,” he said, adding that he knew of a few other Sabah MPs who had also been approached by the Opposition.

Asked if he was considering the offer, he said he had not seen PKR’s manifesto but said he was interested in knowing the Opposition's position regarding Sabah folk.

“I stood against an independent candidate and not PKR so I have not seen their manifesto. I am more concerned about what they can offer the people of Sabah,” he said.

Former deputy minister Datuk Anifah Aman declined to say if he had been approached.

“I am still very much an Umno man. I have not talked to anybody and I have my own mind,” said the Kimanis MP.

Backbencher’s Club deputy chairman and Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Moktar Radin said he was approached some time ago.

But he said he had not given it a second thought.

“What for? Barisan is still strong. Crossing over will erode the people's trust in the MP,” he said.

Sepanggar MP Datuk Eric E. Majimbun said many Barisan MPs from Sabah and Sarawak were frustrated that the coalition leaders did not trust their loyalty to Barisan Nasional.

“We used to be the back-up parties that supported Barisan but now we are the ones who helped them form the government with a simple majority.

“And now, they are trying to show their appreciation by investigating us just because there is talk about MPs crossing over. Is this the way to thank us?” he asked.

Datuk Dr Marcos Mojigoh (BN - Putatan) said there was no such thing as crossing over.

“Basically, we behave like the Opposition at times. The intention of the Government to help the people is sincere but the implementation is the problem.

“We are questioning the delivery system. It is also a reminder to Barisan not to be too arrogant. You have to be fair to all,” he said.

Sabah MPs: Don't brush us aside - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: May 13, 2008

Sabah Barisan Nasional politicians became the focus of attention yesterday as they continued to claim that the Federal Government is not giving enough attention to the state.

Their statements come in light of speculation that some of their numbers are being courted by Pakatan Rakyat.

> Umno’s Kalabakan MP Datuk Seri Abdul Ghapur Salleh called on the Prime Minister to reshuffle the Cabinet by the end of the year to include Sabah MPs in key ministerial posts. He said there would be serious implications in the next general election if nothing was done.

> PBS’ Batu Sapi MP Datuk Edmund Chong admitted that he and several others had been approached by PKR and that he felt as if he was in a pressure cooker.

> Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman said the MPs were not being disloyal to Barisan Nasional but were just raising the sentiments of the people.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Dewan Rakyat: MP calls for Cabinet reshuffle - The Star


Kalabakan MP Datuk Seri Abdul Gapur Salleh has called on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to reshuffle the Cabinet to give Sabahan MPs key ministerial posts by the end of the year.

He also asked for an increase of oil royalty from 5% to 20% so that the RM500mil allocation would be increased to RM2bil and a lot of problems could be solved with that fund, he said.

"We can solve the problems ourselves with that big chunk of money,'' he said while debating at the Dewan Rakyat on Monday.

At the Parliament lobby, when asked whether he would leave Barisan Nasional to join another party, Ghapur said no. “If we can solve the problem from within, why should we look outside?" he said.

He also denied meeting with Parti Keadilan Rakyat de factor leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Ghapur, who resigned from the Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister post few days after the Cabinet line-up was announced, said it was an insult to Sabahan MPs to be given a total of three ministerial posts while it was Sabah and Sarawak MPs who helped Barisan secure simple majority to win in the recent polls.

"They are tasked to look after museum (referring to Datuk Shafie Apdal and technology (referring to Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili) and one in the Prime Minister's Department (Tan Sri Bernard Dompok).

"These are not important Cabinet posts.

"I dared not take up the post of the deputy minister. People in Sabah are not happy with the allocation,'' he said, adding that Barisan should be fair in allocating the number of ministers from each state.

"One state has seven ministers (referring to Johor), another state lost its state government and yet has four ministers (referring to Selangor).''

Throughout the speech, Ghapur highlighted the discrimination between the peninsula and Sabah right from the allocation to infrastructure, education to tourism and others.

"Where is keadilan (justice) here,'' he asked, to which many Keadilan MPs waved at him and said "we are here."

When Ghapur finished his speech, it was lunch break and he was surrounded by Opposition MPs who wanted to shake his hand.

Over 30 Barisan MPs have decided to cross over, says PKR Sabah chief - The Star

KOTA KINABALU: May 12, 2008

Parti Keadilan Rakyat is in “real” discussions with Barisan Nasional Members of Parliament (MPs) to cross over to Pakatan Rakyat.

“The discussions are on. They are very real. Over 30 Barisan MPs have decided to join the opposition coalition. The opposition only need 30 more MPs from Barisan to form the federal government. It is only a matter of time,” said PKR Sabah liasion chief Ansari Abdullah.

