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.

Hahaha, as what we expected, BN do not dare to expel or sack SAPP from the coalition, let’s wait until next Monday to see what happens!!

News from The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The Barisan Nasional Supreme Council came together to slam Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) for its no-confidence motion on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, but stopped short of expelling its member party.

It has asked SAPP to explain party president Datuk Yong Teck Lee's actions and statements, after which a decision would be taken on whether to sack SAPP from the coalition.

In a statement read out by Barisan secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor after an emergency meeting on Thursday, all Barisan component parties also criticised SAPP's no-confidence motion as "unprincipled and unethical, and against the Barisan spirit."

The supreme council has also instructed all its Members of Parliament (MPs) to attend all sittings of Parliament while the issue remains unresolved, and to reject any no-confidence motion.

SAPP had earlier said it would support such a motion to be tabled in the next Parliament sitting on Monday, June 23. It had not decided if one of its two MPs -- Sepanggar MP Datuk Eric Enchin Majimbun and Tawau MP Datuk Dr Chua Soon Bui -- would table the motion, or whether MPs from another party would do it.

SAPP’s unprecedented move was announced on Wednesday by Yong, who said the no-confidence motion could spark off a groundswell within Barisan in the peninsula, Sarawak and Sabah.

Yong had also revealed that he had met Parti Keadilan Rakyat advisor and de facto opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim twice.

Yong cited the “continued insensitive attitude of the Government towards serious issues in Sabah” as the main reason SAPP decided to move a motion of no-confidence against the Prime Minister.

These issues included getting 20% oil royalties instead of the present 5%, the return of Labuan, poverty eradication, rural development, racial politics, illegal immigrants, crime and drugs.

He added that the people of Sabah were also suffering from high inflation because of recent “astronomical” and “unexpected” fuel price hikes, which was contrary to a Barisan election promise.

Reaction within Barisan ranks to SAPP’s announcement on Wednesday was varied. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said the party can accommodate dissenting voices and didn’t think there was a need to expel SAPP from the coalition party.

“It’s their right to express their views,” he said.

However, other leaders came down hard, with Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam asking for SAPP’s expulsion, describing its motion as “undisciplined, undemocratic and irresponsible.”

The SAPP blog is also running two polls on the matter.

The first is on whether its no-confidence motion was relevant at all. At press time, 1,894 had voted, with 1,804(95%) saying yes.

The second, which began yesterday, was on whether SAPP should remain in Barisan. As at press time, 7,686 had voted, with an overwhelming majority (6,640 or 86%) saying it should leave Barisan and join the Pakatan Rakyat opposition alliance.

Only 238 or 3% urged it to stay with Barisan, while 808 (about 10%) wanted it to leave Barisan but remain unaligned.

This is the headlines of the day, when SAPP at 2pm at their HQ in Kota Kinabalu held a media conference, stating that their MPs will move a motion of no-confidence against the PM when Parliament reconvenes next Monday, 23rd of Jun 2008. Will it be done or will it not be? Meanwhile Lim Kit Siang mentioned in his blog that there is litte possibility that can be tabled and debated next Monday. More to come next? This is getting quite interesting...News below taken from here. Do watch the video of the media conference and also.

KOTA KINABALU (June 18, 2008): Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Datuk Seri Panglima Yong Teck Lee today declared that his party had lost confidence in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, further fuelling speculation that the Chinese-based party will leave the ruling front on Friday (June 20).

He claimed that the party's two Members of Parliament (Sepanggar and Tawau) would support a motion for a vote of no confidence against the prime minister in the coming Parliament sitting on Monday (June 23).

Whether the motion will be tabled by the two MPs or another MP will be decided in due course, the party said in a statement.

Yong, who was a former Sabah Chief Minister, said party deputy president, Sepanggar MP Datuk Eric Enchin Majimbun, who is now overseas on official duty, had made his stand in a signed press statement, while Tawau MP Datuk Dr Chua Soon Bui, who is a party vice-president, will also take a similar position in a signed statement.

"Whether the motion will be tabled by our MPs or another MP will be decided in due course," he told a press conference.

Bernama quoted Yong as saying Eric is expected to return to Malaysia in time for the Parliament session on June 23.

SAPP is one of the 14 components of the Barisan Nasional (BN), the ruling coalition in the federal government.

Chua, who was present in the press conference, said in her statement that SAPP is of the opinion that if the top leadership cannot perform, then he should make way for other able leader to take over.

"People have lost confidence in the present leadership of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Even Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and other Umno leaders have asked their own president to step down," she said.

She added that no concrete actions had been taken despite repeated requests made by SAPP to the PM on illegal immigrants. "Our sovereignty is threatened."

She said the people, especially in Sabah, "the poorest state", are burdened by the sharp fuel price hikes, and there are no holistic economic solutions planned.

"We would fail in our role as elected representatives if the issues raised by the Sabah people on poor delivery systems, corruption, wastage of resources, lack of transparency and no sense of accountability were ignored. These issues have been similarly expressed by my MP colleagues from Umno, Datuk Ghapur (Salleh), Datuk Anifah (Aman) and Datuk Bung Mokhtar."

According to a statement posted on SAPP's official website under "breaking news" today, SAPP is calling a press conference after its supreme council meeting on Friday (June 20) to address the question of the party's membership in the BN.

On why it is making this stand now, the statement said it was because there is a window of opportunity which closes by August after which Sabah would be "forgotten" again.

"The nation's attention would switch to MCA and Umno elections, people will be pre-occupied with the fasting month, Hari Raya, school exams and year end events. Political fatigue in the national mainstream over Sabah issues would set in."

The food and energy crises have compounded the problems faced by Sabah and made its claim for a 20% oil royalty a more urgent one, so that she could "insulate" themselves from the effects of rising oil prices. The federal government had said no to this request.

In the 2008 polls, Umno won 13 parliament and 36 state seats, MCA (one state), PBS (three parliament, 11 state), Upko (four parliament and four state), PBRS (one parliament, one state), LDP (one parliament, three state). DAP has one parliament and a state seat.

Key facts on Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP)

-Registered on Jan 21, 1994, and founded by Datuk Seri Panglima Yong Teck Lee after resigning from the ruling Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) on Jan 20 also as deputy president of PBS as well as Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Industrial Development in the state cabinet.

-It contested in state elections, only weeks after its formation.

-Under BN's Chief Minister rotation system, Yong was made chief minister in 1996 for two years.

-It currently has two MPs and four state assemblymen, namely Datuk Liew Teck Chan (Likas), Melanie Chia Chui Ket (Luyang), Au Kam Wah (Elopura) and Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah (Tanjong Papat).

REACTION to Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Datuk Yong Teck Lee's statement yesterday that his party had lost confidence in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and that the party's two MPs would support a motion for a vote of no confidence against the prime minister when the Dewan Rakyat resumes sitting on Monday:

-Parti Keadilan Rakyat de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim congratulated the bravery of SAPP and its two MPs for defending the rights of Malaysians, and especially those of Sabahans.

He said he had two discussions with Datuk Yong Teck Lee on good governance and dedication to the principles of accountability.

He said PKR's commitment to Sabahans, bumiputra and otherwise, include 20% oil royalties to Sabah, Sarawak and Terengganu, as well as proportionate and just representation for Sabah and Sarawak.

"I call upon other friends to act quickly in order to guarantee stable politics and efficient economic management that will lead to dynamic growth and equitable distribution," Anwar said.

-MCA president and MP for Kulai Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting said his party will stand steadfastly with Abdullah and the coalition

"The economy is suffering from escalating inflationary pressures, rising food and fuel prices now. The country and the people are going through very challenging times. What the country needs now is political and economic stability," he said.

"It would be best that all of us, both the BN and the PR, accept the results of the 12th general election. Our priority should be to continue to work hard to fulfill our election pledges, restore confidence and stability for the nation."

-MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said the party, with about 630,000 members, will remain loyal with BN and continue to support the prime minister.

He has instructed the three MIC members of parliament to support the prime minister especially in parliament. This is the first time we have a BN component party not supporting the prime minister. We will not let the prime minister down because he was elected by the people."

-Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said he found it "unusual" for SAPP to support or move a no-confidence motion against the prime minister and yet still remain in the BN. He said their move would have been more effective if they were to leave the coalition.

No provision for no-faith motion

Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP)'s bid to be make history by supporting a vote of no-confidence in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Monday (June 23) when the Dewan Rakyat resumes meeting, may not happen as planned.

The Parliamentary Standing Orders do not have special provision for a no-confidence motion, and as such it needs to be tabled as an ordinary motion under Standing Order 27, which requires 14 days notice.

Veteran MP and former parliamentary opposition leader Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timur) said he saw little possibility of this motion being tabled on Monday.

