Anwar Ibrahim Lost 16 September People’s Revolution

Dictatorial former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad may be in the dark, in more ways than one, on the real architect behind the 16 September People’s Revolution and the reasons for failure by blaming Anwar!

Commentary And Analysis . . . Dictatorial former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad, based on comments in the media, may be in the dark in more ways than one, on the real architect behind 16 September People’s Revolution in 2008 and the reasons for failure. He simply blames Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who wasn’t the originator for overthrowing the government of the day.

The oft-cited 16 September People’s Revolution originating in Sabah never had even ghost of a chance, based on the Mantra chanted by lawmakers since Malaysia Day in the former British Borneo viz. “siapa menang, kami sokong” (we support whoever wins) based on “bird in the hand was worth two in the bush”. It’s all about alleged abuse of power, conflict of interest and criminal breach of trust based on bribery and corruption. More on this and the people’s grievances in Sabah and Sarawak later.

2008 was the year when the Opposition in Malaya swept five states in GE12 held on 8 March viz. Selangor, Perak, Penang, Kedah and Kelantan. The ruling BN (Barisan Nasional) lost the coveted two-thirds majority in Parliament for the first time since 1969. The BN came in with 140 seats while the Opposition had 82 seats. Sabah and Sarawak, having saved the ruling coalition, could not be about 16 September.

SD (statutory declaration), with or without Agong, remains non-issue. Parliament will never accept SD. Therein the matter lies.

Anwar Ibrahim Prime Minister

The Prime Minister, once appointed by Agong, can only be unseated in Parlament. Agong remains above the fray. The head of state decreed after GE15 in late November 2022, in appointing Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as Prime Minister, that SD was no proof of support.

Revolution In BN

In retrospect on 2008, Tun (then Datuk Seri) Samy Vellu lost Sungai Siput on his birthday and famously lashed out, “if MIC was finished, BN was finished”. Samy was stunned, three days before GE12, when Mahathir dropped bombshell. In reminding that he had gone, Samy was publicly told, “You better go as well”.

Mahathir, in killer move, disclosed that “in all the years in the Cabinet, Samy Vellu never even once opened the mouth and mentioned Indian”. Samy wasn’t drawn by Mahathir virtually humiliating him in public. Instead, he conceded that “Mahathir was great man. He will always be my leader and have my respect”. Mahathir was stunned into silence by Samy’s response, in neutralising Karma, but the damage had been done. Samy, MIC and BN were finished.

In fact, the rot in Malaysia started during Mahathir’s time when the Cabinet system degenerated into prime ministerial dictatorship.

That’s why former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s cases were all about abuse of power, conflict of interest and criminal breach of trust based on bribery and corruption. None of the cases were about theft of money although so much allegedly went missing. Indeed, there’s no proof that Najib ever stole public funds. In all the years in government, since age 23, Najib was enriched and empowered by so much goodwill.

The defence, unfortunately, never raised the issue that the Cabinet system did not degenerate into prime ministerial dictatorship under Najib. Discretion, as evident in the Raja Azlan case law, only does not exist if abuse of power can be proven. The Asian Arbitration case also refers on abuse of power by Attorney General (AG) Tan Sri Tommy Thomas. Najib has filed three abuse of power cases against Thomas.

The Cabinet System adheres on two great principles viz. decision making by consensus (i.e. no voice against) and collective responsibility.

The BN in fact failed, during the Mahathir years from 1981 to 2003, because it abandoned its own concept based on consensus and power-sharing. Umno allegedly degenerated into abuse of power and killed BN.

Sabah Connection

The following extract dated 21 November 2010 from the link immediately preceding may be telling in more ways than one on the 16 September People’s Revolution.

Among is more noted among PKR members in Sabah for shuttling back and forth between Kota Kinabalu, Kuching and Kuala Lumpur in preparation for the infamous 16 Sept 2008 move to seize the reins of power in Putrajaya from BN.

Among represented Jeffrey who had been put in charge of the mission in Sabah and Sarawak. Among had always claimed that he didn’t fail in his mission but that it was “others who didn’t come through”.

16 September in 1963 was Malaysia Day.

Briefly, the “hare-brained” 16 September People’s Revolution (hereinafter Plot) was hatched by an Orang Asal who was Phillip Among’s uncle. Among was then Sabah strongman Datuk Seri Jeffrey Kitingan’s key aide. Jeffrey and PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had deep misgivings about seizing power by the backdoor but nevertheless went go-ahead.

Interestingly, Among doubled as Anwar’s ADC (aide-de-camp) whenever the latter visited Sabah. He has many inside stories, based on true confessions, about Anwar in Sabah. Let’s not go there.

