Wednesday, 5 December 2012

STAR eyeing across political divide for candidates

In the coming general election, Jeffrey Kitingan's

party is trying to woo BN candidates dropped

by the ruling coalition.

The State Reform Party (STAR), according to the political grapevine, is scouring both sides of the political divide for candidates and partners. The United Borneo Front (UBF), an ad hoc NGO, and the pro tem United Sabah National Organisation (Usno) have already confirmed that they would be jointly fielding candidates in all 60 state seats in Sabah and 26 parliamentary seats including Labuan under the STAR symbol.

STAR is a Borneo-based national party based in Kuching. It may have candidates in Peninsular Malaysia as well if Hindraf Makkal Sakthi, pledged towards a third force in Parliament, uses its symbol and flag as well.

Already, Hindraf chairman P Waythamoorthy is planning to take on MIC president G Palanivel in Cameron Highlands or wherever he decides to stand. The ad hoc apolitical human rights movement wants to put an end to the mandore politics syndrome plaguing Indians on both of the divide.

STAR chairman Jeffrey Kitingan, when asked about the reported STAR’s plan to eye both sides of the political divide for candidates, was non-committal: “Let’s see what happens.”

However, he does not disagree with working across the political divide for candidates to be fielded under his party’s symbol.

The gist of STAR’s 60/26 plan, as worked out by party strategists, revolves around wooing Barisan Nasional Sabah incumbents dropped by the coalition to campaign for the party (STAR). At the same time, the new faces that were not fielded by the BN, as expected, can be considered as possible candidates for STAR, as the thinking goes. Such candidates, whose credibility and vote-drawing power must be unchallenged, may make up anything up to half the STAR candidates in both state and parliamentary seats.

Also, the thinking is that STAR must work hand-in-glove with Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) to lay the ghosts of 1994 to rest. In that year, PBS won the state election for an unprecedented fourth term by a razor-thin margin of two seats. Another three seats were lost when some rebel Chinese state assemblymen broke away after dissolution to form the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) within an unprecedented 24 hours. The party, continuing from the 1994 tie-up with Anwar Ibrahim, has now formed a polls pact with the opposition Pakatan Rakyat.

The target of the combined wrath of PBS and STAR, if the deal materialises, would be all the other BN parties especially two other PBS-breakaways Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) and the United PasokMomogun KadazanDusunMurut Organisation (Upko), besides wiping out and burying SAPP and “the parti parti Malaya in Borneo”.

Million-ringgit question

UBF is eyeing the Orang Asal seats held by Umno since 1994 while Usno wants back all its seats taken by Umno in the same year.

Critics say that STAR is biting off more than it can chew.

For starters, the possibility of STAR and PBS working together would be a million-ringgit question if Jeffrey’s elder brother and PBS chief, Joseph Pairin Kitingan, decides to stand in the Keningau parliamentary seat, which the former is eyeing as well. Jeffrey thinks that Pairin should stick to the Tambunan state seat for his last hurrah.

Earlier, it was rumoured that Pairin was toying with the idea of fielding his son Alex in Keningau after deciding against offering himself there or in any parliamentary seat. Pairin may have changed his mind on Keningau after the BN leadership made it plain that it was against virtually giving away the seat to Jeffrey.

However, the BN is reportedly neutral on Jeffrey’s earlier plan to stand in the Pensiangan parliamentary seat where incumbent Joseph Kurup, the PBRS president, is a no hoper based on the 2008 results which were disputed in court. Kurup fled with a black eye after it was announced that his challenger had filed five minutes late and that he (Kurup) had been returned unopposed.

Between Jeffrey and Pairin in Keningau, it’s a virtual toss-up since the younger voters are favoured to be with the former. However, the catch may be that many of the youth are working outside the Sabah interior, many even as far away as Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia. Not all them can be expected to return for polling day.

The bottomline is that all bets on any form of STAR-PBS polls co-operation would be off if both Jeffrey and Pairin want Keningau. One would have to give way.

Assuming that PBS and STAR would not be working together come the 13th general election, and given that there would not be straight fights anywhere, there are no prizes for guessing the eventual outcome on D-Day.

The political pundits are in consensus that Sabah STAR, under the circumstances, can at best win five parliamentary seats, that is, UBF three seats excluding Keningau and Usno (two seats).

Third force

Six seats likely to be won by Sabah BN parties other than Umno are likely to support STAR in the event of a hung Parliament, that is, a scenario envisaging 107 parliamentary seats for BN including 42 from Sabah (18) and Sarawak (24); STAR (five); Hindraf (five); and Pakatan (105 seats) including three in Sabah through DAP and seven in Sarawak through DAP (6) and PKR (one) respectively.

Sabah Umno can be expected to hold on to 12 parliamentary seats after conceding two to Usno.

Sabah DAP is expected to take the three parliamentary seats of Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and Tawau.

Sabah STAR’s best possible position post-13th general election is one where it can form the nucleus of a third force in Parliament together with Hindraf.

Sabah STAR strategists claim that they can do better than five parliamentary seats given the fact that the next general election will “in fact be a one-to-one fight between the Borneo Agenda and the Agenda parti parti Malaya in Borneo”.

