Kota Kinabalu: Former Chief Minister Datuk Harris Salleh said it was Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan And Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) that bullied former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed as well the people of Sabah when it was running the State Government.
Now this looks interesting! Harris Salleh, Sabah Former Chief Minister, has lashed back at Joseph Pairin Kitingan over the bullying claim. Harris has always been known to be one of Dr Mahathir Mohamed’s staunchest allies. So it is only natural that Harris would defend Dr M.
However, PBS might rebut Harris’ statement with the 1984 By-election where Pairin won his Tambunan constituency as an Independent candidate. After the win, the Berjaya government decided to ‘bully’ Tambunan by cutting it off from the State Government’s development plan. This is to show the Tambunan constituents the importance of voting a government candidate. The scheme backfired and cost Berjaya the State Government when PBS won the General Election of 1985.
All of these events happened because of the word “bully”. We’ll see how PBS will respond to this in tomorrow’s news.
Wednesday, 22nd October 2008
“Not only it is not true, but it is also irresponsible and vexatious,” he said in refuting Pairin’s earlier remark that PBS was bullied by Dr Mahathir’s UMNO-led Barisan Nasional.
Pairin’s remark on Monday about bullying by Dr Mahathir was in response to a statement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi that UMNO never bullied its Barisan Nasional partners.
Harris said in his statement, Tuesday, that one instance of bullying by PBS was when it pulled out of the ruling coalition just a few weeks before the General Election in 1990.
“It was through its connection on the Mamut Copper Mine, that it formed a pact with Gerakan to pull out of the BN. However, Gerakan chickened out at the last minute.
“Pairin became desperate to get back into BN and lobbied a few prominent people, including the late Tan Sri Wee Boon Ping, who managed to persuade Dr Mahathir to bring PBS eventually back into the Barisan,” he claimed. Harris said another time when Pairin acted like a bully when he ignored the commitment and contract signed between the Berjaya Government and 60,000 smallholders.”
He claimed that Pairin had insisted then that it (the contract) “was not binding because there was in fact no land available and that the Berjaya Government was simply bluffing the smallholders.”
He said what the PBS Government then did was to alienate most of the 906,300 acres reserved by the Berjaya Government to cronies and the PBS government supporters who then sold these lands to peninsula companies.
Harris further claimed that as a result, more than 90 percent of these lands in Sabah today are now owned by peninsula companies and that Tan Sri Joseph Kurup’s statements in the Land Office would confirm this.
He also accused Pairin and PBS leaders of having “perfected the art of twisting facts”, as well as the Labuan issue. “The so-called privatisation of government properties, the alienation of land reserved by developers for car parks, children’s playgrounds in the City and town areas of Sabah were mostly alienated by PBS to its supporters and cronies.
“PBS bullied the people of Sabah into electing it again and again,” he said, and lamented also the actions and decisions of the Federal leadership, including Dr Mahathir, would prefer and want people to be in their win-win club.
“You win we will be with you. You lose, bye-bye. These have been the established attitude and practice until these days by the UMNO leadership,” he said.
Harris added that favouritism in awarding negotiated contracts is a big factor. He said any leader of the component parties could argue and challenge the BN leadership to put things right.
“However, since most of the component party leaders are obliged to curry favour and give support because of expected favours, the moral question of right or wrong is normally and usually thrown overboard.”
Harris said his statement were based on facts and was prepared to have a public debate with any leaders, especially Pairin and the PBS leaders, on the subject of bullies, wrongdoings, ICs and so on.