"The only way for a no-confidence motion to be tabled and debated on Monday is for the Speaker to treat it as a substantive and extraordinary motion which should take precedence and priority over all parliamentary business which does not need to comply with the requisite 14-day notice and publishing it as the first item of parliamentary business after Question Time in the Parliamentary Order of Business on Monday," he said in a statement today.

"In doing so, however, the Speaker is likely to be in direct loggerheads with the government of the day and must be prepared to pay the consequences of such a decision."

Lim said there had never been any no-confidence motion against the prime minister in Malaysian parliamentary history.

Wow wow wow, looks like all those heavyweights from a certain political party are heading to Sabah, got what there ah?

Looks like they are afraid that few of the component parties from BN Sabah may leave the coalition, now only you guys are afraid? Elections by elections have you guys ever concerned or take a look at East Malaysians? Aren’t we part of Malaysia as well? No lah, you those East Malaysians are part of Malaysia also what, only when election time comes lah. Promises after promises were being made to make us Sabahan to vote for you, then after you have won, we don’t see much changes, roads also not tarred, kampungs without electricity and water, illegal immigrants increasing day by day. But you guys said everthing is OK. Hmm WE hope SAPP, PBS, UPKO will leave BN!!! Chances only come once it a while, so grab it while you can!! Defect bah!! Sabah is for Sabahan!!

News below taken from The Sun

BN big guns head for Sabah

PETALING JAYA (June 17, 2008): Several Barisan Nasional (BN) top guns, including Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor and Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, are in Sabah to pre-empt a domino effect in case a component party quits the coalition as rumoured.

Word that three, and not just one, as hinted by Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, BN component parties from the state may abandon ship have the BN leaders making a beeline for the Land Below the Wind to prevent a shift in political landscape.

According to a report in Oriental Daily News today, aside from the Datuk Yong Teck Lee-led Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), speculation is rife that Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), which is headed by Kadazandusun paramount leader Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitinggan, and Tan Sri Bernard Dompok's Upko (United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation) may also leave the coalition.

Upko has four MPs, whereas PBS and SAPP have three and two MPs respectively.

BN controls all 25 parliamentary seats in the state except Kota Kinabalu which went to DAP in the March 8 general election.

If the three parties indeed leave the coalition but opt not to join the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR), BN will still have 131 MPs (49 more than PR's) and not under any threat of being toppled, but such a development will serve to boost the Opposition's morale at the crucial time and allow PR to up the ante against BN.

A Sabah Umno man told the daily that Sabahans know the rules of the game well as far as party-hopping is concerned.

"(In Sabah) You've to try your best to be both the 'peg' and the 'hole' and you don't rule out any possibility."

Apart from the rumoured rendezvous with Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in Hongkong and the Philippines, some leaders of Sabah BN component parties are said to have met Tengku Razaleigh, who is eying the Umno No. 1 post, for possible cooperation should the Umno veteran win in the party election.

Anwar, being the one-time Umno leader tasked with Sabah affairs, knows the in and out of Sabah politics, and with the help of PKR state chief, he can create a political storm in the state. The BN top leadership is trying its best to keep the situation under control.

Apart from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who flew into the state today, Khairy Jamaluddin (Umno youth vice-chief) has been in Kota Kinabalu for the past days, and Tengku Adnan (BN secretary-general) arrived in the state on Monday.

Also in the state are Rural and Regional Development Minister Tan Sri Muhammad Muhd Taib and Nor Mohamed (second finance minister).

The report said Nor Mohamed posed the sensitive question of party-hopping during his meeting with Pairin on Sunday but did not get a reply.

It is understood that Sabah parties are asking for the 5% oil royalty to be increased to 20% and want a solution to the problem of illegal immigrants in the state.

Sources told the daily that although several BN component parties in the state are considering quitting the coalition, they have no intention of joining PR yet.

This is seen as a tactical move to keep their bargaining power.

But this will no doubt lend credence to PR's plan to take control of the federal government by Sept 16, or Malaysia Day.

A poll being carried out by SAPP ( showed 42% of the respondents believe the party should leave the BN, 47% say it should join PR and only 9% want it to remain with the coalition.

The report said the three parties have different reasons for wanting to leave the BN – from grudges with Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman to 'sibling' rivalry.

It is understood that SAPP was not happy that it was not given the Kota Kinabalu seat to contest, and Yong felt he was denied the chance to contest the election as a result.

