林德宜——沙巴大選:改變大局契機

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實際上在擁有較高政治意識沙巴人中,過去50年來,對被某些批評者視為源自吉隆坡的「新殖民主義」之抗拒和不滿,一直是斷斷續續,但並沒多大效果。這次選舉又會否發揮更大作用?如果民興黨+在州選中胜出,這可能不僅為州權益問題打開了重新談判大門。這也可能為飽受半島的種族和宗教政治糾纏,以及一馬公司相關醜聞纏身的國家,提供一個新的方向。

林德宜——沙巴大選:改變大局契機

將在9月26日投票的沙巴州選舉,將是我國史上最重要的州選。其結果將不僅決定沙菲益和民興黨+的命運,也將確定整個國家政治發展的未來方向。

回顧沙州大選的歷史以及目前多個政黨及多角戰局面──來自16個政黨的447名候選人參選,可能會給人錯誤的印象,即加沙巴人民聯盟(GRS)必將胜出。

儘管GRS是最近才成立的,但實際上其是長期執政中央和沙巴,直到第14屆全國大選失利的舊國陣之轉世。因此,其不僅具有國陣意識形態的基因,而且還有來自國陣的許多舊臉孔領導人。更重要的是,它擁有強大的聯邦政府支持和巨大的財政資源。許多觀察家預測GRS能夠輕鬆打敗民興黨+。民興黨除了只是執政兩年多的新政權和缺乏資源外,也在希盟失去中央政權,由慕尤丁出任首相后,在政治上處于防守處境。

 

但是,預測GRS是贏家,可能還言之過早。

沙巴被邊緣化

在沙巴,有一股強烈情緒是509全國大選中出現並一直持續到今天的,一種特殊的本土民族主義,人們越來越關注本土的權益──就如砂拉越般,甚至更強烈──即本州的權益在巫統主導的聯邦政府下,沒獲得公正、公平的對待。

許多沙巴人,尤其是受過教育者,擔心聯邦和巫統將繼續主導局面,尤其來自中央的政治力量通過國盟及全民共識,再度嘗試干涉和影響州選舉的結果。人們擔心的是,如果布城通過其本地代理而獲得政權,沙巴將進一步被邊緣化,甚至州的權益進一步的被典當。

過去,沙巴和砂拉越都是國陣的「定期存款」。但是他們對執政聯盟的效忠並沒有獲得應有的回報,反而被當作「養子」般,沒有獲得如1963年馬來西亞協議下──西馬半島、東馬兩州和新加坡是平等伙伴的邦屬地位。在新加坡脫離或驅逐出馬來西亞後,新的馬來西亞聯邦實際上是由剩餘的三個相等邦屬沙巴、砂拉越和馬來亞半島組成的。但這沒有反映在現實上。

取而代之的是,通過1976年《憲法修正案》將1965年的版本的第1條第2款條文修訂,把沙巴和砂拉越的地位和所享有權益調降成如半島11個州屬。

1965年版本的憲法,第1條第2款:註明馬來西亞聯邦的組成是由:(a)馬來亞州屬,即柔佛、吉打、吉蘭丹、馬六甲、森美蘭、彭亨、檳城、霹靂、玻璃市、雪蘭莪和登嘉樓;和(b)婆羅洲州屬,即沙巴和砂拉越。

1976年修訂后改為:馬來西亞聯邦是由柔佛、吉打、吉蘭丹、馬六甲、森美蘭、彭亨、檳城、霹靂、玻璃市、沙巴、砂拉越、雪蘭莪和登嘉樓組成。

除了對1963年《馬來西亞協議》的文字和精神進行根本性的歪曲外,東馬兩州遭受的不公正,歧視性待遇和違約的清單可說罄竹難書。根據沙州許多政治領導人,包括來自GRS領袖的說法,這些包括:

●來自兩州油氣資源開采后的不公平分配;
●去世俗化和日趨伊斯蘭化;
●通過聯邦公務員機構,內部殖民化,使砂拉越人和沙巴人在州決策上邊緣化;
●布城與腐敗領導人合作使少數人致富,卻破壞了環境和犧牲原住民社群的利益;
●1990年代前首相馬哈迪醫生執政時臭名昭著的「身份證計劃」,使大量外國非法移民湧入,他們在沙巴註冊為選民,並對當地經濟和公民產生不利影響。

實際上在擁有較高政治意識沙巴人中,過去50年來,對被某些批評者視為源自吉隆坡的「新殖民主義」之抗拒和不滿,一直是斷斷續續,但並沒多大效果。這次選舉又會否發揮更大作用?

這次沙巴州選,兩大鮮明訊息是:首相慕尤丁在「我的承諾」競選宣言上,承諾疫情下聯邦政府對沙州的援助,相反,民興黨沙菲益向沙巴人保證:「我們在這裡是要建立一個國家,而不是特定種族或宗教。」

選舉現實

慕尤丁的承諾似乎與「你幫助我,我幫助你」這一聲名狼藉的承諾差不多。前首相納吉和國陣在2010年5月的詩巫國席補選中,就曾使用此手段。

這次沙州選舉,為追求本土主義和州權益的人士,提供了機會,讓他們把沙巴遭到剝奪、背叛和不公正的議題推到台前。但是有政治意識的人畢竟還是少數。

這能否為沙菲益和民興黨+團隊帶來勝利,將取決於他們能否將拒絕布城主導地位議題,與經濟課題的就業機會,生計問題聯繫在一起,后者正是大多數選民尤其是郊區選民心目中的首要問題。

如果民興黨+在州選中胜出,這可能不僅為州權益問題打開了重新談判大門。這也可能為飽受半島的種族和宗教政治糾纏,以及一馬公司相關醜聞纏身的國家,提供一個新的方向。

《沙巴大選:改變大局契機》(Sabah Election: A Potential Game Changer for Malaysia)原文:

The coming Sabah state election on 26 September promises to be the most important state election in the nation’s history. Its outcome will decide not just the fate of Shafie Apdal's Warisan plus government. It could also determine the future course of political development in the entire country.

A reading of the past history of Sabah’s elections and the current lineup of multiple contestants and parties - a total of 447 candidates from 16 parties are standing - may give the wrong impression that Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) is sure to win.

Although GRS was recently set up, it is really a reincarnation of the old Barisan Nasional coalition which held power in Malaysia and Sabah until the 14th GE. Thus it not only has the genes of the Barisan ideology but also many of the old leaders from the Barisan camp. More important is that it has formidable federal government electoral support and huge financial resources behind it. Many observers expect GRS to easily overcome the Warisan grouping. In addition to being new to power and lacking resources, Warisan is also on the defensive following the replacement of the Pakatan coalition at the national level by the Perikatan government of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

However the prediction of a GRS win may prove to be premature.  

The Marginalization of Sabah

What has emerged in the last national election and continuing strongly today is a special type of state nationalism and the heightened perception that the interests of the state - together with that of Sarawak, but much more - have been unfairly and unjustly subordinated to that of the UMNO dominated federal government.

Many Sabahans - especially among the educated - are fearful that federal and UMNO domination will continue with this latest attempt by the central political power led by Muafakat Nasional and Perikatan Nasional to interfere with and influence the outcome of what should be a state driven election. Should Putrajaya with its proven ability to use local proxies succeed, the fear is that there will be greater marginalization or even a bigger sellout of state rights and interests.

In the past Sabah together with Sarawak have been Barisan’s fixed deposits. But instead of rewarding the two states for their loyalty to the ruling coalition, they have been treated like step children and as unequal partners in what, under the terms of the 1963 Malaysia agreement should be a federation of four equal components comprising the two East Malaysia entities, Singapore and the states of Peninsula Malaya as a whole.

After the departure or expulsion of Singapore, the new Federation of Malaysia should have in fact been made up of the three equal and remaining components - Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya. This did not happen.

Instead what emerged was a federation of 13 states with Sabah and Sarawak downgraded in status and rights as a result of the 1976 Constitutional Amendment that changed Article 1(2) from its 1965 version. (See the attachment below). 

CHANGE IN SABAH AND SARAWAK STATUS

As a bundle affecting some 30 articles and schedules in the Federal Constitution, the 1976 Constitutional Amendment changed Article 1(2) from its 1965 version:

The States of the Federation shall be

(a) the States of Malaya, namely, Johore, Kedah, Kelantan, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Selangor and Terengganu; and (b) the Borneo States, namely, Sabah and Sarawak.

to:

The States of the Federation shall be Johore, Kedah, Kelantan, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor and Terengganu.

In addition to this fundamental distortion of the letter and spirit of the 1963 Malaysia agreement, the list of injustices, discriminatory treatment and broken promises suffered by the two East Malaysia states runs to more than a few pages.

According to many of the state’s political leaders - and this includes those from the GRS - it includes the following:

●Unfair insubstantial revenues from the two states' oil and gas resources
●de-secularisation and creeping Islamisation
●internal colonization by the federal civil service establishment which has marginalized local Sarawakians and Sabahans in the running of their own states
●Putrajaya's collaboration with corrupt leaders which have enriched a small minority and despoiled the environment at the expense of the native communities
●Dr Mahathir's infamous "project IC" which permitted a massive influx of foreign illegal immigrants, their registration as voters in Sabah, and the adverse repercussions on the local economy and citizenry

Resistance to what some critics see as Kuala Lumpur-orchestrated "new colonialism" has in fact been smoldering intermittently and ineffectively during the past 50 years among the more politically conscious electorate.
Can it be more successful in this election?  

Electoral Reality

The two striking and enduring election messages to voters in Sabah right now are captured in Prime Minister Muhyiddin's "I promise" pledge to Sabahans for federal government assistance to the state during the current covid pandemic crisis. In contrast, Chief Minister Shafie has promised Sabahans that “We are here to build a nation, not a race or religion.”

Muhyiddin’s pledge seems to be almost the same as the infamous one of “You help me, I help you”. This was used by disgraced former Prime Minister Najib Razak and Barisan in the Sibu parliamentary by-election in May 2010.

The electioneering for this election is providing the opportunity for state nationalists and state rights activists to push their sense of deprivation, betrayal and injustice to the forefront. But the politically conscious are a small minority.
 
Whether this can translate into a win for Shafie and his Warisan plus team will depend on their ability to intertwine this rejection of Putrajaya dominance with the economic jobs and bread and butter issues that are foremost in the minds of the larger electorate especially in the rural constituencies.

If Warisan plus is successful in this coming election, this may open the door to not only renegotiation of the entire raft of state rights issues. It may also provide a new direction for a nation that is tired out by our poisonous Peninsula brew of race and religious politics, and the surfeit of 1MDB and associated scandals.

林德宜

公共政策分析學者

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