He dismissed Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s claim that PKR was only playing politics with their statements about Barisan MPs ready to cross over to the Pakatan Rakyat.

“At this very moment, there are Barisan MPs in discussion with our leaders in Kuala Lumpur and some have also talked to me,” Ansari told reporters here yesterday.

He said that Najib’s claims that PKR statements was just a political gimmick was his own reading, unlike former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah who had a better understanding of the political situation in the country.

On the issue of DAP chairman Karpal Singh questioning the powers of the Perak Sultan, Ansari said it was impolite to raise the matter.

However, he asked why no action was taken against Umno leaders who questioned the Perlis and Terengganu rulers during the confusion before the appointments of their respective Mentris Besar.

“If they want to take action, they should also act against those Umno leaders who publicly voiced their unhappiness over the Rulers’ decisions,” he said, adding that Karpal, who should not have voiced it publicly, was only discussing the powers on points of law.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Sabah Govt seeking federal committee to study requests made to PM - NST

KOTA KINABALU, Fri: May 9, 2008 By Joniston Bangkuai

The Sabah Government wants a federal-level committee to be set up to study the requests made to the prime minister by Sabah Barisan Nasional component parties.

Deputy chief minister Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan said such a committee is crucial to ensure all requests are given due attention and consideration.

Leaders of state BN component parties had made certain requests during separate meetings with Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi early last month.
Pairin said Sabah is not making demands, but merely a request based on the aspirations of the people and the needs of the state.

He said one could refer to the recent speech in parliament by Kimanis MP Datuk Anifah Aman who spoke about the feelings and aspirations of the people of Sabah.

"We know the federal leadership are wise enough to consider the content of the request," said Pairin, the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president.

On the opposition's claim that some MPs in Sabah would be joining Pakatan Rakyat soon, Pairin said it is not surprising.

He recalled that in 1994 Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and PKR vice-president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan had made similar efforts to bring down the then PBS state government.

"We can see that PKR have their own agenda - one wants to become prime minister and the other one chief minister," Pairin said.

Nevertheless, he said, the BN does not see it as a trivial matter, but something important that needs immediate attention and a solution.

Lajim disgrees with Anifah's defection view - NST

PUTRAJAYA, Fri: May 9, 2008 By Deborah Loh

Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Seri Lajim Ukim does not agree with fellow Sabah MP Datuk Anifah Aman’s acceptance of political crossovers.

“I do not agree. That is his personal view,” Lajim said of Anifah’s remarks in the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday that there was “no harm” for Barisan Nasional MPs to join Pakatan Rakyat.

Anifah, the MP for Kimanis, had said that there may be “a handful who may want to move” and added that crossing over of politicians was not as serious compared to the millions of voters who had chosen the opposition in the five states the BN lost.

Anifah also said he was against an anti-hopping law. He then stressed that his remarks did not mean he was planning to cross over.

Lajim, the MP for Beaufort and also its Umno division chief, said he did not know if other Sabah MPs had discussed Anifah’s remarks.

He said he did not know if the threat of crossovers was as Anifah had said it was.

Lajim was speaking to reporters after launching the ministry’s “Zero Fatality Vision” and a road safety campaign at Dataran Putra here yesterday.

He was appointed to fill the deputy transport minister post after Anifah declined it.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Anifah’s statement manifestation of what needs to be done in Sabah, says Ghani - NST

PUTRAJAYA, Thurs: May 8, 2008

Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman has described the statement by Sabah backbencher, Kimanis Member of Parliament (MP) Datuk Anifah Aman as a manifestation of what needs to be done to meet the expectations of Sabahans.

Anifah was quoted as saying in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday that there was no harm in Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs in Sabah defecting to the opposition.

He said this during the debate on the royal address after Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (BN-Bagan Datoh) asked him if Sabah backbenchers were tempted to cross over to the opposition.

In response to Anifah’s statement, Abdul Ghani who is also Johor Umno chief and Mentri Besar, said: “I think he is speaking on behalf of the people of Sabah on the need to fulfil the expectations of the people of Sabah.

“That is more important to me and I interpret what he said. Of course (for) Sabah, (there is) a lot more that needs to be done in the state.

“I think it (Anifah’s statement) is more of a manifestation of what more needs to be done for the people of Sabah,” he told reporters after a signing ceremony between the Employees Providend Fund (EPF) and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADBC) on the purchase of EPF’s 25 percent stake in RHB Capital, here today

State Barisan leaders want more autonomy and Cabinet positions - The Star


Barisan Nasional leaders in Sabah feel they have delivered the seats to the party. Now, it's time to collect.