The Agenda Borneo stands against everything that the Agenda parti parti Malaya in Borneo stands for and especially Putrajaya ruling Sabah and Sarawak through local proxies and stooges.

However, it’s highly unlikely that BN and Pakatan can divide the entire 222 parliamentary seats between them in the 13th general election. It’s a certainty that the third force is here to stay and would make at least a modest entry in the next Parliament

Source: Google Syndication
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Friday, 30 November 2012

Sabah cops worried about political implications

KOTA KINABALU: The unexplained death of a local teenage girl that ignited a torrent of comments and speculation on social network sites has put police here on the spot and drawn comments from senior political leaders.

Norikoh Saliwah’s body was found by the roadside, near Kampung Ranau, about 2km from Kota Marudu town on Nov 25 and since then the Internet has been abuzz with claims that foreigners are linked to her death.

The theory that Sabah’s teeming population of illegal immigrants and foreign workers has something to do with her death has especially alarmed the police, given the political ramifications of such insinuations.

State Police Commissioner Hamza Taib said earlier this week that inaccurate facts on the case published in the Internet would not only create undue fear among the people but could also threaten national security.

Kota Marudu MP Maximus Ongkili, Tuaran MP Wilfred Bumburing and Tandek state assemblyman Anita Baranting have visited the family of the victim to express their condolences. In doing so they also applied further pressure on the police to solve the case.

However, the police here, already under pressure over the abduction in Lahad Datu of two businessmen by a group of gunmen believed to be foreigners, are worried that the uptick of anti-immigrant sentiments on the back of political pressure to solve Sabah’s hot-potato issue regarding the massive number of illegal immigrants in the state could spiral out of control.

Hamza said claims circulating on the Internet that five Pakistanis had gang-raped the victim before killing and dumping her body by the roadside was “just too much” as the case is still under police investigation.

Pakistani detained

Saliwa, said to have been working as a maid, was from Kampung Bombong 1, Kota Marudu, and had accompanied her 32-year-old sister and a 15-year-old male cousin to Kota Marudu to look for a job for the boy.

From there the trio had gone to a furniture shop in Goshen, some 2km from Kota Marudu, where the cousin was given a job.

The trio then returned to Kota Marudu together with the manager of the furniture shop for a drink.

“While they were having a drink in Kota Marudu, the victim’s sister realised that she had left something at the furniture shop in Goshen and asked the victim to follow the store manager back to the shop to collect it,” Hamza said.

“After the victim and the store manager had left, the victim’s sister was still able to call the victim to check if she was fine and the victim replied saying that she was all right and nothing was wrong.

“Moments later, the sister and the cousin heard news of the victim’s body with head injuries being found on the roadside, placing the 40-year-old Pakistani store manager as the last person known to be with the victim before she died,” he said, adding that police had detained the latter on Nov 27 to assist in their investigation.

“I strongly remind online publishers to stop releasing false information or action will be taken under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act, which carries a fine of up to RM50,000 or one year’s jail term,” he said during a press conference at the state police headquarters in Kepayan.

Ongkili, who is also Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, said he had been briefed by the district police and assured the family on Tuesday that a thorough and speedy investigation was being conducted.

“The post-mortem has revealed a cracked skull but no sign of rape on the victim. Police have not ruled out that she might have been killed and a suspect has been arrested,” he said.

Did Nazri lie?

On Thursday, Bumburing who recently resigned from his Barisan Nasional coalition member party, United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) and crossed over to the opposition over the government’s failure to resolve Sabah’s long-standing illegal immigrant problem, said the country was facing a “serious security threat”.

“We want to know what is the real cause of the death of the girl, whether a post-mortem has been carried out to determine the cause of death and if the victim was raped before her death.

“If indeed the police discover in the course of their investigation that foreign nationals are found to be involved in the death of the girl, then it confirms what I have said in Parliament about foreign elements posing serious security threat in the country.

“If this incident is true, then what Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Aziz said in Parliament recently that foreigners are not posing any form of security threat, are lies to hoodwink the people,” he said in a statement.

Former chief minister Yong Teck Lee also muscled into the debate today by ticking off Hamza for intimidating Sabahans about posting comments on the Internet about the alleged murder.

He said police should be doing their job and providing security to the people in the state rather than warning citizens that actions could be taken against them under section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act.

Yong said he was particularly disturbed that Hamza had described the comments on the Internet as potential threat to national security.

“The real threat to national security is the presence of illegal immigrants and crimes committed by foreigners like the drugs syndicates,” said Yong, who is also Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president.

He said the authorities should “act promptly and decisively to bring the culprits to justice in order to appease the anger of the local people who see themselves been constantly trampled upon, their lands grabbed and their human dignity hurt”.

“The people of Sabah are sick and tired of officials denying the crimes inflicted on local people and our self-respect. The people expect the government to do something concrete about foreigners who now roam Sabah.

“The federal government should also be held responsible for allowing the unchecked entry of dubious foreigners with ulterior motives. These are neither tourists nor genuine businessmen,” he said.

