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Kurup feeling the heat in Pensiangan

PBRS president Joseph Kurup is desperately trying to
counter claims that the BN government had ignored
his constituency.
KENINGAU: Pensiangan MP Joseph Kurup, worried that his time in power is nearing an end, is doing his best to argue that he has brought development to his rural constituency.

With dissatisfaction growing over the slow pace of development in a state listed as among the poorest in the nation, Sabah Barisan Nasional government leaders are watching their backs as the general election approaches.

Kurup, who is also president of BN component Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS), is no exception.
Kurup, who is federal Natural Resources and Environment Deputy Minister, invited 19 media representatives from the Information Department, RTM, Al-Jazeera and local newspapers “to see Pensiangan’s development” under his watch since 1985.

The two-day high-profile affair, coordinated by information officer Wolis Junik, was arranged by Kurup to counter claims that the BN government had ignored the constituency after coming to power.

Pensiangan, located in the interior division of the state, is one of the most rural towns in Sabah. It is situated less than 20km from the Indonesian border.

Kurup’s fightback comes days after Sabah Umno deputy chief Salleh Said Keruak defended the state and federal governments over the limited infrastructure in the state.

“It would not be fair to say that there has been a lack of development when a huge chunk of the state budget, supplemented by federal funding, goes into all sorts of development,” he said after a Merdeka Centre survey noted that people in the state were generally dissatisfied with the lack of development and infrastructure as well as the illegal immigration problem in Sabah.

To prove that he has not been sitting on his hands for the last 27 years, Kurup took the press to a water treatment plant in Kampung Mosopoh that is capable of supplying clean water to residents in Nabawan and the construction site of a school building.

He told his guests that when completed, the school, which will have a separate library building, would be big enough to accommodate students from all over Nabawan.

He also said that a hospital was being built and that “the BN government has brought much development to Pensiangan since I became MP and many more will come, particularly those aimed at eradicating poverty among the people”.

Kurup criticised

The slow pace of development, often poorly planned and of inferior quality both in terms of workmanship and materials, has become another chink in the armour of the state BN government under Chief Minister Musa Aman.

The opposition has pointed to unpaved roads, insufficient power and water supply as well as inadequate medical facilities as a mark of poor governance by the BN, which has been in power for almost 50 years at federal level.

Kurup appeared upset that opposition leaders like Joseph Lakai of the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) had targeted his constituency for criticism and as an example of everything that was wrong with the state.

Lakai, a pilot by training, who has made a name for himself for voicing the frustrations of rural folk, said the lack of vital infrastructure and development is enough reason for voters in the state to seek a change in the 13th general election.

Lakai said that the BN’s dismal failure to provide Sabah with all that was necessary for it to progress was preventing the resource-rich state from catching up with the rest of the country.

He pointed out to Kurup’s chagrin that in the interior areas of the state like in Sook and Nabawan in the Pensiangan parliamentary constituency, there are still no hospital, police station and fire and rescue department.

Kurup, who formed PBRS after resigning from Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) in 1994 as it was about to come crashing down through post-election wheeling and dealing, is set to defend the seat he won uncontested in the 2008 general election.

Political pundits in the state say that he would have faced a strong fight if PKR candidate Danny Anthony Andipai, whose candidacy was rejected by the election returning officer on nomination day, had been allowed to stand.

The coming general election could finally lay to rest the political chatter that Kurup has little support in his own constituency, a Kadazandusun-Murut majority area.

In fact, after winning the seat uncontested in 2008, he almost lost it after an election petition was filed against the Election Commission and Kurup by Andipai and the third candidate, Saimeh Usau, who was also disqualified for late submission of nomination papers.

Warding off Umno

After a hearing at the Kota Kinabalu High Court, on Sep 8, 2008, Justice David Wong Dak Wah ordered a by-election to be held for Pensiangan after declaring Kurup’s election null and void.

As a result of the judgment, the PBRS president “retired” from his deputy minister’s post but was reinstated when, on appeal, the Federal Court on Feb 12, 2009 quashed the nullification of his election to the seat.

The all-expenses-paid invitation to the media to visit his constituency is being seen as a strategic move by the deputy minister to reconfirm his seat as well as ward off those in Sabah Umno who have openly declared their interest in wanting to contest the seat for the BN.

Should Kurup defend his seat, his likely opponent will be former Pensiangan MP Bernard Maraat, his former party colleague who won the seat for BN-PBRS in the 2004 election but made way for Kurup in the 2008 election.

Maraat, now a PBS member, has announced that since Umno wanted to contest, he would be offering to contest the seat as an Independent. State Reform Party and Pakatan Rakyat are also keen to contest Pensiangan, Sook and Nabawan.


  1. Before this, Kurup has advised the Bumiputeras here in Keningau to emulate their more successful peers in the business sector as well as grab the opportunities provided by the government.

