Hornbill Unleashed

March 8, 2013

Military action against Sabah invaders may boost BN support in GE13

MD IZWAN AND IDA LIM

Police search two detained men when they were coming out from Tanjung Labian, a village adjacent to Kampung Tanduo in Sabah, on March 6, 2013 during mopping up operations after troops stormed the camp of the armed Filipino group on Tuesday. — Reuters pic

Putrajaya’s all-out strike on Tuesday to flush out Sulu militants entrenched in Sabah’s east coast may help the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition hold on to power in Election 2013, several political observers say.

But the military’s air and ground assaults, 24 days after a 200-strong group of armed Filipinos invaded the north Borneo state — long regarded a BN safe deposit — could also swing the other way, depending on the government’s follow-up response, two academics told TMI.

“There is no reason why Sabah voters would not want to renew the support (for BN),” said Dr Arnold Puyok, a political analyst based in Kota Kinabalu.

“That’s what the people of Sabah wanted from the very beginning,” he said, of Putrajaya’s show of muscle on Tuesday, after three weeks of negotiations failed to stir the insurgents into leaving the state peacefully.

The university lecturer believed the bombing would “rebuild public confidence” towards the BN government.

He said Sabahans were initially unhappy with the government as it had seemed indecisive because of the delay in taking tough action against the foreigners whom they saw as posing a real threat to their safety and Malaysia’s sovereignty.

But he said the anger has gradually subsided, and many Sabahans were now “praising the sacrifice made by the security forces”.

“Najib going all out to defuse the threats posed by the insurgents has restored public confidence a bit,” Puyok said.

“They want the BN and the opposition to stop politicising the issue and to focus on defeating the intruders. They believe Sabah’s security and sovereignty are at stake and it is the responsibility of the elected leaders to do something — either from the opposition or the BN,” he said.

Sabah BN secretary Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan also said Sabahans have been sharing their gratitude and relief towards the government’s latest security measures.

“Right now, the government’s measures are seen as successful.

“Support is increasing, because after the stern action shown by the government and the security forces, Sabahans everywhere are thankful for the government’s service and sacrifice,” said the Kota Belud MP.

Abdul Rahman said Sabahans everywhere are thankful for the government’s service and sacrifice.Eight Malaysian policemen were killed in combat with the militants in Lahad Datu and Semporna. Reports of their bodies being mutilated have sparked widespread anger among locals.

Other BN lawmakers echoed Abdul Rahman’s sentiments.

“Sabahans fully support government’s well-considered decision to attack intruders to protect sovereignty and independence of our nation,” said Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak, who is also Sabah Legislative Assembly Speaker and the state Umno deputy chief.

But Salleh was swift to add that the ruling party was not taking political advantage of the conflict and urged all parties against politicising the situation.

“The people will be united and fully behind the government and prime minister who gives top priority to protect security and stability of Sabah,” he said.

Pulai MP Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said he did not think the bombardment would affect voter support towards the BN, although he acknowledged that “the firmness shown was crucial, it was so the confidence and trust in the BN would not be jeopardised.”

Other political scientists monitoring the situation unfolding in Sabah said that strong feelings of dissatisfaction towards the BN remain despite the military shelling to smoke out the gunmen.

When Sabahans are angry they will look for leaders that can give them peace. — Universiti Putra Malaysia professor Dr Jayum A. Jawan

Dr Faisal Hazis, a Kuching-based political scientist, said the actions along Sabah’s restive east coast could cause a “backlash”, owing to the BN government’s past policies in the state.

He highlighted Malaysia’s poor security patrol along the state’s porous borders, which coupled with its previous soft stand on foreigners, had resulted in a flood of illegals into Sabah, and which appears to have been worsened by “Project IC”, a highly-controversial policy made during the Mahathir administration in which citizenship was granted to migrants who entered the country through dubious means.

“There is a general feeling that this is a timebomb waiting to happen — soft policies to Filipinos, ‘Project IC’ and the inability of security forces to have much strong presence in Sabah waters.

“It happened and it affected the Sabah people. This could affect BN’s popularity,” Faisal said.

He foresees three electoral outcomes from undecided voters in Sabah based on the recent government action.

The first group of voters who feel anger at the poor handling of the conflict would choose to vote against the BN, he said, while a second group of voters who were angry at the delayed action but prized national security may still vote for the coalition.

The third group would be those happy with the government’s crisis management, they would vote the BN in the coming election, the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak lecturer said.

For Universiti Putra Malaysia professor Dr Jayum A. Jawan, the swing factor for BN would depend on how Sabah voters feel.

He warned that the situation now was “most dangerous for the BN”.

