The Kadazans and Sabah Politics
The Kadazans - the indigenous non-Muslim tribal people of what was North Borneo under Chartered Company rule and is now Sabah, a state of Malaysia - have for the most part throughout their history been governed by others than themselves. Before European contact Muslim overlords from Brunei or the Sulu archipelago exercised a tenuous sovereignty; the London-based Chartered Company was concerned to extract wealth for shareholders and to keep the indigenes quiescent; and since the formation of Malaysia, with the covert or overt support of the federal government in Kuala Lumpur, for the greater part of the time Muslim rule has prevailed. This thesis is a detailed examination of the last quarter-of-a-century's political life in Sabah, with particular reference to the role of the Kadazan community therein. The growth of Kadazan consciousness or "nationalism" is traced, and the evolution of their political parties and fortunes. Political and socio-economic developments within the state are linked always to the federal framework within which they take place and must be understood. The author has been and is a participant-observer in the history with which he deals having been both newspaper editor and Radio Sabah commentator; back-bench M.P. in opposition and front-bench Cabinet Minister in Government; grass roots activist in villages and legal advisor to the present Government of Sabah headed by a Kadazan, Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan.