Sunday, March 2, 2008

SUNDAY-2ND MARCH 2008-Tukaron bangkad

Tukaron bangkad (change shirts), a catchword in Keningau
An opposition catchword, tukaron bangkad, which means “change the shirts” in the Dusun language, is catching on in this rural parliamentary constituency. Tukaron bangkad is the subtle message sent by the opposition to voters here, telling them to change their preference from the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) to the opposition. The message is sent to constituents of Keningau parliamentary constituency and the three state seats under it - Bingkor, Tambunan and Liawan. However, this tactic will not work, says Datuk Sairin Karno, the BN candidate for the Liawan state seat, who is quick to brush off the idea, saying that the opposition are merely trying to fool the voters. “They (the opposition) ate the ones who have actually changed their shirts and are now feeling the heat after realising that they only have a very slim chance of winning the seats here,” he told Bernama. “Now they want to hoodwink the people into following their footsteps, ‘but I’m confident that the voters are mature enough to make wise decisions,” said Sairin, who is upbeat about retaining the Liawan state seat. The Keningau parliamentary seat is seeing what observers described as “the mother of all battles in the Land Below the Wind” with Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan facing his younger. brother, Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, who is Parti Keadilan’ - Rakyat (PKR) vice-president. Another candidate in the fray is Peter Kodou @ Peter Anthony Kodou of DAP. For the Liawan seat, Sairin is involved in a four- cornered fight with Juis Awang of PKR, Yapilin Nawawi (DAP) and Yangul @ Lawrence Mogidau Edau, an Independent candidate. In Bingkor, BN candidate, Justin Guka is locked in another four-cornered tussle. He would take on Jeffrey and two other Independent candidates, Victor Leonardusand Thomas Anggan. The Tambunan state seat will see Pairin, the Hoguan Siou or the paramount leader of the Kadazandusun community, being challenged by Moses @ Mozes Iking of PKR and Koh Kui Tze @ Francis Koh Lui Tze, an Tndependent candidate. While the BN looks capable of retaining these seats, observers are not ruling out an upset, especially in Bingkor and Tambunan state constituencies, as campaigning reaches its half-way mark before the March 8 polls. However, they feel the BN will scrape through and retain Keningau and the three state seats under it. Asked on the future of Keningau folks in the event of an upset, Sairin said: ‘Well, don’t blame us (BN) if (ongoing) development projects in the district will be disrupted”. “I strongly believe the BN will have to be fair and give priority to development in areas represented by the BN ‘wakil rakyat’. Otherwise it would be unfair to BN supporters,” said Sairin. Sairin argued the tukaron bangkad motto could bring about a disastrous effect on the people of Keningau, especially those in the rural areas who are still dependent on Government assistance to improve their livelihood. He said at the moment it would be unthinkable for the people here not to support the BN, more so because the district needed the continuity of development programs. “A number of state and federal development projects have been earmarked for implementation in Keningau to improve infrastructure facilities like roads, electricity and water supply as well as schools, to name a few. “These projects were initiated by the BN representatives like myself, Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan and Justin Guka. These efforts will be hampered if the area is not represented by the BN,” he added. Sairin said the people of Sabah should learn from the experience of having to “change shirts” in the past especially when PBS pulled out of the BN coalition on the eve of 1990 general election. PBS applied to rejoin the coalition and was admitted back into the BN’s fold in 2002.