Historic Sandakan by-election has pulverised two myths: that PH/Warisan governments are only for one-term and the invincibility of the shameless “Malu Apa Bossku” campaign

The historic Sandakan by-election result has pulverised two myths in Malaysian politics – that the Pakatan Harapan/Warisan governments in Putrajaya and Sabah are only one-term governments and the invincibility of the shameless “Malu Apa Bossku” campaign to give a new lease of life to former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

At a news conference in Sandakan two days before polling on May 11, I outlined three possible scenarios in the Sandakan by-election:

First scenario – PBS victory because of the UMNO-PAS tie-up and campaign. UMNO claimed to have 9,700 members in Sandakan, and if UMNO successfully mobilised its 9,700 members to vote, with the promised 150% UMNO support by former UMNO bigwig Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, together with the final appearance of Najib in Sandakan in his shameless “Malu Apa “ new campaign, and the votes amassed by the grand opposition coalition in Sabah, victory for the PBS candidate was on the cards.

Second scenario – DAP candidate Vivian Wong win the Sandakan by-election with a majority of a few thousand votes, confirming the support of the Sandakan voters for the DAP, Pakatan Harapan and the Warisan-led Sabah State Government.

With the low voter turn-out rate on polling day, PH/Warisan leaders thought that the best the DAP candidate could achieve in the Sandakan by-election was a small victory with a majority of some two thousand votes.

But it was the third scenario that eventuated despite the shameless “Malu Apa Bossku” campaign of Najib in Sandakan on Friday evening and Saturday morning and the “150 per cent UMNO support”.

DAP candidate Vivian Wong created a political miracle despite the low political turnout of 54.4% of the voters compared to 71% of the electorate in the 14th General Election, with Vivian Wong winning 74.18% of the total votes as compared to 67.97% in the 14th General Election.

Vivian Wong joined a score of parliamentary constituencies where over 95% of the Chinese voters and the majority of the bumiputera voters in the voter turnout voted for her.

The Sandakan by-election was a rare achievement which is a ringing endorsement not only for DAP, Pakatan Harapan and the Warisan-led Sabah State Government, but a great boost and support for the start of second year in the agenda for change for a New Malaysia, New Sabah and New Sandakan.

The future can only better and brighter, as Pakatan Harapan and Warisan forged ahead to keep faith with the people of Sandakan, Sabah and Malaysia to build a New Sandakan, a New Sabah and a New Malaysia.

The analysis of the Sandakan by-election on the “twitter finance” website, entitled “Najib ‘Bossku’ turns ‘Cuckoo’ – Sabah Borneo Rejects Extremism and Racism, Becomes PH Fixed Deposit” describes the situation very aptly when it said:

“Unfortunately to the racist UMNO, Sabah is a different animal altogether. UMNO’s campaigning style and race politics – cursing and accusing DAP of being anti-Malay, anti-Muslim and anti-Islam – are not acceptable in the Borneo. In Sandakan, and Sabah for that matter, Chinese, Bugis, Suluk, Bajau, Muslim Bumiputra actually live harmoniously and peacefully for ages.

The “Malaya style politics” promoted by Najib Razak and Mohamad Hasan were not only unwelcome, but was also despised by the local ethnics entirely. Sabah UMNO Chief Bung Moktar Radin had promised to deliver 9,700 UMNO votes for PBS. The corrupt and disgraced Mr. Bung might have even promised free cash to mobilize the crowd to greet Najib at Giant hypermarket.

But judging by Linda’s pathetic 4,491 votes, it appeared that the people of Sabah are smarter than Najib Razak, Mohamad Hasan and Bung Moktar combined. To be fair, the real hero who had contributed to the landslide victory for DAP is none other than Sabah Chief Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal. There’s a reason why Vivian thanked his late father and Shafie after the victory.

