CONTEMPORARY MALAYSIA

con·tem·po·rar·y - Modern times in its generic sense, living, occurring, or existing, at the same time; often also used as a synonym for "modern" Ma·lay·sia - A country of southeast Asia consisting of the southern Malay Peninsula and the northern part of the island of Borneo.

Fellow Sabah BN MPs, do what you think is right…

News article taken from here


KOTA KINABALU, May 12— Datuk Yong Teck Lee is not a happy man. He has been upset since his request for the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) to contest the
Sandakan and Kota Kinabalu seats were rebuffed by the state Barisan Nasional leadership.

He has been disgruntled that his party has only two parliament and four state seats, remarking that the SAPP cannot forever be content with its limited political representation. He and his party are prime candidates to cross over to the Pakatan Rakyat, a move that will give the Opposition two more parliament seats and adding four state seats to the one they currently have.

Worse yet, the changing of political colours could set off a domino effect and embolden other MPs to join the Opposition.

That is why Yong Teck Lee’s name is on the lips of many BN politicians and why some of them are making a beeline for Sabah to appease him and persuade the former Chief Minister of Sabah that he will have a role to play in Kuala Lumpur, possibly as a senator.

But this olive branch may not be sufficient to entice Yong. He is prepared to wait a while and find out if Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi can hush his critics in Umno and stay on in power.

In this regard, he is like many other Sabah politicians who are upset with Abdullah for not recognising the role that the state played in keeping BN in power. They feel that Sabah and Sarawak should have obtained a large share of ministerial positions than states like Selangor.

Abdullah knows that they are restless and has made several promises to them including appointing more Sabahans to senior positions in the Federal civil service and government-linked companies. But they sense that the PM is vulnerable and are going for the jugular.

Today it was Datuk Seri Ghapur Salleh’s (BN-Kalabakan) turn to up the ante. Referring to rumours that many BN MPs in Sabah may join the Opposition, he said: “We have never jumped. We can move by simply forming a new party. Then we can decide as to where we want to sit, here or there."

Debating the Royal Address, he noted that Sabah had been sidelined by the federal government and had the Opposition breaking out in applause when he said: "Kita di Sabah mahu keadilan." Realising that there were Parti Keadilan Nasional politicians in the House, he declared that he wanted justice for Sabahans and was not referring to Anwar Ibrahim’s party.

He argued that Sabah and Sarawak formed the backbone of the Barisan Nasional but yet were not being treated fairly.

"Without Sabah and Sarawak there would be no BN government. Sabah and Sarawak has saved the Barisan Nasional. But what we got in return was three ministerial positions. There are double standards in the BN," he said. Sabah and Sarawak contributed 56 of the 140 parliamentary seats won by BN.

"We were given a portfolio to take care of the museums...is this fair?" he asked, referring to the Unity, Culture, Art and Heritage portfolio held by Datuk Shafie Apdal.

The other ministers are Bernard Dompok (Minister in the Prime Minister's Department) and Datuk Maximus Ongkili (Science, Technology and Innovations).

Ghapur said: "There is a state which has seven ministers while another lost to the Opposition has four Ministers," he said, referring to Johor and Selangor.

Ghapur wanted this imbalance to be addressed by a Cabinet reshuffle.

"I call on the Prime Minister to reshuffle his Cabinet to reflect the current power equation...If nothing is done to address the grouses raised by Sabah folk the state will fall into the hands of the Opposition. The political tsunami will hit us and the BN will lose, I will lose," he said.

He also asked for an increase in oil royalty from 5 percent to 20 percent, increasing the yearly allocation from RM500 million to RM2 billion.

"We can solve problems ourselves with that chunk of money," said the veteran politician, who told reporters later that he had not met Anwar Ibrahim to discuss crossing over to Pakatan Rakyat.

Ghapur is an influential politician in Sabah and his stark comments will unnerve Abdullah. The PM cannot afford any crossovers from Sabah and will have to move quickly to win over Yong, Ghapur and others. He has ruled out a Cabinet reshuffle until after Umno elections in December but may have to consider more meaningful gestures to politicians in the state in the mean time.

Otherwise, Abdullah could face more than just sabre-rattling words. He could face a revolt.