Racial politics no longer relevant in Sabah
KINABALU, Jan 6, 2012: The culture of racial politics is no longer relevant in
Sabah today, not in the future.
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And Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) is a political party that practises unity
among all races, regardless of their religion.
"It is time for the people of Sabah to change their mindset from a racial party
to a multi-racial party," SAPP deputy president Amdee Sidik said in a statement,
yesterday, adding that it was in line with the party's Constitution, Article 4
(2), which is to establish a fair, free and just society for all peoples
irrespective of race, religion, creed or sex.
"Sabah is rich with its multi- racial people who come with different culture and
beliefs and can live peacefully and harmoniously," he added.
"After gaining independence and the formation of Malaysia in 1963, Sabah started
to be active in the politics with the setting up of political parties.
Initially, the political parties here were set up based on what is being done in
the Peninsular, where it is racial-based, until the formation of a coalition in
"Despite the political turmoil in Sabah, the state witnessed a change of
governments from USNO to Berjaya, and Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS). Later PBS
joined Barisan Nasional, a party anchored by Umno, but no serious riots occurred
in the state," he said.
Amdee added that Sabah's political landscape changed after Umno entered Sabah in
"The culture of racial politics has been practised since Umno was established in
1946, and it got carried away. The BN cornponent parties in Sabah are all
racial-based, which represents the Muslim Bumiputra Umno; United Pasokmomogun
Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko), Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) and
PBS represent the Kadazan Dusun Murut community, while the Liberal Democratic
Party (LDP), Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and Gerakan are representing
"SAPP, when it was part of the BN coalition, also planned to represent the
Chinese, while Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) represents the Indians.
"Such a political culture is not healthy in a pluralistic society such as Sabah,
which consists of multi-ethnicity and religion. A true Malaysian will only exist
if the government's policy practises balance and fairness to all races based on
meritocracy. Political parties which emphasize on racism is no longer relevant
for the present and future," he said, adding that such an approach was no longer
relevant and unhealthy for a country that was multi-racial.
"Racial politics invite a lot of conflicts between the people who come from
different races and religions, such as what is happening in other countries.
Although the situation may be under control, dissatisfaction and feeling of
discrimination may surface due to their own political struggle.
"Such conditions are wasting time, energy and financial provisions to unite all
races in Malaysia. For example, Umno with Malay supremacy, MCA with its Chinese
community struggles, and the MIC with the struggle of the Indian society. But
while government policies are often the target to seek justice and fairness, it
certainly will not be achieved.
"Realising this, when SAPP was established on Jan 21, 1994, we outlined our
purpose and the party's goals in the constitution that SAPP is a 'non-racial
party'. The party's Constitution states in Clause 4. Article 2 - Building a just
society, free and equal regardless of race, religion, creed or sex," he said.
He added that when the party was still in BN in 1994 until 2008, SAPP was
bounded by the "practice of divide and rule" by Umno.
"The Kuala Lumpur leadership planned and set SAPP to represent the electoral
areas of the Chinese community, and until today, the people's perception
remained that SAPP is a Chinese party.
"But when SAPP left the coalition on Sept 17, 2008, SAPP went through a
re-branding process and went to educate the people that it is now practising
what is stipulated in the party's Constitution."
It also marked the increase of membership from different races, religion and
beliefs from all over the state.
"This makes SAPP a mature party that is able to administer the state with
fairness and equitable without hesitation," he said.
With the current unrest and political developments, there have been efforts by
relevant parties to shape the representation of racial politics as a combination
of people from the political parties in the state.
SAPP seems to be bounded by representing the Chinese community's struggle.
"All this opinions and perceptions are false, such efforts will be challenged by
SAPP leaders, especially those from the Malay Bumiputeras and non-Islam
"SAPP's hope in the coming general election is that all opposition parties in
Sabah can be united. Sabah has matured and is able to stand on its own feet.
"The spirit of partnership and the formation of Malaysia and Sabah autonomy
should be respected and championed by the people of Sabah themselves: No
outsiders can defend our rights except for Sabahans themselves. Together, we
should join forces and work together in SAPP's struggle for the future of our
children and their children, and Sabahans at large," he said.
Thanks to Borneo Post