Cabinet minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan tweeted: “Lim Kit Siang is dead silent on oppo’s GE13 campaign in Sabah that ‘one vote for BN means one bible will be burnt’.”
What I’d like to ask Rahman as a Sabah Parliamentarian is whether there is a backlash in his state against the provocation (and other agitations) by the Christians who have been instigated by the DAP evangelistas. My own suspicion is yes.
If you recall Newton’s Third Law of Motion, it says: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Well, DAP has been actively inciting the native Christians in Sarawak and it looks like they’ve carried over their mischief to Sabah. It is certainly possible that besieged Muslims have responded by closing ranks in the name of ummah solidarity.
There are telling indications of this defensive reaction by Muslims which can be observed in Sabah’s GE13 results – ref. table below and my analysis a few scrolls down.
Click 2x to enlarge
Note: The table I’ve prepared above shows the Parliament seats in Sabah through four general elections from 1999 to 2013. The last constituency delineation exercise had increased Sabah’s seats in the Dewan Rakyat from 20 in 1999 to 25 in 2004. The new seats in GE11 were Sepanggar, Kimanis, Pensiangan, Batu Sapi and Kalabakan.
The pairs of candidate names in each seat are the GE13 winners and their closest contender. The figures listed under the ‘2008’, ‘2004’ and ‘1999’ columns refer to percentage of votes obtained by the winning candidate – unnamed in table – and his closest finisher in the three election series GE10-GE12. These percentages are calculated against the total number of registered voters in the constituency.
Sabah Muslims respond to DAP Christian thrust
Umno Sabah’s Parliament candidates did even better in 2013 than in 2008. Could one of the reasons be – as Rahman has pointed out in his tweet (see above) – the DAP’s provocative 24/7 continuous election campaigning that is making Muslims angry?
Since Umno is the alif ba ta “Untuk Agama, Bangsa dan Negara” party, it stands to reason that those who voted for Umno on 5 May 2013 will be generally receptive to the pro-Islam agenda. And logically, BN voters comprise a large segment of the Sabah Muslim electorate.
According to the 2010 census, 65.4 percent of Sabah’s 3.2 million population are Muslim while 26.6 percent are Christian.
DAP had earlier succeeded in reaping a bountiful harvest of Christian votes in Sarawak – the state with the most number and highest percentage (42.6%) of Christians in Malaysia. Buoyed by their success in the 2011 Sarawak state election, the DAP evangelistas strategized a repeat performance in Sabah through a similar exploitation of Christian sensitive issues and promoting the cult of victimhood.
So did the evangelistas succeed in reprising their manipulation of Christianity for the DAP’s GE13 campaign in Sabah? My following discussion highlights the ways in which the Sabah election results replicate the peninsula trend.
Politics of Hate & Hypocrisy
Solid Chinese support for DAP
Just like their peninsula cousins, the Sabah Chinese are backing DAP almost to the hilt.
Kota Kinabalu is the Parliament seat in Sabah with the highest concentration (70.3%) of Chinese voters. It was still held by BN in 1999 and 2004 but snatched by DAP in 2008.
In 2013, DAP successfully retained Kota Kinabalu which they’d gained four years earlier. This time in GE13, Jimmy Wong Sze Phin won in style with a whopping majority of 18,959 votes. Previously in 2008, Jimmy’s DAP predecessor Hiew King Chiew garnered only a slim majority of 106 due to PKR refusing to withdraw their nomination and hence both opposition parties ended up vying for the same ABU crowd.
DAP’s conquest of the state capital was the second biggest winning margin in the state and only exceeded by the 20,905 vote-majority in Semporna. Umno vice president Mohd Shafie Apdal’s commanding victory and 61.5% support – the highest in Sabah – made him the star performer of his party.
Similarly anti-PAS and averse to Islamists
Another big town Sandakan, where more than half (53.5%) the voters are Chinese, also fell to DAP in 2013. Sandakan incumbent Liew Vui Keong, who was a BN deputy minister in the federal cabinet, lost to DAP’s Wong Tien Fatt upon the Chinese tsunami reaching Sabah shores.
Mary Yap and Linda Tsen, both PBS, are Sabah’s other Chinese BN Parliamentarians.
The BN parties in Sabah are Umno, PBS, Upko, PBRS and LDP. In the last election, Chinese component LDP failed to win the sole Parliament seat it contested. LDP nonetheless managed to win 3 out of their 4 state seats (much better than MCA, lah).
Mary had defeated a PAS Malay while Linda beat a PKR Chinese.
