Has Sabah Become A Zoo For Political Animals
The people of Sabah have no words except for expletives to express their feelings about the defection of assemblymen.
You can’t blame them for being angry when the YBs and the party they voted for change their allegiance midstream on the pretext of supporting the current government.
Sabah is well known for its Orang Utans and Proboscis Monkeys. It is also probably the state with the most frogs and monkeys in politics.
While “frogs” is a well-known term for party hoppers, the eloquent Bung Moktar Radin has described party jumpers as “monkeys”. It does look like Sabah has become a zoo for political animals.
We can’t blame the voters for being angry over the turnover of YBs. They have shown that they lack principles. When the going is tough, they abandon their party and election platforms.
You can support the government from any party or platform when a bill is tabled by the government or play your role as an effective opposition. But it is apparent that these YBs do not know the functions of a democratic system. Party hopping is not one of them.
Their actions have caused ridicule and shame for Sabahans in the eyes of the rest of Malaysia. It is indeed amazing that these YBs have no shame in calling a press conference to explain, with a straight face, why they are changing allegiances. Many of them are veteran party hoppers.
The losers are not the contesting parties but the people of Sabah, already the poorest state in Malaysia.
One ex-politician said: “Sabah is a cursed state when it comes to politics. The continued political instability puts us back by several decades in development.
“When we talk of development, we should also be talking about political maturity. The federal government can throw millions or billions to develop Sabah, but if you still have a frog and monkey mentality, people can exploit you.
“Furthermore, no foreign investors will come to the state, knowing that in the next trip, they will be facing new people and having to start all over again”.
Sabah is in bad need of a two-party political system like the democracies of the UK or US. Representatives of a two-party system debate and are focused on delivering their party agendas. When you have 20 parties or more in a small state with different party manifestos and agendas in every state election, and who abandon their parties midterm, the voters have a right to be angry.
While the law against party hopping has been in effect at federal level, Sabah is dragging its feet in enacting the same. Sarawak passed its own anti-hopping law in 2022.
There are accusations that certain people had been bought out and hidden hands were behind all these recent moves and consolidation of power, but all of this is mere speculation at this juncture. However, it does leave a bitter taste for the voting public who are tired of the political shenanigans.
Currently, there is a trust deficit in Sabah. With the RM260 million to be received in terms of grants and other income streams, can we trust the state government with the people’s money? The so-called “Watergate” corruption case is the top coffee shop talk apart from the frogs and monkeys.
The Watergate corruption case, spanning decades, is being played out in court now, implicating top politicians and waterworks staff. At the same time, Sabah’s water woes reflect badly on the state administration.
The federal government’s recent decision to grant Sabah and Sarawak autonomy over infrastructure projects under RM50 million has raised people’s concern about how much of that money will go to development projects, knowing what happened in the waterworks affair.
Recently, state finance minister Masidi Manjun said Sabah wanted unused annual federal development funds allocated under Budget 2023 to be placed under a trust fund if the identified projects could not be completed during the year. Creating a trust fund would ensure that the money allocated for the year was used to complete the targeted projects instead of it being carried forward to the next budget for the same project. Masidi noted that federal annual allocations for development projects were not fully utilised due, among other things, to bureaucracy.
There is already the Trust Funds Enactment 1964 to establish the Sabah State Trust Fund. All monies should be put in this trust fund for the benefit of future generations. Bureaucracy and inefficiency have hampered the implementation of projects, and this will ensure that the budget allocated will not be returned to the government coffers due to poor execution and delivery.
Lack of development funds is no excuse. It’s the government’s job to provide the development funds irrespective of political affiliations as the money comes from the taxpayers and not the party in power.
The 73 assemblymen need to grow up. Politics is not a game. You are representing the people of Sabah who depend on you to bring economic development.
One political activist said: “You can’t bring development to Sabah if you yourself have not developed your mentality based on principles and moral values. The people expect you to make a stand for the constituencies you represent.” - FMT
The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of MMKtT.
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