by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, April 7, 1993:
Establishment of PBS-USNO Coalitiion Government a major setback for UMNO’s entry into Sabah
The establishment of PBS-USNO Coalition Government in Sabah is a major setback for UMNO Baru’s entry into Sabah.
It in fact raises the whole question of the viability of UMNO Baru in Sabah and this answer will only be known in the next Sabah state general elections – as to whether UMNO in Sabah or USNO would be wiped out or whether UMNO and UNSO would fight to a draw in the contest for support of the Sabah Malay voters.
Until this answer is known in the next general elections, relations between the Federal-State Governments are likely to plunge to a new nadir with more stormy times ahead between Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu.
DAP must caution the Federal Government, however, to make a clear distinction between Federal-State, government-to-government and party-to-party
relations, and not to allow party political disappointments and vendetta to victimize and discriminate against the legitimate rights of the people and State of Sabah to fair and equitable deal under the Malaysian sun.
Regardless of which political party or parties form the state government, the people of Sabah must be treated on the same basis as Malaysian citizens of all other state in Malaysia in terms of getting Federal Government attention and development allocations.
Let Malaysia show the world that our system of parliamentary democracy has become more mature, where the Federal Government is not so undemocratic as to penalize or victimize the people of a state for choosing a state government from different political parties.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Ghafar Baba, says that USNO faces disciplinary action from the Barisan Nasional, and the MCA President, Datuk Ling Liong Sik, has dutifully echoed this sentiment when he said that USNO could be expelled from the Barisan Nasional.
Nobody could fault Barisan Nasional if it expels USNO for this would be a political action which it would fully within its rights to take. However, it would definitely be wrong and undemocratic if Federal Government powers are abused by the Barisan Nasional to ‘punish’ USNO for taking the political decision to form a coalition government with PBS.
This is why the statement by the Registrar of Societies that following Semangat 46, USNO may also be deregistered, smacks of a gross abuse of government power to serve the political dictates of the Barisan Nasional.
The PBS-USNO coalition government has rendered the heaviest blow to Ghafar Baba, as he has been assigned the special task to spearhead UMNO Baru’s entry into Sabah. As Deputy Prime Minister and longest-serving political leader in the country, Ghafar Baba has a special duty to use his influence to ensure that this latest political development in Sabah would not be used as an excuse by the Federal Government to launch a new series of ‘onslaughts’ on the legitimate rights and aspirations of the people and state of Sabah.