If you recall the 1999 movie, The Fight Club—a cult Hollywood offering starring Brad Pitt and Ed Norton—the first rule was, “Don’t talk about the Fight Club.” The second rule was, “Don’t talk about the Fight Club.” Sad to say but Sabah’s opposition are (again) running their antithetical version of this movie. Constantly and incessantly they are lobbing strident vocal grenades at…wait for it, each other. Griping, ranting, sniping, jockeying and accusing each other of being not worthy of the rakyat’s support. Makes you wonder why they are so excited about the coming PRU, and who they actually want to unseat. Hey! look over there, the unblinking lizards of the Incumbents.
And how they extolled themselves: how good they are, and how clever they are that they can decide for us, little people. There is a recent article in this news site where a party member was waxing lyrical about the prime credentials and high schooling of his three deputy party presidents. He disparaged the people who had the temerity to not support them and question their “intellectual integrity”, calling them the failures, the poor and the uneducated—the “nincompoops”. This is exactly the kind of discombobulated and tone-deaf, and elitist thinking that got us into this present deep morass. This is exactly the “We-are-so-intellectually-superior-so-we-know-what’s-good-for-you” attitude that voters hate. Well may he heed the words of a late eminent politician who said, “Everyone…is three individuals. What you think you are. What you are. And what others think you are.”
If there is one thing that we can learn from Donald Trump’s seemingly implausible ascendancy to the U.S. presidency, it is this: He knew how to talk about the people’s actual concerns. He talked for Middle America—”the forgotten men and women”—about economic atrophy, loss of jobs, security and illegal immigration, terrorism, and law and order. He railed against the influence-peddling moneyed lot, the entrenched but out-of-touch politicians, and about the self-serving and corruption of the ruling elites in the swamps of Washington DC.
Well, we are the many forgotten lot of Sabah. Too many, I regret to say. We do not want to be talked down to; we want our leaders instead, to talk (and act) for us. Instead of hearing about the uncomely warts and pimples of your fellow (but different party) opposition wannabes, we want to hear how you are going to intelligently allocate and maximise the impact of the annual RM4 billion or so state budget. How you are going to help our unemployed youngsters, many with degrees but who are jobless, work at McDonald or daily-paid. How government can help working mums and dads. How to keep us Malaysians safe from the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants in Sabah. How to improve KK City Hall and the town and districts councils which are frankly short-budgeted every year. How to leverage the resources of Sabah for the benefit of the majority of the Rakyat, and not for a few individuals or large corporations only. How to positively engage the Federal Government (Yes, in a federation, Putrajaya is not going to close shop anytime soon) for the betterment of Sabah in a healthy, mutually beneficial state-federal relationship. How to arc a 20-year trajectory of our state’s development to make everyone prosper and benefit. I know that is a lot to ask, but I rather hear about these than the endless internecine sniping.
Show us a path.
Someone said that during election time, the most dangerous place is between a politician and a microphone. Personally I would not hold it against a politician if he/she wants to grab that mic, but really, talk for us—for our rights, our future, and our prosperity.