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zainal4Who cares when you or me shouted defiance at UMNO, but when a Chief Minister of a State whisper defiance the whole world take notice.  Defiance in the face of nature or such things is just a mere shouting match.  But defiance against the most powerful and long lasting political party such as UMNO in Malaysia now that is for the history books.  Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud rejection over UMNO and its brand of politics in Sarawak is something not to be trifle with.  To strengthen his defiance he had thrown the Malaysia Agreement 1963 to legitimize his claim.  Taib tough stand exposes Sabah government weaknesses and pathetic effort in defending Sabah “independent” rights as well.  Effectively Taib has drawn a clear dividing line between Sarawak and UMNO in Malaya, but what about UMNO in Sabah? Is Taib leaving his rear wide open?
This is the difference between a novice politician and a seasoned politician who has managed to stay in office for 33 years.  Taib understood to tackle UMNO is not going to be a cheap enterprise; he understood that throwing in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 is actually the catalyst to protect his rear which may independently start a flanking maneuver on UMNO and Malaya.  He understood the sentiments in Sabahans and he is playing it to the hilt.  He need not orchestrate the flanking move because he knows that every tom dick and harry from Sabah will make that move independently.  It is UMNO and Malaya who should be worried and who today is on the retreat; the chaotic situation is greatly helped by the lack of leadership from UMNO Sabah as well as from UMNO in Malaya.
In Sabah, it is not about the UMNO members’ conformity and obedience to the party, this is because UMNO in Sabah forfeited USNO in order to take root.  The foundation for UMNO in Sabah was therefore USNO’s sacrifice.  For which UMNO was not grateful, most USNO members was just left out on the sidewalk to rot.  UMNO and USNO are two contending ideologies; one is consolidation of political power for Sabah the other consolidation of political power for Malaya.  After UMNO took root in Sabah, the founder of USNO and the father of Independence Tun Datuk Mustapha bin Datu Harun were thrown like a dirty old rag by UMNO specifically by the present Ketua Umum of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Anwar Ibrahim when he was in UMNO.  This clearly shows that Malaya interest has nothing to do with the welfare or the development of Sabah and it has everything to do with the prosperity of Malaya.  Is it possible for Anwar to deny what he did Tun Mustapha? His only defense is “let’s forget about the past” well I have news for Anwar; in Sabah we have a saying “We shall not forgive nor shall we ever forget”.  Surely Anwar and PKR will be remembered in Sabah not as Sabah’s liberator rather as the destroyer of USNO and the desecration of its leaders.  This same fate is likely to happened in Sarawak given a chance to UMNO to come in.
It is for these very reasons as well that PKR is saying vote BN out but don’t secede and there are ample example of siTanggang both in Sabah and Sarawak – This is “penderhakaan terhadap ibu pertiwi”.
UMNO in Sabah is slowly being isolated; most leaders of Sabah based component parties are putting a brave fa├žade, deep inside them they also dislike UMNO high handedness and condescending attitude towards the people in Sabah.  In time UMNO Sabah will be under siege from all sides will its members in Sabah then support UMNO’s stand for racism, religious bigotry, intolerance, hateful and threatening as if Malaysia only belongs to the Malay Supremacist?  Well, let all these siTanggangs mull it over and decide for themselves – after all this is a democratic country.
The bigger question now is whether UMNO wants to retreat from Sabah with dignity or being thrown out of Sabah like some dirty old dirty rag? Whatever is the decision from UMNO Central leadership one thing is certain, with Sarawak Defiance UMNO in Sabah has also overstayed its welcome.
Zainnal Ajamain
Zainnal Ajamain is an economist by profession, graduating with a Masters degree from the University of East Anglia. He has held several high ranking civil service positions in government and government think tanks and has worked as a university lecturer, senior researcher, stockbroker, and economist and published several papers in international media journals. He was the co-author behind the Sabah Government’s vision for development and progress in the Sabah Development Corridor and created the first Offshore Islamic Fund in Labuan. He also held the position of Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems at the University Malaysia Sabah.  He was the Co-Founder of the United Borneo Front (UBF) and a passionate activist to abolish the Cabotage Policy.  He is also the Secretary General of a newly formed political party in Sabah.

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