At the end of this month, DS Najib and DS Anwar are going to Sabah. The former will see a bleak future for BN in Sabah. Anwar will be basking in increasing support from Sabahans, tired of being the 12th state in Malaysia. Sarawak on the other hand enjoys more autonomy. UMNO is not there, and its CM is determined by Sarawakians. Sabahans take stock of what is happening in the neigbouring state.
The CM of Sabah on the other hand, is determined by Kuala Lumpur. The non-Muslim majority has seen its dominance diluted by the infamous Project IC. Immigrants were given free passage into Sabah and were given citizenship. Most of them are Muslims thus swelling the number of Muslims in Sabah to about 40-45% now.
Anwar will be experiencing so many more Pensiangans. Pensiangan is a remote rural constituency south of KK. You have to undertake hazardous travel to get there. Yet when Anwar visited Pensiangan not too long ago, 7000 came to greet him.
Every child, old men and women chant ini kalilah continuously. Children tell their parents to take the RM500 that Najib gives because it’s our money from the taxes KL takes from us, but they still chant ini kalilah.
At weddings, guests come to visit the hosts. When their hands shake, guests say ini kalilah, prompting the hosts to plead, please don’t say that expression because this is a wedding. But the cries of ini kalilah, resonate across the whole of Sabah.
These are signs that BN cannot ignore. It reveals the changing political mood in Sabah. They point to the defeat of BN in Sabah despite the billions of Ringgit that will be poured into Sabah. An old woman in a remote area, when asked who she will vote this time, does not hesitate to say she will vote Anwar Ibrahim. She doesn’t know what party Anwar represents, but she and countless other `peasant’ voters will vote Anwar and his party.
Sabah has, if I am not mistaken gone through 11 elections. Only once did the Kadazans and Chinese support the Muslims and that was during Tun Datu Mustafa. Kadazans could become CM until UMNO came into the state. Now, the CM is determined by KL and this has raised the ire of Sabahans.
Muslims form about 40% of the population in Sabah. That’s about even to the population of Kadazan and Dusun. The Chinese constitute about 15% of the population. Now, if the Chinese combine with the KadazanDusuns, they will form the majority group in Sabah, at 55%. Or slightly more. Judging from the historical fact that Chinese/Kadazans supported Muslims only once during the 11 elections, there is more likelihood that the majority will throw their weight behind PR. That will give PR some 12 seats.
Some of the Muslim seats will also side with PR. Lajim Ukin is likely to take his Beufort seat. Yahya Lampong a political stalwart will probably stand in Kota Belud where he is expected to vanquish the incumbent. Bumburing will deliver his seat.
Let’s look at the political realities in Sabah. The Kadazans are unhappy at being sidelined most of the time. They have had to play second fiddle to the Muslims who are not the majority. Their dominance has been eaten away by Project IC where aliens were given citizenship in what is seen as a political project by Muslims to dilute the dominance of Kadazans and other non-Muslim Bumiputeras.
The Non-Muslim Bumiputeras enjoy better relations with the Sabah Chinese who are emerging as the crucial playmaker. It’s not difficult to see where the allegiance of the Chinese is with. They will combine with non-Muslim Bumiputeras to defeat the Muslim minority.
Sabah looks at Sarawak as a comparison. It sees the state enjoying more autonomy, has control over its resources and can determine their CM free from interference of KL.
How has UMNO governed Sabah all this while? It governs Sabah as how a ketua cawangan handles his cawangan. Assume a residential area with a population of 200. To set up a branch, the UMNO leader needs 50 members. So he gets 50 members, 26 being close relatives or close friends. He needs to take care of only the 26 ignoring the 24 members and the rest of the 150 residents. The UMNO leader distributes the spoils of political power among the 26 people, ignoring the rest of the 174.
That is how UMNO has run Sabah. It takes care of the bare minimum to ensure it stays in power and ignore the rest of the population. After years of doing that, it now suddenly realizes that the ignored majority has come of political age and is now going to assert their power.
So when Najib goes to Sabah this weekend, he will be met and cheered by those who have benefited from spoils distributed. When Anwar goes to Sabah , he will be met and cheered by the marginalized majority who has come of age. They will chant ini kalilah! And there are many of ini kalilah shouters than there are we love PM shouters.
There will be a revolution in Sabah.