We do not have to wait for GE14 to oust PM Najib and BN. nor have we reached a stage where conscientious lawmakers forget about being partisan and agree on a vote of no confidence against the PM. BN presently has the numbers and has the support of an equally partisan speaker. Any motion of no confidence will be defeated.
Jeffrey Kitingan’s talk about secession is super brave. It can be seditious or can be treated so. If the government wants to, it can treat Kitingan’s proposal as seditious. UMNO and BN foot soldiers will likely do what they normally do- make police reports against Jefrey and others dong the same brave talk. If you look at point #7, it says there is no right of secession.
What do Sabahans and Sarawakians want? Since secession is not possible, the next best thing is to kick out the federal government which is the source of much of the East Malaysians’ discontent. Work with people who can make that possible.
What is to be done?
All we need do is persuade the 8 non-Muslim MPs in Sabah and the 11 non-Muslim MPs in Sarawak to leave BN. BN will be reduced by that number and will only have 114 left in parliament on their side.
Out of that 114, the 14 comes from PBB- Taib Mahmud’s party. Taib hasn’t forgotten Najib’s humiliation of him- Najib went to Sarawak and in front of thousands announced that Taib Mahmud is leaving. Either Najib must have been seized by a temporary bout of political insanity or he was plain excited- did he forget that PBB isn’t UMNO at all. Taib Mahmud certainly wasn’t an UMNO serf always forced to pay obeisance to the lord. Taib Mahmud is like the PM of Sarawak.
There is no UMNO in Sarawak and after the Allah ruling and seeing the belligerence of UMNO leaders, Taib Mahmud will now make sure UMNO will never set foot in Sarawak. Its good business to cultivate Taib Mahmud.
Maybe the UMNO people overestimate their importance. They are in power because 56 parliamentary seats from East Malaysia gave them majority. All Taib Mahumud needs to do, just to give Najib a lesson in realpolitik, is to stay neutral. Just by staying neutral is as good as withdrawing support from BN. with PBB’s 14 and the 19 from East Malaysia, BN can lose effectively 33 seats. That leaves BN with 100 seats in Parliament.
What happens then? The 33 can talk terms with likeminded politicians in West Malaysia. PR has 89 seats. Even if they don’t want to talk directly to PR because maybe some people object to Anwar, they can organize themselves around a political personality respected by many such as Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah. Rally around Tengku Razaleigh to get credibility and legitimacy. Without factoring in Malay leadership, whatever agenda the 33 have, will not work. Work with Razaleigh then because he is the only honourable Malay leader around.
Is this possible? Yes indeed. As soon as BN loses its majority it will have to resign. UMNO can’t do it alone because nobody wants to work with UMNO. If MCA has got any quotient of self-worth left, they would leave BN too.
It’s unimaginable to see MCA in the same stable as PR where DAP is present. DAP is the Chinese Big Brother. But MCA can work with the 33 from East Malaysia and can accommodate Tengku Razaleigh. Tengku Razaleigh can be invited to head the 33 plus MCA. And Tengku Razaleigh isn’t coming in alone- he will bring along some progressive UMNO MPs. For starters, 5 UMNO MPs would be enough. If Tengku Razaleigh becomes the de facto leader of the 33 plus MCA plus UMNO MPs- Tengku Razaleigh represents a solid bloc that can negotiate with PR. Together with PR, Tengku Razaleigh can form a new government. Once the new government comes into being, before you an even finish your teh tarik, dozens of UMNO MPs will hop on the bandwagon for the sake of self-preservation.
While we may argue as some do that the Allah Ruling by the Appeal Court applies to its usage in the publication Herald, the extremists in our midst are already pushing for its general application. If this were merely an instance of case law, then it will be used as precedents subject to variations at judges’ rulings. Now that will in itself become a source of legal instabilities and therefore confusion.
If it were that specific, then Christian practitioners in Peninsula can publish other papers using the term because the term is Herald-specific. The problem here is the ruling is and will be subjected to endless permutations. Certainly the ruling will be extended into a general rule that bans the term Allah because as the ruling says- Allah is not an integral part of Christian teaching. How do we ordinary Muslims know? We have never studied Christian Bibles before.How do we know Christians do not use the term in reference to One true God?
