Mariah Doksil, Borneo Post
KOTA KINABALU: Former deputy minister Datuk Haji Yahya Lampong spelled out his reason for joining the opposition, saying it was nothing personal but just Barisan Nasional’s (BN) system of having absolute power, which he said is similar to the communist brand of politics.
Yahya maintained that a democratic system refers to a government by the people, and the majority of the voters are those who are not affiliated to any political party.
He added if the total number of voters is ten million, only two per cent of that number should be members of political parties and the remaining 98 per cent would decide the government for the next five years and that government is subject to change.
“As an example, over 46 million people are registered as voters to vote in elections in the United Kingdom which has three major political parties, namely the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats.
“The Conservative party and the Labour party each has about 300,000 members while the Liberal Democratic party has about 200,000. This means to suggest that out of 46 million voters in the UK, only 800,000 are members of one of the political parties. Their total number does not even reach one million,” he said.
“However, unlike the BN, nobody knows exactly the number of BN members, but it was disclosed by Umno secretary general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor on September 9, 2010 that the coalition had about seven million members,” he said.
Yahya also quoted Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who announced on May 20, 2010, that Umno has about three million active members.
According to Yahya, the total number of voters who cast their votes in the 2008 general elections was 10,952,139 and if the figure was to stay, he perceived that the BN would be in power forever, only because they have the number.
“In the next general election, there will be approximately 11,579,280 eligible voters, although this is not the final figure. And with the BN claiming to have seven million members, they will certainly stay in power.
“This system is very much similar to the system adopted by the communists and we certainly do not want to see this state of affair occurring in our country.
“Why similar? Because the majority of voters in the communist system are members of the party. Whenever there is a general election, they are assured of power and staying in power. It is not subject to change,” he said.
“I do not want to vote for a government which is not subject to change. I do not want my children or even my grandchildren to vote for a government professing absolute power because we will be denied of transparency and proper check and balances,” he stressed.
Touching on the pledge of giving back a 20 per cent oil royalty to the state, Yahya said only the opposition had taken the liberty to promise the Sabahans with that figure.
He admitted however that it was now too late to talk about more because that promise had been given to be fulfilled.
“This is likened to something having dropped from the sky because BN cannot give this to us,” the former Kota Belud member of parliament said.
“If the people vote Pakatan Rakyat to power, a ‘Yayasan Rakyat’ will be formed to allow for every Sabahan aged 18 years and above to be entitled for cash contribution from the government since the money belongs to the people.
“We will develop the necessary infrastructure and at the same time we will give back to the people their money as a form of bonus,” he said.
Yahya, who is a former Tempasuk assemblyman and whose entry into Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) was announced by de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on Saturday, confirmed the announcement and said “it was time to change.”