By Edward Mujie
We are already almost at the end of 2012 and Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has successfully kept everyone guessing on the date of the 13th general election.
Within Barisan Nasional there have been so many indications for more than a year now of a potential GE.
But now as we are nearing the end of 2012, it looks very likely that the 13th GE will be in 2013, perhaps due to the uncertainties in Sabah and Sarawak.
Sabah has been a problematic state since the formation of Malaysia at the time of Tun Mustafa and Donald Stephen until now.
The Project IC has created the “New Bumiputera Malays” that has voting rights.
The ‘Malays’ of Malaysia are today divided into six categories – Umno Malays, PAS Malays, PKR Malays, Sabah Malays, Sarawak Malays, and ‘New Bumiputera’ Malays whilst there was only one cohesive group of Malays during independence.
With the broken up ‘Malays’, BN-Umno in fact now has a smaller percentage among the 86 Barisan Nasional MPs from Malaya post the 2008 12th GE.
Sabah and Sarawak contributed 54 MP or 38.5% of the 140 BN MPs. It deserves to have 10 or 11 full ministers in the federal cabinet of 27.
Instead it has miniscule representation in that Sabah has three and Sarawak two federal ministers posts.
Why in the first place did BN very unfairly appoint post 2008 GE losers Shahrizat Abdul Jalil and Koh Tsu Koon as federal ministers when there were so many eligible and deserving MPs from Sabah and Sarawak?
Although the East Malaysian MPs might have not expressed their heavy hearted objections at that time, the people of Sabah and Sarawak would surely have felt short-changed or sidelined by the leaders in the national capital.
There are deep seated unhappiness yet unnoticed in Sabah.
Sarawak government’s headache
Meanwhile the Sarawak leadership is experiencing a big headache with the Radio Free Sarawak (RFS) that has successfully penetrated the deep interiors of rural Sarawak since November 2010.
The opposition had for a long time difficulty in accessing the rugged terrain without the proper and expensive network of transportation.
But RFS changed that. Today, the rural natives – Ibans, Bidayuhs, Orang Ulus, Penans, Melanaus, Malays among others – who make up more than 50 percent of the voting population are listening to the RFS every day at 6pm prime time.
There is nothing the Sarawak or federal government can do to censor it.
The major towns of Sarawak are already dominated by the opposition following last year’s state elections. (Opposition won an unprecedented 15 seats.)
It looks quite likely that the opposition would once again dominate the major towns in Sarawak in the 13th GE.
Now with the delay in the 13th GE announcement, more and more rural folks will be inclined to listen, feel and move towards the opposition.
The rural natives are really feeling the impact of poverty, NCR land grabbing, relocation of ancestral land caused by dam construction without proper compensation.
PM Najib’s two RM500 BR1M handouts will not help solve their problems now that these natives have nowhere to live and no forest to cultivate as their ancestral domain. (The 12 planned mega dams are set to completely displace the indigenous communities in Sarawak.)
It will therefore be no surprise if the political tsunami which drowned Malaya in the 2008 polls floods Sabah and Sarawak this time round. BN lost five states to the opposition in 2008. It later wrested Perak in a controversial reverse takeover.
Sabah, meanwhile, has already experienced a dramatic political history with the rise and fall of parties.
Usno fell in 1976, Berjaya in 1985, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) in 1994. In the 2013 GE it could be BN, vis-a-vis Umno.