Mary’s constituency has 37.8 percent Chinese voters. Evidently quite many of them didn’t fancy the Islamist party. Linda’s constituency has 33.4 percent Chinese voters. We have to wonder how these two BN Chinese women would have fared had their opponents been DAP Chinese as well.
Spectacular toppling of BN’s veteran Christian politician
Christians are all the time told that their community is being “terrorized” by “religious and racial bigots”.
Upko president Bernard Dompok was the biggest casualty of the ensuing Christian malcontent. Dompok has been a Member of Parliament dating from the time when the British North Borneo Company administered the state (that would be the 1880s). Jokes aside, he was MP Kinabalu in 1999, MP Ranau in 2004 and MP Penampang in 2008.
Unfortunately for him, he had to stand his ground in Penampang which has 32.3 percent Chinese voters (ouch!) and 59.6 percent native Sabahans, with the Kadazandusun-Murut Christians forming the irate majority there.
Dompok lost Penampang to a PKR Christian newcomer by 10,216 votes. That was a very emphatic loss. As a BN representative who is Christian – but alas, walking on the Dark Side in the company of Evil – Dompok suffered the ire of his co-religionists.
BELOW: Ibrahim Ali became the subject of Bible Burning poster illustration by pro-opposition portal The Nut Graph
Was this heard at DAP campaigns? – “One vote for BN means one bible will be burnt”
Another Christian stalwart Joseph Pairin Kitingan, the Huguan Siou cum PBS president, saw a reduction of support for him in the KDM heartland.
In 2008, Pairin won Keningau with 41.0 percent support from the total registered voters.
Keningau voters are 82 percent pribumi, out of which 70 percent are Christian natives. In 2013 however, Pairin’s level of support in his own traditional stronghold dropped to 36.2 percent. There was even a possibility that he could have lost Keningau if it had been a straight fight instead of three-cornered and causing the opposition votes to split between PKR and his brother Jeffrey’s STAR.
Admittedly there could be other endemic reasons accounting for Pairin’s waning influence but nonetheless we should not discount the Christian-Muslim friction as one contributing factor.
ABOVE: An annoyed Archbishop Bolly Lapok asks, “How Jais had the audacity to do what it did to Bible Society Malaysia which resulted in the arrest of its two officials, seizure of 320 copies of Al-Kitab and 10 copies of Bup Kudus (Iban Bible) is baffling”.
Umno Sabah’s splendid outing
Umno contested 14 Parliament seats in Sabah and made a clean sweep of it – a perfect score sheet.
In terms of success rate, Umno Sabah outperformed Umno Johor which contested 17 seats and won 15. In contrast, Umno Selangor contested 10 seats and won 4.
Thus Umno Sabah’s 14 MPs now form the second biggest bloc within the Malay party behind Umno Johor’s 15.
Did the Christian belligerence influence Muslim voters in Sabah just like it did Malay voters in the peninsula?
Ponder on the fact that every single one of the Umno MPs – with the exception of one – who defended their seats performed better in GE13 than they did in GE12.
Umat Islam bangkit
Comparison between 2008 and 2013 Umno results in Sabah
All the Umno MPs listed below were the incumbents.
The electorate in Kudat comprises Muslim pribumi 47 percent and non-Muslim pribumi 40 percent.
Abdul Rahim Bakri received 44.5% support from the total registered voters in 2008. His level of support went up to 46.3% in 2013, and his majority increased from 9,895 votes in 2008 to 12,376 votes in 2013.
- Muslim pribumi 59%, non-Muslim pribumi 39%
- Abdul Rahman Dahlan
- Support level: 41.4% (GE12) → 42.3% (GE13)
- GE12 – 3,020 votes
- GE13 – 5,095 votes ↑
- Muslim pribumi 60%, non-Muslim pribumi 30%
- Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin
- Support level: 47.6% (GE12) → 54.7% (GE13)
- GE12 – 9,574 votes
- GE13 – 10,535 votes ↑
- Muslim pribumi 60%, non-Muslim pribumi 34%
- Anifah Aman
- Support level: 46.1% (GE12) → 51.7% (GE13)
- GE12 – 5,453 votes
- GE13 – 5,723 votes ↑
- Muslim pribumi 58%, non-Muslim pribumi 36%
- Sapawi Amat Wasali
- Support level: 49.3% (GE12) → 56.1% (GE13)
- GE12 – 6,146 votes
- GE13 – 9,469 votes ↑
- Muslim pribumi 40%, non-Muslim pribumi 56%
- Ronald Kiandee – a Christian
- Support level: 37.0% (GE12) → 53.4% (GE13)
- GE12 – 4,352 votes
- GE13 – 9,988 votes ↑
- Muslim pribumi 57%, non-Muslim pribumi 15%
- Juslie bin Ajirol
- Support level: 43.5% (GE12) → 49.2% (GE13)
- GE12 – 7,529 votes
- GE13 – 11,586 votes ↑
- Muslim pribumi 42%, non-Muslim pribumi 52%
- Bung Moktar Radin
- Support level: 43.5% (GE12) → 54.1% (GE13)
- GE12 – 6,326 votes
- GE13 – 9,731 votes ↑
- Muslim pribumi 42%, non-Muslim pribumi 52%
- Mohd Shafie Apdal
- Support level: 55.1% (GE12) → 61.5% (GE13)
- GE12 – 17,462 votes
- GE13 – 20,905 votes ↑
The Sabah Umno MPs above had all obtained higher levels of support and bigger majorities in their areas which have a significant Muslim electorate.
