By Francis Paul Siah
On Aug 5, before the dates of the Sabah state election were announced, I wrote in my column in a Sarawak daily:
“Why should 3.8 million Sabahans be made to suffer by having to go through another electoral process just because of the personal feud of their top two political leaders, and that of 60 good-for-nothing incorrigible parasites who care only for their personal ambition and lust for position and power?
“When politicians quarrel, the people suffer. And that is sick!”
The title of my article was “Whoever wins, Sabahans lose”.
I will not proclaim that I feel vindicated for making those statements, or that I feel good today because I was right all along two months ago.
There is nothing to feel good about for a writer, or anyone else (even when they are proven correct), when Sabahans are dying, including a one-year-old girl, from Covid-19 because of the election cluster.
So, did anyone win in Sabah after the Sept 26 polls? As far as I’m concerned, all of Sabah lost.
I maintain to this day that the just-concluded election was totally unnecessary, merely 28 months after GE14 in May 2018.
Today, politicians cannot wait five years for the next election. In their quest and lust for power, they would do anything, including partaking in backdoor coups and indulging unashamedly in the sick and degrading katak (frog) culture, to get to the top.
As I write this on the day Malaysia stands at its worst level of the Covid-19 pandemic, with 691 new cases recorded over 24 hours, how do you expect me to feel?
Angry, furious and mad. I put the blame squarely on the shoulders of Sabah politicians, particularly those who took part in the July 28 attempted coup.
I want these politicians to go visit the family members of the more than 10 Sabahans who have died since Sept 26, look at them straight in the eye and see the miseries and sufferings they have to go through because politicians could not stop politicking. An apology is too little and too late, in this case.
After that, I would suggest to these coup plotters to climb to the peak of Mount Kinabalu and jump down – commit the honourable hara-kiri. Yes, this is how fuming mad I am with these political parasites and leeches.
The Sabah elections also cost RM750 million. Do the math. It’s obvious Sabah and Sabahans lost on this count too.
What did they get? Covid-19! Expect the pandemic to worsen in Sabah, with more infections and fatalities.
In light of the worsening pandemic, I would also like to join the growing chorus of my fellow Sarawakians in requesting our chief minister, Abang Johari Abang Openg, to put off the state election to a later date.
We must take real, hard lessons from Sabah. Politicians should accord priority to the safety and well-being of the people over their own or their party’s interests.
Truth be told: no one in Sarawak wants a state election now. Politics and elections are furthest from their minds. Their priorities are their safety and health and how to help contain the deadly virus.
From my feedback, I’m glad that politicians from both sides in my home state are agreeable to “no election” for now.
Most of them are sensible people, saying that lives, not elections, matter. This is the general feeling within political circles and among Sarawakians.
I was delighted to hear from a minister yesterday that Abang Jo (above) has also been listening to advice from the health authority, his cabinet colleagues and the people in general.
“I think the chief minister will make the right call. He listens to well-meaning advice and is a responsible leader.
“I doubt an election will be called anytime soon. That you can take it from me,” the minister said in his message.
The Sarawak polls are not due till June next year – that is eight months away.
In the meantime, I would urge Abang Jo to concentrate on driving the economy in Sarawak forward as many people are reeling from the effects of the economic slowdown due to the pandemic.
This should be his priority.
I agree with an economist who stated that “the financial woes resulting from the pandemic call for more prudent spending and that the government must use its allocations to boost domestic economic activities and take care of the people’s welfare”.
I like to believe that Abang Jo will make the right call, set the economy bearings on track and postpone the elections till the worst of the pandemic is over.
My chief minister has no choice but to do so.
Remember, dear Abang Jo, lives, not elections, matter.
This piece first appeared in Malaysiakini. The views here do not necessarily represent those of this portal.