Among’s point man in Kuala Lumpur was Saiful Bukhari Azlan, the latter being the main witness in the Sodomy 2 Trial brought against Anwar by Najib, purportedly at Mahathir’s insistence. It was Mahathir who had filed Sodomy 1 against Anwar. If Najib hasn’t been pardoned so far by the Agong, and remains in jail, it’s because Anwar has long memories on Sodomy 2 filed by the Najib Administration.

The 16 September plot fell apart when Anwar, amidst Sodomy 2 allegations, instructed that Jeffrey hand over the project. PKR deputy president Datuk Azmin Ali, Anwar declared, would see 16 September through. The Sarawakians, Tan Sri James Masing in particular, withdrew support. They never trusted Anwar — there’s long story here — but accepted Jeffrey’s “better judgment”. The Sabahan, aware that there was no love lost between Jeffrey and Anwar, quickly deserted the sinking 16 September ship.

Public Perception

The public perception in Sabah and Sarawak was that Anwar was no different from Mahathir on local issues viz. non-compliance on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA’63), oil and gas resources virtually hijacked by Petronas, the paltry 5 per cent oil royalty, and non-compliance on Sabah’s 40 per cent revenue return enshrined in the Constitution. Anwar, like Mahathir, has been left fuming on the Najib-initiated RM30b Pan Borneo Highway. Najib, before GE14, also began the process of devolving greater administrative powers for Sabah and Sarawak.

Anwar’s track record in the former British Borneo, especially Sabah, has not been good. He has been caught with pants down on radicalisation, allegedly stoking latent hatreds behind closed doors, and openly being PTI-friendly on the dubious grounds that they were Muslim.

There’s no place for polarisation ala Malaya in Sabah and Sarawak. Already, the people in Sarawak have lost sovereignty. The small group, installed in 1966 by Kuala Lumpur, wields absolute power in Sarawak. The government hasn’t changed hands for 58 years. It’s the duty of the international community, under international law, to restore sovereignty where a people had lost it.

In Sabah, the presence of dubious voters in the electoral rolls has compromised the sovereignty of the people, in particular the Orang Asal (original people).

There’s widespread suspicion that Anwar was in cahoots with Mahathir on padding the electoral rolls in Sabah with illegal immigrants. The phenomenon was explored by the 2013 Sabah Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants. The RCI concluded that “the Projek IC Mahathir probably existed”.

Anwar himself told themedia, on the sidelines of the RCI, that he knew about Projek IC Mahathir only in 1993/1994 “but could not do anything about it”.

The project, revived in 1990 after the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) withdrew from the BN, eventually caused the collapse and implosion of the Christian and Orang Asal dominated Joseph Pairin Kitingan Administration in early 1994. In fact, Anwar played key role in Pairin’s departure. Two moneybags from Labuan and Sarawak and local splinter group from PBS were also involved. Mahathir, staying in glass house on the dubious Dubai Move, gave blessing for formation of backdoor BN government in Sabah.

The PTI (pendatang tanpa izin or illegal immigrants) from the past have caught up with Sabah and, Putrajaya or no Putrajaya, haunts the territory’s future.

Year 2024

The year 2024 sees two groups fighting for the votes of the Projek IC Mahathir holders. Sabah Umno chief Bung Moktar Radin, also Kinabatangan MP, wants pact with the PTI-friendly Parti Warisan president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal for the 17th Sabah state election come next year. Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, leading another group, wants the Warisan Party out of the picture. Warisan and Umno Sabah are banking on the Projek IC Mahathir holders in the electoral rolls.

An uneasy calm has descended on Sabah after Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s visit.

Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin, as Home Minister, took the right position on Sabah. He said the PTI would not vote as long as he was Home Minister. Warisan lost the backdoor Sabah government in the snap election on 26 September 2020. Hamzah stationed NRD (National Registration Department) officers at the polling stations.

In GE15, Warisan won only a couple of MP seats. Again, Hamzah stationed NRD officers at the polling stations.

Already, Anwar has reportedly shot down Sabah’s proposed digital IC which could not include Projek IC Mahathir holders. Sarawak already has digital IC. In law, Article 8 in Malaysia, there can be no discrimination against Sabah. — NMH

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Joe Fernandez
Longtime Borneo watcher Joe Fernandez has been writing for many years on both sides of the Southeast Asia Sea. He should not be mistaken for a namesake formerly with the Daily Express in Kota Kinabalu. JF keeps a Blog under FernzTheGreat on the nature of human relationships.

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