We want ketuanan rakyat, not ketuanan Melayu, in Sabah

Posted on October 14, 2009



The Sabahan Muslim PKR man I shall call M. His Catholic counterpart, I shall call C.

I met both last Friday night.

Both declined to be audio recorded.


Me : Anwar’s appointment as Sabah PKR chief early this year was never opposed, right?

M : Not opposed does not mean everybody is happy about it.

Me : So some were unhappy. Why? Was this made known?

M : Look, his wife is the president, but everyone knows Anwar is the real leader of PKR. So you have the top PKR man in the country now taking over the running of PKR Sabah. You can’t really go up to him and say “We’re not happy”. Some people thought that a local person would be more effective. Anyway, some also thought that with Anwar heading PKR in Sabah, it might be easier to get things done for Sabah in KL. So it might not be such a bad idea to have Anwar as the head.

C : Do you remember the elections in Sabah in 1994? You know what happened?

Me : You are referring to the elections won by PBS but which eventually saw a BN state government in place through defections from PBS?

C : Yes. Many in Sabah still remember this. And many still remember that Anwar was behind it. The people of Sabah had chosen their government but the politicians from Semenanjung, led by Anwar, were going to decide who should rule in Sabah.

Sabahans do not like it when Semenanjung people impose their will on Sabahans. ( M nodding in agreement )

Sorry, but Sabahans do not fully trust Semenanjung politicians, and Anwar is no different. ( M nodding in   agreement ). People from Semenanjung tell us he is a changed man after his long time in jail. I don’t know. If Mahathir had not played him out, and he had become PM, would his politics be what it is now?

Last year, after the elections, Anwar started to speak of ‘ketuanan rakyat’. Is this for real or only political talk? Is ketuanan rakyat only for the rakyat in the Semenanjung and not also for the rakyat in Sabah and Sarawak? If the rakyat of Sabah are tuan, then let Sabahans decide who will lead PKR Sabah. ( M nodding in agreement )

M : Anwar must convince us that he is a changed man, that he no longer holds to the politics of UMNO, that PKR is not another UMNO.

Me : The PKR top man passed the post of Sabah chief to a PKR vice-president. Shouldn’t Azmin be given the same chance that you all were prepared to give to Anwar?

M : Jeffrey Kitingan is also vice-president of PKR. Should he not be given a chance to lead PKR in Sabah? Or is it that he is not from Semenanjung? Or because he is not a Malay Muslim? Please do not export ketuanan Melayu to Sabah.

Me : But shouldn’t Azmin at least be given a chance to do what he was appointed to do?

M : Go and ask him what he has done for PKR Sabah since June that is worth talking about. Ask him what he has done that the Sabahan PKR leaders could not have done.

Me : It has been suggested that because of the scrambling for positions amongst the Sabahan PKR leaders, it would be difficult to pick one Sabahan to lead without aggravating the others. Therefore, in the short-term, with a view to strengthening the party, pick an outsider as an interrim measure. What would you say to this?

C : Commonlah, you mean to say that the PKR leaders in Semenanjung are not also looking to climb up in the party? Azmin wants to remain vice-president forever? This is normal. What Anwar can do is get all aspiring candidates for the position of chief to agree to close ranks and work together once the choice of the local leader has been made. Of course, if you choose someone who does not have the support of the locals, do not expect that the chosen one will get the co-operation of the others. I’m sure this is the same in Semenanjung.

Me : The 16 PKR division chiefs who expressed no confidence in Azmin  have asked for his removal with immediate effect. Azmin, however, has reportedly said that he will relinquish the post when the time is right. He says that this is a matter to be decided by the party’s Supreme Council. What if the Supreme Council stands by Azmin’s appointment?

C : ( Laughing ) That would mean that Semenanjung politicians not only cannot be completely trusted, but that they are also not very clever.

Me : Who would you like to see as head of PKR in Sabah?

M : Jeffery Kitingan ( C nods in agreement )

Me : Do you think that Jeffery would be acceptable to most, if not all of the divisions?

C : He would definitely be preferred to Azmin

Posted in: Right to know