By : JOE FERNANDEZ
ACTIVISTS from Sabah strongman Jeffrey Kitingan's various NGOs are mercilessly bludgeoning both sides of the political divide, even mosquito parties, with sledgehammers of sorts.
Apparently, Jeffrey is leaving nothing to chance as the countdown to the 13th General Elections is set to begin after the Christmas and New Year festive cheers. This is politics in the jungle at its best.
Jeffrey's inner circle points out that even if the other Opposition and ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) "did not ask for it", they would be "morally obliged to make mincemeat of all those who are against the Agenda Borneo".
The Agenda Borneo, in a nutshell, stands against everything that the "agenda parti parti Malaya in Borneo" or "Agenda Malaya" stands for in Sabah and Sarawak.
The Borneon in Jeffrey alleges that the Agenda Malaya is a thinly-disguised policy of internal colonisation in Sabah and Sarawak, waged against the Orang Asal in particular -- Murut and Dusun including Kadazan or urban Dusun in Sabah and Dayak in Sarawak -- and Borneons in general.
Jeffrey accuses Peninsular Malaysia-based coalitions and local parties aligned to them of stealing seats in Parliament which belong to the "Nations in Borneo" to further facilitate internal colonisation policies.
Sabah and Sarawak, he never tires of pointing out during his Borneo Tea Party sessions, were pledged a minimum one third plus one parliamentary seats under the Malaysia Agreement and other constitutional documents.
In short, both BN and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) should stay out of the fray in Sabah and Sarawak.
Jeffrey wants to bring back the Orang Asal to mainstream politics
Towards this end, as Daniel John Jambun put it starkly in a statement earlier this week, his fellow activists are pledged to literally chase out the Malayan parties and their local allies from Borneo. Daniel is Deputy Chairman of the United Borneo Front (UBF), an ad hoc apolitical human rights NGO movement working across the political divide in Sabah and Sarawak.
UBF activists will contest the 13th GE under the symbol and flag of the State Reform Party (Star), a Borneo-based national political party pledged to put a 3rd Force in the Malaysian Parliament "to steer evenly between BN and PR".
The thrust of Jeffrey's politics, one long flogged by him, is to bring back the Orang Asal in particular as a force to be reckoned with in the mainstream of Malaysian politics.
This is easier said than done.
Successive administrations in Putrajaya have systematically marginalized and disenfranchised the Orang Asal. One way, in Sabah, has been by Putrajaya allegedly padding the electoral rolls with the names of illegal immigrants issued MyKads by the backdoor.
Sinister move to reduce Orang Asal, Christians in Malaysia
To add insult to injury, non-Muslims with bin or binte in their names are routinely, by a policy directive, being classified by the National Registration Department (NRD) in Putrajaya as Islam on the face of their MyKads.
Those who protest are advised by NRD in writing to get a Ruling from the Syariah Court that they are "no longer Muslims". The NRD emphasis is on "no longer Muslims" and on "not Muslims". The manner in which the NRD words its advice in writing on getting the said Ruling, makes it virtually impossible for the Syariah Court to issue a "no longer Muslim" Ruling.
It was estimated by a former Sabah Attorney General, not so long ago in one newspaper statement, that no less than 600,000 Dusun are missing from official statistics "in a move designed to reduce the number of Orang Asal and Christians" in Malaysia.
Jeffrey stands accused of dividing the Orang Asal further through his politics. He has denied the charges in stressing that absolute unity might be an impractical goal somewhat "given the fact that various Orang Asal parties themselves are willing to be stooges to the local proxies of Putrajaya".
Instead, the Star chairman is more focused on denying both BN and PR the 112 seats that they would need to form a Federal Government with a simple majority. For this, he doesn't need absolute Orang Asal unity.
He has pledged to do this (deny 112 seats) by, among others, taking away Orang Asal seats held by parties other than the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), indisputably the premier force par excellence among the original inhabitants of Sabah.
Star accused of being pro-BN, financed by it
Star is prepared to support either BN or PR, but not both, in Parliament to form a Federal Government with a working majority. The party does not see itself as being part of the
Federal Cabinet of such a Government. However, it wants a third of other Government positions, according to party strategists, if the Federal Government comes to power with its support in Parliament.
PR has gone to town with Star's admission that BN stands an equal chance of forming the Federal Government as the Opposition Alliance. This is being propagated by PR as Star being pro-BN or even worse being financed by it.
This beating of the drums of war by PR may be fuelled by its fears that BN, as the incumbent, may stand a better chance of forming the Federal Government with Star's support in Parliament. One factor, it's said, is PBS President Joseph Pairin Kitingan, Jeffrey's elder brother in politics.
Star only sees itself as being in the Federal Cabinet when it can initiate, form and lead the Federal Government on its own accord. The party's strategists reckon that Star and allies like Hindraf Makkal Sakthi would need 50 parliamentary seats at the very minimum to head the Federal Government as the minority partner to either BN or PR as the majority partner.
The party insists on holding the Prime Minister's post as the minimum condition in a Federal Government headed by it. That might be some way down the road.
As an alternative to denying both BN and PR 112 seats in Parliament, Star favours the 45 per cent minorities in Malaysia -- the component of the population divided by geography, economics, ethnicity, language, culture and religion -- heading a Federal Government in alliance with a moderate third of the 55 per cent majority community who are united by language (Malay) and religion (Islam).
Moderate, in Star's language, means NO to a list of issues: hudud, Syariah, Islamisation, ketuanan Melayu, the Prime Minister's post being held permanently by Muslims, non-Muslims being forced to become Muslims, and internal colonisation.
Star leaders delusional, biting off more than they can chew, say critics
Moderation among Muslims, in the Star language, also means secularism, diversity in the Government sector, freedom, democracy and respect for human rights.
Critics say that Star leaders are delusional, or at the very least, are biting off more than they can chew.
In Star's defence, it can be said that Putrajaya's politics of putting its hand in the National Cookie Jar under various guises has caught up with the powers that be to haunt their future.
Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's reported US$ 44 billion wealth salted away in Japan and other locations abroad and a damaging international report on Malaysia suffering US$ 200 billion flight of dirty money last year alone are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Historical opportunity for Sabah, Sarawak to right wrongs by Putrajaya
Not surprisingly, the 55 majority community is irreversibly split with Parti Keadilan Rakyat, Pas and Democratic Action Party having sizeable portions of the Malay vote bank with them in Peninsular Malaysia. Umno, at best, commands no more than 45 per cent of the Malay vote bank, with the rest held by the three opposition parties and fence sitters who are neither for BN or PR.
The 45 per cent still with Umno is expected to be considerably whittled down by the 13th GE if Prime Minister Mohd Najib Abdul Razak does not move against Mahathir over his reported ill-gotten gains and remove him from the political equation. The more that Mahathir pontificates sanctimoniously in public, the worse it will be for Umno come the 13th GE.
Star sees the political disunity and divisions in Peninsular Malaysia as a God-sent historical opportunity for Sabah and Sarawak to emerge as Nations in Malaysia in line with their choosing independence as their self-determination on 31 Aug 1963 and 22 July 1963 respectively.
Malaysia, as Jeffrey preaches, will remain an aberration in Borneo for the Orang Asal in particular so long as the Nation status of Sabah and Sarawak in the Federation are ignored by Putrajaya and the "States in Malaya".