When Patawari Patawe was persuaded and convinced to serve the people of Tanjung Batu, Tawau by being their state representative in 10th GE in 1999 he left his RM25,000 monthly income as a medical specialists in Kota Kinabalu ending up earning RM2,500 a month as a state assemblyman. He was not perturbed by the drastic reduction in income because he had substantial amount of savings stashed away and continued to contest in the 11th and 12th GE without being ambitious; only to serve the people. He is of a rare breed.
However the list of Sabah politicians that have faulted is long and each of them had contributed to the current situation in Sabah; poor, undeveloped and full of immigrants.
Sabah politicians have deaf ears
Sabahans have asked and demanded so many times for the federal government to resolve the immigrant issues. However both the politicians and the business community need them. The immigrants are willing to work for less than RM20 per day doing odd jobs. Those who are employed on a long term basis can survive with RM350 a month. Thus most of the Sabahans are left without proper jobs or have to go to either Singapore or peninsula Malaysia, while the business people, traders, planters and farmers profit from the cheap labour.
The politicians will be able to have fixed-deposit voters under their pay roll; filthy cheap pay roll. Give them the NRIC and RM50, they will never have second thoughts, they will surely vote for you. With RM1000, that would be equivalent to four month’s hard work, many would be willing to kill for you.
The politicians in Sabah at present are facing the same predicament whether to listen to the needs of the Sabahans and consider the persuasion of PR to leave UMNO/BN or continue supporting UMNO/BN and enrich themselves further even with what they are having now would be enough to live until they die, after all most of them have not much more to go.
Sabah politicians only serve their self-interests
Unfortunately, besides the lone Patawari Patawe, the history of other Sabah politicians is mired with bad characters. Sabah politicians are erratic, self-centred, egoist, untrustworthy, unprincipled, greedy, corrupt and truly undependable to fight and cater for Sabahans.
Sabah politicians namely Lajim Ukin and Wilfred Bumburing are in the news again. Lajim has announced that he has given up all party posts and supports PR. Wilfred has left UPKO to form Parti Barisan Sabah. They are strongmen and very influential within their own constituencies and can win based on their own merits. They are their own men, but beyond that they have no influence at all. Some observers predicted that other politicians could be influenced by these two and BN will not be able to do anything about it.
PR, especially Anwar must not put too much hope in Sabah politicians.
But their leaving UMNO/BN is not specifically for the interests of Sabahans, they dislike Musa Aman and since Najib refused to replace Musa, they simply protested by leaving UMNO/BN and show support for PR. They will of course tell us that whatever they do is for the interest of Sabah and the Sabahans. But Najib can still entice them back sooner or later and their real interests will be known.
At this juncture when several of them are leaving UMNO/BN, they are all serving their own interests. Those leaving their parties like Lajim Ukin of UMNO and Wilfred Bumburing of UPKO are only stepping back to wait and see whether which ones will poise to win, BN or PR. Then they will pretend to not being interested in taking sides, waiting for offers. The ones forming their own parties like Bernard Dompok forming UPKO and Jeffrey Kitingan forming STAR have the same intention as well as hoping to be the kingmaker.
Sabah politicians have become crucial for both BN and PR
In the present political scenario where PR has made huge progress in the peninsula, but not much clout in Sarawak, inevitably Sabah has become very crucial indeed for PR to take Putrajaya. Since the possible numbers of seats that PR could get in the peninsula has reached the ceiling and any extra seats must therefore be from Sabah.
For the GE-13, BN has more clout over the Sabah politicians but PR needs just another 3 or 4 of them while maintaining the Kota Kinabalu parliamentary won by DAP. Just imagine 3 or 4 Sabah politicians that will determine the future of Malaysian politics and the fate of our nation! These few Sabah politicians indeed will be the kingmakers. But will they be wise enough to use their power wisely for the best interests of the nation?
Sabahans can deliver the politicians required for change, but will the politicians themselves act according to the wishes of the voters, or will they betray them again this time around?
Unfortunately the self-interest politics is the norm for Sabah. Alas, Sabahans have no choice but to be at the mercy of their useless politicians, whose main purpose is to be important and get more money. While UMNO/BN politicians involved in politics to grab the positions and then start accumulating wealth, Sabah politicians have perfected the art of making money just by being politicians.