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West Malaysia must copy Sabah’s peace and harmony model
Published on: Sunday, August 13, 2017

By Datuk John Lo
I AM happy that Sabah Minister of Special Tasks Datuk Teo Chee Kang has confirmed much progress has been made in reclaiming Sabah’s rights from the Federal Government in the newspapers.

I am not clear what exactly are these rights as the on-going debates by various Sabah leaders lack clarity.

However, If and where possible, Sabah should press on getting as many of these “rights” as possible and as soon as possible as I am rather concerned with the political trend in West Malaysia.

From the beginning of Malaysia, West Malaysia has acted and in a way Sabah and Sarawak have accepted it as the first among equals among the partners. The exception was Singapore which later resulted to her departure from the Federation.

The two East Malaysian states’ acceptance is quite logical because West Malaysia was more advanced than us, it’s physical development was better, it has produced all the Prime Ministers and above all, the national capital is located there.

The national political power, financial and administrative base is in Kuala Lumpur. Most importantly, West Malaysia was considered to have greater political maturity.

Regrettably, West Malaysia’s political maturity has declined precipitously. The “righteous big brother” image of West Malaysia has been eroding in recent years. Whereas Sabah has blossomed into maturity politically.

The current trend in West Malaysia is very disturbing to Sabahans. West Malaysia seems to have gone into a new direction where racial and religious harmony are no longer regarded as pillars of national life.

In its place, religious and racial zealots have dominant roles in the national scene, so much so that federal political leaders of both sides have been paying excessive attention to them for fear of losing support.

They lack gumption to look into their eyes and tell them off.

Also, West Malaysia’s moral fibre leadership has been submerged by too many corruption cases that can be read almost daily in the newspapers. The number of unreported or un-noticed cases must be astoundingly huge.

Corruption has become an accepted culture.

West Malaysian political leaders have lost the moral high ground to lead the country. It is time for Sabah to show them the true path of unity in diversity.

Sadly, the “gentleman” in politics does not exist anymore. The legacies of Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Hussein Onn, Tun Ismail, Tun Razak and Tun Tan Siew Sin have all been discarded. It is now a “winner takes all” game in which money politics holds sway.

Politics is no longer about serving the people, about making Malaysia great, about national interest.

It is about the size of their accounts in the bank, how many expensive houses/condos and/or luxurious cars.

Politics is the short cut to “fairy tale” wealth and underhanded fortunes for politicians.

There are too many people who have become rich, not by being productive but by exploitation.

The newspapers spew out on a daily basis a tirade of hatred, personal slanders. Those in the internet is worse.

Even ancestors, innocent as they must be, are not spared.

The West Malaysian political leaders are spending much too much time and money on unproductive, 3rd class personal attacks, if not checked in time, will eventually destroy the nation.

The Malaysia that we have now is not the Malaysia that Sabah and Sarawak have joined at the beginning.

Notwithstanding the physical development, the national ambience has been made foul by selfish, self-centred, crass West Malaysian politicians.

They should no longer lead Malaysia for they will bring us nothing but sorrows and deep divisions among Malaysians which may lead to disasters.

Another conclusive sign of political system failure in West Malaysia is the extraordinary number of police reports, threats and counter threats and sue and counter sue by West Malaysian politicians.

Have they nothing better to do?

Malaysia needs a new set of political leaders in West Malaysia, like Indonesia’s Jokowi and Philippines’ Duterte.

These two gentlemen have the political guts to say “enough is enough” and are acting sternly on corruption, drugs and abuses.

Chief Minister Datuk Musa was questioned on the entry ban on certain opposition political leaders from West Malaysia in the on-going Legislative Assembly.

Those who spread unhealthy racial and religious sentiments to get support should not be allowed entry into Sabah.

They deserve to be slapped with the entry ban because they want to achieve their political ambitions at the expense of Sabahans’ prevailing peace and harmony.

Sabah should send a strong message to all West Malaysian political leaders that we are Sabahans and will not entertain or indulge in divisive racial and religious tactics to get votes.

In fact, I would urge Musa to extend entry ban to quite a few other bigots, be they from BN or opposition, whose intentions are to destroy our peace and harmony which are our greatest blessings from God.

Sabah has been welcoming Malaysians of other states. However, many Sabahans, me included, have begun to worry on the unhealthy political and social development in West Malaysia. We are very wary that Sabah may be infected with the West Malaysian virus of divisions by religion and race.

So far Sabahans have managed to ward off these evil forces. Long may our love, respect for each other last.

Having said that, we Sabahans must not sit idle.

We must take proactive actions to safe guard this precious heritage. For the sake of our nation, we should also spread our culture of peace and harmony to West Malaysians.

Looking at the current unhealthy scenario, the West Malaysians certainly need lots of assistance to steer themselves back on track again so that Malaysia can be a well-managed, respected nation.

Thank God that our Sabahan political leaders have more class, are more refined, especially Musa as Chief Minister and have refused to be tempted with “short cuts”, to exploit the “easy ways” of gaining votes from religious and racial sentiments.

Musa has always been committed as the Chief Minister for all Sabahans, accessible to all, allocated funds for all in his annual budgets. Is there a West Malaysian leader who has declared of being the leader of all Malaysians?

The message I want to pass on to the West Malaysian political leaders – please stop resorting to your religious and racial pranks for your political agenda. No country has ever benefited from such frolics.

They may give temporary advantages to you but you know in your own hearts that these will inflict serious setbacks on our country in the medium and long terms. At worse, they may evolve into unrest which you will regret and will benefit no one.

No disrespect or ill intention from Sabahans. We are truly and honestly worried about the imminent adverse impacts on our peace, harmony and the significant economic progress we have made in the last 10 years if the West Malaysian political follies do not stop.

Though economic and geo-political uncertainties are aplenty in the world, Sabah is coasting alone well.

We do not want the political situation in West Malaysia to get out of hand for any resultant meltdowns of any form will be bad for Sabah.

Now back about those “rights” that Teo has spoken about. Important that we settle these issues, especially financial ones, soonest possible so that Sabah can have better capacity to insulate ourselves against any potential untoward developments arising from the abuses of racial and religious sentiments in West Malaysia.

West Malaysia must have a new political model to avert further aggravations to our already shaky national political and social structure – a model that is founded on the principle virtues of morality, inclusiveness, equality, mutual respect, civility and graciousness, most of which can be found in Sabah. West Malaysians are trying to preach tolerance.

We Sabahans are far more superior for it is in our nature to accept one another without even thinking about it.

We interact without blinking an eye on our respective race or religion. This is precious gift West Malaysia has lost.

Not easy to regain this trust!

To Sabahans, it is plain stupid to challenge or question who is more pure Malay, Bugis, Kadazan or Chinese for all of us are “children of God”. To berate one’s pedigree is the crudest form of political uncouthness.

So, West Malaysian political leaders can look eastwards to Sabahans and Sabahan political leaders in particular for some lessons on political responsibility and nation building based on racial and religious unity and diversities.

Sabah is like a beautiful bouquet consisting of many species of colourful flowers. Its natural beauty comes from diversity, nurtured and preciously treasured by Sabah’s responsible political leadership. Ugliness comes from intolerance. They should learn to be leaders for all races from Musa and other Sabahan leaders.

May God bless Malaysia. May HE grant the West Malaysian political leaders humility to learn from our Sabahan political leaders on the virtue of being leaders for all Malaysians and may HE guide them back to the path of nation building.

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