Rubbing salt to his wound was the fact that after the election the Liberal Democratic Party's only MP, party president Datuk V.K. Liew, was named deputy minister of international trade and industry, when his SAPP, which has two MPs, did not get any post.

Upko's Dompok cannot see eye to eye with the federal government on certain religious issues.

There is also talk that Dompok is also not happy that he was given only the post of Minister in the Prime Minister's Department whereas PBS No. 2 Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili is holding the Science, Technology and Innovation Minister's post.

It is also an open secret that Dompok is not on good terms with Musa.

On the other hand, PBS has made no secrets of its anti-illegal immigrant sentiments and its resentment that the federal government is not doing very much to overcome the problem.

Oops, yes yes these were the words conveyed from the Gerakan Federal Territories chairman Datuk Dr Tan Kee Kwong, who has been suspended at this moment, to his party leaders for taking up a post with the Selangor government.

Well I really salute your determination and courage to speak up against the Gerakan party leaders. And a warm welcome to Datuk Dr Tan Kee Kwong from the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat Government, the government for the people, chosen by the people of Selangor !!

News article below taken from NST

Go jump into the Klang River. That was the message from Gerakan Federal Territories chairman Datuk Dr Tan Kee Kwong to his party leaders after he learned that he had been suspended for taking up a post with the Selangor government. “If they don’t like me helping the people, they can go jump into the Klang River,” Dr Tan said. Besides being suspended, Dr Tan has been issued another show-cause letter to explain within seven days why further action, including expulsion, should not be taken against him. Earlier in the day, Dr Tan said he might contest a higher post in the party when he was asked whether he had replied to the first show-cause letter. (He replied on Wednesday.)

“I am an obedient party member, but now I have to seriously consider my options in the party,” he said later in the afternoon. “But I want to know, as a newly-elected branch chairman after winning unopposed, is this one of the ways to block me from contesting a national post,” the defiant and combative Dr Tan asked.

Insisting that he has done nothing wrong, he said he will leave it to the public to be the judge on what is more important — helping a state government and its people, or petty manoeuvring within the party.

Dr Tan recently accepted the Selangor government’s offer to head a task force on land matters, making him the second Gerakan leader to serve under a Pakatan Rakyat-led government.

Former Gerakan deputy secretary-general Datuk Lee Kah Choon earlier accepted the directorship of the Penang Development Corporation and investPenang in DAP-led Penang. Lee has since resigned from Gerakan. Dr Tan also revealed that in his reply to the first show-cause letter, he explained why he accepted the Selangor government post.

“It (Selangor government) is a legal organisation, not a kongsi gelap (secret society). Judging from my (party) bosses’ reaction, are they bowing to Umno again?” he asked.

However, Gerakan secretary-general Datuk Seri Chia Kwang Chye said Dr Tan should know the party’s position not to condone any party leader or member accepting posts in agencies or committees in any Pakatan Rakyat state governments.

Chia said Dr Tan had accepted the Selangor government offer without consulting or informing the party’s central leadership or even his colleagues in the
Federal Territory.

In a statement, he said the CWC found Dr Tan’s two reasons for accepting the appointment as unacceptable.

Dr Tan had stated that he accepted the Selangor government offer due to his close friendship with the menteri besar and his desire to serve the people through a position of power.

Chia said after the March 8 general election results, Gerakan leaders decided that the party would assume a role as a constructive opposition to the five Pakatan Rakyat state governments while promoting reform within Barisan Nasional and Gerakan itself.

“Therefore, a clear distinction has to be made in terms of government positions. Moreover, most party leaders and members were not given any position of power even when BN ruled the state but we still managed to serve the people,” he said.

Chia said the CWC also took note of Dr Tan’s defiance in openly criticising the leadership before and after accepting the appointment.

He quoted Dr Tan as telling the press that Gerakan did not value him, besides other television interviews which were intended to damage the party’s image.

“We decided to suspend him and ask him to explain why he should not be sacked from the party because of his negative attitude and approach,” he added.

Let’s support trams for Penang!! News taken from here.

GEORGE TOWN (June 4) : Citizens groups in Penang have initiated a lobby to have the billion-ringgit monorail project replaced with a tram system in the state.

The movement stems from an increasingly popular notion that the monorail is far too costly and would bring about adverse effects to the heritage streets and green landscape of Penang.

