An open offer to mediate with a view to see 25 one-to-one contests in Sabah

Posted on February 9, 2013



On 6th February, FMT reported that SAPP had abandoned all hope of talks with Pakatan Rakyat in the matter of the sharing of seats in the next General Election, and that all that remains is for SAPP and STAR to work this seat-sharing out between themselves.

The next day, FMT reported that Pakatan Rakyat ally Angkatan Perubahan Sabah (APS) reacted to reports that Yong Teck Lee had accused Wilfred Bumburing and Lajim Ukin  “who quit the ruling coalition in July last year of “kow-towing” to Kuala Lumpur-based opposition parties in order to be Pakatan candidates”.

The same day, FMT reported that Jeffrey Kitingan and Yong Teck Lee  met but failed to reach agreement on seat allocation for their respective parties for GE13.

“Insiders, who claimed some knowledge of the meeting, said STAR and SAPP appeared to clash in five (of the total 25) parliamentary seats and as many as 13 of the 60 state assembly seats, all Kadazandusun areas. The failure to narrow their differences last night echoed the results of previous meetings” , according to the report.

And today, the Malaysianinsider reports Azmin Ali as saying that Pakatan Rakyat has “officially excluded Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) from seat negotiations” .

“…SAPP is completely out of the list, out of our formula. I am not blaming them for anything, simply that their demands are unreasonable” ,  Azmin is reported to have said.

Factor in Jeffrey’s reference, in December last year, as reported in FMT, to Pakatan helming a Malaya Agenda and that “only if the 13th general election returns a ‘hung’ parliament,  would Star work with Pakatan”, and you would not be faulted if you began to feel that the hopes of the rakyat in seeing  UMNO / BN removed from Putrajaya was fast becoming nothing more than a wet dream.

If the rumours are to be believed, we go to the polls in 49 days.

And as everyone knows, winning a sufficient number of the 25 parliamentary seats in Sabah is critical to our wresting Putrajaya from UMNO / BN.

The squabbling between the local parties and Pakatan has been going on for some time now without any resolution seemingly on the horizon.

Or are we merely witnessing posturing by the various parties, each hoping that their respective stance strengthens their position at the bargaining table?

Frankly, I don’t know, but I am worried.

As I said in an earlier post, “We can work our socks off in Parts 1 and 2 of Phase 1 of the ABU War, and it will all come to naught if we do not get this most important Part 3 right. Yes, enough 3 cornered contests in the 222 parliamentary constituencies caused by the inability of the opposition parties to collectively offer only 222 candidates in all the parliamentary seats, and be ready to see UMNO /BN take Putrajaya again”.

Since early 2011, until Musa Aman barred my further entry there in December of that year, I spent much time in Sabah.

I have since come to regard Jeffrey, Yong and many other local leaders as friends and fellow activists whose aim is to remove UMNO / BN from Putrajaya and to begin the process of rehabilitating the lives of the 40% marginalised in Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak.

Since early 2012, sensing that there might be problems in working out straight fights in all 25 parliamentary seats in Sabah, I met Jeffrey and Yong separately on several occasions in Labuan, hoping to arrange a meeting between the 3 of us in the hope of helping them see the need for them to rise above party politics, see themselves as leaders of the people of Sabah and, in that spirit, work out an arrangement that best served the interests of the people of Sabah.

During this time, I had also met up with a Pakatan leader who assured me that if the local leaders of Sabah could truly unite, Pakatan would be amenable to allowing that local ‘coalition’ to carry the majority of Sabah seats, provided they could in fact field ‘winnable’ candidates of integrity who would not succumb to financial seduction later.

With this assurance, I persevered with my efforts with the two Sabah leaders.

Regrettably, I failed to get both to the meeting table together.

I remain ready to do anything and everything needed to make sure we do not see Putrajaya handed to UMNO / BN on a silver platter simply because the leaders could not resolve the seat-sharing leading to their parties two and three-cornering each other.

To Jeffrey and Yong, and all Pakatan leaders, I appeal to you to put aside your egos, put aside party interests and make paramount the welfare of the people of Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak and the wishes of a growing number from amongst the people to see an end to UMNO/BN rule in Putrajaya.

To this end, I offer to work with all of you so that we may begin the pressing task of working out a coalition to offer one candidate in each of the 26 parliamentary seats in Sabah before we go to the polls.

We owe this to the people who have long suffered under UMNO / BN.