Serious threat

Yong also noted that there has been no denial by any government official about the issuance of MyKad (citizenship) to foreigners from Pakistan who only recently entered Sabah using their passports.

He reminded that party members in Keningau and Kota Marudu had recently lodged police reports on MyKad being issued to foreigners.

“Some have been seen collecting their RM500 BR1M cash. All this information is available on the Internet yet the police have no comment. But when the same Internet services talk about the Saliwah’s case, the police threaten Sabahans instead.

“Sabahans are the most peaceful people in Malaysia. There is no need to threaten us with fine of RM50,000 and jail terms of one year under the Act,” said Yong.

Meanwhile , Tawau MP, Chua Soon Bui, said Saliwah’s death was a wake-up call to the government on the security situation in the state.

Chua said the relevant authorities such as the police and Immigration Department in particular, should treat the presence of foreigners in the state, especially those with dubious documents, as a serious threat to the state and its people.

Source: Google Syndication
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Saturday, 24 November 2012

Sabah Umno could lose ‘birthplace’

Iranun, which is considered as Umno’s first ‘child’

in Sabah, may see a tough fight from opposition STAR.

KOTA BELUD: Opposition State Reform Party (STAR) has penetrated Umno’s bastion in the state – the Iranun and Bajau kampungs – which incidentally is the birthplace of Sabah Umno.

STAR’s Sabah chairman, Jeffrey Kitingan, was elated to see about 150 senior citizens and the young who thronged to his ice-breaking “ceramah” at two kampungs here recently.

One session was held in Tempasuk Tamau, an Iranun kampung, not very far from Umno’s Pandikar Amin Mulia’s home. The ceramah was hosted by a local ustaz who recently joined STAR.

The other function, attended by some 170 individuals, was in Usukan’s Lebak Moyoh at the residence of a local Umno leader and well-known Bajau political activist, Ridzuan Sikah.

Ridzuan’s entry into STAR is a signal that Umno in Kota Belud is not invincible and that change is coming.

In fact, in the last 2008 general election, through manipulations by local political warlords, Umno did lose votes in some of the Muslim kampungs in this district, especially in Iranun areas.

At that time, Kota Belud’s Umno members were humiliated when the party chose outsider Abdul Rahman Dahlan, who is from adjacent Tuaran, to contest under the Barisan Nasional banner, dropping popular Salleh Said Keruak.

The decision was seen as discrediting a pool of many local talents.

Abdul Rahman went on to win Kota Belud parliamentary seat, nevertheless, but with a much reduced majority as compared with his predecessor Salleh who won the seat for Umno in the 2004 general election.

Salleh, in a three-cornered fight, then retained Kota Belud with a thumping 10,227 vote majority. Abdul Rahman in 2008 won it in a straight fight with a PKR candidate, Saidil Simoi, but with only a 3,020 majority.

Divided Tempasuk

According to Umno insiders, disgruntled party leaders and members in Kota Belud are still licking their wounds from the humiliation and their angst will resurface and be magnified if again the incumbent, an “outsider”, is retained at the coming polls.

And, STAR is cashing on the still disgruntled local community. Its Tempasuk coordinator, Suwah Buleh, is a personal friend of the young ustaz who is affectionate to many people.

According to local observers, Suwah is gaining ground there already. STAR flags have begun coming up much to the frustration of Umno local leaders.

Businessman Suwah, who is active in his SIB church, is poised to be STAR candidate for mixed-seat Tempasuk. He is set to attract the bulk of the votes from the Dusun community.

Coupled with this are pockets of growing support in the Iranun and Bajau areas.

Observers believe that Suwah is likely to scrap through at the polls which could be called anytime soon.

Meanwhile, Pakatan Rakyat is almost certain to field a strong Muslim candidate in Tempasuk.

With Umno’s candidate also certain to be a Muslim, this, according to the locals, would split the Muslim votes thus paving the way for Suwah to win.

The last time a Dusun Christian won Tempasuk was during the era of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) (1985-1994). The same goes for the Kota Belud parliamentary seat when the late Maidom Pansai was with PBS.

Meanwhile, Ridzuan from Usukan may be aiming to be STAR’s candidate in Usukan, an overwhelmingly Muslim seat. According to observers, it would be a tough fight for any contender there, especially if Salleh is given the chance to stand again in Usukan, his family fort for ages.

Another state seat under Kota Belud is Kadamaian, currently held by PBS-BN, where many parties including STAR, PKR and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) are keen to contest.

Source: Google Syndication
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Saturday, 3 November 2012

Pengakuan President STAR, Dr. Dripin Sakoi bahawa STAR Tidak Menyokong Barisan N...

Pengakuan President STAR, Dr. Dripin Sakoi bahawa STAR Tidak Menyokong Barisan Nasional.

STAR Tidak Sokong Barisan Nasional

Terlalu banyak andaian tentang STAR dengan parti-parti komponen Barisan Nasional. Ada pihak-pihak tertentu berhasrat mengheret calon-calon STAR ke Mahkamah s...

Source: Social (fb) FEED
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