Let a whirlwind of change begin from the Land Below the Wind in the Sabah general election on Sept 26 as forerunner to restore the mandate of integrity, justice and progress in national governance in Malaysian 15th General Election

I first came to Sabah on that fateful day on May 13, 1969 to assist the independent candidate for Kota Kinabalu in the 1969 General Election, and was to go on to

Sandakan and Tawau to help the independent candidates in these two places.

I left Kuala Lumpur in the morning of May 13, 1969 and I first heard of troubles in Kuala Lumpur in a public rally in Kota Kinabalu later the same evening – yet I have been accused down the decades of having caused the May 13 riots and having led the illegal processions in the streets of Kuala Lumpur during the May 13 riots. In actual fact, I was never in KL during the May 13, 1969 riots.

Just like the lie that I am a communist, which was first levelled against me in 2008 – more than 40 years after my political activities and although the communists wanted to defeat me in the 1969 general election – these are lies, falsehoods, fake news and misinformation which we have to contend in our political work, just as many lies, falsehoods, fake news and misinformation have surfaced in the Sabah general election.

I have been accused of being anti-Malay and anti-Islam, but in my 55 years of politics, nobody has been able to cite a single instance of anti-Malay, anti-Islam statement or incident involving me.

Like the majority of Sabahans and Malaysians, I fully subscribe to the five principles of Rukun Negara – Belief in God, Loyalty to King and Country, Supremacy of the Constitution, Rule of Law and Courtesy and Morality as the basis of nation- building.

It is sad the while we are celebrating the Golden Jubilee of Rukun Negara, for the first time in the history of Malaysia, we have a backdoor Cabinet where we have Ministers who do not subscribe to all the five principles of Rukun Negara.

A simple test is whether all the present Ministers are prepared to publicly subscribe to the five principles of Rukun Negara. I do not think so or we will not have the disgraceful incident in Parliament where one of the major religions in Malaysia was publicly attacked and defiled.

Tomorrow is Malaysia Day, and the DAP is proud that we have succeeded in our struggle to make Malaysia Day a national public holiday and not just a state public holiday.

But Sabah and Malaysia have still a long way to go if we are to fully realise our potential to be a world-class nation of excellence and accomplishment as our diversity of races, religions and cultures should be an asset and not a liability – and this is why Rukun Negara is the only basis for building a multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural state like Sabah and Malaysia.

There are 447 candidates in the Sabah general election – a first not only for Malaysia, but probably qualifies to compete for the world record.

The Election Commission will be the greatest beneficiary for it is likely to gain RM1 million – RM1.5 million from the forfeit of candidate deposits if 200 or 300 of the candidates lose their deposits.

But it also highlights the great disunity among the people in Sabah half a century after nationhood.

But this is not only confined to Sabah but plagues Malaysia as well.

When the Pakatan Harapan government was toppled by the “Sheraton Move” conspiracy in February 2020 leading to a backdoor and illegitimate Cabinet and government, there was widespread disappointment and disillusionment among Malaysians.

I was also very disappointed and disillusioned that the five-year mandate of the Pakatan Harapan government for integrity, institutional reform, justice and prosperity for all Malaysians have been ended after 22 months by an illegitimate grab for power, and I at first shared in the pessimism of many Malaysians who felt that the future of Malaysia is doomed and bleak.

Have my political struggle for 55 years for integrity, freedom, justice and unity in Malaysia been in vain?

Have we failed in our national mission to save Malaysia from the trajectory towards a failed state, a kleptocracy and a kakistocracy?

But how many expected the seemingly invincible Barisan Nasional to fall in the 14th General Election, leading to the toppling of the seemingly “untouchable” then Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his conviction for corruption over the 1MDB scandal in the Kuala Lumpur High Court on July 28?

I myself had not expected a peaceful and democratic change of government in the 14th General Election on May 9, 2018.

If we can achieve such a feat, is the restoration of the people’s mandate for integrity, justice, fair play and shared prosperity for all Malaysians an impossible dream?

It will be a long journey and we must have the grit and determination like the plucky lass from Pitas, Veveonah Mosibin, who spent 24 hours on a tree top to get better Internet connectivity to sit for an online examination, to fight for a New Sabah and New Malaysia.

The Sabah general election on Sept 26 is very important, not only for the future of Sabah but also the future of Malaysia.

Sabah is known as Land below the Wind – and I call on Sabahans to start a whirlwind of change on Sept. 26, by ensuring that Warisan Plus not only wins but win with a two-thirds majority, as a forerunner to the restoration of the mandate of integrity, justice and progress in national governance in the Malaysian 15th General Election.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri