Thursday, June 19, 2008


Simple ultimatum causes political ripples


It all started with a simple ultimatum. On May 13, Sabah Progressive Party(SAPP)President Datuk Yong Teck Lee gave Barisan Nasional (BN) until August to resolve outstanding issues in Sabah. “After August, there will be no guarantee that SAPP members will remain in Barisan,” he said. The grumblings did not stop there. SAPP continued to be vocal in voicing out numerous problems affecting the State, including the issue of illegal immigrants and “Project IC”. Many may have thought that the SAPP was merely “fishing in troubled waters” for political survival. On what is seen as a political strategy, SAPP Deputy President Datuk Raymond Tan on Monday denied the report that the party was on the verge of ditching BN, saying it was “mere speculation”. Yesterday, Yong, a former Sabah Chief Minister, dropped a bombshell by declaring that the Party had lost confidence in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. At the same time, he announced that both SAPP Members of Parliament Datuk Eric Enchin Majimbun (Sepanggar) and Datuk Dr Chua Soon Bui would support a motion for a vote of no confidence on the Prime Minister in the coming Parliament sitting on Monday. “We must make a stand before the window of opportunities closes. This window of opportunity closes by August after which Sabah will be forgotten again. “We have voiced out Sabah issues including illegal immigrants to the Federal Government but they seem to be playing delaying tactics. We can no longer tolerate their insensitivities towards the Sabah issues that are real and serious,” he said. As to the future direction of the party, Yong said the party would hold its supreme council meeting on Friday. SAPP, a Sabah-based political party, was registered on Jan21, 1994 and it is one of the 14 component parties in the ruling BN coalition. Political observer Lesaya Lopog Sarudim said the decision by the two SAPP Members of Parliament was expected as there was a lot of dissatisfaction in Sabah. He said there must be enough reasons for SAPP making such a drastic move considering the party has been with BN for more than a decade. “Maybe they have come to a situation where they can no longer stay up to BN’s situation with regard to how they treat fellow component parties. “In my view, initially it will trigger a lot of discussions. In fact, currently the feeling of dissatisfaction is there, the only thing is that they do not want to discuss it openly. Whatever it is, the BN coalition is still intact at least for now,” he added. -Bernama