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Party Hopping.

A lot have been written about people ready to hop from one party to another. Even elected representatives are being speculated to move from BN to Pakatan Rakyat giving them enough seats for Anwar to take over as the new Prime Minister come September 16th or earlier. These rumors may or may not materialized on that day or date. Now even Taib, the Chief Minister of Sarawak, joined the chorus that none from Sarawak will defect, even though some twenty or so of PRS men were identified by a senior reporter from Sarawak to campaign for Anwar.

The interesting thing though is why people talked about possible party hoppers. Why Anwar, himself, adds fuel to it? Is there any possible basis for it? Malaysian politics have seen numbers of people who changed party politics to suit their own convenience. Sarawak and Sabah had a full share of the existence of party hoppers who invariably leave a “sinking ship” to stay afloat with any party, even forming new ones to demolish their old houses, which no longer serve their vested interests. Anwar just has to show that PR can form the next Government for the restless and itchy to jump in numbers. One YB had been reported that he was jumping ship but quickly denied within 24 hours later. Then a friend reported that he had bought a new house next to his house shortly thereafter.

Ming Court affairs of 1987 was purely placed on cash take it all political business. One SNAP CEC member was offered RM90,000.00 cash to go to KL and joined the Ming Court group. I also received phone calls to go to KL and joined the group. To this day I do not know how much they would pay me because I didn’t ask but instead told the callers that on principles and long term effect on the nation I could not do it. In fact I was privy to the potential of horse trading by the SNAP prime mover during Chinese New year that year. However I told him that I would not do if the move were to benefit only ourselves and not to SNAP members as a whole, then Sarawak and Malaysia in particular.

Our country would not survive MONEY politics for too long. Controlling our politicians will last only as long as there are enough resources to be mortgaged and used to satisfy the party members and hoppers. Those expenses will be borne by the future generation. Where if these resources eventually run out,Malaysia will be like all the troubled nations of the developing and developed world. Should we allow Malaysia get to that level, – of “suicide bombers” and/or civil war to occur? Now even with a small population we already have the present problem of political uncertainty and increasing crime rate or “MORE RAPISTS”. Consider if Sarawak or Sabah population is doubled or tripled of what is to-day, would we have the present peace and contentment?

Party hopping should not be allowed by the population no matter how noble their reasons may be. All party hoppers should not be allowed to win the next election if real democracy and political stability is our desire and need. Time has come when every voter must realize the dangers poised by Party hoppers. I was asked by a Party leader who made mistake of “buying” a member from STAR. I told him that, ” Since you can buy him from me, then someone else can buy him of you.” Only then he realized the instability of a political “FROG” and called him “an ungrateful ——“. Anyway that Yb is richer now but he has not been able to deliver on his election promises and pledges. His constituents become the victim of Money politics.

The same reasoning of course could have happened in Sabah with SAPP President. If he could be used to topple PBS and Datuk Pairin before why could he be used to topple BN given the right conditions or again PR one blue day. After all, politics is the art of possible as well as the impossible.

Party hopping after the elections will always be detrimental to any country. It will always breed political instability and uncertainty. It will certainly increased the cost of politics in Malaysia, which Malaysians in general have to pay out their pockets. Neither BN nor PR have money on their own except for the shrewd investors who invest and hope for a greater return from future contracts and favors from the Government of the Day.

Under these circumstances, it is hoped that Anwar Ibrahim will give the best Anniversary Gift to all Malaysians by NOT ENTICING ANY BN POLITICIANS to join him so that he can be sworn in as the next Prime Minister come September 16th, and instead by consolidating PR into an alternative force to counter BN while his role as a responsible and loyal opposition.

Time will surely be the healer and giver for a better future for all Malaysians if we can nurture the spirit of true democracy by offering alternatives for change at the polls, even though odds at the polling stations are currently staked for the ruling parties in most part of the country, where even blackouts and traveling phantom votes had been and will be ferried to ensure victory for them in marginal and critical areas. Hopefully though as time goes by, it is hoped that the ability of the ruling parties to make use of the EC will diminish as more and more younger generation volunteers to become vanguards for real democracy. Even in the just concluded Permatang Pauh by-election, a senior reporter, who was there for the whole period of the campaign, told me of “the unknown extra votes” which came after an announcement of the percent turnout and reduced Anwar’s projected winning margin from over twenty thousand to the eventual 15,671!

