Yesterday, the country marked the occasion when Malaya merged with Sabah and Sarawak to form a new political entity, Malaysia, the historical mix of Malaya’s several races and immigrants spanning the sea to take in the complex weave of communal/tribal/religious relations of East Malaysia.
The government is not expected to do anything else, but assert that all is hunky-dory between the parts of the country, but the reality is that over the past five decades, there has always been an undercurrent of resentment in the East, that they always had to go West with cupped hands for handouts.
In recent times, the Malaysia Agreement has come under scrutiny, the wording of clauses examined to consider the intent and rights. And Petronas has found Sarawak and Sabah financially tough to placate.
For all the platitudes yesterday about one nation, one happy united family, the situation in Sabah reflects the nationwide splintering of loyalties, a fractious difficulty in getting along with one another, a bipolar mouthing of unity while stirring enmity.
There are two political coalitions, sort of, barely holding together, and a swarm of independent candidates vying for votes in a couple of weeks.
On one side, PKR, insistent on flying its own flag, was rewarded with half the seats it had declared it wanted to contest. Rumbling in the PKR ranks. This slap in the face will not be easily forgotten.
The other side? I can barely keep track of who is with whom or not.
So much for fraternal friendship. It was naked jostling for power, best exemplified in the plaintive tweet from Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa (above) who posted that six parties alone had asked for 120 seats among themselves when there are just 73 seats in the Sabah Legislative Assembly.
“I’m trying to tally… Star wants 18… PPBM wants 45… PBS wants 30… PAS wants 10… PBRS wants 11… MCA wants six… that’s 120!!!
“The Sabah (State Assembly) only has 73. How many seats can Umno request for…?”
Bersatu, Star, and SAPP are contesting under the PN logo.
Umno, PBRS and MCA are contesting under the BN logo.
Both PN and BN are allied with PBS, which is contesting under its own logo.
Got it? I think so.
PN got it too, on nomination day when BN and PBS reneged on a negotiated agreement and fielded more candidates than originally announced, raising the number of “friendly” clashes between them from 11 to 17.
Not enough. Let’s have merrier confusion – Star is backing a few independent, but “PN-friendly” candidates, taking clashes possibly to more than 20 seats.
For all of Azmin Ali’s touting of Sabah Bersatu head Hajiji Mohd Noor as potential chief minister, Umno is not going near that thought. Let the party with the most wins pick the chief minister. Umno is contesting 31 seats, Bersatu 19. Obvious where the better odd is.
Your guess is as good as mine as to how things will pan out in the elections in Sabah. What I dare predict is that Sabahans will have to be alert and duck out of the way of leaping amphibians in the first weeks of October, particularly if the tally is close.
That periodic plague of migratory frogs will only be ended if Nazri Aziz succeeds in his Quixotic attempt to end political defections by getting passed in Parliament a legal amendment in which voters would elect parties rather than individuals, needing only a simple majority in Parliament for this to be approved.
The parliamentary whips of all parties may have agreed “in principle” to push for a legal amendment, but will the parties accept those parties that have benefited from jumpy loyalties?
Will they give up being warmly hospitable when an MP sinks into a sulk because he/she feels ignored by party leaders, or can be head-hunted to chair a multi-ringgit body for the betterment of the people?
I applaud Nazri for still being idealistic because he believes that “all MPs will support this in Parliament because it would seem like a name-and-shame move if they don’t. If you don’t support, it means you are happy with these hopping”.
Shame? Politicians? More like no shame. My list of no shame politicians… I won’t bother; so many who can keep track beside the obvious smug, in-your-face ones?