We have never been confused precisely because commitment and devotion to our OWN beliefs make the conduct of people of different beliefs irrelevant to us. As long as our beliefs are not persecuted or we are not prevented from practising our own beliefs, we were never confused. The judges forgot that the term was already used by Christians in Arab countries even before Islam came to the Arabian Peninsula. If that isn’t proof of the term being an integral part of Christian teaching, we don’t know what.
How is the Allah ruling part of this argument about secession talks? Because this Allah ruling casts dark tyrannical shadows on the fragile and often condescending treatment of East Malaysia by the BN government. The right wing agitators in Peninsula may want to recognise that point #1 in the 20 point agreement with North Borneo( now Sabah) states:-
While there was no objection to Islam being the national religion of Malaysia there should be no State religion in North Borneo, and the provisions relating to Islam in the present Constitution of Malaya should not apply to North Borneo
Precisely because its case law and not present in the present constitution of Malaya makes it fluid and flowable into East Malaysia. It will open the flood gates. Case law means it can apply anywhere and at any time depending on judicial activism. It will eventually be a cause of great concern and anxiety on East Malaysians.
The East Malaysians had an opportunity to carve out a new beginning in the last GE. That opportunity was lost when more East Malaysians chose to hang on with BN despite years of ill treatment and condescension. Now, Sabahans and Sarawakians are bullied by UMNO and BN. what happens to Sabahans will certainly be an object lesson to Sarawakians who will do their best to prevent UMNO entering Sarawak.
I don’t think that the issue about the usage of Allah prompted Jefrey and others talking about possible secession; no doubt it is an important issue that becomes the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. It’s the culmination of a long series of ill-treatment, condescension and years of being talked down that has reached the boiling point and Jefrey sees the issue as enhancing his own personal agenda. Jefrey’s vitriol wasn’t directed at the court but at Najib.
The issue is therefore with Najib’s leadership. That’s the real issue. It isn’t about disgust at the court ruling because the general perception here, if anyone cares to think about it, the courts are always seen to validate the demands of the government.
Over here, we have issues with the judiciary. If the East Malaysians work with the opposition we can carry out judicial reforms. All we need do, once we are the government is to pension off the top 15-20 judges and we have reform of the judiciary and the judicial system overnight. We can catch out the corrupt judges and magistrates. Yes, our judges and magistrates are not monkish abstainers.
So Jefrey doesn’t have to implore our east Malaysian brothers to secede. The sweetness of redemption is in kicking out Najib and his government. The east Malaysians must pressure the federal government to honour the 20 and 18 point memorandum and if the Najib government pussyfoots on the demands, kick them out. The 19 non-Muslim MPs can do this by aligning with PR. Let’s forge a new political alliance.
If the East Malaysian MPs have any sense of self respect, they must leave BN. why do you want to stay on with a political party that treats you despicably? Pakatan Rakyat has no problems with allowing Christians to use the term Allah in Christian teaching as it has been an integral part of Christian teaching in East Malaysia as it is in Middle Eastern countries. It pains me to say this- but the court ruling presently serves to confirm the Malaynisation of Islam instead of the Islamisation of the Malay.
What Jefrey has said could not but find resonance and support among the non-Muslim MPs in Sabah and Sarawak. The whole Klu Kluxing of religion and race relations in our country is made possible by the continued inelegant silence from the PM who has shirked his responsibility as leader of Malaysians. Those who oppose UMNO and BN need not emigrate- those who need to leave us are the purveyors of envy-driven and hate politics. Let UMNO leave us and let them form a separate country where like-minded bigots can stay together.
The whole sad episode about the Allah issue and renege on an agreement made in 1963, serves to confirm that Najib is a hypocritical leader and a fraudulent salesman pushing around a faulty dream in the form of 1Malaysia that has now been replaced with a nebulous product by the name of endless possibilities. Is that a new brand of perfume?
The solution I say, need not be the extreme solution as Jefrey thought out aloud; Jefrey or anyone else just need to convince the 19 non-Muslim MPs now with BN to leave BN. this will topple the government and its perfectly legal. Reaffirm and execute the 20-point memorandum with a new partner. Find a new leader that commands respect and confidence. Najib is not that leader.