By Pushparani Thilaganathan
KOTA KINABALU: While Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak woos “organised” gatherings in Likas and in Sandakan asking for their “trust”, an “exceptionally huge” number of Sabahans are expected to “voluntarily” converge at the KDCA cultural village in Penampang tomorrow to hear opposition State Reform Party (STAR) leader Jeffrey Kitingan, urging them to vote for “dignity”.
While Najib waves his transformation agenda and the nation’s successes, Jeffrey will speak of Umno’s covert operations, Barisan Nasional’s plunder and the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
Jeffrey’s clarion call of “Ini Kali” (this time) is aimed at toppling the BN in Sabah and tomorrow will see the combined launch of STAR supporters from three parliamentary constituencies – Penampang, Kota Kinabalu and Putatan – in Penampang.
Already STAR has over 180,000 members since its launch in January 2012 and ground reports reveal the numbers are increasing by the day.
Said STAR deputy chairman Awang Ahmad Shah: “STAR’s membership in these areas [Penampang, Kota Kinabalu and Putatan] has been increasing tremendously since the party started in January this year.
“With this sizeable support base we are expecting an exceptionally huge turnout tomorrow.”
Throwing their support for STAR are members of the yet-to-be- registered Usno.
“We are also expecting a sizeable contingent of Usno supporters, especially from around the west coast, because Usno’s president Badaruddin Tun Mustapha will also attend,” Awang Ahmad added.
Tun Mustapha was a former chief minister of Sabah and Badaruddin, his son, is aiming to revive his father’s party and redeem Mustapha’s legacy.
Betrayed by Umno
In a recent statement, Badaruddin decried the Umno’s betrayal of his father’s trust. Mustapha was responsible for aiding Umno’s entry into Sabah but, according to Badaruddin, his father has ave never envisaged the plunder and pillage.
Meanwhile in Sandakan today, Najib is scheduled to attend a 1Malaysia gathering which will bring together Batu Sapi and Sandakan residents.
Najib is expected to cosy up with his legalised illegal immigrant “fixed deposits” in Sabah’s populous Muslim-centric east coast with promises of allocations, projects and pleasures.
Besides throwing promises and cash, there is little else that Najib can do in Sabah really.
The issues here are far more challenging than in the “developed” Peninsular Malaysia.
According to a local doctor here, the only way Najib can “win” loyalty is “if he gives them (Sabahans) back their state”.
“He is engaging with pirates [read legalised illegals]. They only understand one language – money. Today it’s Najib’s money, tomorow it may be Anwar’s, Jeffrey’s or someone else. They have no loyalty,” he said .
Asked if the announcement of a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) would make a difference, his simple message said: “Not anymore.”
During his last visit to Sabah, Najib did a number on Sabahans on the RCI issue and left party leaders embarassed. During a secret meeting with east coast Umno warlords the night before, he was told who BN’s “fixed deposits” were and how they had “voted BN in every election”.
Meanwhile back in Kota Kinabalu and in his travels throughout the state, Jeffrey, like the biblical shephard, will continue flogging the need for self-determination and dignity with the real native Sabahans, who are now allegedly “outnumbered” by “visitors” bearing Malaysian citizenry.
Also on the cards for Najib in Sandakan is a pow-wow with Chief Minister Musa Aman who is being ravaged by online portals over allegations of graft and power abuse.
Musa now shares disrepute with Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud.
Insider sources revealed that Musa has ready cash available for Najib provided the latter commits to pulling back his “man” Shafie Apdal.
Shafie is Semporna MP and a federal minister, who has his eyes on being the next chief minister of Sabah.
The war between Musa and Shafie has severely damaged Sabah Umno and Najib, it is understood, is worried.
The damage has allowed willy PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim to play mind games with the underlings.
Anwar making moves
Talk here is that Anwar is engaging a “disgruntled” east coast Umno warlord Lajim Ukin. He is also said to be keen on Sabah People’s Front (SPF), which was once associated with former chief minister Harris Salleh and Musa.
A few months back, portals were rife with reports of a likely defection by Lajim to SPF. Word then was that he would take with him a “delegation” of Umno leaders.
But Lajim made no move. Later it was rumoured that he was awarded a RM150 million road contract and was “happy”. But if political gossip is any measure, then Lajim is “not happy”.
Anwar’s interest in Lajim and SPF has, however, renewed speculations.
Even more interesting is the fact that Anwar is “awaiting” a response from Upko deputy president Wilfred Bumburing.
If Bumburing does move to PKR, he will take with him a chunk of Upko’s members and this will greatly benefit Anwar and PKR whose influence in Sabah is fast waning in the wake of STAR’s rise. – FMT