‘Pakatan planning reverse takeover of Sabah’

Former Sabah chief minister Yong Teck Lee will reveal for the first time today the behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing that went on in 2008. 

Queville To, FMT

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) has turned its guns on the national opposition front Pakatan Rakyat and declared it ineligible to rule Sabah.

Putting a new spin to the expression “reverse takeover” coined to describe the imperceptible shift of political control of the state into the hands of the immigrant population, the local opposition party warned that Pakatan was also guilty of such tactics.

The startling attack made on April 1 was no April Fool’s Day joke though it had all the markings of one.

SAPP vice-president Melanie Chia issued the warning based on her party’s reading of the failed negotiations for a one-on-one fight between the opposition and the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition government that virtually swept all the state and parliamentary seats in the last general election.

She said the potential for a “reverse takeover” of Sabah by Malayan parties would be through the use of defectors from Umno after the BN government was overthrown in the soon-to-be-called 13th general election.

Such a scenario, she said, was a reality as Pakatan that groups PKR, DAP and PAS had recently already predicted that it could not take over Sabah alone in the coming polls.

Explaining the plot, Chia said Pakatan’s de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim himself had hinted as much when he announced last week, that the coalition would “go it alone” in contesting all state and parliamentary seats in Sabah and Labuan.

“The game plan of Pakatan is to pave the way for Umno assemblymen to defect to PAS or PKR after the general election if Pakatan captures Putrajaya so that a reverse takeover of the Sabah state government and its resources can be completed,” she said.

“To achieve this reverse takeover, it has become apparent that the tactic of Pakatan is to make sure that autonomous, self-reliant and fearless local parties like SAPP must not be allowed to win.

“After all, SAPP has proven itself as capable of fighting as an opposition party at both state and federal levels,” added the two-term state representative for Luyang.

2008 meetings

SAPP, which observers say cannot claim to have won over Sabah voters, is still staggered by Pakatan’s refusal to hand over the bulk of state constituencies to the local party in return for a majority of the 25 parliamentary seats in Sabah.