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The British were better, says former Sorob asemblyman

By Ezra Haganez
In another revelation potentially explosive for public debate in Sabah, a former Sorob (now Kadamaian) assemblyman, Ismail Gimbad, too claimed that the British looked after Sabahans even much better than the current ruling leaders, at least on issues pertaining to Native certification and on paddy plantation.

Ismail, now still active 71 but only 27 when he first became Sorob law-maker in 1967, said the British were very stringent in issuing Native certificate (important in those days and even today), unlike the current government who had been often accused of free-flowing in granting non-natives and even foreigners of this coveted certificate.

"The British was far better in looking after Sabahans compared to our own people. The British was very stringent on matters over Native Certificate, unlike nowadays," he said when met here recently.
[ "British lagi bagus piara orang Sabah daripada orang kita sendiri sebab British sangat ketat dalam hal Sijil Anak Negeri tidak seperti sekarang" ]

Ismail, a Dusun muslim, is among a very few surviving earliest assemblymen that are still active in Sabah. He is a frequent face in the cowboy town of Kota Belud and is still driving in his car to town, mingling freely in almost every other weekly market or "tamu" in the the multi-cultural town.  

Recently, former State Secretary, Simon Sipaun, who was also former vice chairman of SUHAKAM, made a similar remark about the British at a forum in Kota Kinabalu, earning himself police reports lodged by disagreeing Sabah UMNO who accused Sipaun of misleading and trying to fan the people to go against the current government.

Ismail, who continued to be assemblyman till 1976 (when he was defeated by BERJAYA man) and had served as an Assistant Minister under USNO government, also claimed that under the British, his hometown was already the biggest rice bowl of Sabah with 15,000 acres of lands planted with paddy.

"Kota Belud had 15,000 acres of paddy, making it the biggest paddy-planting district in Sabah, followed by neighbour Tuaran. At that time the (today still-existing) Wokok dam could water large part of these paddy fields.

Hidden agenda on proposed Tambatuon dam

"Why the need for a bigger dam in a densely-populated Kampung Tambatuan is to me eyebrows-raising. If the dam is extremely necessary, the government could build it at an uninhabited strategic area like at Kopungitan at the foot of Mount Tambuyukon (at Kota Belud - Kota Marudu border)," he said adding he believed there could be other reason for choosing Tambatuon.

The proposed dam in Tambatuon has become a thorn-in-flesh for the current Kadamaian assemblyman Herbert Timbon Lagadan, who is "forced" to defend the Federal-funded dam in the name of greater good for Kota Belud paddy plantation.  

The village head of Kampung Tambatuon, Singkui Tinggi, who rallied his people to oppose the proposed dam has been sacked from his post. Singkui however, had been going around Kadamaian rallying other natives not only to oppose the dam but now Lagadan, accusing him for chasing personal interest rather than listening to the people.

Weeks ago, the former assemblyman, had also revealed via an online news portal FreeMalaysiaToday that the Sabah Alliance government in 1973 did request for a review on the certain assurances to Sabah, contained in the Malaysia Agreement and the 20-Points as well as in the Inter-Governmental Report (IGC), but then Prime Minister, Razak Hussein, refused to have it.

Ismail, said Razak rejected the request saying if a referendum (pungutan suara) was to be held, it would need a lot of money to do it, hence there was not need for it.

"Razak conveyed to us his refusal to have the review through then Chief Minister of Sabah, Mustapha Harun, who was also chairman of the Sabah Alliance then.

"Razak said if Sabah wanted a referendum it would need a big sum of money for the purpose. Razak however said that Sabah could just make additions to the existing assurances and provisions and hence there was no need for a costly referendum," Ismail had said then.

Ismail also had said that the word "review" of the Malaysia Agreement then carried a mutual understanding to both Federal Government and the Borneo States to ensure the assurances were being carried out or whether they had been to the satisfaction of Sabah (and Sarawak).

A review, to Razak understanding too, was never to lessen or remove the assurances, but rather to make sure Sabah and Sarawak continue to be a happy equal partners in the agreed Federation.

Sorob constituency was renamed Kebayau from 1976 till 1986 when it was given the current name Kadamaian. During Ismail's earlier term, Sabah had only 32 elected assemblymen and six nominated assemblymen. It now has 60 assemblymen while the six nominated had not been filled though the provision for it in the State Constitution has never been repealed.


  1. Bana eh Datuk.. Nia uun guno-guno perinta tih betiru, mangan sin rayat joh korjo gai..

    Aap lagi kiteh maku perlindungan British

  2. Perlindungan British???? Kena buka sejarah balik....bagus kan British???

    seburuk2 pemimpin kita, mereka tetap orang kita...kalau tidak suka tukar...bukan tau bising jak...

    orang kita pun satu...kalau sudah jadi YB...semua pandai cakap jak....kerja tdk tau....salah siapa???salah kita juga....kita yang undi YB

  3. Apa lg yg tdk puas hati.....kalau tdk suka bantah habis2....jangan tau cakap sana sini....

    British ka??? PKR ka?? semua gila kuasa ....

    Bersyukur la dengan pemerintah yang ada....pengajaran dari sejarah....sekali jatuh tersungkur.......payah untuk bangkit semula...buka dan baca la BUKU SEJARAH....jangan menyesal di kemudian


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