Thursday, October 15, 2009

Another Malaysian Minister-Blogger

Another Malaysian Cabinet Minister, (Tan Sri) Bernard Giluk Dompok (pic, dressed in traditional Kadazan attire) has become a blogger, effective Monday 12 October 2009. (

A British university graduate, Dompok is the Minister for Plantation Industries and Commodities. He is also Member of Parliament for Penampang in Sabah, his hometown.

He is President of the Sabah-based United Pasok-Momogun Kadazandusun-Murut Organisation (UPKO), one of the 13 component parties of the Barisan Nasional or BN (National Front), Malaysia's ruling coalition.

Prior to becoming a Federal Minister, Dompok served as Sabah Chief Minister. He was also State Assemblyman for Moyog.

Dompok has thus joined an increasing number of Malaysian politicians-turned bloggers. Prior to Malaysia's 12th General Election on 8 March 2008 in which BN fared badly compared to previous elections; nobody in the ruling party gave much thought to the Internet, much less becoming bloggers themselves.

But the opposition coalition of Pakatan Rakyat (People's Alliance) made clever use of the Internet in their election campaign. Most opposition candidates were bloggers or at least had their own sites.

The election results showed that the BN had under-estimated the power of the Net especially in the urban areas where the opposition did well. But it's better late than never and today many BN politicians are already bloggers or at least have web sites for their constituencies.

And the No. 1 blogger in the country? Why, it's the Prime Minister Najib Razak himself ( Former Prime Minister (Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad was of course one of the earliest political bloggers and his site,, has attracted millions of visitors since last year. In fact, some of Dr M's earlier postings had already been compiled into a book!

On the opposition front, their No. 1 blogger is none other than the Opposition Leader in the Malaysian Parliament, Anwar Ibrahim himself ( Other notable opposition bloggers include 'Mr Opposition' Lim Kit Siang and Jeff Ooi, the blogger-turned-politician who set the trend. And of course you have the news portals, Malaysiakini and Malaysia Today, often seen as opposition symphatisers.

Sikmading says: Welcome on board as a blogger, Tan Sri. Congratulations, although your first posting was in the Malay language.  I know your English is powerful and that you are an intellectual and I can't wait to read your first post in English. You have, sir, after all been in politics since 1985 and had even been on the pinnacle of Sabah politics (the Chief Ministership) and therefore your thoughts and views would be valuable to the younger generation and newcomers to politics especially the Youth Wing of UPKO.

I had the opportunity to serve the Tan Sri including during the difficult days of PBS when its leaders were often harrased by Kuala Lumpur. But believe me, if there is any Sabah leader who would dare to stand up  to Kuala Lumpur and still win some respect and get some results, Bernard Dompok is definitely one of them. If I say he is the only one you probably would not believe me. So suffice for me to say that he is one of the very few who dared to do so. 

When I retire and if I do write a book on my experiences since Usno time in the early 1970s when I started working, an entire chapter or even two will have to be about Dompok. If you can't wait that long, in the meantime let me just tell you that he is not what some Sabahans (especially those who punished him politically) might think. It's just that he has his own way of doing things, just like Dr Mahathir's favourite song - I did it my way. 

In conclusion, for the information of his critics as well as the younger leaders: When Sabahans like Dr Jeffery, Dr Maximus and Ben Topin were arrested under ISA, Dompok was the  only Sabah MP who dared to speak against it in Parliament with Dr M staring at him. Dr Maximus is now a fellow-Federal Minister of Dompok, how nice!

If anyone is offended by what I just wrote, no offence meant. I just want to put the record straight. But don't take my words for garnted. Go and check the Hansards in Parliament or for that matter the State Assembly and of course the newspapers.

My critics would probably say I angkat kaki (curry favour) with Tan Sri. I don't have to. I stopped serving him since 1994 and had survied until today on my own. For that matter, I have survived since Usno days of the 1970s. The late Tun Mustapha, before he died, asked me why I befriended him (as a reporter) only when he was no longer Chief Minister. My reply was when he was in power I was still a student or had just started working. We both had a good laugh.

Happy blogging Tan Sri.