By Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader and Gelang Patah MP
One question uppermost among Sabahans when I visited the earthquake-hit zones of Ranau and Kinabalu Park yesterday was why Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, who only last month said that “I owe Sabah”, did not visit Sabah over the Ranau/Kinabalu earthquake disaster before his Saudi Arabia trip on Saturday night.
With his new personal private jet which cost a bomb to Malaysian taxpayers, Najib should have no problem to visit Ranau/Kinabalu before flying off to Jeddah for his three-day visit to Saudi Arabia.
The aftermath of the 5.9 Richter Ranau/Kinabalu earthquake, which claimed 18 lives, and Najib’s double absence, from the 1MDB “Nothing2Hide” forum in Kuala Lumpur on Friday morning and from Sabah over the earthquake disaster, were the talking points of Sabahans, in particular why Najib took some five hours to tweet his concern about the earthquake in Sabah at about noon when the earthquake struck Ranau and Mount Kinabalu at around 7.15 am on Friday morning!
Najib’s tweet was unbelievable for it said some five hours after the disaster: “I was just informed that an earthquake happened not far from Ranau. I hope all are safe and calm.”
I don’t think Sabahans are mollified by Najib’s Facebook posting from Saudi Arabia last night that he was monitoring the aftermath of the Ranau/Kinabalu earthquake and relief operations in Sabah.
Najib should make amends and fly straight to the earthquake-hit zones in Ranau/Kinabalu at the end of his three-day Saudi Arabia trip to ensure that all assistance are given to the victims of the earthquake disaster – which had cost 18 lives.
Najib should ensure that all government agencies, both Federal and state, have started work to urgently repair and rehabilitate all buildings and infrastructures damaged or destroyed by he earthquake, including 23 schools buildings, a mosque and temple in Ranau, hospital quarters in Ranau as well as roads.
Najib should also announce multi-million ringgit allocations to deal with the aftermath of the earthquake, including honouring the “unsung heroes”, the Mount Kinabalu mountain guides who risked their lives to ensure that the injured climbers were brought to safety, especially mountain guide Robert Sapinggi who perished in the earthquake.
There should also be a high-powered committee to address the various complaints and criticisms about the earthquake emergency and relief operations to ensure that there is a world-class emergency contingency plan to deal with any mishap or disaster at Mount Kinabalu.
– The Rocket