MOOD .....Did SAPP leaders misread the general electorates’ mood for general overhaul in state and national level politics?
By : QUEVILLE TO
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) President, Yong Teck Lee is adamant that his party did the right thing in not hooking up with national opposition front, Pakatan Rakyat. SAPP was wiped out in the 13th General Elections.
Yong rejected any blame for his party’s demolition which observers put down to misreading the general mood for a complete overhaul of state and national politics by SAPP’s top leadership.
Stung by Demokrasi Sabah (Desah) chairman Simon Simon’s comments that the State Reform Party (STAR) and SAPP had turned their guns on themselves, Yong denied his party adopted a misguided approach in the election
Sipaun, a respected former Suhakam (Malaysian Human Rights Commission) commissioner and retired Sabah state secretary had argued that the two local opposition parties had scuppered chances of a better showing in the election by going their own way and splitting the opposition vote.
By rejecting the one-on-one approach promoted by Desah, Sipaun said that the Jeffrrey Kitingan-led STAR and SAPP had not only dented the opposition’s chances of unseating the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition but had also shot themselves in the foot.
Overall, SAPP got well below 40,000 votes combined in the parliamentary and state constituencies where it put up candidates.
But Yong, who has never admitted to any mistake in his long career in politics, categorised Sipaun’s post-election analysis as unfair to the two parties.
He contended that Sipaun had lost sight of such real and more pressing issues like bribery, faulty electoral procedures, tainted electoral rolls, postal votes, vicious lies and lack of resources in his analysis.
Yong said his party was also at the receiving end of “vicious lies” by both Umno and DAP and the disorganised nature of the national opposition front had forced SAPP and STAR “to fight this very tough battle on our own”.
“SAPP was wiped out, as predicted by Sipaun, but SAPP retains our honour, our pride and our dignity as Sabahans who refused to be a “kerbau dicucuk hidung” (buffalo that is being led by its nose).
“ Sabahans with honour will (live to) fight another day,” he said.
Pakatan leaders snubbed Sipaun
Yong added that SAPP’s struggle was not a personal agenda for a few leaders to become elected representatives, but a struggle on Sabah issues.
In a direct message to Sipaun, Yong said: “We (SAPP leaders) and, I believe, STAR, too, met you on several occasions, we attended all of your forum and dialogues, we listened and listened.
“I personally had hoped that our (SAPP) support for Desah would (have) increased Desah’s clout to convince PKR,PAS,DAP to be more reasonable in their demands towards Sabah.
“We saw how SNAP (and recently PSM) were bullied (both were members of Pakatan).
“Eventually by February, the doors were closed by Lajim (Ukin) of PPPS, Wilfred Bumburing of APS and finally Azmin Ali of PKR, much to the delight of DAP,” said Yong in his open letter to Sipaun on Sunday.
Yong also claimed that while the Pakatan Rakyat’s front leadership were in no mood to listen to Sipaun or anybody from Desah, Sipaun had attended their functions which had only boosted their standing.
“Last last year, Lim Kit Siang spent an entire week in Sabah but snubbed you and all of us by refusing to attend the joint forum organised by Desah which STAR and SAPP had accepted.
“Desah could not even secure an appointment to meet Anwar,” he reminded.
SAPP, he said, had even kept its earlier promise not to put up candidates in the parliamentary seats of Tuaran, Beaufort, Kota Belud, Papar, Pensiangan, Batu Sapi, Keningau and Ranau in the May 5 elections.
SAPP also stayed away from Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and Penampang, which were won by Pakatan.
“The mishandling of Pakatan seat-sharing resulted in half the PKR divisions rebelling and bringing their machinery to Umno.
“(And) the much-touted PPPS (Lajim) and APS (Wilfred Bumburing) failed to deliver any MP seats,” he said.
In his own review of the election Yong said he noted with concern the continued racial polarisation among voters as shown by the results. He said seats with more than 40% Muslim Bumiputera were won by BN.
“Sabah Umno won all its seats with the sole exception of Klias, which Lajim won but won on the 2,000 Chinese votes. That was the reason that Lajim could win Klias but lose the Beaufort MP seat.
“All the other 11 state seats won by the opposition were overwhelmingly non-Muslim while in the Chinese areas, the bigger the Chinese majority, the bigger the opposition majority. That was the national trend up till May 5,” he pointed out.
Nationally, Umno regained nine MP seats, including Balik Pulau in Penang. Borneo contributed six new MPs to Pakatan which could only get one more seat in the peninsula, he noted.
“Extremely convinced by Anwar and Kit Siang that they will capture Putrajaya, 80% of urban, Chinese voted for Pakatan (even PAS) candidates irrespective of character.
“But in Malaya, there was a slight swing among Malays and Indians back to BN. In Borneo, the Muslim and a majority of natives stayed put with BN. These are the issues to look into,” he said.