KOTA KINABALU, Oct 12 – Umno, using federal government machinery, has been the instigator of political turmoil in Sabah since the formation of Malaysia in 1963, Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) Information chief Honorsius Bosuin charged today.
He said the actions of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, and taking Warisan leaders to court, gave the perception that Warisan was guilty of corruption. Umno, he said, was using the media as its propaganda tool to strengthen this perception.
Bosuin was commenting on the investigation by the MACC into the alleged embezzlement of RM1.5 billion in rural development funds for the state.
The investigation is thought to be an attempt to implicate Warisan president Shafie Apdal, who headed the rural and regional development ministry that was in charge of the funds. Shafie, a former government minister, is now an opposition leader.
Seven people, including the party’s vice president Peter Anthony and Youth chief Azis Jamman are currently under remand as part of the probe.
“I’d like to urge all party members to reject the perception that Umno and its tools are trying to portray to the people, and explain the truth to them,” he said in a Facebook post.
According to Bosuin, the detention of Borneo leaders, both in government and the opposition because of their fight for the people’s rights is not something new.
He said the first Borneo leader to be “curbed” by the federal government was Sarawak chief minister Stephen Kalong Ningkam in 1966.
“He hadn’t agreed with Kuala Lumpur on certain matters, so federal power was abused to bring about his fall and to amend the Sarawak constitution as well as declare a state of emergency in Sarawak,” he said.
The same thing happened with former Sabah leader Mustapha Harun.
“Federal then toppled Mustapha Harun in 1976 (sic). Kuala Lumpur fabricated news of his overindulgence and that he was a spendthrift,” said Bosuin.
“They were mum on Mustapha’s firm stand not to forego Sabah’s oil and gas rights to Kuala Lumpur. The real story was put under wraps until today.”
Later, the then chief minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan’s image was also muddied, said Bosuin.
“He was detained for alleged corruption and Kuala Lumpur peddled the news that he was a corrupt man. Although the court eventually found him not guilty, he had been made guilty by perception. Now, history repeats itself through their campaign against Warisan. I hope everyone sees through this.
What was happening at present, Bosuin said, was simply a political action and it had nothing to do with seeking justice.