    1. Give support to BN Sabah to develop in the rural area in Sabah.

  2. Sabah will have the country's largest livestock centre when the 834ha Keningau Livestock Integrated Centre here (KILC) located in Sook is fully operational by next year.

    1. KILC is part of the govt strategy for rural development, which the govt is vehemently undertaking.


  3. Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) wants to defend the Sook state assembly seat and Pensiangan parliamentary seat to represent Barisan Nasional (BN) during the 13th general election.

    1. Its president, Tan Sri Joseph Kurup said, the party was ready to place suitable candidates and other quarters need to respect this as part of camaderie between BN party components.

  4. Kerajaan akan menimbang untuk menambah peruntukan Ahli Parlimen di kawasan luar bandar.

    Menteri Kemajuan Luar Bandar dan Wilayah Datuk Seri Haji Mohd. Shafie Haji Apdal berkata, kerajaan akan meneliti tambahan peruntukan bagi Ahli Parlimen di kawasan luar bandar yang terpencil terutama di Sabah dan Sarawak.

    Beliau mengulas permintaan Ahli Parlimen Pensiangan Tan Sri Joseph Kurup agar peruntukan Ahli Parlimen di kawasan luar bandar ditambah.

  5. Shafie yang juga Naib Presiden Umno berkata, Kementeriannya juga akan menimbang dan meneliti tambahan peruntukan Ahli Parlimen kawasan luar bandar kerana di kawasan yang terpencil memerlukan peruntukan yang lebih untuk melaksanakan projek pembangunan yang dirancang.

  6. Bagaimanapun katanya, tambahan peruntukan Ahli Parlimen yang diminta itu bukan sahaja untuk Ahli Parlimen kawasan luar bandar tetapi ia juga dipertimbangkan bagi kawasan Parlimen yang berhampiran di bandar yang masih memerlukan pembangunan.

    Menjawab soalan lain Shafie berkata, Kementerian Kemajuan Luar Bandar dan Wilayah (KKLW) akan melaksanakan program turun padang yang ditekankan Perdana Menteri Dato Seri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak.

  7. Kementerian Pelajaran telah memperuntukkan RM4.9 juta bagi membiayai pembinaan bangunan asrama dan rumah guru di sekolah-sekolah pedalaman tiga di kawasan ini.

    Timbalan Menteri Pelajaran Malaysia Dr. Mohd Puad Zarkasi berkata, peruntukan itu membiayai pembinaan empat buah asrama masing-masing di Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Saliliran, SK. Sibangali, SK. Pensiangan dan SK. Salong serta rumah guru di SK Tinanduk.

  8. Pensiangan, sebuan pekan kecil di bahagian pedalaman Sabah, kira-kira 120 kilometer dari Keningau, kini mengalami pembangunan rancak berikutan pelbagai dasar dan program pembangunan yang dilaksanakan untuk manfaat rakyat.

    Kawasan pedalaman seluas lebih 6,000 km persegi dengan penduduk lebih 20,000 orang itu menerima hasil pembangunan yang sangat ketara sekali berbanding beberapa dekad yang lalu.

    Semasa membandingkan kawasan itu yang sebelum ini berhutan tebal dan kini berubah wajah, Anggota Parlimen Pensiangan Tan Sri Joseph Kurup berkata usaha menangani masalah kemiskinan adalah agenda utama Barisan Nasional, (BN) khususnya di kawasan Parlimen Pensiangan.

  9. "..kini projek pembinaan jalan raya, pembangunan desa, kemudahan asas seperti loji air, bekalan elektrik, bantuan projek perumahan rakyat dan sebagainya sedang dijalankan dan ada yang telahpun siap sepenuhnya,"

  10. Kurup yang juga Timbalan Menteri Sumber Asli dan Alam Sekitar berkata pembinaan tiga loji utama yang telah dan sedang dilaksanakan itu mampu menyediakan bekalan air bersih kepada penduduk sekitar terutama di daerah Sook, Nabawan dan Pegalungan.

  11. kerajaan membelanjakan RM96 juta bagi membina loji air di Pegalungan yang dijangka siap Mei tahun depan manakala loji air Pinipi di Tulid, Sook berharga RM98 juta dan kini 80 peratus siap pula dijangka beroperasi Mac tahun depan.

  12. "Antara tumpuan utama lain adalah untuk meningkatkan taraf kehidupan rakyat melibatkan cadangan pembinaan jalan raya dari Sepulot hingga ke Kalabakan dan pembinaan dua sekolah menengah baharu di Dalit,"

  13. Kurup turut berharap penduduk kawasan Pensiangan akan menerima manfaat daripada Belanjawan 2013 yang dibentangkan oleh Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak pada Jumaat lepas bagi mengurangkan jurang pembangunan bandar dan luar bandar, kesihatan serta bantuan dan insentif rakyat.


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