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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Where’s the ‘Ubah’ in Sabah?

Nothing appears to have changed except for the faces in the new state Cabinet line-up
By Clement Stanley

As a Sabahan, I have a vested interest in what goes on in my state. I believe the same goes for all those who voted, and even those who did not vote in GE14. But rewind to pre-GE14 and compare it with post-GE14, and it becomes apparent that some things never change in Sabah. The battle cry of “Ubah” on which Shafie Adpal and his Parti Warisan Sabah had staked all and sundry is beginning to look like nothing more than a hollow catchphrase.

The demeanour of the man and his soft-spoken manner was in direct contrast with his opposite number, the more abrasive Musa Aman who was entrusted with the fortunes of Barisan Nasional. Like many others, I attended Shafie’s ceramahs and it was obvious that the momentum was building for Shafie and Warisan. He played the victim to a T, thus raising sympathy from everyone present. Although that had the desired effect on audiences state-wide, it was his battle cry of “Ubah” that ultimately won the day. But alas, nothing has changed in Sabah so far. Perhaps, given time, it will. But for now, it doesn’t seem that way.

Love him or hate him, Shafie’s DNA can never be anything else but that of Usno and Umno. The family ties with these two political organisations go back to the days of the late Mustapha Harun, one-time chief minister and governor of Sabah and the president of Umno. Therefore, with shouts of “Ubah” ringing in everyone’s ears, the stage was set for change.

Sad to say, nothing has changed except for the faces in the new state Cabinet line-up. Shafie’s decision to be both chief minister and finance minister of Sabah makes him no different from his predecessor. Everything he says about wanting to tidy up the finance ministry as an economist and why it is necessary to hold on to both positions for now is against the “Ubah” call. It is irrelevant and has not gone down well with Sabahans.

Of all the analogies to use in justifying his decision to hang on to the post of finance minister, he said you cannot blame the driver if the Mercedes is at fault. His arguments are sorely lacking in conviction.

There’s another thing that hasn’t changed: the rewarding of political frogs. Where is the “Ubah” that was promised? Instead of rewarding someone who started this journey of change with him with the deputy chief minister post, he chose to reward a political frog with that plum job. Didn’t Peter Anthony start with you? Wasn’t he hauled in by the MACC because of his links with you? Why not him? How different is this from the time Mustapha rewarded the Upko assemblyman from Kiulu, Payar Jumaan, with a ministerial position for hopping over to Usno in the late 60s?

You have given one nominated assemblyman seat to a person who did not start with you but who fought against you in GE14. One seat that could have been a just reward for someone who gave up everything for you and the belief in change.

Clement Stanley is an FMT reader

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