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May 25, 2008

Political action moves to Sabah, Sarawak

malaysiainsider - [...] The power centre of Malaysian politics has shifted to East Malaysia. Anwar Ibrahim was in Sarawak on Friday, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah is in Sabah today and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will make arguably his most important speech since Election 2008 in Kota Kinabalu on May 31.

Each of them has an eye on Barisan Nasional and Umno politicians in the two states who have become restless and vocal over what they perceive to be second class treatment by the federal government in treatment, disbursement of funds and allocation of political positions. Anwar needs to mine this unhappiness and persuade them to cross over to Pakatan Rakyat and force the collapse of the Abdullah administration.

Tengku Razaleigh needs to show empathy and a plan of action for Sabah as he did last night in Kota Kinabalu when he suggested that more senior positions in the state civil service be set aside for Sabahans and endorsed a review of oil royalties for the state. In doing so, he hopes that some of the Umno divisions in Sabah will nominate him as a candidate for the party president’s position in December.

Abdullah needs to outdo everyone and offer East Malaysians something tangible on May 31. He has to address demands made by Sabah MPs Ghapur Salleh and Anifah Aman over inadequate representation in the Cabinet as well as wider concerns of encroachment in Sabah by the federal government. He also has to convince the politicians in Sabah and Sarawak that he has to ability to provide leadership past Umno elections in December.

The PM knows that if he fails to meet some of the demands of the Sabahans, it will persuade some of the BN MPs in the state to leave the coalition, form a new Sabah party and then join Pakatan Rakyat as a new partner.

... selanjutnya.


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