Who will gain most from the Lahad Datu incursion?
The 3.5 million inhabitants of Sabah consist of about 50 different groups of races and ethnicities. The majority being the Kadazan-Dusun making up 18% of the population, followed by the Bajaus (14%), Brunei Malays (5%) and Murut (3%) who emigrated from Sarawak. The Suluks/Tausugs who are in the limelight now are part of the minorities originated from the Philipines.
While the Kadazan-Dusuns are the ones who can claim themselves as the real natives of Sabah and are in the majority, they have been very accommodative, tolerant and peace loving people. They can withstand the plundering of the State’s wealth by the timber tycoons and their cohorts; the politicians. They can let so many people into Sabah like nobody’s business and accept the Pakistanis to make profits and the illegal immigrants take all the jobs.
The rest of the Sabahans meanwhile have been carrying on with their daily lives and despite many differences in beliefs, religion, culture, dialects and languages, they can all co-exists peacefully, while the only troubles would be within the individual group of community itself.
However in the case of the Suluks, they are a bit different; they are rough and provocative, the opposite of the Kadazan-Dusun who are more refined, thus they produce leaders like Pairin and Jeffery Kitingan. On the whole if there is one aspect of the socio-racial interaction that is on the down-side, it would be the common dislike for the Suluks amongst most of the Sabahans.
The Suluks are known to be vindictive and they have family feuds for several generations on trivial matters. It is not surprising that the Suluks will kill each other over a financial dispute of RM60.
With 50 different groups of people, the general consensus of Sabahans could not be ascertained easily. Therefore for any issue that crop up in the state, there is no particular group of its population who will fully support, reject or abstain.
While the Kadazan-Dusun supports business and progress, the rest do not have any real stance. This is where money comes in handy, in moulding public opinions in Sabah. Most of the Sabahans would happily vote BN for RM30 to RM50; they do not have the aptitude to take the bribe yet vote for others.
What about the incursion in Lahad Datu?
The existing dislikes for the Suluks amongst the rest of the Sabahans have been amplified at least two fold. They are the trouble makers and the incursion just proved it so and now the entire nation knows that as well. It is therefore not surprising that there will be an exodus of Suluks fleeing back to the Philipines soon.
However this incident has created a feeling of insecurity amongst the Sabahan Suluks who are the bona fide citizens of Sabah. Like the Japanese community in Hawaii during the Japanese attack on Pearl Horbour, they are caught in the middle. It is no wonder that they are the ones who had hoped Najib would killed all the 200 insurgents sooner if not on the first day and without any loss of lives amongst our security forces. Alas Najib was not considering the public, he was more interested in turning this incursion to his advantage even at the expense of innocent lives! At the most, Najib and his cousin Hishamuddin are simply incompetent!
The rest of the Sabahans on the other hand have mixed feelings with some do not care at all. The poor people of any ethnicity have many other daily problems to worry about and could not careless who dies and who rule the state; they will still stay the same. They will still stay poor and neglected.
It is the small group of educated and politically aware who are worried about the happenings in Sabah but more on the Project IC and the economy. Like the bona fide Suluks, they had hoped that Najib would take a swift action, but after the air strike by the RMAF jet they have no more complaints and have accepted what Najib had done, as good enough if not commendable.
When the Sabahans have seen our soldiers everywhere in the affected area now, they are just relieved. They are not worried about the remnant of the insurgents. What more trouble can they do to their lives when they have been facing various hardships since the day they were born? After all, this is the umpteenth time that armed foreigners have come in to create trouble!
The Sabahans in other places are not really perturbed by the incident as the incident has not really affected their lives.
As much as Najib had hoped that the incident will give him some advantage, it would not change the status quo is Sabah that much. But the repercussions will be felt in Peninsula Malaysia where the voters are definitely watching closely at all the political maneuvers made by Najib against the opposition. The latest speculation that Anwar could be jailed based on some fabricated evidence, paid witnesses and coerced confessions related to the Lahad Datu incident, which UMNO/PDRM is famous for, will only help them to make a decision or reaffirm their stance to vote for the opposition.
Anwar will definitely get more international support, the opposition winning the GE-13, coupled with a sour relationship with Indonesia and the tense relationship with the Philipines, UMNO/BN will be relegated to a pariah in the international community.