In reality, Umno came to Sabah with sinister intentions, to improperly remove the democratically elected PBS government and install itself as the ruling government through high-handed undemocratic means because they saw Pairin as a threat to “Ketuanan Melayu” and “Ketuanan Islam”.
Grouses and dissatisfactions by the defeated parties, Berjaya led by Harris Salleh and USNO by Tun Mustapha gave KL Umno leaders the excuse to mobilize federal might and resources, some unlawfully and some abusive, to bring PBS to its knees.
Among the initiatives taken by KL Umno were:-
(1) to mobilize illegal immigrants to riot and demonstrate in the streets with the involvement of Usno and Berjaya leaders;
(2) to remove CM Pairin as the chairman of the State Security Committee;
(3) to withhold funds for development;
(4) to establish JPPS, a parallel development agency to takeover federal-funded development activities;
(5) to recruit illegal immigrants and Filipino refugees as voters through “Project IC” or “Ops Durian Buruk” as disclosed in the RCI hearings;
(6) to re-draw electoral boundaries to favour Kuala Lumpur and Umno interests;
(7) to divide and rule Sabahans by registering new KDM-based political parties;
(8) to bribe/offer of positions including the post of CM to PBS assemblymen and induce them to dump PBS to topple the PBS government;
(9) to introduce the 2-year rotation of Chief Ministers to lure greedy and ambitious leaders to support the Umno-led BN government;
(10) to use the ISA, Income Tax and Anti-Corruption Acts/laws to scare, intimidate and detain political activists and stifle dissent;
(11) to mobilize Islamic agencies, JASA and JPN to indoctrinate Sabahans and federal civil servants serving in Sabah;
(12) the introduction and infusion of race and religion politics and marginalization of local natives especially those who are non-muslims and promotion of a certain race especially in the civil service.
Today, you can see the results – Sabah being directly ruled by Kuala Lumpur/Putrajaya through Umno as a powerless subservient State; foreigners with Malaysian ICs outnumbering genuine local Sabahans and making Sabah Umno’s 536,232 membership the biggest in Malaysia; oil and gas resources are directly controlled by Kuala Lumpur; Sabah becoming the poorest State as confirmed by the World Bank, with 40% of all poor in Malaysia and the presence of divisive race and religion is many aspects.
Yes, there is some development but these “developments” are motivated by big contracts rather than the real needs of the population. Even these big contract developments are lop-sided compared to the massive development in Malaya funded by the huge oil and gas and other revenues derived from Sabah and Sarawak.
In Malaya, highways, roads and bridges are added annually so much so that many highways are 6-lanes with some parts 8-lanes whereas the proposed dual carriageway Pan-Borneo has yet to really commence and will only be completed in 2025. Schools are not spared and not repaired and recently, in desperation, the State Education Director had to publicly disclose that 400 schools are in bad shape and in dire need or urgent repairs. To top it all, almost RM100 billion is being spent on the modern MRT in greater Kuala Lumpur whereas a request to build the Labuan Bridge, balance of the 8 flyovers in Kota Kinabalu to alleviate the crippling traffic jams and a monorail/LRT for Kota Kinabalu and the proposed Kota Kinabalu as the “Shipping Hub of the Far East” have fallen on deaf ears.
Security issues in Sabah have also worsened. Now, we have ESSCOM, as an additional security agency, not because it has improved our security but because Umno has made Sabah more unstable and more insecure with more cross-border kidnappings as well as the infamous Tanduo intrusion (with some accused being Umno members and leaders) and the recent beheading of a kidnapped victim from Sarawak. The covert funding, training and arming of muslim insurgents from Southern Philippines and the wanton granting of ICs and MyKads to ineligible foreigners including to Pakistanis have all created a monster that has now come back to bite and terrorise its master.
Despite the “stability and development” proudly claimed and trumpeted by Umno, Sabah’s economic structure remain underdeveloped while resource-based and agriculture industries have not developed much and have remained largely unattractive due to the Cabotage policy. As a result, disparity arising from the shipping costs has inflated costs of living in Sabah which is already burdened by the lower minimum wages compared to Malaya and at the same time making the manufacturing sector only contributing less than 9% of Sabah’s GDP.
Sabah’s autonomy has been compromised and Sabah rights in the MA63, Inter-governmental Committee Report, 20-Points and the Federal Constitution remained unfulfilled and unrealised. Even the return of the 40% net revenue derived from Sabah and the 10% export duties on petroleum in lieu of royalties as entrenched in the Federal Constitution as financial revenues due to Sabah remains unpaid.
Freedom of religion in Sabah sacredly safeguarded by Sabah’s founding fathers is being trampled with the emergence of the sickening strategy of Umno in playing with the race and religion card in Sabah and racial and religious extremism is disrupting the peace and harmony prevalent for centuries in Sabah.
Such is the other side, more sinister, of the coming of Umno in Sabah, and many Sabahans including former PM Mahathir as told to me personally, are regretting the presence of Umno in Sabah.