It was heated, loud, with very colourful language, and very public.
And in the presence of other friends, some of whom also tossed into the overheating cauldron their 2 sen.
I will not mention names, and I ask that those who were present and who might be minded to send in a comment here to also do likewise and not mention names.
The next day, I called to apologise to this elected rep.
I apologised only for my harsh language, and not for the substance of what I had said.
The issue that got us all worked up?
Pakatan Rakyat’s approach to Sabah and Sarawak and, as was alleged by the Pakatan elected rep, my naive understanding of politics there.
My insistence that a new non-BN government post the 13th GE must establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry to look into what precisely was agreed vis-a-vis the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the 18 / 20 point agreements and that thereafter that which was agreed upon be given effect to was shot down as ‘too much too soon’.
My contention that 100% of the oil and gas in Sabah belonged to her people and the proposal in their Buku Jingga to give to Sabah 20% royalty should they come to power post the 13th GE was tantamount to saying they would not steal as much from the people of Sabah as has UMNO / BN all these years was said to be impractical.
And I took strong exception to Pakatan laying claim to contest in the majority of seats in both Sabah and Sarawak, irregardless of the reality of grass root sentiments and strengths. Last I had been allowed to enter Sabah, I had heard of proposals that the Pakatan parties contest 57 out of the 60 state seats in Sabah. PAS to take 13, DAP to take 20 and PKR to take 24. This, from my own work on the ground and feedback from operatives, is really Pakatan biting off more than it can chew!
To this, I was cautioned by this rep to be wary of the ‘katak’ culture in Sabah.
I retorted by reminding that Perak fell because of the ‘katak’ culture amongst their rank.
Najib almost recovered BN’s 2/3 majority in parliament last year because of the ‘katak’ culture amongst some of their reps.
I bring this now to your attention because we are constantly reading news reports that increasingly leaves me with the impression that we are a long way from forging that level of co-operation necessary between Pakatan and the non-BN parties in Sabah and Sarawak so as to have a realistic chance of displacing UMNO / BN in Putrajaya post the 13th GE.
On 15th March, FMT reported DAP vice-president Tan Kok Wai as saying that Pakatan will “sweep all the seats in Sabah, without any room for local parties”.
Statements like this, if correctly reported, throw spanners in ongoing efforts by many to help build a viable coalition of non-BN parties from here with those in Sabah and Sarawak to take on UMNO/BN come the 13th GE.
The FMT reporter hit the nail on the head when she said that “In this war of egos, Umno and BN need only to sit tight clutching their cash bags, to return as victors“.
Another FMT report quotes PAS Deputy President Mat Sabu as saying of Pakatan’s chances of toppling BN at the next GE, that they would only succeed in again denying BN a 2/3 majority in parliament.
“Honestly speaking, we face a difficult battle. It’s an uphill task. It’s easier said than done”, he is reported to have said about Pakatan’s prospect of taking Putrajaya.
I have to agree with Mat Sabu, if it were just Pakatan taking on UMNO / BN.
But it is not just Pakatan.
There are viable leaders and parties in Sabah and Sarawak, too, who are determined to see the end of the UMNO / BN plunder of Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak.
The leaders of Pakatan must treat these leaders and parties in Sabah and Sarawak as equals.
I have, since 2007, long counted many of the leaders in Pakatan as my friends.
I need not name them. They know who they are. And they know that come the 13th GE, they can count on me to help in any way that I can.
Through 2011, in my work in Sabah, many leaders there, too, I have come to regard as friends.
And who have walked and worked with me in our ‘DNBN Kuburkan BN’ talk.
I have no reason to doubt their sincerity in this regard.
In the coming days and weeks, I shall be meeting some of them again.
I now call on these leaders from Pakatan and from Sabah and Sarawak to put aside their egos, make paramount the welfare of this nation and the wishes of a growing number from amongst the people to see an end to UMNO/BN rule in Putrajaya and to this end, begin the pressing task of working out a coalition to offer 1 candidate in each of the 222 parliamentary seats come the 13th GE.
To you who are reading this, I ask you to demand the same.