Whatever party hoppers or hopping Party will always harm democracy unless the press is really free and is able to cover a large portion of our voters. Current access and our literacy rate makes our population vulnerable to unscrupulous politicians. Since BN are having the biggest share of them now, it is hoped that PR should NOT take the “bad apples and spoil” the future for all. PR State Governments just show what they can deliver in the FIVE BIG states of Kelantan, Kedah, Penang, Perak and Selangor in the next few years, it is almost certain that either BN delivers or it will be out in the next general election. If they burden themselves with party hoppers to become the Government of the Day, the current work may be spoiled in no time at all.

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Sarawak/Sabah Independence – 45th or 51st?

The present media and public expectations that Anwar will be PM come 16th September have made the STOCK Market more nervous now than ever. All the speculations that he will get enough crossovers to get the simple majority have made more people who hate the present ruling Party, BN, more ardent and stringent in their call for a change in Government. One of such call comes from Yong Teck Lee from SAPP, a component Party of BN, who wants Abdullah Badawi to be voted out as Party Leader and thus from the Premiership. Of course so far his efforts had failed to bring the desired result and SAPP is in a limbo as to whether it is going to be sacked from BN or not.

Further Yong raised a thorny point of whether Sarawak and Sabah should be celebrating the 51st or 45th anniversary. He commended Sarawak for celebrating its 45th Anniversary of Independence this 31st August as the “right thing to do” as Sarawak and Sabah were still under the “COLONIAL RULE” till midnight the 15th of September 1963.

Celebrating our Independence day on the 31st August is one of the conditions imposed on Sabah and Sarawak as to the formation of Malaysia in 1963. We were supposed to form Malaysia on that day but because of the opposition from SUPP then and the reservations raised by the Dayak leaders, a commission was set up to determine whether the people of Sarawak and Sabah really wanted to form Malaysia with West Malaysia as the dominant partner, Muslim as the National Religion, Bahasa Malaysia as the national and official language and so forth….

Contentious issues were smartly resolved by giving safeguards under the inter-governmental Report which satisfy everyone then hoping that Sarawak and Sabah rights would be safeguarded. Some others were placed into the Constitution. These were the flaws which neither Sarawak nor Sabah leaders realized then. I once told the Late Tan Sri Ong Kee Hui that it was a grievous mistake to safeguard our State rights under the Federal Constitution which is a living document subject to amendments any part there-of and anytime since Sarawak and Sabah was NOT guaranteed to at least one third of the seats in the Malaysian Parliament. The matter was made worse when Singapore was asked to leave later.

The first Malaysian Constitution stated that Malaysia “shall consist of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and North Borneo” implying equal partnership. Now the Constitution states that Malaysia consists of the following States: (1)Perlis,……(12)Sabah and (13)Sarawak”. The framers of our Constitution were very smart in downgrading the Status of Sarawak and Sabah to be at par with all the States in West Malaysia or also known at the time of the Formation of Malaysia as The Federation Of Malaya which consisted of the Nine Malay States, Penang and Malacca.

Now with almost all the safeguards in the IGC report taken back by the respective Federal Authorities and with all the amendments made to the Federal Constitution, it is no wonder that more and more Sabahans and Sarawakians are questioning certain unresolved issues such illegal immigrants given citizenship by someone in the Authority before for dubious reasons known only to the perpetrators themselves especially rampant in Sabah but also in a smaller number in Sarawak. Definitely if the leaders of Sabah and Sarawak saw what happened to-day, at least two third of them would have rejected the idea of forming Malaysia. In fact, one Bidayuh leader convinced many Bidayuhs “they should not fear as there are more Bidayuhs than the Malays”. He only knew Bau District composition but not the reason why the Malays of Sarawak wanted Malaysia to be formed. Poor him, he must be turning all over in his grave now his mistaken belief!

So will Anwar’s premiership ensure more freedom for Sarawak and Sabah to pursue its dreams of Independence or will he impose more restrictions under the veneer of national integration as were in his time when he was in power? Or worse still if with enough defections and crossovers to PKR, UMNO die hards refused to give in and declare Emergency instead, what then?

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