Sabah and Sarawak hold 54 of the 140 seats Barisan won in the general election and the Sabah MPs now want a bigger say.

They are likely to ask for more political autonomy and an increase in political representation in the Federal Government when they meet the Prime Minister soon.

The planned meeting between Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Sabah's Barisan leaders has been touted as “an unprecedented chance” to start a new chapter in the relationship between the East Malaysian state and Peninsular Malaysia.

Sabah Progressive Party president Datuk Yong Teck Lee described Abdullah’s planned dialogues with Sabah assemblymen and MPs as a “great idea”.

He added that the talks could open a new chapter in Sabah’s participation in the national mainstream political scenario.

“We have to go beyond the recent election manifesto and the usual ‘let’s work together’ talk,” he said, adding that the focus should be on summing up the most urgent and serious issues affecting the state and press for urgent implementation.

“For a start, political autonomy should be enhanced so that Sabah can manage its own affairs,

“At the same time, Sabah needs increased representation at the federal mainstream, be it political (Cabinet), administrative (civil service) or the economic and social aspects of the country,” he added.

Sabah Barisan secretary Datuk Karim Bujang hopes that Abdullah will be able to see a lot of things from the ground during his dialogue.

“We hope he gets a clearer picture of what Sabah’s people are really thinking of.”

Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah president Tan Sri Joseph Kurup said a consensus on the priorities of Sabah would be more efficiently conveyed if the state Barisan holds a meeting before the dialogue.

Sabah Umno assistant secretary Datuk Masidi Manjun said an interactive dialogue was a good opportunity for the state leaders to put through their thoughts on what exactly Sabah wants in the current political scenario.

“We are not pushy but at the same time we want the Prime Minister to hear us out,” he added.

Although the Chief Minister’s Department said they have yet to be informed when Abdullah will be in Sabah, they expect it anytime.

Even as the state leaders are planning for talks with the Prime Minister, six other Sabah Umno leaders met with the Prime Minister in Putrajaya yesterday to discuss grassroots feelings in the state.

The Umno leaders, including two MPs and an assemblyman, were invited for a breakfast meeting.

They were Datuk Ghapur Salleh, who resigned as deputy minister of natural resources and environment, Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Mokhtar Raden and Pantai Manis assemblyman Datuk Abdul Rahim Ismail, who was dropped as state agriculture minister from the Cabinet of Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman.

The others were former Kota Belud MP Datuk Salleh Tun Said, who is also president of United Sabah Bajau Organisation (Usbo), and former Tempasuk assemblyman Tan Sri Pandikar Amin, who is Usbo secretary-general, as well as dropped MP Datuk Sr Yusof Yacob. The three of them were not fielded in the recent general election.

All were reluctant to discuss what transpired during the discussion.

It is understood that the Prime Minister was interested in finding out the feelings on the ground and if there was a sense of restlessness among Sabah Barisan leaders and coalition supporters.

Rahim, the Papar Umno division chief, said: “It was like a father-and-sons meeting. We just discussed the current situation.”

Ghapur, meanwhile, said he explained his reasons for his resignation and they discussed the current political situation in general.

Ghapur resigned from Abdullah’s line-up eight days after taking up his appointment while Musa’s brother Datuk Anifah Aman, the MP for Kimanis, rejected outright the deputy transport minister portfolio.

Following Ghapur’s resignation and Anifah’s rejection of the appointment, there have been calls for bigger representation in the Cabinet with more key and full minister portfolios for Sabah leaders.

Others who have called for better representation in the Federal Government were SAPP president Yong and Upko chief Tan Sri Bernard Dompok.

Dompok, a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, said there was a need for more serious reflection of the mandate of the people of Sabah for the Barisan.

MPs from Sabah and Sarawak warn Government of the ‘consequences’ - The Star

May 8, 2008

PARLIAMENTARIANS from Sabah and Sarawak joined the growing chorus reminding the Federal Government of its previous promises to the rakyat.

Former Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Anifah Aman (BN - Kimanis)and the outspoken Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN - Kinabatangan)warned of the “consequences” of any failure by the Government to make good its promises.

"Please fulfil your promises so we can also fulfil ours" - DATUK ANIFAH AMAN
Debating on the motion of thanks on the royal address, Anifah said talk of MPs from Sabah switching allegiance to Pakatan Rakyat could be equated to “moving house.”

“What’s the point of moving to a terrace house if one is already living in a bungalow? However, for some of us, there seems to be no pleasure in living in this bungalow. What’s the point of living in a bungalow if one has to sleep beside the toilet?

