Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, when opening the Perak DAP State leadership conference held in Ipoh on Sunday, March 20, 1994 at 10 am
There is no certainty that the Barisan Nasional would keep its election promise to rotate the post of Sabah Chief Minister among the three communities
The political developments in Sabah in the past week have not given politicians a good image – with the unseemly spectacle of State Assemblymen vying to defect from the PBS to join the Barisan Nasional.
In fact, Malaysians must have found the whole episode not only most unseemly and undignifying, but very sordid and dishonourable.
The most honourable thing to do in Sabah would have been to have fresh general elections for the voters of Sabah to decide who is to be the new Stats Government – for it is the voters who should decide who should form the State Government and not a handful of Assemblymen whose defection led to the collapse of the PBS State Government, which is a perversion of the will of the electorate as expressed in the ballot boxes only last month.
The unseemly and dishonourable politics in Sabah in the past week, coupled with the infamous politics of money, strengthen the case for the amendment of the Federal Constitution to stop party defection by Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen.
DAP calls on the Barisan Nasional Government to intro¬duce legislation in next month’s Parliament to stop -dishonourable and immoral politics by banning party-hopping by elected repre¬sentatives, which would also serve as a check against the corrup¬tion of money politics.
The establishment of the Barisan Nasional Government in Sabah is not the result of people’s power in the ballot box, but the victory of immoral and dishonourable politics.
During the the Sabah state general elections, the Barisan Nasional made impossible promises, as for instance, promising by year 2000 to abolish poverty in Sabah, raise the par capita income of Sabah to RM10,000, provide a house for every Sabahan and to reduce illiteracy to zero.
The Barisan Nasional had also promised to rotate the post of Sabah Chief Minister among the three main communities in Sabah.
Although both the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prims Minister have reiterated that Barisan Nasional would keep this promise to rotate the post of Chief Minister among the three communities, there is no certainty that Tan Sri Sankaran Dandai would honour this commitment.
In fact, there are already signs in this direction. It is not inconceivable that when the time comes for the rotation of the post of Sabah Chief Minister, a scenario could be created where this promise would be set aside with the agreement or request of all the other Barisan Nasional component parties in Sabah.
This promise was made in the recent Sabahstategener¬al elections by the Barisan Nasional because, it had not expected, to topple the PBS Government of Joseph Pairin Kitingan on Feb. 20.
All that the Barisan Nasional had expected was to put up a good showing of winning about one-third of the seats, and forcing the PBS State Government to accept this proposal of rotation of the Chief Ministership as one of the conditions for PBS re-entry into Barisan Nasional. The other was of course the stepping down of Joseph Pairin as Sabah Chief Minister.
Call on Sankaran Dandai to publicly declare that he would step down as Sabah Chief Minister on the expiry of 20-month tenure on 1.7th November 1995
I call on Sankaran Dandai to publicly declare that he would step down as Sabah Chief Minister on 17th November 1995.
This is because if the post of Sabah Chief Minister is to be rotated among the three communities, then each of the three Chief Ministers should not serve for more than 20 months.
This is because the maximum term of any government is five years or 50 months, and each of the three Chief Ministers cannot serve for more than 20 months before the State Assembly has to be dissolved to seek a new mandate from the voters. This arrangement would already be unfair to the person who is to be the Chief Minister for the third slot, as in. all probability, the State Assembly would be dissolved well before the completion of the five year-term and he might be Chief Minister for less than a year!
Be that as it may, let Sankaran Dandai publicly declare that he would personally, honour the Barisan Nasional election promise to rotate the post of Sabah Chief Minister among the three communities, that he would not serve for more than 20 months as Sabah Chief Minister and would tender his resignation on the expiry of his 20-month tenure on November 17 next year!
The chances of the Barisan Nasional keeping its promise to rotate the post of Sabah Chief Minister would be higher if it was not a mere election gimmick to win votes in the Sabah stats general elections, but reflected a new-found recognition of the need for greater multi-racial balance and restructuring in the political corridors of power.
If there is such a new-found recognition, then it should not be confined to Sabah but must be reflected throughout the country.
For a start, let the Barisan Nasional give an open commitment that the post of Sarawak Chief Minister would be rotated among the Malays, Ibans and Chinese. This should be followed by a commitment by the Barisan Nasional Government to rotate the key Federal Cabinet posts of Home, Finance, Education, International Trade and Industry, Defence and even the Deputy Prime Minister among the main communities in the country.
With such rotation, the country would have taken anoth¬er significant step towards the ‘major liberalisation’ of its nation-building policies!