Pakatan for Parliament, STAR for state?

This seems to be a tacit understanding among the village communities in Sabah.

Across Sabah the feeling seems to be mutual, but BN and its arch rival Pakatan claim such distinctions (dividing the votes between Pakatan and STAR) among “simple-minded” villagers is not possible.

(FMT) – KOTA KINABALU: There seems to a silent, tacit agreement among village communities here that they should vote Pakatan Rakyat into Parliament and help Jeffrey Kitingan’s State Reform Party (STAR) with the state seats.

While the idea may not catch on, Partners of Community Organisations (Pacos) founding member Anne Lasimbang believes the ground sentiments for such “sharing” are real.

“STAR has been working on the ground for more than two years. The villagers all want to ‘tukar baju’ but have mostly decided, especially in the interior, that they must divide their vote between Pakatan and STAR,” she said, adding that she herself had met villagers recently who gave her the feedback.

Several members of Lasimbang’s family are involved with various political parties in the polls.

Her brother Philip is contesting as a Barisan Nasional candidate in the Moyog parliamentary constituency, while her relatives Melanie Anol and Bernard Solibun are contesting under the STAR banner. Anol is a parliamentary candidate in Penampang while Solibun is contesting for the Moyug state seat.

Lasimbang said BN may dismiss the possibility of a change, but when it does come it will be a big wave.

“It was the same in 1985. We can already feel… there is a groundswell for tukar [change]… it is an exciting time for Sabah.

“In 1985, we were young. We wanted change in Sabah but we did not know the power of the federal government.

“But now we are clear. We must change the federal government in Sabah,” she said, adding that it is wrong to underestimate Sabahans because they have a record of rising against oppressions in the past.

Don’t compare Musa with Harris

Across Sabah the feeling seems to be mutual, but BN and its arch rival Pakatan claim such distinctions (dividing the votes between Pakatan and STAR) among “simple-minded” villagers is not possible.

“Kampung people don’t think like that, bah,” said one BN campaigner, adding that STAR’s assaults are “insignificant”.

But strangely enough for all the pre-nomination bravado, STAR flags are hardly visible in the urban areas.

But drive out into the interior and you hear “Ini Kali lah” as the constant greeting alongside “tukar” – Pakatan’s tagline.

BN on its part is confident that its fixed deposits will vote them back into power.

Said a campaigner from caretaker Chief Minister Musa Aman’s camp: “Sabah won’t fall. Musa will be back. Sure, we will lose may be 8 to 10 parliamentary seats, but this has all been factored in. The states seats will remain with Musa.”

Sabah has 25 parliamentary and 60 state seats.

In the 1985 election, then ruling Berjaya and its chief minister Harris Salleh voiced the same bravado, but eventually saw themselves crash with the party retaining six of the then 48 state seats and Harris himself losing in Tenom constituency.

“You cannot compare Musa to Harris. Harris fell because of his arrogance, Labuan, and what he did in Tambunan against [Joseph] Pairin [Kitingan].

“Musa is different. He talks less but is approachable. People like him and he has brought development to the state,” said the campaigner, adding that the 13th general election was more than just pumping in money into the interior.

Rumours has it that the GE13 has cost Musa RM5 billion but where the money went and is still going is anyone’s guess.