'Penangites for Tram' campaign coordinator Anil Netto explained that investment required for developing a tram network would be much lower than for constructing the monorail.

"The tram is a more substantial choice as we can revive the system based on already existing old tram lines that Penang used to have, thereby eliminating excessive additional costs," he said.

Netto said trams would blend in with George Town’s heritage and greenery, while the monorail would obstruct views of buildings and mar the attractiveness of the island.

He said a good tram system would also encourage people not to drive private vehicles within the town area, allowing them to save following the increase in fuel charges.

"If we give the people a better alternative in public transport, there will be less traffic congestion and more parking spaces in town," he said.

As the roads of Penang are narrow, they suited the concept of the trams, he added. The campaign is currently being supported by 25 bloggers and websites.

Heritage writer Khoo Salma Nasution noted that the Penang Island Municipal Council was the first local government to introduce electric trams in the inner city in the early part of the last century.

"People think the tram is a thing of the past, but they are wrong because it is actually the thing of the future," she said.

"It is clean, energy saving and user-friendly not to mention fast, efficient and also cheap."

She said the tram could provide an iconic identity for Penang and help revitalise the heritage of the inner city.

Khoo, who published a book titled ‘Penang Trams, Trolleybuses & Railways: Municipal Transport History 1880s-1963’,said trams could also help traffic calming in Penang’s roads.

Aliran and Penang Heritage Trust activist Ahmad Chik said the campaign is calling for a traffic master plan for Penang that would include feasibility studies for trams as compared to monorails and underground transit systems.

The issue of illegal immigrants in Sabah has been going on for more than 30 years, but seems that no action is taken. I think its time for a change of Government. Article taken from MT.

By Stan Yee, Kota Kinabalu

So the Moro National Liberation Front leader Nur Misuari has threatened to take his claim on Sabah to the International Court of Justice.

Sabahans are not particularly rattled by such litigation and regard it as less a threat than the human tide from Southern Philippines that has swept through Sabah virtually unchecked for well over 30 years. The influx has reached a stage where there is real fear that where Misuari’s claim fails our porous borders and the lackadaisical handling of the influx by the federal government will help him succeed in making Sabah part of the Philippines, in substance if not in form. Even if the influx is stopped now the one-million plus immigrants who are already here, coupled with the high birthrate among them have already set the clock ticking towards that eventuality.

The territorial claim may not cause a ripple on the geopolitical scene. It is a non-issue, to use Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman’s words. So far we have relied on our right to self-determination to defend our rejection of the claim. That’s why Datuk Rais Yatim confidently brandished the Cobbold Commission Report, as it were, when he commented on the Philippines government’s claim to Sabah. But if one may toy with a poser, in the unlikely event that the claim goes to the ICJ, and in the even more unlikely event that the ICJ ordered another referendum, UN sponsored or otherwise, will there be a chance, however remote, that self-determination this time around may turn out differently, seeming that the demographic factor of Sabah has changed? The possession of MyKad as qualification to take part in the referendum would come in handy for tens of thousands of Filipinos residing in Sabah, thanks to “Project IC”.

The Sabah claim has come from two quarters, one by descendants of the Sultan of Sulu to whom Malaysia still pays “Cession Money” annually, and the other by the government in Manila based simply on the logic that what purports to belong to the Sultan of Sulu – or his heirs - also belongs to the Republic of the Philippines.

Granted, few in Semenanjung know much about Sabah’s history, or the claim, but when Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Rais Yatim said that the Philippines claim to Sabah is only made by a “small group that is political in nature”, and that Malaysia does not consider it as an official claim, that is surprising, to put it mildly. The Philippines passed a law many years ago to declare Sabah their territory, and for good measure published a map that included Sabah as part of the Philippines. They have not rescinded these declarations of sovereignty over Sabah despite many changes of presidents since Ferdinand Marcos. Furthermore, despite our numerous requests they have consistently refused to set up a consulate in Kota Kinabalu, obviously to drive home the point that you do not set up a consulate in your own territory. Yet we close our eyes while waiting for a diplomatic note from the Philippines that officially proclaims the country’s suzerainty over Sabah. Bung Moktar was right, we ought to deal with the Philippines more forcefully. Diplomatic niceties have got us nowhere. Meanwhile, the Filipinos in Sabah quietly tell their children that Sabah is theirs, whatever the people of Sabah may say.

That leads us to the proposed Royal Commission of Inquiry that DAP tried to present in Parliament recently. The whole idea of the proposed Royal Commission is not so much to directly bring about the repatriation of the illegals as it is to establish the truth about the “Project IC” issue that bears on the citizenship status of tens of thousands of Filipinos in Sabah. The idea is, having established their status, the government under Pak Lah will then be able to decide more confidently what to do with those who obtained their MyKad by fraudulent means, if it truly wishes to do the right thing about the illegals. But, first, it must establish the facts about Project IC.

Some people in leadership position appear to be of two minds about having a royal commission. In a recent statement the Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman said that a concerted effort by all concerned would probably produce better results than setting up the proposed royal commission. He was of course correct in the sense that whatever findings and recommendations that come out of the commission’s inquiry would still have to be considered by the government for possible action, and action must necessarily involve a concerted effort by many government agencies.

But let it be said that the problem has festered for more than 30 years and the idea of “concerted effort” to deal with the problem is not new. Regrettably, today we are no nearer to finding a solution than when the problem first began to cause concern in the seventies.

Of course, one would much prefer that we do not have to resort to a royal commission which is costly, time consuming and a step that may lead right to where we were in the 70s. But as the supposed concerted effort by the government enforcement agencies has not produced the desired results, many people want to know why. This is where the inquiry commission may be able to shed some light on the problem. But few in Sabah are so naïve as to consider such a panel a total remedy. As a big part of the problem stems from the granting of citizenships to tens of thousands of Filipinos and a smaller number of Indonesians through the “Project IC” scheme allegedly directed in secrecy at the topmost level of the federal government, getting to the bottom of this allegation is expected to be fraught with difficulties. You need to interrogate big shots who can simply ignore your “invitation” to give evidence, who refuse to answer questions that they do not like or simply tell fibs. This is why we need a royal commission with quasi-judicial powers, even though these powers are restricted to the "Terms of Reference" of the commission and possibly also a date by which the commission must finish its work.

Because of its quasi-judicial powers and the likelihood that it will comprise people who command respect and presumably untarnished by any known scandal, a Royal Commission may have sufficient clout to get to the bottom of the illegals problem. The work will involve research into the issue, consultations with people in the know both within and outside of the government. The warrant may grant immense investigatory powers, including summoning witnesses under oath, seizing of documents and other evidence, including those protected by the OSA, and enlisting the assistance of the government officials. In the process of the open inquiry, the daily report of interrogations would highlight many of the problems that led to the intractable problems of the illegals in this country. That in themselves may throw light on the way our government functioned during the three decades that saw Sabah slide to its depth of misery.

But, ultimately, the solution rests on the nation’s political will to solve the problem. The findings of the royal commission together with recommendations could of course be highly influential and can lead to important decisions. On the other hand, though, they could also lead to a cul-de-sac and be completely ignored by the government if such a political will doesn’t exist. A case in point is the report of the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysia Police. This Royal Commission was established by the King in February 2004 under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1950. In its voluminous report, submitted to the Prime Minister on 29 April, 2005 and released to the public just a little over a month later, the Commission made 125 recommendations focusing on three main areas that called for reform – the high crime rate, high degree of corruption and violation of human rights by the police. From the scant reports about implementation it seems obvious that most of the recommendations have yet to be carried out by the government. There is fear that the report will suffer the same fate as most government reports – shelved and forgotten.

The report of the Royal Commission on the Lingam video clip case does not appear to have fared any better either. All that the Commission seems to have achieved after establishing the authenticity of the video clips and the identities of the six people involved in the judicial brokering scandal is to break the raging fever that had led to its creation. The government is left to deal with the aftermath, apparently uncertain what to do next. The news that the ACA has now begun to look into those involved appears to have brought the matter right back to square one. For all the power given to the high profile Commission, it has not delivered the “shock and awe” as many expected and has gone no further than making a prima facie case for the findings to go before the ACA for further investigations that would lead to charges being filed against the six.

Despite the clamour for its creation to deal with the illegals, a royal commission can even backfire and end up stifling criticism against the government, without actually doing anything. This is especially likely if the commission includes persons from the opposition camp and NGOs as well, which it should to give the inquiry an aura of neutrality and transparency. The cushioning effect comes when the sobering realities of what can and cannot be done are fully explored and shared in a bi-partisan or politically neutral working group. Also, while those concerned are fixated on the royal commission’s investigations, the on-going measures to solve the problem - little though they may be - may stall.

