Top posts

Featured Posts

Sabah cracks down on ‘opposition’ villages

By Joseph Bingkasan
KOTA KINABALU: Village chiefs in various district in Sabah where the opposition made inroads in the May 5 general election are starting to feel the anger of the Barisan Nasional government.

Several of them have received notices of termination of their services particularly in the Kadazan Dusun Murut (KDM) majority villages.

They believe that their dismissals are malicious and a form of revenge for the drop in support for the BN in the respective constituencies.
The dismissed community leaders and at least one Native Chief Representative (Wakil Ketua Anak Negeri) received their termination letters by hand. The letter however did not contain reasons for the sacking.

It is understood that this is also happening in other constituencies where BN candidates were defeated.

In the 13th general election BN lost in 13 state and three parliamentary constituencies. Except for Bingkor state seat, the remaining 12 were won by DAP and PKR. Bingkor is held by State Reform Party Sabah chapter chairman Jeffrey Kitingan.

Wilfred Bumburing, the assemblyman for Tamparuli who won the seat on a PKR ticket, decried the treatment being meted out by the government authorities against the respected village chiefs.

“It is very clear that the BN state government cannot accept their defeat in the state constituency of Tamparuli during the recent general election.

“They are now on a witch hunt for those they blamed for their defeat,“ he told FMT today.

Termination harsh

In the May election, Bumburing, who helms Angkatan Perubahan Sabah (Sabah Reform Movement), defeated BN-Parti Bersatu Sabah’s then incumbent assemblyman Jahid Jahim.

Tamparuli is one of the three seats in the Tuaran parliamentary constituency. The two others – Kiulu and Sulaman – are held by BN.

From the number of ketua kampungs being terminated, it is believed that the state government is meting out punishment especially against the KDMs as all of the village heads are from the community.

“This action by the state government shows that they don’t hold to and practice democratic principles and freedom.

“From my survey many of these ketua kampungs were not involved in the recent elections and many of them had thrown their support to the BN candidates.

“I want to remind the state government that the institution of ketua kampungs are an integral part of social and traditional life of the KDM community and the harsh termination of these village chiefs is an assault to the community,” Bumburing said.

He further mused over the stand of BN component party leaders who are also from the KDM community.

“I am wondering what is the stand of the KDM leaders like Tuaran MP Wilfred Tangau, the secretary-general of UPKO, a party which is supposed to fight for the right of the KDM community?

“However I am not at all surprised if these terminations are a result of recommendations and bidding from the defeated BN candidate in Tamparuli,” Bumburing added.

KDM future in limbo?

According to locals, many of the sacked village chiefs had been serving the community for a long time and had been appointed based on the support from the local community.

“Their termination has deprived us of effective and good leadership,” said a resident of a village in Tamparuli, adding that this was the general feeling in most of the affected villages.

According to Bumburing, some of the village elders had even brought to him their worries about the future position of the KDM in Sabah and the country.

The issue of the position of the ketua kampungs was raised during the recent state assembly meeting and Minister of Local Government and Housing Hajiji Mohd Noor had assured that the wishes of the majority in the respective kampungs would be respected by the state government.

But Bumburing said the termination letters showed that the government was infact ignoring the wishes of the people.

He said the state government should recognise that every villager has the democratic right to pick who they believe will represent their interests including at the ketua kampung level.

Residents of the respective villages, he said, must be free and not forced to elect government candidates.

“If the government does not respect the wishes of the people then this would confirm the suspicion of the community that they are being sidelined by the ruling BN in the country that equally belongs to them,” Bumburing said.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Search This Blog