Sabahans, this is the most important election of your lives; your future lies in your hands

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Jem poses some soul-searching questions for Sabahan voters and the ‘frogs’ who have betrayed them.

Just two years ago, a Warisan-led coalition took power after the last Sabah state election, held together with the Malaysian general election.

The state and the party barely had time to breathe, before a snap election was thrust upon them. Many in Sabah are at a loss for words at this snap poll – and who can blame them. I, for one, hope that all Sabahans will have enough discernment to decide on 26 September who should rightfully govern the country.

We are all known collectively as Malaysians. Despite having lived in Kuala Lumpur for many years, I am still a Sabahan at heart. So this state election is important to me in more ways than one.

I was born in Jesselton, British North Borneo. I was one of the many thousands who converged at the padang to watch the Sabah flag raised for the first time on 16 September 1963. Before North Borneo became Sabah, there was much talk about what benefits – or not – the state would gain from forming the Federation of Malaysia together with Malaya, Sarawak and Singapore (which later left). Have those benefits materialised?

A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then. Now we have arrived at another election in Sabah.  I have read the local papers, heard from friends and watched on TV what is happening in Sabah. 

Warisan Plus’ simple message is that it wants “an inclusive government”, meaning a government for all. The election in Sabah this time is not about race or religion, which might be an alien concept to many who have a tendency to use them as tools for their own ends.

READ MORE:  'It’s the biggest battle for the future of Sabah' - Sabahan youth

When Shafie Apdal/Warisan Plus wins, he wants to build a nation for all of us Malaysians, irrespective of race or religion, so that people will be treated fairly and impartially. Isn’t this what we all want?

Shafie said, “It is not Kuala Lumpur who will decide the fate of Sabah!’” Isn’t that a simple but amazing concept – that we, the people of Sabah, can decide for ourselves how we would like our state to be? Think about it!

I would like to ask all Sabahans some questions. What did the Barisan Nasional government do all these years until 2018 for the people of Sabah? What did the BN government do to stop the flow of undocumented migrants into Sabah? How do you want Sabah to be?

What is the state of Sabah now? The BN government always looked at Sabah as its ‘deposit box’! It was so sure, no matter what happened in the general elections, Sabah would come through for them. This was the way the federal government played Sabah for many, many years.

Is this what Sabah is all about? A deposit box? Have we so lost our sense of pride, as Sabahans, that we allow somebody else to decide our future for us? Have we, the people of Sabah, lost the right to fight for ourselves? Is this how our grandchildren and generations to come will see us – that we had the opportunity on 26 September 2020 to make a change and we didn’t take it?

Shouldn’t the political parties in Sabah be fighting for the rights, hopes and dreams of the people of Sabah rather than fighting amongst themselves?

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I wonder about all these parties competing against each other in Sabah. Aren’t you all Sabahans? Aren’t you all fighting for the same ideals – to be proud of the state you come from? Don’t you want something better for the state, for the people, for your families and future generations?

Federal government politicians have descended on Sabah like a swarm of locusts, and they are going all out to ensure they come away with a victory so that a snap general election can be held. For them, winning the Sabah state election would be the icing on the cake after their backdoor takeover of the federal government earlier this year. They make promises and more promises, but will they keep any of them after the dust has settled? Such promises have hardly been fulfilled before, so will things be any different this time around?

I have some questions for all those ‘frogs’ who jumped ship for whatever reason or who intend to do so at some point. Do you know there is a word for people like you – snollygosters, which is such an apt term for ‘political frogs’ (defectors). Snollygosters are shrewd, unprincipled persons, especially politicians who care more for personal gain than serving the people.

So all you snollygosters out there, are you not ashamed of yourselves? How do you look at yourselves in the mirror? How do you see yourself in the history of Sabah? How do you want your family, your children and grandchildren to see you? Is this what you would like to be remembered for – that you leapfrogged, jumped ship, for more money, for a higher position, for more political power, which you could not get in the parties you abandoned? Are the “30 pieces of silver” worth selling yourselves for?

READ MORE:  Will Sabahans thunder 'enough is enough' at the polls? 

Some say the past defines a person or a country. Looking at it in a more positive light, I think the past refines or redefines a person or a country to move towards something better – to learn from mistakes, to want to change and make things better, to look ahead to a better future for our nation, for the people, including the younger generation and future generations.

If our politicians in Sabah have the gumption, the integrity and the political will to do what is right, then they will stand tall and be proud of what they have done to help us save our heritage, our rights and our beloved Sabah!

Remember the wise words of Prof Dumbledore to Harry Potter in the story Chamber of Secrets: “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

So, to all Sabahans, this might be the most important election of your lives, so, please, please go out and vote wisely. Be well and keep safe.

Jem, an Aliran reader, still cares deeply about Sabah, despite having lived in the peninsula for some time

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loyal malaysian
loyal malaysian
23 Sep 2020 8.08am

Yes, Jem, I join you in that aspiration – that Sabahans will go out and vote with wisdom on 26thSept.
I will not be so presumptous like that shameless convicted felon who claimed Sabahans are stupid if they do not vote for the proven kleptocrat party.
Yes, by all accounts, this Sabah state elections can be the harbringer of good things to come for our nation.
It can bring about the demise of frogs…at least in Sabah.