Sabahans may not be all starry-eyed about what a royal commission can or cannot do, but they would still like to see the government institute a public inquiry into this matter of great importance and controversy. What the people of Sabah want to establish is that the “Project IC” did exist – if the past tense is appropriate - and is not just a figment of the imagination of some people. Through an in-depth investigation we may truly come to grips with the problem. For one thing, it may unravel the phenomenal increase of Sabah’s population – as high as 300% over the last 30 years by some unofficial estimates – but especially a 12 per cent increase during the period between 2002 and 2007, from 2,730,100 to 3,063,600 people, as disclosed by the Prime Minister's Department in a written reply to a question from Sepanggar MP Datuk Eric Majimbun in Parliament recently. I suppose we can take that as official. The Royal Commission should be able to link the extraordinary increase to the Project IC.

So far the government has not made any official stand on the “Project IC” allegation. This raises more suspicion that there is an attempt at cover-up, and the very act of ignoring such a great weight of public opinion that seeks the truth is tantamount to a slight, an act of disrespect to the people of Sabah who have every reason to worry about the future of their state which they erroneously thought would be well defended as part of Malaysia.

If the federal government has nothing to hide then it should be open to a public inquiry. If there have been shady deals these were shady deals of the Mahathir era which the present administration can try to put right. Time is of the essence here. The longer the delay in getting to the truth, the more Pak Lah’s administration will be regarded as a party to the Project IC deal that has caused so much resentment in Sabah.

By exposing it and the personalities who perpetrated it we can move on. We can at least start in the knowledge that the tens of thousands of Filipinos and a great many Indonesians who have been granted the MyKad identification documents did not qualify to get them and must be dealt with in whatever way the present government considers just and proper and consistent with the security considerations of Sabah. Unless the Project IC controversy is sorted out, the law enforcement personnel assigned to deal with the illegals have nothing authoritative to guide them and may therefore think they are justified in exercising their own discretion in dealing with people whom Sabahans looked upon as foreigners and illegals.

When the DAP proposed a motion to set up the Royal Commission, what a pity it was shot down. It is a pity because for too long the people of Sabah have been ranting and raving about this problem without receiving much attention from the federal government as if it is purely a Sabah problem and not a problem that concerns Malaysia’s national security and territorial integrity. It is even more a pity that solving the problem of the illegals in Sabah is a “favour” that can be made to look like some windfalls granted by the PM on a whirlwind visit, along with some development funds, a couple of appointments and some sundry items to keep the disgruntled in Sabah quiet for a while.

Well, not this time. The Prime Minister must do much more than chucking in some token “concessions” to keep Sabahans quiet. For three decades the high and mighty in KL have made our beautiful Sabah a pawn in their political game to counteract the combined political strength of the KDM and Chinese communities, even to the extent of changing the demographic landscape of Sabah. They left the door wide open to outsiders, even to people from a neighbouring country that lays claim to our state. That is a very serious dereliction of duty, even high treason, no matter how one looks at it.

The time for reckoning is now. But first, Sabah leaders must grow up and recognise that where Sabah’s territorial integrity is concerned they must all work together even if KL has other agenda. There is no room for partisan politics in this matter, not among Sabahans.

What is wrong here? Seems that the present Government is only good at increasing prices of everything in the market. That’s why it’s called the Government of Barang Naik lah. News taken from The Star.

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Wednesday announced price hikes for petrol, diesel and electricity.

He said the new price for petrol is RM2.70 a litre, effective midnight tonight. The price goes up by 78sen from the current RM1.92, a hike of 40%.

Abdullah also announced that the price of diesel would be increased by RM1 from RM1.58 to RM2.58.

He also said that Tenaga Nasional Bhd would be raising electricity rates by 18% for homes and 26% for business users.

The announcements are part of the new fuel subsidy plan.

Abdullah also announced a RM625 annual cash rebate per vehicle, for owners of private vehicles with engine capacities of up to 2,000cc, as well as pickup trucks and jeeps with engine capacities of up to 2,500cc.

Owners of private motorcycles with engine capacities of up to 250cc will receive RM150.

Payment will be made via Money Order upon renewal of road tax, from July 1.

For owners of private vehicles with engine capacities exceeding 2000cc, road tax will be reduced by RM200.

Owners of private motorcycles with engine capacities above 250 cc will get RM50 reduction in road tax.