While the shift in the Sabah general election outcome may not be as striking as Selangor’s, still, these results hint that a Malay uprising is likely to hit our country the next round, after the Indian makkal sakti wave of GE12 and the Chinese tsunami of GE13. After all, the Muslims deserve their turn too, right?
But they will make a police report against you if you mistake them to be Muslim
Other Umno Sabah Parliament seats and their outcome
Kalabakan was won uncontested by Abdul Ghapur Salleh in 2008, so a comparison cannot be made with 2013 where he retained the seat.
Tenom is the seat held for three terms (2004 to present) by Raime bin Unggi. He is the only Umno incumbent who did not improve on his performance. Raime’s level of support dropped from 45.7 percent to 38.6 percent while his 6,883-vote majority in 2008 was reduced to 3,886 votes in 2013.
Silam in 2013 was won by Nasrun Mansur who replaced his Umno colleague, the non-performing incumbent Salleh Kalbi.
Sepanggar was won by Umno’s Jumat bin Idris in 2013. The seat was won in 2008 by BN’s Eric Majimbun whose party SAPP has left the coalition. The level of support for BN remained stable despite the change of candidate and the particular BN coalition component he represented. In GE12, SAPP-BN received 43.0 percent support in Sepanggar while in GE13, Umno-BN received 42.8 percent.
Beaufort was won by Umno’s Azizah Mohd Dun in 2013. The seat was won by Lajim Ukin in 2008. Azizah’s level of support at 42.6 percent is a decrease from the 55.2 percent received by Lajim. Nonetheless, Lajim’s defection to PKR did not cost BN the seat as he failed to defend Beaufort in GE13 when contesting under the opposition banner. Lajim’s flop signals that voter loyalty is to the party and not to the individual.
Overall, the performance of Umno Sabah has been sterling. Whereas their Chinese and Christian colleagues in the BN were flailing – for example, PBS senior politician Johnity Maximus Ongkili saw his majority in Kota Marudu reduced from 4,198 to 842 votes – the majority of the Umno Sabah candidates gave a strong showing.
If we’re agreed that the BN Chinese and Christian politicians were punished by voters due to race and religion sentiments, is it then any stretch of the imagination to believe that the same elements of race and religion worked to Umno’s favour?
DAP spreading hate? “One vote for BN means one bible will be burnt”(?)
Forecasting the future
Sabahans are more eclectic in their sense of identity than those of us living in the peninsula. Their politicians, for instance, have mixed names such as Jonathan bin Yasin, James bin Miki and Ramle Bin Dua @ Ramli Dua Lee (all from PKR), suggesting that folks in Sabah have not been as rigid as folks in the peninsula when it comes to blurring signifiers of race and religion.
Sabah and Sarawak were doing fine until the DAP evangelistas crossed the South China Sea to pay them a visit and bearing gifts of J-Juice.
It is my contention that the political shenanigans of the evangelical Christian have impacted on the way that the Muslim Sabahans voted in GE13. Umno Sabah is propelled by Muslim angst to its current superlative position vis-a-vis their beleaguered BN partners who have been knocked over like bowling pins.
Actually, come to think about it, Umno Sabah’s 14 MPs is double the number of MCA’s seven MPs.
Returning to my question posed to YB Kota Belud, he would know better whether my suspicion about the Muslim backlash holds water or not. This, I believe, is the action of the Malay grassroots pushing up and not Umno’s elite leadership dictating from top down.
The Umno president is deaf (pekak badak). Rahman Dahlan being younger ought to have better hearing. Please listen to the tectonic plates moving, Datuk. If DAP did incite “one vote for BN means one bible will be burnt” (I’m inclined to believe the DAP could have campaigned so), then they’re clearly going for broke.
Nothing, not the Sedition Act nor anything else, can stop the DAP from continuing with their fitnah.