Without Mr. Shafie and his Parti Warisan Sabah’s effective campaign, some of the Muslim Bumiputra in Sabah could have fallen prey to UMNO racism and PAS extremism campaigns. Yes, in a way, the Sandakan by-election was a personal war between Najib Razak and Shafie Apdal, whom the former premier had sacked and even made to wear the MACC orange suits.

After Shafie was fired as UMNO Vice President for questioning Najib’s 1MDB scandal, he was arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on Oct 19, 2017 – under Najib administration. The former rural and regional development minister’s house was subsequently raided for alleged misappropriation of RM1.5 billion. However, no money was found.

In comparison, US$681 million (RM2.6 billion) was found in Najib’s personal account. But he was never arrested, until the Barisan Nasional government was toppled last May. When his children’s luxury Pavilion Residences condominiums were raided, an eye-popping RM117 million cash together with RM1 billion worth of 12,000 pieces of jewellery, 567 handbags, 423 watches and 234 sunglasses were found.

Perhaps Bugis, Suluk, Bajau, Muslim Bumiputra and other natives in Sabah have dignity and understood the meaning of shame, unlike UMNO-Malays and PAS-Malays who continue worship Najib Razak despite his ongoing trials. The Sabahan may be poorer and extremely concerned about security and money issues. But they hate race politics and radicalized Islamist even more.

Perhaps Najib and Hasan didn’t get the memo. UMNO President Ahmad Zahid Hamidi lost 21 of the 25 UMNO division heads, nine of 10 of its assemblymen, five of six MPs and two senators in the state of Sabah last December, reducing UMNO’s 54 MPs to just 43. They quit just four days after the anti-ICERD demonstration, obviously disgusted and angered by UMNO Peninsular’s excessive racism and extremism.

The fabulous victory in Sandakan for DAP is indeed a sweet revenge for Shafie Apdal. He has proven that in Sabah, he’s the real boss, not the fake “boss” Najib. It was a slap in the face for Najib’s online moniker “Bossku”, despite the amazing fact that the phrase actually ori­ginated in Sabah. More importantly, Sabah has become the fixed deposit of Pakatan Harapan.”

On behalf all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region, the voters of Sandakan have replied to Najib’s shameless “Malu Apa Bossku” campaign with a loud and unmistakable rejoinder: “Banyak Banyak Malu!”

Is this the reason why Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor dare not sue businessman Deepak Jakishan or Al Jazeera for the recent Al Jazeera interview “Power and Corruption” which as good as accused both of corruption, with Deepak openly accusing Rosmah of purchasing diamonds as a way to “syphon” money, that Rosmah behaved akin to the “de facto prime minister” when the BN was in power, that Rosmah received jewellery, money, properties and cars in return for lucrative government contracts and that she counter-checked on her husband “so that she knew exactly how many contracts were awarded that week” and “she wanted a stake of every single contract”?

This was one of the three issues which I had asked Najib to answer in his shameless “Malu Apa Bossku” visit to Sandakan, but he failed to do so. The other two issues were:

  • His response to the 509 first anniversary speech by the Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad who said it was “strange” that Najib could still act innocent during the ongoing investigation of the 1MDB scandal and despite the return of some RM1.5 billion misappropriated from 1MDB by the US and Singapore authorities and the criminal and money-laundering investigations by some 10 countries; and
  • the revelation by former MACC review panel member, Datuk Lim Chee Wee that Najib was not investigated for corruption when he was Prime Minister because he had sacked Tan Sri Gani Patail as Attorney-General, replacing Gani with Tan Sri Mohamad Apandi Ali, whose single agenda as AG was to protect Najib from any corruption investigation.

Najib – lets have the answers.

Najib disputed that he suffered a knockout blow in the Sandakan by-election. What a pity, the former Prime Minister is now so dazed that he does not know what is a knock-out blow.

He thinks that the “Malu Apa Bossku” campaign is made of gold and diamonds when it is a mere house of cards.

Let Najib continue with his “Malu Apa Bossku” sojourn until he ends up in Sungai Buloh.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri