Sunday, March 07, 2010

Lim Kit Siang's 'biggest losers' jibe riles Sabahans

DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang has distressed BN leaders in Sabah no end with his Feb 28 statement in Kota Kinabalu that the KadazanDusunMuruts (KDMs) - the largest indigenous group in the state - are the biggest losers under the ruling coalition.

The reverberations are still echoing throughout the state and is likely to haunt BN in the run-up to the next general election.

bukit selambau by election dap lim kit siang ceramah 020409 01Lim had also linked the “biggest losers” tag with the continued ban on the book, 'Peter Mojuntin – Golden Son of the Kadazan', by former Malacca DAP leader Bernard Sta Maria. He has since initiated an online campaign to get the ban on the book lifted.

The book is about Sabah's leader Mojuntin, who died in the plane crash together with a number of other top leaders including the state's first chief minister Fuad Stephens in 1976.

Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman, a Pathan-Dusun, castigated Lim in no uncertain terms for being “irresponsible”. He was particularly upset that Lim pointed out that Umno had held the CM's post for 11 of the last 16 years, the Chinese for four years and the KDM for only nine months.

musa aman pc in sabah 190608 03“He's trying to stir racial tension in Sabah,” said Musa on the sidelines of a special Friday meeting of Sabah BN component party leaders at Sri Gaya, the Chief Minister's official residence in Kota Kinabalu.

Musa went on to stress that the KDM and Chinese are well-represented in the state cabinet. They are also holding many important posts in the civil service, added Musa.

His comments drew varied reactions from BN and other leaders in the state.

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) secretary-general Teo Chee Kang noted that Lim had also accused Chinese leaders in Sabah of “not doing enough for the community” after claiming that the KDMs were the biggest losers under the BN.

Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) vice-president Herbert Timbon Lagadan thinks that “Lim is instigating the KDM community in an attempt to fish for their votes”.

“The people of Sabah must be aware of the opposition tiger clothed in sheep's clothing,” warned Lagadan. “We must resist any attempt to divide and weaken us. The opposition does not want to see us strong.”

bn supreme council mt meeting sapp sabah issue 190608 pairin  kitinganDeputy Chief Minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan (left) was more cautious in his remarks and admitted that there is always room for improvement.

“We are always looking at this (improvement),” commented Pairin. “The opposition is just trying to confuse the people. We should not panic over Lim's statement just because he has been in politics a long time.”

Umno Penampang chief John Ambrose is worried that Lim linked the position of the KDM to the ban on the Sta Maria book, among others.

“Of course, we want to see the government lift the ban on the book but national interest must come first,” said Ambrose. “I hope the ban on the book will be lifted just as the ban on 'The Malay Dilemma' by Mahathir has been lifted.”

None of the Sabah BN leaders touched on the salient points made by Lim including the drop in KDM representation, percentage-wise, from about 50 percent in 1960 to some 25 percent now.

Lim also stressed that KDM seats had been whittled down to less than 20 or about a third in the state assembly. Both developments were attributed by Lim to the steady influx of illegal immigrants and MyKads being issued to them.

KDM community still poor

Sabah Institute for Development Studies (SIDS) chair Clarence Bongkos Malakun sees Lim making political capital out of Bernard Giluk Dompok's nine-month stint as chief minister and the scrapping of the rotation formula for the post.

“As a Dusun himself, the chief minister is concerned about the KDM community,” said Malakun. “Of the 10 ministries in the state government, four of the permanent secretaries are KDM.”

Malakun however declined to dwell on how many of the KDMs holding the posts were non-Muslim, a point noted by Lim when raising the marginalisation of the KDM community. Muslims are a minority among the KDM. Instead, Malakun labeled Lim a racist.

NONEThe SIDS chief conceded that poverty was a problem among the KDM but stressed that something was being done about this through agropolitian projects. Tongod, Pitas, Nabawan, Keningau, Kemabong and Beluran – all poverty-stricken KDM areas – are the focus of attention by the state government, according to Malakun. “Lim has no issues to raise in Sabah.”

Kota Kinabalu MP Hiew King Cheu is skeptical of figures cited by Malakun who was among those instrumental in overthrowing the PBS government in 1994.

“So few of the 38,500 state civil servants are from the KDM community,” charged Hiew who is also Sabah DAP chair. “Not many KDMs are heads of departments with the federal government.”

Hiew also claimed that the BN had re-classified some 500,000 KDMs and other native groups under the category of 'Others' (Lain-Lain).

“Sabah is an electoral fixed deposit for the BN because the KDM are kingmakers,” said Hiew. “However, they are not being given the importance they deserve.”

yong teck lee sabah sapp party pc 230409 02Sabah Progressive Party (Sapp) president Yong Teck Lee wants the unity factor to be kept in mind despite “the subservient attitude of local leaders”.

“The federal BN cannot form a government in Putranaya without the support of Sabah and Sarawak,” stressed Yong on what can bring people in the two states together. “We are kingmakers after the March 8, 2008 general elections.”

The rest of the opposition meanwhile stands by Lim on the alleged marginalisation of the KDM community in Sabah under BN rule.

Like the Dayaks in neighbouring Sarawak, they note that the KDM have been divided by “the powers-that-be” among all political parties in the state while “Umno has forced itself on the Muslims including KDM Muslims as their only option”.

courtesy of Malaysiakini

1 comment:

Jong said...

Hahaha, wrong title!

Kit Siang's jibe woke Sabahans but riled UMNO Sabah! The truth hurts doesn't it huh?!!