The Sabah chief minister rotation system, introduced by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, is an issue of vital importance to the people of Sabah.
Some people claims that the rotation system has brought some political stability to the state. Yet, many people wonder, what has happened to our democratic principle in the state. Is it truly the choice of the people or is it done through the process of manipulation and threats for some political gains of certain party?
It is an irony when our leaders are preaching and promoting 'unity and peace' around the world, but silently people are suffering from injustice in our own home. What the rotation system has done to Sabah is to further 'divide' the people of the state along racial and religious affiliations - such as dividing the society into Muslim bumiputera, non-Muslim bumiputera and non-bumiputera groups.
One of these groups has been crying foul about this process of appointment of the state chief minister because their group has several times been by-passed. It has been promised that each group will have the chance to rule for a two-year term, but unfortunately it is not the case. In the last nine years, Muslim bumiputera have been given the power for two terms and the same goes for the non-bumiputera group. The non-Muslim bumiputera group so far has been given one term and that one term was even shortened to a one-year instead of two years.
The people of Sabah has been experiencing 'silent-discrimination' among the groups based on racial and religious background. Very few people want to talk about the issue of racial and religious division in this country (not forgetting Petrof case) as to do so would deem one as a national security threat, and the person can be locked up under the Internal Security Act without any trial for indefinite period. It is pathetic to see how in a democratic nation, the citizens are afraid to speak up their views and instead have been reduced to 'suffering' in silence.
The chief minister holds the most powerful position in a state. The person is in charge of the policy making, and to overlook all the development activities in the state. The frequent change of the chief minister has created disruptions in the administrative processes and has resulted in lack of continuity in long-term planning. This has placed Sabah into an uncertain future and further plunging it into a massive public debt.
The people have been calling for a review and even abolish the rotation system. But all cries fell on deaf ears. The people's rights have been ignored for the sake of our federal government's purported "peace and unity" policy within the society. Now I wonder, why should we spend millions of ringgit and waste our time and energy for an election, when in the end the people's choice is ignored?