STAR is being accused of splitting the Kadazan, Dusun, Murut (KDM) communities' votes in Sabah and handing BN a measure of confidence that it can prolong its hold.
Maverick Sabah politician Jeffrey Kitingan has taken a hard line on ‘Malayan’ parties and has accused opposition leaders of being turncoats no better than the all-dominating Barisan Nasional ruling coalition they are castigating for rejecting his Borneo agenda that focuses exclusively on the rights of Sabah and Sarawak.
On the other side is Wilfred Bumburing, a MP who has turned independent and is leading Angkatan Perubahan Sabah (APS), a opposition-friendly grouping that sees Jeffrey’s brand of Borneo-centric politics as out of touch with reality.
APS has not taken Jeffrey’s State Reform Party (STAR) all-or-nothing, Sabah for Sabahans and accusations of pandering to ‘Malayan’ parties lightly in its battle to unite voters in the state under one opposition grouping.
Using Jeffrey’s own words against him, the APS publicity machine went to work to show how Sabah has always been ruled by the doctrine of divide and rule used by the Barisan Nasional and that the STAR leader’s Borneo agenda was like minded.
Making the case against Jeffrey, who on Sunday walloped rival Sabah opposition leaders as traitors, was APS information chief Lesaya Lopog Sorudim.
Sorudim told FMT today that Kitingan was only making matters worse by not making common cause with the Malayan-based opposition to oust the Umno-led BN coalition.
He said that by going its own route, STAR is disregarding the fact that it is also splitting the crucial votes of the Kadazan, Dusun, Murut (KDM) communities of Sabah and handing the BN a measure of confidence that it can prolong its hold on power through the coming general election.
He said that contrary to what the STAR leader was saying, Bumburing’s movement was established with the aim of restoring the dignity, sovereignty and independence of Sabah as a state within the Federation of Malaysia.
“So when Bumburing held that the natives, especially the KDM community should reject STAR’s strategy he was basing his opinion on facts,” Sorudim said.
Pakatan manifesto not Malaya Agenda
Last week STAR deputy chairman Daniel John Jambun had lashed out at Bumburing for saying that the natives of Sabah should not pin their hopes on his party, calling it “patently mischievous, misconceived and misleading”.
Jambun added that “it should be condemned in no uncertain terms by all right-thinking Sabahans, deplored and exposed as the mother of all lies by a political has-been who shamelessly continues to be a stooge of the local proxies of the peninsular masters.”
Sorudim pointed out that there was nothing ‘mischievous, misconceived or misleading’ when Bumburing made the statement which he said was reflective of the sentiment of the majority of the natives.
“Who would pin their hopes on an organisation that is bent on splitting the Sabah into five regions and moving the state capital from Kota Kinabalu to Keningau should they come to power,” Sorudim said of a controversial statement made by Jeffrey which the later claimed was taken out of context.
Jeffrey had said that if STAR was voted into power, the state would be divided into several states – West Coast, Sandakan, Tawau, Kudat and Keningau – each headed by a Chief Minister.
Sorudim said APS objective was to help the Pakatan Rakyat opposition coalition led by former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim win the coming election by ensuring victory in all KDM majority constituencies.
Pakatan’s manifesto, he said, does not in anyway outline a Malayan Agenda as alleged by STAR, but instead contains a comprehensive development plan specifically designed for Sabah.
“It is therefore on the basis of this struggles that generated interest among the natives of Sabah, and along with this scenario, the non-natives Malaysians of Sabah origin are also coming out in support of this agenda.
“APS’ struggles is about change … change in policy that are no longer applicable to Sabah, changes in the delivery system and changes in the distribution of wealth namely the oil royalty, management of tax and tariff,” Sorudim said.
STAR’s contradictory stand
APS youth leader Denis Gimpah also hit out at Jambun and STAR for not explaining their contradictory stance.
“Who is STAR trying to fool? Where does STAR come from anyway?
“Would the so-called STAR Sabah-chapter explain why the Sarawak-based party is not even contemplating putting up any candidates in their home state in Sarawak?
“Can they categorically deny the story about a meeting between their leader and Tun Daim Zainuddin in Nexus here sometime ago,” Gimpah asked.
Gimpah also raised the matter of Jeffrey’s ‘willingness’ to work with BN in the event it wins the polls in Peninsula Malaysia.
“Jeffrey Kitingan in May said that STAR was willing and would be ready to talk to BN. Does this not show who is actually being used as a BN tool here?
“How would STAR be able to solve the PTI problem without sound working relationship with a new in-coming federal government?
“They owe Sabahans an explanation,” he said.