KOTA KINABALU: Parti Warisan Sabah’s (Warisan) “brain dead” politicians are playing the secession card in a desperate attempt to become politically relevant again, says Bersatu’s National Deputy Youth Chief, Ceasar Mandela Malakun.
He said it is funny to learn that the state opposition party has never dared to speak up on the matter until recently.
“I think what the people want to know is why they had been silent about this when they were in power for a very short time. Were they fearful of the wrath of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the then prime minister, and all the other Malaya parties? If not, then why now?
“Ever since they were overthrown by Sabah voters, Warisan leaders have been brain dead. Occasionally, people would get to hear them giving an opinion or two when certain issues arise. But about Sabah pulling out of Malaysia, this has never been part of their political existence. They only ‘tumpang sekaki’ (piggybacking),” he said in a statement today.
He said for most Sabahans, reading Warisan leaders making statements about the issue sounded awkward and insincere.
He was countering a statement by Warisan Putatan’s spokesperson, Mathew Yong who had accused Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor of ignoring the people’s dissatisfaction with the way the Federal Government has treated Sabah over more than five decades.
“They can politicise the Chief Minister’s statement all they want. But people can’t forget their silence when Tun Mahathir reportedly said that to increase oil royalty to oil and gas producing state like Sabah would kill Petronas.
“People still remember that before that, DAP’s Lim Guan Eng promised to give 20 percent instead of 5 per cent in oil royalties to Sabah and Sarawak. But after they won the general election and he became Finance Minister, he hurt our feelings by breaking the promise. He told us we still had to wait.
“People still remember how when Warisan was the opposition, they claimed that the Federal owed Sabah over RM1 trillion under MA63. But when they became government and after some of their leaders were given positions as full federal ministers and deputy ministers, they became mute.
“Now, they’re back in the opposition and are desperately looking out for a good issue to make them look important. So, what better hot political issue to play than secession? They need something to get the attention of the people anyway. But in truth, Warisan has never taken up this issue before as part of their political struggle,” said Mandela.
He suggested that Mathew, a former Putatan councilor, should focus on policies and development of the Putatan district instead of allowing himself to be influenced by Warisan MP, Azis Jamman who is playing the secession card for political mileage in a desperate attempt to remain relevant.
He said people in Putatan would be more appreciative if he worked together with the government of the day to rebuild the district, rebuilding the businesses which have been affected by the pandemic.
He pointed out that while Warisan leaders find it easy to find baseless fault with the government of the day, they remain blind to the fact that they had failed Sabahans miserably when they were in power.
“Sabahans know full well all their failures and their real agenda as a government. If they didn’t fail, they wouldn’t have lost the state election. To borrow a popular phrase by a former Warisan representative, people were so “sick and tired” of their antics, rhetoric and constant attempts to blindside the people with cheap populist statements that some of their candidates lost miserably in a multiple-cornered contest for seat,” he said.
Mandela added that he finds it strange to learn that Azis had suggested it was time for the state to leave the federation after claiming that the allocation for Sabah in Budget 2022 was unfair as well as the issue of unfulfilled promises under Malaysia Agreement 1963.
“Azis was the Deputy Home Minister in the Pakatan Harapan government. Why didn’t he say this then when Lim Guan Eng broke his promise and when Tun Mahathir made his statement about Petronas? Were their statements and treatment to Sabahans fair? Were the allocations given to Sabah by the PH government without any discriminatory treatment?
“Then why did he keep quite at the time? Was it because he was grateful to have been made deputy minister and enjoying all the perks that came with it?” he asked.
“Obviously, people like Azis and Mathew are playing the secession now out of desperation to make themselves and Warisan look important and relevant to Sabahans. This is very irresponsible of them to exploit the people. They don’t seem to care about the consequences so long they achieve their selfish agenda,” he suggested.
After seizing the federal government in 2018, Pakatan Harapan allocated RM5 billion and RM4.3 billion to Sabah and Sarawak respectively in the 2019 Budget which according to some critics was an “insult” to East Malaysians.
Mandela said while he could understand the sentiments about Sabah leaving the federation, there are ways to resolve any disputes.
“The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the government and the opposition bloc last September to strengthen political stability through bipartisan cooperation is one of the key milestones to bring political leaders across the party board to work together, including on matters of interest and importance to the people of Sabah and Sarawak.
“But Warisan President, Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal rubbished this when speaking in Parliament, criticising Pakatan Harapan’s signing of the MoU with the government for reforms, which include lowering the voting age to 18, limiting the prime minister to two terms, introducing anti-party-hopping laws, and plans to control Covid-19 and revive the economy as well as the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and formation of a steering committee,” he said.
He added that Shafie’s opposition to the MoU, which DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang urged opposition parties including the likes of Pejuang and pro-tem Muda to sign, only proved Warisan has no interest in resolving issues that affect people’s lives and future, even if it calls for a political ceasefire.
“They’re only interested in pursuing their own selfish political agenda. Even to the extent of dissolving the Sabah State Assembly and calling for a snap election in Sabah, blatantly ignoring the fact that the world was at the height of the pandemic – a party that “sanggup mati di gelanggang” but in reality had put millions of Rakyat’s lives at risk.
“And judging from the short-lived rule, Sabahans are aware what their real hidden agenda is, and Sabahans are definitely “sick and tired” of Warisan,” he said.