Uneasiness brews as Pas enters Sabah Assembly

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Photograph: Free Malaysia Today

It has just been a matter of days since a Pas member was appointed to the state legislature, and already the party has stoked disquiet, Jem writes.

Is Pas now all set to test the peace and harmony that Sabahans have cherished all our lives? It seems to be heading that way, going by how the Sabah chief minister has lined up his government.  

Hajiji Noor does not deem it fit to have any woman as a full cabinet minister, but he nominates Sabah Pas secretary Aliakbar Gulasan as a Sabah Assembly member to boost government numbers – even though Pas did not contest in the state election.

The chief minister knows many in Sabah are against any Pas appointments in the state. But such controversial appointments seem to be the ‘in’ thing in government these days. Is this appointment at the behest of the federal government and Pas? Does the Sabah government concede it will do as it is told by others? If the answer to both these questions is yes, of what use is the state cabinet? Is it just a rubber stamp?

The Sabah Pas secretary’s move to appoint a Christian assistant is seen as an attempt to whitewash the new assembly member’s image. But many Christians view this move as an insult, given recent controversies involving the party. How this assistant could even think of accepting the appointment is beyond my understanding. What will he do if Pas interferes in racial and religious issues?

Already, a federal minister from Pas, the under-fire Khairuddin Aman Razali, has called for a ban on gambling and a clampdown on alcohol consumption in the country.

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Paul Kadau, vice-president of Angkatan Perpaduan Sabah, responded that Pas central leaders are insensitive and do not respect the customs and cultures of the people in Sabah. Kadau says a lot more, and the people of Sabah should note what he has to say. 

It has just been a matter of days since a Pas member was appointed to the Sabah Assembly, and already the party has stoked uneasiness.

Which brings me to Jeffrey Kitingan. What is his stand on this issue now? Instead of commenting on what Anwar Ibrahim should or should not be doing, maybe Kitingan, as Deputy Chief Minister (big job this!), should look into his own backyard and sort out the problems there first instead of jumping into another pond.

Many Sabahans want to know Warisan’s stand on this. The party appears to be lying low, licking its wounds after losing power at the Sabah state election last month. 

Warisan president Shafie Apdal, in a short video clip on 14 October, thanked the people for the confidence they had placed in him, adding it had been an honour to serve as their chief minister. “It has been an inspiration and motivation for us and the party to boost our efforts and spirit so that our hard work can go on with the aspiration of returning as your government in (the) future.

“I hope your confidence in us will remain as we continue this fight for the sake of Sabahans. This is definitely not the end of our movement, we’ll continue this fight and we’ll boost our efforts to make sure we are united.”

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To Shafie and Warisan, your thanks and gratitude are all well and good. It makes for good reading, but what will you, as leader of the Opposition, do about insensitive remarks, which have already begun? We can expect more of the same to spew forth from Pas. What is the Opposition’s stand on such sensitive issues? These are issues that will affect the lives of all Sabahans, irrespective of race, religion and culture.

The election has come and gone. This is no time to rest on one’s laurels. There is much to do to, and it is time to get up and work again and “continue to fight for the sake of all Sabahans”. We need something concrete from the Opposition, otherwise it is all cakap-cakap kosong (empty talk).

To all Sabahans, it is easy for us to just observe the shortcomings of the government and make known our comments, frustrations and disappointments at home or in coffee shops. 

But ultimately, the remedy is in our hands. Yes, many Sabahans voters wanted change, but it did not work out for whatever reason. 

That does not mean our voices do not have the power to reach out to others. We need to make our thoughts known again to the leaders at this early stage, and this might just be the impetus that is required. 

So, Sabahans, what say you? Will you just sit back and watch all that we love and cherish being eroded – or will you let your voices be heard? The choice is yours.

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Wake up, Sabahans!

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

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Santana
Santana
22 Oct 2020 10.52pm

Well the people of Sabah is given what they asked for. They chose the government they wanted. Now they cannot complain. It is still too early, this is only the beginning expect more astounding things. Despite of fully knowing how the moo government is running the federal government they voted for his party and his coalition. Good luck.