If Keadilan is to remain relevant in Sabah and Sarawak it has to transcend tribalism, warlordism, and religious bigotry. The appointment of Baru Bian as the new Sarawak Chief is a step in this direction. Baru is a devout Christian and an Orang Ulu. He is not from the majority Iban or Bidayah tribe. Lest we forget, the decades of Melanau rule has only benefited the select few and not the vast majority.
But PKR will need to refocus its energy in Sabah. Here PKR will need to learn to work as a Team and allow new faces to emerge and to help rejuvenate PKR in Sabah with support from Semenanjong. All within PKR must not forget that their loyalty is to the struggle. They must learn to accept that without the ability to be more inclusive, attract younger leaders, professionals: PKR will remain a lethargic, elite club surrounded by sycophants boosting Anwar’s and the personal ego of others within the PKR leadership elite! (With due respect to Anwar!) We do not want PKR, to become complacent and become convinced that they are invincible or indispensable – notwithstanding the fact that they have continued to lose miserably in every election in Sabah.
There are now concerns expressed with regards to the imminent danger of losing the Kadazan-Dusun heartland in Sabah. Is PKR addressing these issues? PKR must not delude themselves that most of the Sabah divisions - Muslim Bugis, Bajau or Suluk; Christian Kadazan or Chinese still remains weak. Many capable Muslim and Christian leaders are marginalized because they are more assertive and refuse to function under the warlords.
I hope that PKR’s so called champion of freedom and democracy are not oblivious to the stark realities in Sabah. PKR must train its members to appreciate the need to struggle for reform, for freedom and against corruption! Do not perpetuate the "frog" culture and always condemn corruption! UMNO tolerates corruption by indigenous Bugis and Kadazan leaders. Sabah has seen enough corrupt Muslim and Christian leaders. PKR must be different.
Lately all of a sudden PKR’s leadership has been criticized as being undemocratic. It would seem that they want us to believe that these changes in Sabah PKR’s leadership structure were deem to be “what Anwar ordered!” and this interference from Semenanjong was ‘confirmed’ by the selective leak of information publicizing two memos. First by 18 divisional leaders and later by 14 proposing vice president Jeffry. What was inadvertently concealed was the fact that letters were submitted to the President by 14 divisional leaders (excluding Thamrin) naming Thamrin as their choice. Well, invariably many divisional leaders signed twice. Welcome to "real politics"!
Jeffrey’s resignation as VP and Christina resignation as Supreme Council member is supported by the majority. PKR members and supporters and fence sitters are actually in celebration mood. It is hard to understand that these two to remain as ordinary members and ‘cabang’ chiefs. I believe Anwar ‘read’ the situation in Sabah well and made the right decision
With due respects, its extremely odd to assume that any leadership change must be construed as an insult or embarrassment to those not chosen. What about the changes in Sarawak, the removal of Selangor MB in Wilayah, MP Dato Zahrain in Penang or MP Aziz from Kelantan? Are they all incompetent? No..These are all part and parcel of positive change within PKR to ensure relevance and inject dynamism and a positive attitude within PKR.
Change is a constant that we must accept.
During the trying times when Anwar was incarcerated not many were brave enough to declare that they were in opposition against the might and oppression perpetuated by BN. While Anwar was in prison he could only be a symbol to PKR and yet despite not knowing many of those within PKR then, Anwar was still their leader. Now at the time when PKR is not only accepted but supported PKR have need to expand and develop further. I am sure that PKR are appreciative of the efforts put in by Christian Liew in her 9 years of service to promote PKR in Sabah – but as I have said earlier, PKR will need to make some difficult decisions in its effort to make PKR relevant in Sabah. There is no humiliation or shame in accepting change when change is needed.
But there is still much work to be done – in Sabah, Sarawak and Semenanjong. PKR will have to prove by deeds and design that they are up to the task that we expect of them and of Pakatan Rakyat.