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Many Things Rotten in Sabah

Kota Kinabalu:    “If Marcellus of Shakespeare’s Hamlet was alive in Sabah today, he would have concluded that “Many things are rotten in the State of Sabah”.   Tun Dr. Mahathir should have extended his article “Something Wrong” in Malaysia to include “Many Things Rotten in Sabah” and his contributions in making them wrong” said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, STAR Sabah Chief, commenting on the former’s Premier’s post “Something Wrong” in his blog.

There are many complaints from the people in Sabah, also in Sarawak as well.   In fact, many people have decided that things are so rotten that it is better to join the fight and “Keluar Malaysia”.            

Many businesses are complaining that an Umno politician and his group are monopolizing contracts in Sabah and depriving others of their fair share or end up getting minor subcontracts.   There are also complaints that an Umno politician and his associates are getting timber concessions and log exports that there is insufficient logs to feed the local timber industry.   The people can decide whether these complaints are true or rotten or not.

Many ordinary Sabahans are complaining that Sabah (and Sarawak) have been wrongly down-graded to be the 12th (and 13th) state of Malaya and losing their rights and autonomy in the Federation of Malaysia, which is nothing more than the Federation of Malaya with a change of name and the adding of Sabah and Sarawak as additional internal colonies.

Then there is the infamous “Project IC”, “Project Mahathir” or “Ops Durian Buruk” or whatever name that resulted in foreigners being given dubious ICs/MyKads and becoming instant Sabahans/ Malaysians and becoming Umno members with voting rights.    These foreigner Malaysians are running all over Sabah and now spreading to the Peninsula and have infiltrated government service and security units.

From the provision and support of muslim insurgents in Southern Philippines by covert government operations, Sabahans and Malaysians are now feeling the backlash with massive security and social problems.  They range from the Lahad Datu armed intrusion, cross-border kidnappings, smuggling of contraband and drugs, rising crime from murder, car-jackings to break-ins, theft and robberies.  They have even spread to the Peninsula with fake Sabahans committing crimes and murders.

Mahathir said that for business, delays can kill.   Well said but in Sabah’s case, the delays by the federal government in resolving the illegal immigrants have proven that the delays have killed.

On the economic front, almost everything in Sabah is rotten, in fact many are rotten to the core to the extent Sabahans form 40% of all poor Malaysians with Sabah the poorest State in the nation.  The result of lack of industries have caused an exodus of Sabahans to work in Malaya and Singapore.

Sabahans are clamouring for the return of ownership or at least an increase in the oil revenues derived from Sabah’s oil and gas resources and complaining that Sabah Umno and BN leaders have failed to secure anything despite Sabah BN’s additional manifesto promising 20% oil royalties.   These leaders are so scared of losing their jobs, perks and lucrative contracts that they dare not even voice out Sabahans’ demand for the additional oil royalties despite the BN Manifesto.

To add to the poverty levels, Sabah has been deprived of the constitutional 40% of the net revenue derived from Sabah.  This deprivation has led the Sabah government not being able to implement additional programs to alleviate poverty and kick-start many development projects which would have driven the Sabah economy and improve income levels.

To rub salt to the injury, the federal government has fixed the minimum wage in Sabah at RM800 which is lower than in Malaya while at the same time prices in Sabah are much higher than in Malaya due to the crippling cabotage policy.    Further hardship is expected when Sabahans start paying an additional 6% in GST to the federal government from April 2015.

Although Sabah is languishing at the bottom, it was once the second richest in the nation.   In 1974, Sabah even had extra reserves to lend money to the federal government to start Malaysia Airlines after splitting with Singapore Airlines from Malaysia Singapore Airways.

Despite its huge contributions of tens of billions annually to the federal coffers, Sabah has been left way behind in development even lacking in basic amenities and infrastructure.   In many areas, there is no clean treated water, no electrification and no proper roads despite umpteen years of election promises.   

A Malayan federal Works Minister even had the audacity to state that the roads in Sabah and Sarawak are equivalent in standards to roads in Malaya.   Even the proposed Pan-Borneo Highway will have to wait until 2024, even then if completed will be without any dual carriageway, only with overtaking lanes.

The roads are so bad that days ago, a sick had to be pull-carted by buffalo from a village in Northern Sabah because there was no proper road.   It was not even a bullock cart that existed in Malaya in the 1960s but long gone now.   As the incident and picture went viral in the social media, the government now agrees to build the road which only cost RM800,000.00, 52 years after the formation of Malaysia, even then after the heart-rendering incident.

Right from politics, political franchise to projects, everything is controlled from Umno Kuala Lumpur.  After the huge Project IC of flooding Sabah with illegal immigrants dubiously given ICs and voting rights, Umno Malaya has now monopolized the “mining” industry in Sabah.   To Umno Malaya, everything in Sabah “is mine”. 

This “mining” is different from Mahathir’s mining issue but the end-result is the same, nothing is for Sabahans except crumbs and miserly hand-downs from Putrajaya.

And there are many more complaints about Sabah which would give it a rotten smell.   The federal government will have plenty to worry if it does not hear out and address the complaints.   Sabahans may not want to get use to the rotten smell but choose another way out of the Federation.

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