The Politics in Sabah: Aman Brothers Inc and the Suluk Filipinos

April 12, 2012

Selvaraja Somiah at www

The Politics in Sabah: Aman Brothers Inc and the Suluk Filipinos

by  Selvaraja Somiah.

Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman, a Pathan-Dusun, is a man hogging the headlines once again these days but for the most bizarre of all reasons. The Suluk Filipinos are after his head as they eye the Chief Minister’s post in a renewed bid. Musa, affectionately known as Moses among his fellow Dusuns, has Foreign Minister Anifah Aman along as well this time for company.

Their critics, Suluk Filipinos and the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), allege that Anifah is Musa’s “real nominee” — whatever that means – allegedly in all sorts of shady dealings involving timber and other matters purportedly engineered by his elder brother.

Those who know Anifah will swear that the Kimanis MP is one shrewd operator. He’s strictly scrupulous about the way he arranges his public and private life. Having made his money and tons of it before he went into politics, Anifah has since then stayed out of business and professional dealings which would cast aspersions on his character and his integrity in public service.

So, the critics would appear to be barking up the wrong tree on Anifah. It can be likened to a man kicking his neighbour’s dog over imagined slights by the animal’s owner.

There are those who swear that Anifah must be destroyed along with Musa to minimize any possibility that the younger brother may take up the challenge of being the Chief Minister if the opportunity presents itself. Anifah is getting closer by the day to the Chief Minister’s post by the day as he has since chalked up an enviable (?) record as Foreign Minister.

Aside from Anifah, Pairin is the only other leader who will get Musa’s support as his successor. But Pairin has been Chief Minister before, from 1985 to 1994, and is unlikely to accept his old post even if offered. Besides, Pairin is extremely pleased with Musa’s performance as Chief Minister since he took over the reins of the state government. He works quietly without getting into needless politicking, or like PKR, promising the sun, the moon and the stars in between.

The strategy that the political enemies of the Aman brothers have decided on takes a leaf from the recent woes of Wanita UMNO Chief Shahrizat Abdul Jalil who was forced to step down as Women’s, Family and Community Development Minister over allegations that her family scammed the Public Treasury of some RM 250 million.

PKR, which followed up the Auditor-General’s Report last year on the National Feedlot Centre (NFC) project run by Shahrizat’s family, has now eagerly accepted an invitation from the Godfather of the Suluk Filipinos to make common cause in Sabah against the Aman Brothers.

It’s not surprising that PKR has no qualms about walking on the wild side of politics in Sabah. It’s an open secret in the state that Opposition Leader and de facto PKR chief Anwar Ibrahim was among the chief architects responsible for placing illegal immigrants, mainly drawn from Suluk Filipinos, on the electoral rolls. He was then in the Barisan Nasional Government as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister.

Anwar’s shady past in Sabah has caught up with him in the present to haunt his future. Most of the Sabah PKR members have fled en masse to the State Reform Party (Star) led by Jeffrey Kitingan who was PKR vice-president until Jan last year.

PKR has since pledged, in an act of political suicide, that illegal immigrants in Sabah would all be given permanent residency (PR) status should the opposition alliance seize the reins of power in the state.

Between the Suluk Filipinos and Anwar/PKR, they are not too happy that Musa has since pledged support for the proposed Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants in Sabah.

Alarm bells rang further when Anifah lashed out publicly not so long ago against attempts by the a special unit at the National Registration Department (NRD) in Putrajaya to issue birth certificates and MyKads to 40,000 people in Semporna alone without going through the local Mobile Court system. Anifah doubted that there could be that many people in one district alone without personal Malaysian documents.

Semporna is infested with illegal immigrants, mostly Suluk from the nearby Sulu Archipelago in the Philippines.

Anifah’s outburst on Semporna, coming on top of his brother’s public support for the RCI, was the last straw for the Suluk Filipinos. They, led by the Godfather, decided that the Aman brothers would have to go sooner rather than later.

Their “secret weapon” was to recycle an old story on a timberman, one Michael Chia Thien Foh (left), and allegedly close to Musa, being nabbed with some RM 16 million at one time at Hong Kong Airport. Some media reported RM 17 million.

The story, as it now transpires, is that Chia was not carrying Malaysian or foreign currency on him, albeit in substantial amounts, at that time apart from his credit cards and some petty cash in his wallet. The Hong Kong authorities had apparently jumped the gun, acting on a public tip-off that was later traced to a telephone call which came from a public telephone booth in Semporna, and was left red-faced in the process.

