Sankaran Dandai is becoming quite an embarrassment for Sabahans as he is the most ineffective Chief Minister in Sabah history.

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Kota Kinabalu Branch Dinner to celebrate his 25th anniversary as an elected MP held at Penampang, Hongkod Koisaan on Sunday, 25th September 1994 at 8 pm.

Sankaran Dandai is becoming quite an embarrassment for Sabahans as he is the most ineffective Chief Minister in Sabah history.

Sankaran Dandai is becoming quite an embarrassment for Sabahans as he is the most ineffective ChiefMinister in Sabah history.

Yesterday, Sankaran Dandai just came back from Kuala Lumpur and he must have chalked up a new record as the Sabah Chief Minister who have to keep running to Kuala Lumpur for advice and directive as how to run the Sabah State Government.

A few days ago in Malacca, a senior state executive councillor Datuk Haji Mohd Zin Haji Abdul Ghani was appointed to carry out the duties of the Malacca, Chief Minister, Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik who is forced to ‘go on leave’ and holiday overseas, while the Police investigate into the allegation of his having an affair with a 15-year-old girl.

The Malacca State Secretary made it very clear to the press that Zin is not an Acting Chief Minister, but merely carrying out the duties of the Chief Minister.

This makes me think of Sankaran Dandai, who although he had been sworn in as Sabah Chief Minister, is now well-known, for his inability to decide unless he gets the ‘green-light’ from Kuala Lumpur.

Sankaran Dandai does hot behave like the Sabah Chief Minister, but more like Zin of Malacca, who carries out the duties of the Chief Minister as decided by Kuala Lumpur!

I do not know whether this is the reason why there are so many plots in the six months that the Barisan Nasional Sabah State Government had undemocratically, unethically and illegally toppled the PBS State Government.

I find that, my current visit has coincided with another ‘plot’ inside Sabah UMNO to topple Sankaran Dandai as Sabah Chief Minister – as it seems to be the general opinion both inside the Sabah Barisan Nasional and outside that he would make a better Tuan Yang di Pertua Negeri than Chief Minister.

Today, the Sunday Sabah Times, a Sabah daily aligned with the Sabah UMNO, even identified the ‘personalities’ involved in the latest plot to topple Sankaran Dandai.

Quoting UMNO Sabah sources, the Sabah Times said the ‘main instigator’ behind the campaign to undermine Sankaran Dandai is a former Berjaya Member of Parliament who is now in UMNO Sabah.

The Sabah Times report said: “UMNO Sabah sources here said the former Berjaya leader was at one time linked to the opposition Semangat 46 as well as the failed ‘Ming Court coup’ (so called because the attempt to topple Taib’s government, was hatched and executed at the Ming Court Hotel in Kuala Lumpur), against Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Taib Mahmud some years ago”.

“He is believed to have the moral support of an UMNO State Cabinet Minister who was once a Berjaya State Assemblyman and had a brief association with Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS)”.

“Other key members of the dissident group include a Federal minister from Sabah who was once tipped to be Chief Minister and a UMNO Sabah assemblyman active in the business circles”.

“The sources said that the group claimed to have the support of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim”.

“The group even went to the extent of claiming that the plot to oust Sankaran was hatched during Anwar’s recent visit to China and Japan”.

I do not want to get involved in the plots and counter-plots inside Sabah UMNO and Sabah Barisan Nasional, but the very fact that the greatest achievement of the Sabah Barisan Nasional State Government after six months, in office is to hatch the most plots and counter-plots scheming for power and position inside the Government, not only among the Malays in Sabah UMNO, but also among the Kadazans and Chinese in the vari¬ous Barisan Nasional component parties claiming to represent the Kadazan and Chinese communities, is testimony that the Sabah Barisan Nasional Government does not have the interests of the Sabah people, as their their highest agenda of business.

By Cheong Kah Kiat’s logic, MCA should not have four Federal Ministers in Cabinet as the MCA could only get 20 to 25 per cent support of the Chinese voters in the last general elections.

For instance, to curry the favour of UMNO, the LDP President Cheong Kah Kiat, made the startling announcement re¬cently that no Chinese in Sabah is qualified to be Sabah Chief Minister as the Barisan Nasional in Sabah has not received the support of the Chinese in the state.

Cheong Kah Kiat is both right and wrong. He is right when he said that the Barisan Nasional does not have the support of the majority of the Chinese in Sabah. But he is wrong when he said that there is no Chinese in Sabah who is qualified to be Sabah Chief Minister.

By Cheong Kah Kiat’s logic, the MCA should not have four Federal Ministers in Cabinet as the MCA could only get 20 to 25 per cent support of the Chinese voters in the last general elections.

Why then didn’t Cheong Kah Kiat announce as part of his LDP Presidential policy address that UMNO should take back all the four Ministerial posts given to MCA in the Federal Cabi¬net?

Cheong Kah Kiat would have a stronger case if he had openly asked the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to sack the MCA President, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik as Transport Minister because of the longest catalogue of airport disasters in the whole world – with six fires at the Kuala Lumpur international airport in two years, two goldbar robberies at the airport cargo complex in four months and three ‘near-miss collisions’ between aircrafts on the airport runway in three weeks.

However, Cheong Kah Kiat had an ulterior motive when he made his startling speech – which is to prepare the ground for the abandonment of the Barisan Nasional election pledge to rotate the Chief Minister’s post among the Malays, Kadazans and Chinese.

Although the Prime Minister openly rejected Cheong Kah Kiat’s proposal, it is clear that even if Mahathir had decided not to honour this election pledge, he would not reveal it until the last moment and definitely not before the next general elections as it would instantly become an election issue.

I do not believe that Cheong Kah Kiat would have made his startling proposal if he had not cleared it first in UMNO circles and his role is therefore that of preparing the ground to create conditions whereby the election promise to rotate the post of Sabah Chief Minister among the three main communities could be abandoned on the popular and unanimous request of all Barisan Nasional component parties in Sabah after the parliamentary general elections.

It is not for nothing that Cheong Kah Kiat was immediately rewarded by being appointed a Senator!

People of Sabah may have to save Malaysia in battle to transform the ‘Little Liberalisations’ into ‘Major Liberalisations’.

There seems to be general consensus among political observers that the next general elections would be bad for the DAP.

The prospects for the DAP in Sabah appears to be better than the prospects for the DAP in Peninsular Malaysia for instance.

In Peninsular Malaysia, there seems to be a feeling that the Barisan Nasional would do well in the next general elections because of the good economic performance, more open and liberal government policies and in particular Mahathir’s China Policy.

In actual fact, the Barisan Nasional’s more open and liberal attitude in education and economic fields only qualify to be called ‘Little Liberalisation’ as there have not been any radical change of nation-building policies.

This is why the DAP has decided that in the next general elections, our biggest election issue, is to demand that these ‘Little Liberalisations’ should be transformed into ‘Major Liberalisations’ so that every Malaysian can enjoy an equal place under the Malaysian sun.

The problem is whether the DAP will have the oppurtunity to get this message to the voters before polling day. If the DAP fails to get this message across to the voters, then there is a possibility that the DAP can suffer our worst electoral defeat in the party’s 28-year history in Peninsular Malaysia.

In such circumstances, then it is up to Sabah to save Malaysia, to ensure that the struggle to transform the. ‘Little Liberalisations’ into ‘Big Liberalisations’ do not collapse totally – and for the voters of Sabah to vote in enough DAP MPs into Parliament to make up for the losses the DAP may suffer in Peninsular Malaysia.