“Only a few groups living in the bungalow seem to enjoy the benefits,” he said, adding that there were some prominent leaders from Peninsula Malaysia who thought they knew Sabah when they had only been to Kota Kinabalu.

“They ignore the opinions of people like us who have spent time serving our people deep in the interior areas,” he said.

Anifah said he also agreed with a suggestion from Datuk Eric E.Majimbun (BN-Sepanggar) that a ministry be specially set up for Sabah and Sarawak.

“One after another, the promises have been given to us but these have never been fulfilled. Please fulfil your promises so we can also fulfil ours,” he pleaded, adding that despite having been in Malaysia for so long, there were still outstanding problems in the state and that Sabahans were not interested in mere rhetoric or development plans that were confined to books.

Anifah, who turned down a post in this Cabinet, said it was also important to study the reasons why MPs switched parties.

“It’s not important that MPs ‘jump’, what’s important is that our rakyat should also not ‘jump’ in the process,” he said, adding that Sabahan MPs had to voice their grouses so that their voters would not turn against them.

Bung Mokhtar said if the Federal Government could provide basic necessities like water and electricity to the interior areas in Sabah, the voters there were clever enough to decide which party to vote for.

“Backbenchers demand what has been promised to the people. We ‘correct’ the governance. The Government has to take this warning before it is too late,” he said.

Nancy Shukri (BN - Batang Sadong) said although Sarawak was grateful for all that the Barisan Nasional Government had done for the people, “there was still a lot of work.”

Anifah Expounds Feelings Of Sabah People

KUALA LUMPUR, May 7 (Bernama)

Kimanis Member of Parliament Datuk Anifah Aman said Wednesday Sabah elected representatives were looked upon with suspicion for raising the grievances of the people of the state which he claimed had been marginalised for a long time from mainstream development.

"When we voice the people's aspirations, it does not mean that we oppose the government. When we use strong words, it does not mean that we want to switch political parties. "What we want to inform this House is that the people of Sabah did not switch camps like those in the five states in the peninsula," he said when speaking during the debate on the motion of thanks for the royal address in the Dewan Rakyat.

However, he said, it was not wrong to switch parties or "vacate a bungalow and move in to a terrace house if we are not given sufficient room in the bungalow".

"Let it be, even if it were a terrace house. We will all enjoy the same facilities. Even when we live in a bungalow, we still sleep by the toilet," he said.

The "bungalow, terrace house" phrase was used by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi earlier when he asked Anifah, who had declined the post of deputy transport minister, whether he agreed that it was pointless to move out of a bungalow, meaning the Barisan Nasional (BN), and move in to a terrace house, in reference to the opposition alliance.

"I agree. What's the use of switching from a big house to a small house? But, if there is no room for us in the big house, what's wrong with it (moving to a small house)?

"Therefore, certain people must take the appropriate action because we have contributed many seats (in the elections) for many terms. Do not marginalise us," Anifah said.

He also said that he could not understand why Sabah elected representatives were targeted when the issue of party crossovers were raised by the opposition and the BN.

"We are only a handful of people in Sabah. Why the concern when a few people want to cross over when, in the peninsula, tens of thousands of people in the five states have switched camps?" he said.

He said: "Before the opposition gets excited, I myself have no intention to cross over."

In jest, Anifah asked the House to ask the crossover specialist. The statement prompted Datuk Ibrahim Ali (IND-Pasir Mas) to stand and voice his dissatisfaction for often being referred to as "the frog prince" for whom switching parties was nothing new.

The issue of crossovers was raised by Datuk Bung Moktar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) who asked whether the Kimanis MP had received a report on the Sabah BN MPs who wanted to join the Opposition.

(Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had reportedly said that several BN elected representatives in Sabah would join the Opposition, thus enabling the Opposition to form the federal government.)

Anifah said during the debate he disagreed with the proposal to introduce an anti-party hopping law because it would portray Malaysia as a police state.

"If a party leader deviates from the objective, do we want to sacrifice the people's interests to support that leader?" he said.

Anifah, who had been deputy minister of plantation industries and commodities for two terms prior to the March 8 general election, raised several issues related to the welfare of the people of Sabah.

These included their involvement in decision-making levels at the federal level, the returns to the state government from government-linked companies utilising resources in Sabah, oil royalty, and infrastructure facilities for the people.

He said there were MPs from the peninsula who did not really understand the Sabah people and drew conclusions based on their visits to cities such as Kota Kinabalu.

"We elected representatives go down to the ground in our constituencies every week and tackle the people's problems. Only we know the real situation. We have been independent for more than 40 years but our children still walk for miles and in the mud to get to school.

"I know that it will take time to tackle all these issues but I hope that they can be resolved before the next general election," he said.