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Saturday, March 11, 2017

Not much truth behind the speculation

It is 7am on Tuesday. And my WhatsApp is bombarded with a newspaper clipping with the headline “Crack in Sabah-based opposition?”

The Sabah newspaper reported that Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS) president Datuk Wilfred Bumburing was unhappy with State Reform Party (STAR) Sabah president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, who as chairman of the MySabah committee to claim Sabah’s rights to 40% net revenue, had submitted a report to the state government.

Bumburing was unhappy as the United Sabah Alliance (or USA, a Sabah opposition alliance consisting of PCS, STAR and the Sabah Progressive Party, SAPP) had signed a joint statement not to present its view to the Sabah Rights Review Committee.

(MySabah is a non-partisan and non-political group that wants to address Sabahans’ concerns such as the restoration of Sabah Rights, the Royal Commission of Inquiry report on the illegal immigrants in the state and the education system.

It is headed by Datuk Seri Anifah Aman of Umno and the members include opposition leaders such as Dr Jeffrey and former Sabah chief minister Datuk Yong Teck Lee of SAPP.)

“Is this (the crack) gonna happen to USA?” a supporter of Warisan (a Sabah-based opposition party headed by Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal) asked in a WhatsApp group that is dear to me as its members consist of my relatives and neighbours from Kampung Pogunon in Penampang, near Kota Kinabalu.

“Ini kali lah (This time),” said a Barisan Nasional supporter.

In other WhatsApp groups, non-USA supporters (from Barisan parties and Warisan) were cheering the supposed crack in the opposition alliance.

Reading the newspaper report, I felt it was much ado about nothing.

To get the inside story, I WhatsApp-ed a politician who was with USA.

“What’s with that headline? Is it a misleading story? Or is something brewing?” I asked.

The politician confirmed that it was much ado about nothing. He said there will be more of such stories as the election nears.

“My advice to Warisan supporters who are too excited about such a headline: there will be more of such headlines and some will whack Warisan. See below for one which whacked Warisan. There’s a game played; don’t fall for it,” I wrote in the WhatsApp group comprising my relatives and neighbours.

I attached a newspaper front page with the headline: “Prove Warisan is genuine, Shafie told”.

(Sabah DAP adviser and Kota Kinabalu MP Jimmy Wong challenged Shafie to convince Sabahans that his party was a genuine opposition party.)

For added emphasis, I wrote, “United Sabah Alliance cracking up just because of one newspaper headline???”

Later in the afternoon, Bumburing of PCS came up with a statement. His analogy on what was happening between him and his USA partner Dr Jeffrey was superb.

“Just because you come home and your wife serves you a bad meal and you complain, it does not mean you want to cerai (divorce),” he said.

The Tamparuli assemblyman said his party is firmly with USA even though he was not happy with Dr Jeffrey’s backdoor moves to push the state rights agenda with MySabah.

On Facebook, Dr Jeffrey commented on a posting on the newspaper’s “crack” headline.

“Cepat juga kamu terpengaruh newspaper headlines ... wlupun ada? ... belum tahu kebeneranan sudah kelangkabut bertindak (You are so quickly influenced by a newspaper headline. You don’t know the truth, but you are already acting helter-skelter),” said the Bingkor assemblyman.

In a statement, Dr Jeffrey wrote: “What crack? USA getting stronger.

“Despite wedges driven by others to disrupt and break up the coalition, in reality USA is getting stronger and meeting the people’s wishes for unity in one-to-one contests with Barisan Nasional in the forthcoming election,” he said.

My source, the one whom I WhatsApped to get the inside story on whether the alliance was cracking, told me that USA was getting stronger.

“It is reliably learnt that Parti Harapan Rakyat led by ex-Sabah PKR chief Datuk Lajim Ukin and Parti Perpaduan Rakyat Sabah (PPRS) led by one Datu Arshad, consisting of mainly Gen Y leaders from the east coast of Sabah, have applied to formally join USA.

“The alliance is expected to welcome these two parties into a stronger coalition of Sabah parties,” he WhatsApp-ed.

If I were with Barisan, I would only be happy that USA is gaining strength.

It is to Barisan’s advantage as USA will cancel out the support of Warisan, a five-month-old party, which is gaining momentum in Sabah especially because of its Siri Jelajah (political tour of the whole of Sabah).

The opposition votes will be split because so far it will be Barisan vs USA vs Warisan vs Pakatan Harapan vs unknown mosquito party vs PAS vs independents for the 60 state seats in Sabah. (Or 73 state seats if the new seats are approved in time for the state polls).

The Kampung Pogunon WhatsApp group asked me why the opposition could not be united. My answer is: Ego bin Tamaha (Mr Egoistic Greedy).

Almost daily, my WhatsApp is bombarded with speculation on when the Sabah state assembly will be dissolved.

I usually don’t get too excited when I see the dates predicted by god knows who, as no source is credited for the prediction.

Also, as of Thursday, my sources have told me that no green light has been given yet for an early Sabah polls. But yesterday, two sources told me there was a 99.999999999999999% chance early Sabah polls will be called.

If that is true, an insurmountable force has cracked the wall of resistance.

By Philip Golingai (One Man's Meat Columnist)

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