A time to forgive and work together (Posted on 03.38pm Nov 22, 2001 )

The decision by Parti Bersatu Sabah's (PBS) Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, to apologize to Barisan Nasional (BN) Chairman and Prime Minister, Dato' Seri Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad, for pulling out of the coalition 11 years ago must be lauded by all members of the civil society.

The desire by PBS to come into the Barisan Nasional's fold to contribute towards national development, unity and the country's vision for 2020 should be welcome by all components parties in the government.

It is true that only the Barisan Nasional supreme council can approve an application from a political party to join the ruling coalition.

We are told that any application will be referred to the said council for deliberation and consideration and that a consensus from all was needed for admission.

Except for the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP)'s apparent "initial" silence, all other Sabah-based parties seem to welcome PBS's decision to rejoin the Barisan Nasional.

What was really uplifting was the supportive comments from LDP President and Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Chong Kah Kiat, former political opponents like UPKO's President Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, PBRS's Tan Sri Joseph Kurup and Parti Gerakan.

This is not the time for any quarter to behave like "political warlords and gatekeepers" to prevent any quarter who in sincerity, repentance and honesty, desire to embrace the "workings and philosophy" of the Barisan Nasional that has brought about the country's development and upliftment of the standard of living for the last 44 years!

In fact, there have been sad cases in the past, where applications by certain parties to join the Barisan Nasional was "blocked" by these "political warlords and individuals", putting the BN in rather bad light!

CONSENSUS

I am personally aware from discussions with several head of states that, despite their applications been rejected, these parties have continued to strongly provide strong vocal, logistics and manpower support to the Barisan
Nasional government in all its elections, by-elections and follow-up community programmes!

Perhaps,it is time that our beloved PM and Barisan Nasional Chairman, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad be given "special powers" to make decisions on such applications to join the BN rather than allow the present "consensus" which has been a hurdle preventing some parties from working earnestly for the BN at grassroots.

The PM's track record for fairness, undisputable leadership qualities, political pragmatism and capabilities of looking at the long-term implications and contributions will serve us well in this matter.

For the record, the move by PBS's Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan also consolidates the strong and widespread belief that only the Barisan Nasional government can deliver growth, unity and development in multi racial and multi
religious Malaysia!

With PBS's re-entry into the Barisan Nasional, issues related to the greater unity and good of the Kadazandusun and Murut communities can be easily identified and resolved in the Barisan Nasional spirit!

LOCAL POLITICS

While it is fashionable for some politicians to hold widely publicised conferences, to self-righteously preach to the world on issues related to alienation, poverty, religious persecution, the marginalisation of minorities, and oppression in its various forms and heads, we must not forget that we in Malaysia are also closely being watched and judged by the governance standards we uphold at the levels of local politics, community life and society!

This is why the acceptance of PBS into the Barisan Nasional after a lapse of over 11 years is pertinent to clearly illustrate that the Barisan Nasional government still subscribe to fulfilling its election promises, contributing to the agenda of national unity and development where in the interests of the rakyat reign supreme.

Perhaps, this could be the message for the country and the world to ponder during this sacred and religious period of Ramadan!

Dr. Jacob George
Subang Jaya