KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) President Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee on Wednesday challenged the DAP to contest at least 20 seats in Sabah in the 13th General Election.
He said this was only appropriate because DAP leaders have been boasting about its strength and performances in all Pakatan Rakyat-ruled states, Penang in particular.
"SAPP, despite being labelled as a 'Parti Nyamuk' (mosquito party), will go for 40 seats at least. So, DAP should contest at least 20 seats in Sabah if they are really that strong.
"If they cannot, they might as well join us to fight the Barisan Nasional (BN)," he said this in a talk entitled "Safeguarding Sabah, What Have You Contributed?" at Taman Foh Sang on Tuesday. He directed this particularly at a group of young DAP supporters who were present at the event.
On DAP's contention that the Pakatan is confident of winning seven states except for Sabah, he questioned that if it is not confident of winning in Sabah, why should it contest.
Earlier, he explained that SAPP did not join the peninsula-based Pakatan Rakyat opposition coalition because it wants to end the continuous manipulation and exploitation of Sabah and its rich natural resources.
Sabah regaining full political autonomy for the State, he said, is also among reasons why SAPP is firm on not joining Pakatan Rakyat.
SAPP's firm stand, he said, was after careful study of the history and politics of Sabah and also observance and first-hand experiences in dealing with Malayan politicians.
Malayan politicians, he said, are shrewd and manipulative and have no qualms about being extremely nice to a person when they have something up their sleeves and determined to achieve their hidden agendas.
"This is KL politics. When they need you, they will even go to your house or invite you to their house for lunch, and even serve you personally," he said. Yong said it was exactly what former Prime Minister Tun Ahmad Abdullah Badawi had done.
According to him, he was invited to attend lunch at Abdullah's house just prior to the general election in 2008 after the latter learned that SAPP is planning to cast a vote of no confidence against him.
He said he also met with opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim two weeks earlier.
He stressed that he had to convey the aspiration of SAPP to Abdullah during the occasion because he believed that as a leader he must make his views known and not reserve it.
"Therefore, I made sure that Pak Lah knew about our intentions (to reject his leadership) when he invited us to his home for lunch.
"This is so that we were not misunderstood as tikam belakang (stabbing from behind) like the PBS when it withdrew from the BN in 1990," he said.
Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, he said, dubbed the action of PBS as back-stabbing him because PBS President Datuk Seri Jospeh Pairin Kitingan then was nice and friendly to Dr Mahathir when both campaigned in Sabah in 1990.
"But PBS abruptly left the BN as soon as Dr Mahathir had gone back to Kuala Lumpur the next day," he explained.
To further elaborate his point of Sabahans being too nice, he said the late Tun Razak, father of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib, used tacit means to persuade the late OKK Sodomon Gunsanad to change his hostile stance towards Malaya and to agree to Sabah joining the Federation in 1963.
Tun Razak achieved this after paying Sodomon a visit to his house then, which deeply touched the latter. "This was revealed by Najib himself when he visited the OKK Sodomon Gunsanad Mansion in Keningau during the last Harvest Festival," he said.
Yong said Sodomon's case is a reflection of Sabahans' true nature of being too nice and too easy to be hoodwinked by others.
"Sabahans are just too nice and friendly, and that's the problem with Sabah today," he said. He said the manipulation of Sabah politicians by Malayan politicians started when the latter wanted the oil agreement signed between Petronas and the State Government in the 1960s.
From then on, he said, Malayan politicians had been playing the game of 'divide-and-rule' by pitting one ethnic Sabah politician against another.
"Kuala Lumpur's agenda is always to divide and rule Sabah; manusia pun dia, hantu pun dia (he is the man and also the ghost). While they make us fight among ourselves, they rob and steal from us," he charged.
He also revealed that since 2008, he made it clear to Anwar that SAPP would not be joining PR, citing its main agenda of struggle to restore political autonomy for Sabah.
He said he had made an effort to assert this to Anwar on three consecutive occasions when he met the later on April 4, 5 and 6 in 2008 to make sure the latter did not misunderstand him.
"Finally, he (Anwar) understood and agreed with SAPP's stand and that's the reason why until today he never insisted that SAPP must join Pakatan Rakyat," said Yong.
To this, he expressed hope that the explanation would once and for all quash the allegations levelled against him by Sabah DAP greenhorns who have been going around alleging that SAPP refused to join PR because it planned to rejoin BN later.
He urged the so-called young leaders and supporters of the DAP Sabah to study and understand the politics of Sabah before going around making statements about SAPP or its leaders.