I was in Kota Kinabalu for the past 5 days by an invitation from a friend to go to the Pesta Kaamatan (Harvest Festival). It was held at the Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association (KDCA). It was a good experience indeed for me as I was able to meet so many new friends and learned a lot on the various ethnicities and their cultures.
It was a joyous occasion that comes only once a year. Obviously the people are happy and one should count their blessings over the fact that the state is able to celebrate such diversity in a fun and peaceful manner.
But to some people, politics is a relentless pursuit. Over the weekend a political tussle took place between DAP and SAPP after the DAP supreme dictator, Lim Kit Siang arrogantly gave an ultimatum to SAPP that the latter should combine forces with the Pakatan Rakyat going in to the next general election.
He gave a ‘harsh’ lecture to SAPP leadership during a Pesta Kaamatan dinner last Friday (27th May 2011) whereby he ridiculed SAPP by saying that they (SAPP) are fooling themselves and their supporters if they can bring about change in Sabah by themselves.
This has struck a nerve amongst the SAPP leaders. The strongest critic would naturally be Yong Teck Lee, the President of SAPP.
“Lim caught all of us by surprise by his harsh tone, the abrasive way in pinpointing me by name and ridiculing SAPP. My immediate feeling was that, after their super victories in the April Sarawak state elections, Lim Kit Siang’s DAP has already become super confident of taking over Putrajaya and the Sabah state government at the coming general elections.”
He further added that if ‘Kit Siang now feels that DAP does not need anybody else, asking if Pakatan alone can beat BN, then why demand that SAPP joins Pakatan?’
The one time chief minister of Sabah must have been taken aback by the abrasive nature of Kit Siang’s speech. The audacity to look down at the local politicians must have come from deep reservoir of misplaced greatness.
Which had prompted Yong to react with:
“SAPP’s struggle first and foremost is for autonomy for Sabah. We reject political control over Sabah in the hands of the political elite in KL.“
In addition, he even advised Kit Siang to be more respectful to the local politicians in Sabah. He asked,
“Is it polite when a guest openly says he wants to take away the rights of the house owner?”
Yong believed that the peninsula-based party, is only interested in subjugating and overthrowing Sabah’s homegrown parties. Much like how he viewed Barisan Nasional’s approach.
It is amazing that Kit Siang, whose party claims to be the saviour of Malaysia, tends to be more domineering than his nemesis, the Barisan Nasional.
SAPP’s vice president, Dullie Marie was even more forthcoming in his criticism towards Kit Siang.
Dullie, who is also SAPP Putatan CLC Chief said that it was supposed to be an occasion to celebrate the real meaning of Harvest Festival as it originally intended; to celebrate on the spirit of cordial relationship among the people of Sabah but unfortunately it turned out to be political talks dominated by DAP leaders from Semenanjung and of course some PR leaders in Sabah.
“Lim Kit Siang made a blatant speech by telling Sabahans that only through PR changes are possible. He blindly ignored without any regard on the existence of local party/parties. Not even a bit. Lim Kit Siang speech did not reflect at all on cooperation with local party like SAPP.
He put it in ultimatum SAPP must be in PR, which we can assumed and concluded it will be another episode like SNAP in Sarawak. It seems he simply ignored and insensitive to the feeling of most Sabahan. He was so passionate with excitement that makes him to forget PR was unregistered coalition.
Besides, he totally disregarded the wishes of PR leaders in Sabah who know better the realities. The negotiation committee set up by SAPP was prompted due to the request made by DAP and PKR leaders in Sabah and Semenanjung respectively.
His attitude is a mere reflection of divide and rule imposed on Sabahans. This also tell us they are always in the upper hands and for us to survive we have to be subservient to their terms. We can safely conclude that PR leaders especially those from Semenanjung will make decisions for their leaders in Sabah. They have no choices but to toe along the line.
Generally the main objective is to kill local party like SAPP even before negotiations. By displaying such attitudes to reach mutual understanding will be rough and tough.
Lim Kit Siang is very arrogant and insensitive in his speech. He managed to camouflage the audience who are mainly of the Chinese community. By sensationalizing on issues Lim forget to ask himself on actual number of Chinese seats in Sabah; he felt so great he is not even bothered to know on seats held by Bumiputras, Muslims and non-Muslims. Sabah is a multi-racial and religious society. Its issues differ such much from the West which usually bases along race and religious lines.
The fact is, SAPP is a multi racial party where about 60% of its membership are bumiputras (muslims and non-muslims), not a chinese-dominated local party as asserted by Lim Kit Siang and his stooge, Chan Foong Hin (Publicity Secretary of DAP Sabah).
But DAP could only see the whole political landscape through their own racist eyes. Dullie even admonished the DAP by saying that they were dead wrong when they thought that SAPP is a chinese dominated party. This proves how little DAP know about SAPP.
Not only that, DAP and particularly Lim Kit Siang do know how to insult and tarnish a spiritual and cultural event wherever they go.
A supreme council member of SAPP, Stephen Gaimin had this to say about Lim Kit Siang:
“Saya merupakan antara hadirin yang hadir dalam Pesta Kamaatan anjuran Parti DAP di Putera Theater Ballroom Taman Tun Fuad, Bukit Padang. Namun demikian saya terkilan dimana, sebagai seorang anak jati Kadazandusun saya berasa amat malu dan terhina apabila adat istiadat dan kebudayaan saya tidak dihormati. Saya tidak dapat merasai bahang Pesta Kamaatan tetapi apa yang saya lihat adalah Acara Makan Malam bersama Penasihat Parti DAP Encik Lim Kit Siang. Menambah jijiknya lagi kebanyakan ucapan dibuat dalam bahasa Inggeris dan Mandarin.
Melihat kepada keadaan ini saya berasa perayaan Pesta Kamaatan telah hilang nilainya, saya berikan satu contoh, tidak pernah Unduk Ngadau diadili dengan cara mengundi, dimana kupon dijual dengan harga RM5. Penganjuran ini tidak lebih seperti melepaskan batuk ditangga. Pemimpin DAP seperti Edwin Bosi sememangnya telah tahu tentang kesucian lagenda huminodun, melalui ucapan beliau. Tetapi mengapa beliau tidak melakukan sesuatu untuk memperbetulkan apa yang salah.
Politik adalah politik, perayaan adalah perayaan, oleh yang demikian saya mohon kepada Pemimpin daripada luar sabah, yang tidak tahu adat budaya orang sabah, tolong Jangan bawa budaya politik daripada luar. Kami orang sabah, biar berlainan fahaman politik, tetapi dalam masa perayaan kami tidak ada persengketaan” Source.
I am from Kuala Lumpur and I do pretend to know much about Sabah politics. But I do know some manners. First and foremost, please do not offend the ‘house owner’.
There is a reason why I coloured some of the fonts red above. This is because, offending people during festivities runs deep in the Lim dynasty. His son, Lim Guan Eng did something more reprehensible during the recent Wesak Day celebration.
Thank you to all my Sabahan friends who showed me a great time over the Kaamatan Festival. I urge my Malaysian friends to visit KDCA for the state level Pesta Kaamatan. It will be worth your time. I would love to post less scarier pictures though. Maybe in a blog post for next year’s festival. Thank you.