So, this whole story about Micheal Chia getting caught with bag load of foreign currency in Hong Kong Airport is a whole lot of rubbish. It never happened.

The Hong Kong case, if any, has been closed but PKR and Musa’s Suluk Filipino political enemies do not want to cease and desist. They are doggedly flogging the Hong Kong in various recycle versions and liberally dishing them around among the alternative media with known links to PKR and Anwar. These are those who, for want of a better term, are known as the ang pow journalists. They collect cash weekly for their efforts including in being cybertroopers from various moneybags linked to PKR.

A new spin from these ang pow journalists, taking orders from both PKR and the Suluk Filipinos, is that Attorney-General Gani Patail is related to Musa through his wife. Hence, as the spin continues, his reluctance to prosecute the Sabah Chief Minister and his brother “despite the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) having concluded its investigations”.

The fact of the matter is that it’s not the AG who immediately decides on the prosecution of Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders suspected of being involved in corruption. The MACC files on such leaders have to be sent to the Prime Minister who in turn will have to return them to the Commission before they are sent to the AG for further action, if any.

In Musa and Anifah’s case, even if there’s an MACC file on both of them, it’s unlikely that it has been sent to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak. Indeed, even if such a file exists and it has been sent to the Prime Minister, it’s highly unlikely that he would be so foolish as to send it back to the MACC for onward transmission to the A-G. This is the system first initiated by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

The MACC files on Eric Chia of Perwaja Steel and Kasitah Gaddam were under lock and key in Mahathir’s office for years. It was his successor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi aka Pak Lah, who sent these files back to MACC. The rest is history.

Najib, even if there’s a circumstantial case against Musa and Aman, is unlikely to rock his Fixed Deposit state of Sabah just because some Suluk Filipino got too big for his boots and wants to be Chief Minister.

For one, no Suluk Filipino will ever become Chief Minister of Sabah. The Dusuns in particular — including the Kadazan or urban Dusuns – and Murut would not allow it. That would be the worst imaginable political scenario for them since it would open the floodgates to further influx of illegal immigrants from the Philippines in particular.

Mindful that the Dusuns and Muruts through Joseph Pairin Kitingan and the Parti Bersatu Sabah are solidly behind Musa, the Suluk Filipinos recently tried to sponsor KDM Malaysia as an NGO to further split the non-Muslim Natives as a political force to reckon with in the state. Their efforts came to nothing and the NGO is currently on the verge of being deregistered by the Registrar of Societies (ROS).

For another, the Suluk Sabahans and other local Muslims – Dusun, Bajau, Barunai, Irranun, among others – are dead set against a Suluk Filipino taking the reins of the state government.

The stand was made clear by the Suluk Sabahans who have re-grouped under the old United Sabah National Organisation (USNO) in a protest against the disproportionate political role being played in UMNO by the Suluk Muslims.

The Suluk Filipinos running amok in Sabah, like other illegal immigrants, should thank their lucky stars that they have not so far been detained and deported to the Philippines and banned forever from entering the state.

If they think that they can cover up their tracks and buy political protection by seizing the Chief Minister’s post, they are sadly mistaken.

Already, local Muslims feel increasingly marginalized and disenfranchised by the continuing influx of the illegal immigrants who go on to enter the electoral rolls and monopolize opportunities which would have otherwise gone to them.

3 thoughts on “The Politics in Sabah: Aman Brothers Inc and the Suluk Filipinos

  1. Sabah politics is very messy and truly speaking I do not understand how those Sabah leaders are playing the game. Hope UMNO-BN has a better appreciation of it. Otherwise, their fixed deposit for GE-13 will be lost. I wonder if readers of this blog can educate us, especially the rumours about the revival of USNO to challenge UMNO’s dominance there.–Din Merican

  2. I went to school with one of Anfah’s nephew (not the one mentioned in sarawak report) . The Aman’s are of mixed heritage , Pakistani with a splash of native blood in their veins. My close relative was once managing the sabah football team at the time when Anifah was the SAFA president.

    True , both Aman brothers were running a thriving business empire way before they joined politics.. Musa had various business dealings and had owned several companies while Anifah has his Dauss construction company dealing with building construction and cleaning services…so yes while elder brother Ayub was in politics , the two younger Aman brothers were making tonnes of money through their business ventures. Musa’s second wife who presently lives down under is a relative too.
    Danildaud, I know Musa Aman too and have visited his home in Sandakan a few years ago. He is a very nice man. He had own and managed a very successful finance company before he joined politics.I think he has done well in politics.–Din Merican

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