“When Sabahans are angry they will look for leaders that can give them peace,” he said.

“The situation now is uncomfortable, this anger will be carried until elections later.”

7 Comments »

  1. go & read 3rdeyepkr.com….

    Comment by nainai — March 8, 2013 @ 5:37 PM | Reply

  2. Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, the sacrifices and loss of life of our soldiers and police should not be turned into a BN government sacrifices and services. UMNO and BN did not care at all so long as it wants to win an election by default, by any means and at all cost at the expense of the rakyat and now even at the expense of our armies and police.

    I urge our police and armies to view Datuk Abdul Dahlan’s press statement as a blatant disrespect for our security forces and especially our fallen heroes who sacrificed their lives to ensure the safety and security of Malaysians in Sabah.

    Comment by Affendi Nawawi — March 8, 2013 @ 4:20 PM | Reply

    • This Datuk is trying to outdo his colleagues in UMNO Sabah with his mindless statement. The armies and police do not belong to UMNO and their bravery and loyalty to king and country is not an UMNO’s services to the rakyat and those who were killed on duty have absolutely nothing to do with UMNO’s sacrifices. Do not boost your own ego at the expense of our security forces and taking credit for their sacrifices and loyalty to king and country. UMNO should send its Mamak thugs, silat exponents and Perkasa members to fight these terrorists if it wanted desperately to claim credit and boost support for BN.

      Comment by Bidayuh Headmaster — March 9, 2013 @ 7:52 PM | Reply

  3. Boost BN support for GE13 ????? Actually it exposed the failures of the BN Government on many issues. Notable the illegals which were given ICs which could have encouraged these people to keep coming to Malaysia in what ever pretext. It exposed how the BN have not be able to solve the Sabah claims by Sultan of Sulu. It also exposed the failure of the BN to safeguard the security of Sabah which we have seem how a big group of armed militants can come undetected . So to continue voting for BN will be a grave mistake.

    Comment by gagojackman — March 8, 2013 @ 12:16 PM | Reply

  4. REBUILDING PEOPLE’S CONFIDENCE WITH BOMBS INSTEAD OF DEVELOPMENT & BORDER SECURITY?

    UMNO’s transparent “failure” to defend Sabah borders led to the current mutual blood bath between “brothers” from Malaya and Sulu.

    A recent HU article by Din Merican reveals that this was not a “failure” of border security by Kuala Lumpur but a decision made by UMNO.

    The lax border watch was deliberately implemented by UMNO when it stopped aerial coastal surveillance in the 1990s after the Sabah government successfully and efficiently stopped the illegal entries and deported thousands of them with police help.

    UMNO wanted the illegals to stream into Sabah unimpeded as part of its agenda to strengthen its hold on Sabah Sarawak and Malaya and at the same time to realise its Melayu Raya apartheid system. Effectively, there was not one watching the border. This explains why there was no red alert on the Sulu invasion of Sabah.

    The MNLF leader Nur Misuari in a recent Manila press conference raised the allegation that PM Najib had promised to settle Sulus in Sabah and this was the reason why a number of them sailed to Sabah. If correct what this means was that Najib was responsible for the blood bath in eastern Sabah.

    Sabah people would deserved to be blamed for stupidity if they are so easily “swung back” to support UMNO BN for its blatant failure to fulfil its fundamental Malaysia formation promise of providing security for Sabah inside Malaysia.

    UMNO BN has already reduced Sabah to be the poorest state in Malaysia by plundering its oil timber and other resources instead of “developing” the country.

    Thus UMNO has recklessly sacrificed Sabah safety and security by allowing the Sulu standoff to developed.

    The G.E. is an opportunity for Sabahans to decide on the alternative of electing the Sabah opposition and not any Malayan parties (as in Sarawak) to run their own country!

    Comment by SARAWAKIANS — March 8, 2013 @ 6:49 AM | Reply

    • Don’t blame the Sabahans for ‘swinging back to the BN’. It is just that the majority of them are sooo ignorant and sooo easily misled. Someone, PLEASE go down to the ground and explain to them what is actually happening! And what a role Ah Jib Gor has been playing all along!!

      Comment by Sabahan supporter — March 8, 2013 @ 12:25 PM | Reply

  5. The way the Govt handle the intrusions are Bullshit all the way…a stupid looking Minister of Home Affairs conducting negotiation when that idiot of a Defense Minister should use his forces to blow those who dare invade us to kingdom come,not after losing so many patriots,what kind of Forking Govt have we got,really,think about it…Oouch!! but true.

    Comment by Lok1 — March 8, 2013 @ 2:29 AM | Reply


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