A new post-BN, post-PR political scenario in Sabah could mean a new Chief Minister for Sabah – with Joseph Pairin or Salleh back as CM or Hajiji and Masidi as new CM
Yesterday, March 27, 2015, must go down as one the blackest days for Barisan Nasional for despite the Friday Cabinet meeting (replacing the weekly Wednesday Cabinet meeting when Parliament is in session), the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak continues to keep mum for the eighth day about UMNO/BN position on PAS President and MP for Marang Datuk Seri Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill on hudud implementation.
This is indeed most extraordinary for two reasons:
Firstly, Barisan Nasional leaders in particular from MCA and Gerakan had been telling the press that Najib would be making an announcement of UMNO/BN position on Hadi’s private member’s bill for the past week, with one national daily even publishing a front-page “exclusive” headline eight days ago that Najib would be making such a statement on that very same day;
Secondly, why should there be doubt about the UMNO/BN position on hudud law in Malaysia, when for 58 years, the first five Prime Ministers of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak, Tun Hussein, Tun Mahathir and Tun Abdullah would have no hesitation in declaring that hudud law is against the Federal Constitution, the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and unsuitable for the multi-racial and multi-religious nation like Malaysia, as this had always been one of the core nation-building principles of UMN/Barisan Nasional and previously Alliance for nearly six decades.
Why is Najib suffering such prolonged “labour pains”, now entering into the ninth day, to announce something which previous Prime Ministers and UMNO Presidents had no hesitation or problem in announcing?
Has the UMNO/BN position on hudud laws changed from those of previous Prime Ministers as well as of the BN coalition until March 2015, and if so, when did the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council meet to authorise such a change, whereby the Prime Minister could either announce support of Hadi’s private member’s bill or to “duck” the issue by not saying “yes” or “no” to Hadi’s private member’s bill?
It is in the face of such an eventuality, where both Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional are gravely damaged by the hudud law controversy, that I discussed the possibility of a new political landscape which is post-BN and post-PR before the 14th General Election, where there is a complete re-alignment of political forces based on upholding the Federal Constitution and the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and promoting good governance, freedom, justice and the rule of law in Malaysia.
Such a new political scenario will come about, for instance, if MPs from both sides of the Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat divide are prepared to take a common stand to defend the constitution and promote the rule of law and good governance.
In such a post-BN and post-PR new political scenario before the 14GE, we will be talking about a new Prime Minister, a new Malaysian Government and a new Cabinet.
Whether such a new post-BN, post-PR political landscape before 14GE can emerge will depend on the political wisdom of the political leaders in Malaysia.
Sabah will not be unaffected if there is such a new post-BN, post-PR political landscape before 14GE.
Yesterday, the Sabah Council of Churches declared that Putrajaya has an obligation to East Malaysia on the hudud law controversy.
Sabah Council of Churches president Jerry Dusing said that while the push for hudud is only for Muslims in Kelantan, the Sabah Christian community has a duty to voice concern.
“Our intention here is not to enter the political or legal debates, but to emphasise that the Federation of Malaysia, at her inception, is first and foremost a multi-religious and pluralistic society with rich varieties of culture,” Dusing said in a statement.
He added that it is on this basis, and guarantees from Malaysia’s forefathers, that Sabah and Sarawak had agreed to form the federation with Malaya.
“Hence, it would be inconsistent, and indeed a betrayal of the trust placed by Sabah’s forefathers in the Federation of Malaysia, for laws such as Kelantan’s hudud enactment – which would have a huge impact on the public as well as upon the multi-religious Malaysians society as a whole – to find a place in our federation, a nation envisaged to be secular at its formation,” he said.
Dusing cited the Cobbold Commission’s report which agreed that Islam would be the federation’s national religion but it would not jeopardise freedom of religion as the federation would be secular.
He added this was likewise expressed in the Malaysia Solidarity Consultative Committee memorandum a few months before the Cobbold Commission’s report.
Malaya’s representative on the Malaysia Solidarity Consultative Committee which drafted the memorandum to the Cobbold Commission was Cabinet Minister Khir Johari. The memorandum declared that “it is satisfied that the acceptance of Islam as the religion of the Federation would not endanger religious freedom within Malaysia nor will it make Malaysia a state less secular”.
Dusing said: “Therefore, the Sabah Council of Churches urges and calls upon all patriotic Malaysians, irrespective of religious persuasions and including the Kelantan state government, to honour and defend the original intention of our founding fathers and to strengthen the foundation of our federation, and above all, to focus and build on what unite us rather than what divide us.”
In failing to reaffirm loud and clear that hudud laws are against the Federal Constitution and the Malaysia Agreement 1963, Najib will be reneging on a five-decade-old commitment and core nation-building principle and policy.
It will also be a violation of the first guarantee of the triple guarantees in the famous Keningau Batu Sumpah on freedom of religion.
In these circumstances, Sabahans should also consider the possibility of a new political landscape which is post-BN and post-PR before the 14GE.
What such a new political scenario, post-BN, post-PR in Sabah before the 14 GE really imports is something to be worked out by political leaders in Sabah who have the vision, principles and honesty of purpose to envisage such a new political landscape.
A new post-BN, post-PR political scenario in Sabah could mean a new Chief Minister for Sabah – with Joseph Pairin Kitingan or Salleh Keruak back as CM or Hajiji Noor (Minister for Local Government and Housing) or Masidi Manjum (Minister for Tourism, Culture and Environment) as new CM.
The possibiities could be endless.