Monday, September 28, 2020

Historic Year in Sabah

It's been a historic year in recent memory. The last we had a Snap Election was back in 1986 when there were riots on the streets of a few cities in Sabah. But this time round, thankfully it all went peacefully. I went out to vote as early as 6.15 and by 7.30am I reached the polling booth there were already long queues before the Booth opened at 7.50am. It has been a historic Election in various proportions. The sitting government is unseated with a new coalition led by the Malaysian PM's party gaining a simple majority of 38 seats in a 73-Seat State Assembly with three independents who are likely to support the winning Coalition. Th only crux that left Sabahans in suspense is the choice of the Chief Minister. DAP won big in cities and they lost only one seat. My own constituency saw the DAP candidate making history as winning with the biggest majority of more than 14,000 votes. But DAP miscalculated badly. It's surprising that a longstanding political party with so many distinguished leaders could make such blunders. If 10 days ago the DAP MP had asked for my view on the village folks or the indigenous peoples, I would have given her a hint or two. There is a great urban and rural divide. Urban folks (mostly Chinese and some Malays and Kadazans) don't care much about who rule in the Federal government, but the rural folks who are dependent on government aid much more have always voted for their own interests with the Federal alignment with their local parties as a top priority. Second, the indigenous peoples (I have served among them for more than 20 years and travelled into 120 villages) see their rights taken away from them due to the influx of the foreigners, especially the illegal immigrant problem the plagued the State for several decades. The former ruling party failed to cast aside suspicion that they were pro-foreigners and they failed to convince the rural voters that they had done enough to get rid of the PTI (Pendatang Tanpa Izin). For DAP to align itself so close to the ruling party is a bad mistake and I hope they can rectify that going forward as many rural folks (especially Christians) are quite open to the multi-racial DAP, though for some it is still seen as a Chinese dominated party. But as for me, I have ministered in the midst of the Covid-19 and I have to lead the people of God though all these with the political turmoil of recent months. In church, the atmosphere is great and I feel God's presence every time I ascend to the pulpit. God loves His people and the people of Sabah. The indigenous peoples may be lowly and less wealthy but as Scripture says, God has chosen the poor to be rich in faith.

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