Ethnohistorical Analysis on the Resurgence of Multiracial Political Ideology through ‘Sabah for Sabahan’ Slogan in Sabah, Malaysia

Romzi Ationg Azlan, Jualang Gansau, Andreas Totu


Sabah has been a political battle ground to gain state power among multiracial parties since the state accorded self-rule in 1963. Though many suggest that early political parties such as UPKO and USNO were ethnic based, the reality showed that they promoted multiracial political ideology. The entry of UMNO in this state politics on February 22nd, 1991 which led to the fall of PBS government in 1994, a multiracial political party headed by Pairin of Kadazandusun community, however, gradually eased such political dogma. The political movement among the people of Sabah who can be categorised into three main ethnic groups namely Muslim Bumiputra, non-Muslim Bumiputra and Chinese eventually become more ethnic based. The politicians from each ethnic group were increasingly interested in gaining political support from their own ethnic group and that the rakyat also tend to support politicians of their own ethnic group. As a result, political activities in Sabah welded with ethnicity. Nevertheless, after more than a decade of grappling with strengthening ethnic divide, multiracial ideology is eventually resurging in Sabah due to the growing of interest among the people of Sabah, in particular the politician on the slogan of ‘Sabah for Sabahan’. This paper analyse how such slogan have contributed in the resurgence of multiracial political ideology in this land through the application of ethnohistorical approach that required the examination of various sources such as books, journals, newspapers, blogs and interview with key informants.

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