Monday, October 27, 2003

Who Should Lead Tawau?

With the next general election fast approaching, politicians, old and new, are gearing up to lobby for the chance to represent the Barisan Nasional (BN). Top level leaderships always stressed that only responsible, reliable and hardworking state assemblymen / members of parliament will be retain. However, time and again, these assurance seems to be mere talking and empty promises. We were given too many unsuitable candidates to choose from, or rather, no choice to make at all during the past elections.

Take for example Tawau. The Tawau Parliamentary consists of Sri Tanjung, Merotai and Kalabakan state constituencies. Tawau is represented by Shim Paw Fatt while Samson Chin, Datuk Dr Patawari Patawe and Datuk Abdul Ghapur Salleh represent Sri Tanjung, Merotai and Kalabakan respectively.

Shim Paw Fatt is a lawyer by profession. A quiet man who doesn't care too much about public relations. Most of his public relationships with either the government departments or the society are done by his assistants. Here is where the problem arises when his assistants went over the limit by assuming Shim's position and acted as if they are the member of parliament.

One of such incidents was when one of his assistants arrogantly instructed the Tawau Branch National Registration Director (Pengarah Jabatan Pendaftaran) to wait for Shim on one Friday morning. He was reminded to make sure that he is there waiting since Shim is very busy and does not want to wait for this Director. The appointment was fixed by his assistant at 11.00am.

The director felt deeply insulted and humiliate by the way an appointment was arranged. Furthermore, being a Friday morning where the muslims are going for prayers at 11.30am, there is nothing much to discuss in such a short time. The appointment however did not materialise because the director did not bother Shim's assistant. Shim's assistant went round to say that the director was incooperative but unless we know the real situation, we would have believed him. This is only once such out of so many examples where Shim's assistants spoilt all the good name and the good opportunities to solve the people's problem, and to understand the real situation of government department functions.

Shim himself, however, although being a senior lawyer in Tawau, did not do much for the people of Tawau. He has nothing to be proud of after being an MP since 1999. He was only concentrating on petty issues involving rubbish, clogged drains, central market and other minor issues which could be easily solved by any ordinary people.

Being a Member of Parliament of Tawau Shim, (or Simpang Empat as he is known among his frustrated followers since he doesn't know what to do, always at the crossroad) has failed to come out with a long term plan to improve the lifelyhood of the people in Tawau. There wasn't any real development plan ever been drafted or proposed. That's why after almost 5 years being the MP, Shim is still busy visiting clogged drains and smelly rubbish sites.

Sri Tanjung State Assemblyman, Samson Chin is also a lawyer. He is worse compared to Shim. Samson did not even have clogged drains or smelling rubbish sites to visit. Being a Party Bersatu Sabah (PBS) state assemblyman, he has received his 'gaji buta' for so many years until PBS formerly rejoined BN.

Hoping that situation would improve after PBS rejoined BN was a big let down. Samson Chin took an opportunity to throw a birthday party for his mother by inviting more than a thousand people from Tawau. Everyone was expecting the dinner was free since that was the first time ever this stingy politician ever given a party.

Samson once again disappointed the people by asking for ang paw. He also used that function to praise his PBS leaders who turned up in full force. Invited guests were forced to listen to his boring lecture after reluctantly forking out the ang paw. What was his real motives in arranging for such dinner is yet to be known.

Samson Chin who gave zero activities record for being the DAP member of parliament for Tawau is about to pass up yet another zero record for his tenure as the Sri Tanjung state assemblyman. He is too comfortable receving his 'gaji buta'. His reason was simple, since he was in the opposition, there was nothing he could do because there was no fund, no allocation and no assistant from the federal government. Therefore, no action, no effort, no activities, no changes. Now that he has joined BN, he still could not change his attitude. There is no difference in having a YB or not having one.

Datuk Ghapur and Dr Patawari are known political rivals. Most of their time was spent to strengthen their own influence in their constituencies. More time is spent on political issues rather than carrying duties as state assemblymen. Not much effort has been given for the welfare and benefits of the people. With the new delineation of boundaries, Ghapur is expected to be moved away from Kalabakan which is now a Parliamentary seat.

Dr Patawari who is a state assistant minister is relying on his assistant, Mohamad Manuke, to carry out his duties in Merotai while he concentrates on his work in the state capital. Mohamad Manuke is one big crocodile who takes every opportunity to squeeze and manipulate everything.

Ghapur who seems not being in the good book of the Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman is fighting a losing battle to maintain his position. Being an Arab parentage, he makes use of his deputy, Samsul Alang to help gaining support of the Bugis who form the majority Malay in Tawau. Unfortunately, instead of helping the people of Tawau especially the muslims and bumiputeras, Samsul is now operating buses transpoting passengers to and fro Tawau Airport, affecting many taxi drivers. He also grabs all the business opportunities allocated for the bumiputeras.

Another interesting personality to watch is Chua Soon Bui who was the former MP for Tawau before Shim Paw Fatt took over. She is still hoping to make a come back in active political scene. Being the first ever lady MP from Tawau, it was a big hu ha for a lot of people. It was supposed to be a proud moment for the women who believe in equal opportunity for both sexes. However, Chua disappointed them and embarrassed them. Chua has a strong addiction for publicity. She was too much involved in arranging for her publicity that she forgot that she was an MP and not a fashion model.

Chua, during her parliamentary sessions, always has head turns when she made speeches in the Parliament because of her over-dressing and over-body language. She was also emotionally involved with an MCA MP who sits beside her in the Parliament. That explains why she was always missing immediately after any parliamentary meetings.

Chua has a special liking of seeing herself photographed and published in papers. She would grab any opportunity to be in the lime light. People in Tawau are fed-up with her face appearing in newspapers everyday doing nothing important besides attending wedding, open house, school sports day and visiting new born babies in hospital.

How could she made herself appear in newspapers when she attend no important functions? How could the local dailies spam the public with rubbish news? The answer is simple, pay the reporters or write her own news then bribe the editors. She is so much addicted to fame that she insists people on addressing her as YB even though she has been replaced 4 years ago.

These are among the aspiring YBs for the coming election. If the people of Tawau still want the same brand of politicians, doing petty matters for them and allow Tawau to be left behind compared to Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan in terms of development, then go ahead and pray that these people are returned and become YBs again. Otherwise, look beyond and look for someone new, not reconditioned politicians, to lead Tawau. Tawau could not take another 5 years to test out another politician with no vision and no passion for his people.

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