Better for Jeffrey to ignore Anwar

Anwar, for all his initial big talk about reformasi, flogs an antiquated and anachronistic brand of politics in Malaysian Borneo. 

Joe Fernandez, Free Malaysia Today 

It’s high time that State Reform Party (STAR) chief and Borneo strongman, Jeffrey Kitingan, addressed the two other big political problems – besides Umno – in Sabah and Sarawak: Anwar Ibrahim and his Peninsular Malaysia-based PKR.

It’s not the done thing to focus exclusively on Umno in Sabah during the Borneo Tea Parties and ignore the one who was among the key persons who planted this party in the state to facilitate its internal colonisation policies.

There is a long litany of complaints against Anwar in Sabah and Sarawak – from being anti-Christian, anti-Dusun/Dayak and anti-native to placing illegal immigrants on the electoral rolls – but he’s best remembered for shamelessly squatting on the Dusuns and Jeffrey during the latter’s stint until Jan 2 last year as vice-president in PKR.

In Peninsular Malaysia, Sabahans and Sarawakians have long noted, Anwar has virtually declared “Indian” as another dirty word which must not be mentioned by even the Indian legislators in PKR. Apparently, it’s okay, however, in Anwar’s dictionary, to mention the Chinese besides the Malays. Others are so much cannon fodder.

PKR Indians, with an eye on the forthcoming 13th general election, have now been allowed to temporarily mention “Indian” as they engage in an on-going sandiwara with the MIC on the problem of statelessness.

Hindraf Makkal Sakthi and Human Rights Party (HRP) leaders were routinely described by Anwar as racists whenever they raised this and other Indian issues. At least, to its credit, Umno and Barisan Nasional have yet to be so dismissive of these two organisations. Both Umno and BN belatedly appear willing of late to discuss Indian issues as national issues.

Anwar, for all his initial big talk about reformasi which we no longer hear about, flogs an antiquated and anachronistic brand of politics in Malaysian Borneo: that it’s not possible to even mention Dusun – including Kadazan or urban Dusun – much less Murut and Dayak, on the grounds that “the Malays in Peninsular Malaysia will get angry”.

Why the Malays in a faraway land – Peninsular Malaysia might as well as be on the moon as far as Sabah and Sarawak are concerned – should be against the Dusuns and Dayaks ruling their own land has never been explained. It seems to be yet another sensitive issue among the ruling elite and wannabes.

PKR leaders are fond of pointing to Baru Bian, a Christian Dayak who heads the Sarawak chapter of the party, as proof enough of Anwar not being a racist or being against the non-Muslim natives in Malaysian Borneo.

Different version

Anwar himself had grudgingly agreed to Bian’s appointment “to compensate – it seems temporarily – for a Muslim of Suluk Filipino origin heading PKR in Sabah” and thereby belatedly “placate”, in some strange fashion, the Dusuns in Sabah.

It’s indeed difficult to fathom this kind of thinking – giving a free rein to the illegal immigrants in Sabah PKR – and covering it up with Bian’s appointment to mislead the Dusuns. Anwar, like the Dusuns and Dayaks, knows that Bian has “no hope in hell” of even sniffing the chair of the chief minister of Sarawak.

Furthermore, Anwar continues to knock Bian’s appointment by saying that “it’s up to the Malays – presumably he means in Peninsular Malaysia – to decide whether they want to support his appointment as the chief minister of Sarawak”.

Anwar even rubbed Bian’s nose in the dirt on this score during the Sarawak state election on April 16 last year when campaigning in Muslim areas including Dayak Muslim. In non-Muslim Dayak areas, he preached a different version, and pointed to Bian as proof enough that he was not a racist as alleged – according to Anwar – by Jeffrey’s people.

Jeffrey continues to be a victim of such Anwarian politics.

The latest manifestation was Anwar brazenly turning up in Kota Kinabalu in recent days, completely ignoring Jeffrey, and clinching a seat-sharing pact with the Chinese-led Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), a mosquito party rejected by even the Chinese.

This pact was ostensibly between Pakatan Rakyat and SAPP but has since openly come under fire from the anti-SAPP DAP in Sabah.

Now, it’s this same Anwar that Jeffrey wants to talk to in order to persuade him to stay out of the fray in Sabah and Sarawak and “go back to Peninsular Malaysia”. If Anwar can do that – “that is, go away and stay away” – Jeffrey is willing to consider supporting Pakatan, in particular PKR, to oust the ruling BN from Putrajaya.

This is what Jeffrey told the media and Sabahans and Sarawakians in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday during a Borneo Tea Talk arranged by his NGO, the United Borneo Front (UBF), on behalf of the United Borneo Alliance (UBA) which includes STAR as well.

Political chameleon

Jeffrey would be better off to ignore Anwar in the same way that he’s being ignored by the latter.

As long as the de facto PKR chief continues to renege on his long-given promise to incorporate the local chapter and give full autonomy, it serves of little purpose to attempt to humour the political chameleon in him.

Anwar has never been noted for saying what he means and meaning what he says. Many, even in PKR, will concede that Anwar is a pathological liar, for want of a better term.

The imperial pomposity of Anwar knows no bounds.

He genuinely belabours from the fatal misconception that Sabah and Sarawak are among his family’s imperial properties along with Putrajaya and the prime minister’s post.

He fails to understand that he genuinely had a once in a lifetime chance, albeit underserved, of being the prime minister in mid-1995 but, fortunately for us all, Dr Mahathir Mohamad realised in the nick of time even before he (Anwar) blew it. That’s karma no doubt for what Anwar, with Mahathir’s blessings, did in Sabah in 1994 to the Dusuns when he brought down the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) on the back of defections in cahoots with SAPP, two moneybags from Labuan and Sarawak, and the Special Branch in Bukit Aman.