Once the election is over, the whole pattern repeats itself. More new parties and more defections.
Sabah, regarded as the wild east of
Malaysian politics, is not for the
idealistic and faint-hearted.
Politics in Sabah is about raw power.
There is no such thing as political
allegiance. Nothing is impossible.
Next to the drought and food problems,
which have hit parts of Sabah, election
fever seems to have caught the attention
of Sabahans most.
The scramble for power has started
because Chief Minister Datuk Yong Teck Lee ends his tenure on May 28
slightly more than a month
There has been no announcement so far as
to who will succeed Yong but the general
acceptance is that it will be either
Datuk Joseph Kurup, who heads the Parti
Bersatu Rakyat Sabah, or Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, the Parti Demokratik Sabah
It is now the turn of the Kadazans to
take over the helm of the state
administration under its unique
sharing of power among the three
After the 1994 state polls, the chief
minister's post was held by Tan Sri
Sakaran Dandai, who later became the
Yang Dipertua Negeri.
Datuk Salleh Said Keruak then took over
the helm to represent the bumiputra,
followed by Yong for the Chinese
community in 1996.
Going by convention, Kurup is likely to
succeed Yong as he is also a deputy
Cynics said Kurup is favoured among the
Barisan component parties because he is the weakest of the two, saying his party had only two representatives Kurup and
Datuk Adib Sigoh, who defected
from Umno recently.
For Kurup, the state assemblyman for Sook, he will have to look for a new seat if polls are called tomorrow because under the new electoral boundaries, the Sook seat has disappeared.
Dompok, who was regarded as hawkish
while in PBS, is seen to have more
political clout with 17 state
It goes without saying that Kurup,
should he step into Yong's seat, can
expect himself to be strongly tested and
challenged in his decision-making.
Those who predict a snap polls have
argued that a Kadazan chief minister
will only materialise after the
The only man who can give the
go-ahead Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir
Mohamad hasn't given a single clue.
In fact, those who know the Prime
Minister can testify to his dislike for
More so, at this juncture, when all
resources have to be channelled towards
the economic recovery.
A state election at this point will mean
the use of money. And in Sabah, it means big money.
Although the state election is not due
until March next year, Sabah politicians
are not letting anyone put a damper on
their belief that elections are just
around the corner.
Even if the Barisan Nasional has to
serve the full term, it's only about a
year from now before polls have to be
Excitement has mounted with former Chief
Minister Datuk Harris Salleh announcing his little known Parti Bersekutu.
In the 1990 state polls, Harris attempted to set up Parti Angkatan Demokratik Liberal (Adil) but failed.
The season for defections, meanwhile, has started. Former Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) leader Datuk Mark Koding, who left to form the Akar Bersatu, is back in PBS.
So is Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, who
left PBS to join Akar after the 1994
state polls. Former state Gerakan chief Datuk Kong Hong Ming has returned to PBS.
New newspapers have, meanwhile, hit the streets of Sabah. Berita Sabah, said to
be linked to Dr Jeffrey, appeared about
a year ago, carrying mainly pro-PBS
The New Sabah Times, an English broadsheet, started publication recently. The
previous Sabah Times strongly backed
Yong's Sabah Progressive Party during the
An evening newspaper, Corridor, has
announced that it plans to come out by
the year's end.
When Sabah politicians go on their
ceramah rounds, they have to constantly
remind themselves what parties they are
Every promise and pledge made will be in
the name of the rakyat, but what could
be more embarrassing than a confused politician who contradicts himself?