By LIM SUE GOAN
Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE
Sin Chew Daily
Although it is now the holly fasting month of Ramadan, the political arena of Sabah is not calm at all. Instead, it is brewing a tide of resignation.
United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) deputy president and Tuaran MP Datuk Wilfred Bumburing, as well as Umno supreme council member and Beaufort representative Datuk Lajim Ukin are expected to announce this Sunday their withdrawal from the BN. It is also said that they would join the Pakatan Rakyat.
They are holding high party positions and Lajim is even the Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister. There must be reasons for them to "sacrifice" the established interests and join the alternative coalition.
It is heard that Lajim has not been getting well with state Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, while Wilfred is dissatisfied with the BN. Wilfred advocates that Upko should leave the BN, but leaving the Sabah BN is very likely to lose the opportunity of being fielded in the next general election.
They have a certain level of influence in their respective constituencies. However, it is still not enough to shake the BN.
In fact, DAP Parliamentary Leader Lim Kit Siang had made a prophecy on December 24, 2011 that a huge political change would emerge in Sabah within 24 to 72 hours. On April 20 this year, Pakatan Rakyat leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahims also pointed out that a major event would take place in Sabah within one or two weeks, in which a number of leaders would come forward to help the Pakatan Rakyat make its way towards Putrajaya.
However, their prophecies were not fulfilled at that time. Some even ridiculed them.
In the end of last year, it was rumoured that Upko president Tan Sri Bernard Dompok had met the alternative coalition, but it was later denied by Bernard himself. In addition, a rumour was triggered after Wilfred gave up to be reelected as the BN Tuaran chairman, but joined the Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah-led NGO Angkatan Amanah Merdeka (Amanah).
Why no action has been taken so far by BN's central leaders, after the Pakatan Rakyat spread the news? Could it be because they take it as another false alarm like the September 16 regime change claim?
It is speculated that the BN might have taken actions like spending months of time to negotiate. However, the negotiation failed due to Musa Aman's tough stand.
Lajim disclosed an inside story that he had met the Prime Minister for four times since December 20 last year. He had also told the Deputy Prime Minister and senior ministers in the Cabinet about the changes needed by Sabah Umno and BN. However, his view was not taken seriously.
It showed that Musa Aman is an assertive leader. Among Musa, Lajim and Wilfred, the BN chose the former. Musa, after all, receives greater support in Sabah compared to the other two.
At this very sensitive moment, deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's visit to Sabah this Saturday might be related to the matter. However, based on the Sabah's interest-first political characteristic, a day trip might not be able to change anything.
It is expected that the Sunday's tide of resignation would not set a great blow to the BN. However, if the Pakatan Rakyat make use of the BN's infighting to strengthen the alternative coalition's force or form a new front, the alternative coalition might be able to win six to eight parliamentary seats in the coming general election.
It is estimated that if the Pakatan Rakyat is able to make a breakthrough in the four "fixed deposit" states of the BN, namely Sabah, Sarawak, Johor and Pahang, and increase its number of seats from the existing five to 32, it would then have the opportunity to take over the federal government.
Therefore, do not underestimate a single spark, as it could start a prairie fire.
It is another political drama for the people of Sabah and the real fun is yet to come!