Monday, July 30, 2012

The Sabah Factor

The latest news is two lawmakers from the government bench have resigned. They are from the state of Sabah popularly referred to as the Land Below the Wind which the prime minister once cockily called it its 'fixed deposit' state. If I were a Sabahan I'll be terribly insulted. How dare a prime minister assume the state will always stay under its power and control? Apparently not judging by current mood and undercurrent that is being felt.

Sabah is notorious as the state with the largest number of illegal legalized migrants, mostly from Mindanao, the southern predominantly Muslim populated island of the Philippines which is very close to it. Sabahans felt terrorized and intruded by outsiders who are given citizenships and stand equally with the indigenous people who toiled the land for generations. Why are foreigners of this group given accelerated and privileged citizenship? The locals are getting frustrated over the silence and inaction to deal with their complaints. Such frustrations have gone up from the people level to local politicians who love and worry over the future of their state. If this crack continues to widen there is no denying more people will fall into it and start a momentum that no one can contain.

The heavily speculated general election which I believe gamblers are betting on is being shifted forward. The prime minister is looking for a narrowing window of opportunity to call a snap election. It used to be June, then shifted to July and again to September. With the resignations the government has to begin damage control to regain the Sabahans trust. It will take time, and more money. It is always money and I think after the 13th general election is finally over, an audit of unauthorized spending by the prime minister will make it the most expensive election. How are other Malaysians watching and thinking? Perhaps we may see another factor looming. The Sarawak factor maybe?

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