closely what Anwar is doing in Sabah. It appears to be very well
thought out. What makes PKR win in Sabah, are not the divisional
chiefs but the voters who are mostly Muslims. Jeffry may appear to be
defender of Sabah but he was tainted when PBS ruled Sabah. People just
don't forget what he did at that time. Whereas Ansari was similarly
tainted. The problem with Sabah is the large number of carpet beggars.
People join political parties in order to make money. They are so
impoverished that they will do anything in order to earn some money.
During Ansari time, how can you explain the selection of an unemployed
as a candidate for PKR at Batu Sapi? I know because I am from Batu
Sapi. If that happened at Batu Sapi, it also happened at other places.
You need someone who is not tainted and yet hard workingly
intelligent. Thamrin appears to be a trust worthy person being an
incorruptible person, just like Abdullah Badawi, but he is doing much
work at other places. Lack of finance may be a factor. It may be
strange that non-divisional chiefs were appointed as party leaders but
it happened during Tun Mustapha's time, when the Muslims in Sabah were
the most successful.
The key question is not what the party members are saying, but what
the voters are saying. This article only mentioned what the party
workers are saying, not necessarily what the voters are saying.
Sabah PKR hot seat a poisoned chalice?
| January 11, 2011
Anwar Ibrahim's choice of Pajudin Nordin to lead Sabah is already
tearing apart a party in disarray.
KOTA KINABALU: If the gasp of surprise is any indication, newly-
appointed Sabah PKR top man Pajudin Nordin has jumped into a hot seat
and bets are on as to whether he will last long in the post.
The stakes are high and the expectations even higher given that even
PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim didn't last more than a few months
as Sabah state chief before he relinquished it to Azmin Ali, who in
turn lasted for only a few weeks before handing the reins to Ahmad
Thamrin was heavily criticised for "non-performance" or failing to
come up to the expectations of his peers, a charge that he disagrees
"Qualified" people, such as former PKR vice-president Jeffrey
Kitingan, a Harvard scholar, were sidelined as they were believed to
be not good enough to head PKR in the second-biggest state in
Now Pajudin, 42, not even a divisional head, has been entrusted with
the task of leading the state by party president Dr Wan Azizah Wan
Perhaps, a more pertinent question is whether Pajudin will be able to
perform better than all his predecessors, including recent leaders
like Thamrin and Ansari Abdullah.
It is an open secret that many in Sabah PKR are disgusted
(disappointed is too meek a word) at the way the PKR central
leadership has handled Sabah matters, including this one.
Nasty text messages and cynical comments from PKR state leaders were
flying around soon after they learnt that Pajudin had been appointed
Sabah PKR Chief.
Some of the messages were harsh, to say the least.
Sabah's view not important
But Pajudin is an educated person having pursued Islamic and Quranic
studies in Saudi Arabia. In fact, his credentials are better than most
of the divisional heads in Sabah. So what's the fuss?
Anwar was not looking for the most educated person or he would have
appointed such a one from among the leaders in Sabah.
Said a former founding member of Sabah PKR Awang Ahmad Sah Awang
Sahari: "It is the same old story with PKR when it comes to Sabah and
"What the leadership in Kuala Lumpur wants overrides what Sabahans
"The appointment of ustaz Pajudin confirms that Sabah's views and
aspirations are not important to PKR… rather it is who and what they
want that matters more to them."
The PKR constitution that provides for members of the state liaison to
reach a consensus or to forward a choice to the president to appoint
the state chief is only for reading and never meant for sincere
adoption, he charged.
Awang Ahmad Sah, who has had skirmishes with PKR central leaders and
their proxies in Sabah, argued that merit, contribution, sacrifice and
loyalty are irrelevant in the eyes of PKR decision- makers.
"What comes first is whether they can use and trust a particular
Sabahan leader to dance to their music.
"Forget about the feelings and intelligence of Sabahans in PKR; they
just want to be on top of you, using you to achieve their dream to
capture Putrajaya," he alleged.
But Pajudin certainly has all the values Awang Ahmad Sah mentioned –
merit, contribution, sacrifice and loyalty.
He has been one of those most loyal to party leadership and he did not
go out of his way to seek the post.
Can he lead?
But can he manage a broken team? Will they listen to him? Can Pajudin
convince people to rally behind him or Anwar?
These are questions that party supporters have lined up against this
diminutive Bajau from Tuaran.
The way analysts see it, Pajudin cannot stop the exodus from PKR,
especially the Kadazandusun and Murut (KDM) community who left earlier
and will continue to leave following PKR's clearest indication yet of
the axis of Ansari-Anwar-Azmin behind Pajudin's appointment.
Pajudin will sit as just one of the vice heads in the Tuaran division
whenever Ansari chairs a divisional meeting. This is not entirely an
anomaly and was probably foreseen.
But it is not something that will go down well with independent-minded
Comments by PKR state leaders like Kong Hong Ming speak volumes on how
things will percolate to the top and be managed soon in Sabah.
Kong, Tawau divisional chief, claimed that he was not even notified of
Monday's press conference to unveil Pajudin as the new head.
It was not clear if others were notified, but if they were, then their
absence also spoke volumes of the arduous task ahead for Pajudin.
Only three out of 26 divisional heads, including one from Labuan, were
present and they were Ansari and his two inseparable allies, Hassnar
Ebrahim of Batu Sapi and Anthony Mandiau of Kota Marudu who days ago
heaped criticism on Thamrin and rallied support for Ansari for the
Though Pajudin claimed that many divisional chiefs had congratulated
him, it would be naive of him to take it as support for his new seat.
At Monday's press conference, Pajudin was ably assisted by former
Sabah PKR communication director Ronnie Klassen who eloquently
introduced Pajudin to the press.
While fluent in Arab and Malay, Pajudin is not well-versed in English
which, by the way, will not pose a problem for him in Sabah.
Fighting a stigma
If Pajudin knows how to rise above internal bickering, play the peace-
maker role and at the same time manage the growth of PKR in Sabah, he
might just be the person to lead Sabah PKR in the looming general
At least Pajudin is not burdened with managing his own division as he
is not a divisional chief. That's an advantage for him.
He will have a big problem though if he allows himself to be either
too close or too detached from any of the rival groups within Sabah
He is already fighting a stigma of being Ansari's man and it will only
need a tiny mistake to see him become irrelevant.
Observers also said that the soft-spoken and without much clout
Pajudin is vulnerable to revolts, especially orchestrated ones.
If this happens, then Anwar might replace him with a stronger
personality, an attribute that right now had been brushed aside.