Has Musa got the guts like Taib?

Friday, 1 November 2013

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman’s verbosity over a list of recyled projects on Budget 2014 and his spineless silence on the Allah issue is in sharp contrast with his counterpart in Sarawak.

Musa and Taib Mahmud are CMs of once ‘independent’ nations who signed the Malaysia Agreement in 1963, thus stepping in together with Federated Malaya and Singapore (who got purged out two years later) into a newly formed Malaysia.

At that time among the key ingredients were mutual respect, religious freedom and autonomy.

But the years have seen Sarawak remain ‘independent’ in many ways and Sabah acutely compromised and squandered of its rights and resources. A World Bank Report in 2011 declared this oil producing state as the poorest in Malaysia.

The crumbs dished out to Sabah and Sarawak in the recent Budget 2014 speaks volumes of where the states are on the national priority scale.

And the recent Court of Appeal decision overruling a 2009 High Court decision allowing the use of the term ‘Allah’ in the Bahasa Malaysia edition of Christian publication The Herald has compounded matters.

The issue has further distinguished Sarawak from Sabah.

Sabah rolls over for Putrajaya. Sarawak doesn’t. Sarawak has no Umno and it’s CM is no lackey to Putrajaya.

Sarawak’s self-esteem as a state and ‘nation’ within Malaysia is intact as was visible when its Chief Minister Taib Mahmud acknowledged and officiated for the first time Sarawak’s independence day on July 22 .

And Musa made no murmur.

Sarawak has remained friendly yet kept their distance. Sabah lives in Putrajaya’s pockets.

Sarawak has even found oil on land to circumvent Petronas’s grip and do away with the shouting and screaming for a royalty review.

No need for Putrajaya?

Taib can, if he must, run Sarawak without federal assistance. And importantly too is the fact that he has the covert ‘backing’ of Dayak majority Kalimantan.

At his recent Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu convention, he put the federal government, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and the Malaysian judiciary system in its place when he said: “We cannot alter the status quo in Sarawak”.

He was reacting to the ‘Allah’ ruling, adding that the court decision was not binding on Sabah and Sarawak. He mocked the purportedly ‘tolerance’ of peninsular leaders and dished out his own Sarawakian wisdom on co-existence and religious harmony.

One would have to be really stupid to not realise exactly what he meant.

Was the rebuke too much for Putrajaya?

Affronted ‘beings’ in Putrajaya toy with the ‘slap Sabah, and Sarawak will feel the reverberation’ theory.

Was this puerile thinking behind the unexpected directive from the Home Ministry to seize the Herald at the Kota Kinabalu Airport last Thursday.

The copies were meant for Sunday’s mass in Sabah churches. According to the weekly’s editor Fr Lawrence Andrew no reason was given for the seizing.

A hue-and-cry later Putrajaya intervened and ordered the released of the copies but the weekend was in the way and Sabah parishioners never got their copies.

Yesterday Idris Jala, Minister in Prime Minister’s Department, decried the Home Ministry’s actions to arbitrarily seize the copies.

“It’s a misunderstanding …They should not have withheld the distribution of The Herald in Sabah,” he said adding that it was against the prime minister’s promise to Sabah and Sarawak, which was the freedom to practice and use the term ‘Allah’ in prayer.

Challenge to Musa

Najib had said that the Court of Appeals decision to overturn the High Court ruling on the use of the ‘Allah’ word in the publication did not affect Borneo Christians.

But Tamparuli assemblyman Wilfred Bumburing said Najib’s assurances were rendered useless by the action by the Home Minister.

“My greatest fear is that the government will succumb to the pressure from NGOs in Malaya to extend the ban to Sabah and Sarawak.

“But my past experience with BN tells me that shouting and rhetorical appeals and pleading by our leaders will come to nothing because the leaders of dominant Umno will just close their ears,” said Bumburing.

Bumburing quit Upko last July to form Angkatan Perpaduan Sabah (APS) and later contested the Tamparuli state and Tuaran parliamentary constituencies on PKR ticket in the last GE.

There is simmering anger at the treatment being vented out against Sabah’s Christian community.

If one is familiar with Karl Marx, one knows of his “religion is the opium of the poor” theory and in Sabah and Sarawak, people are poor, very poor and there are more closet Christians than there are Muslims in Sabah. Sarawak is predominantly Christian.

The issue is so deep that Parti Rakyat Sarawak which is anchored in Christian Iban inlands is worried.

Said PRS deputy youth chief councillor Sempurai Petrus Ngelai: “The government must honour the 10-point solution agreed to prior to the last general election.

“Otherwise support for Barisan Nasional in Sarawak and Sabah could drop significantly if this issue is not resolved adequately.

GE14 is not far away and in time to come, zinc sheets, rice bags and RM500 ‘angpau’ will be happily received but not returned in votes.

According to Bumburing the scenario is clear to everyone.

“Everyone understands the reasons. Everyone feels the heavy descend of the infringement of their fundamental rights as enshrined in the constitution of the country they helped form in 1963.

“(In that sense) I salute the firm stand taken by the Chief Minister of Sarawak who stated unequivocally that the banning of the Malay bible is ridiculous and nonsensical.

“I challenge Musa to come out and declare his stand on the issue,” said Bumburing.

Free Malaysia Today


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