Current Affairs

Sabah Drew The Shortest Straw

DAP held a series of “Promises Unfulfilled” public hearings throughout Sabah to hear from the people whether Barisan Nasional (BN) promises to people of Sabah have been fulfilled or broken.

BN’s shameless hijacking of the national day theme to promote its political agenda proved meaningless to ordinary Sabahans who have been duped and disappointed for 55 years by the empty promises and unfulfilled pledges. We cull a snapshot of a few here:

Robbed of Oil Royalties

Despite being a major oil and gas production hub for Malaysia, Sabah receives only 5% royalty payment. This is in accordance to previous agreements signed w2ith the Federal Government, including the Petroleum Development Act 1974.

In 2012, Petronas is expected to receive RM14.734 billion from Sabah oil resources, but Sabah will receive only RM0.775 billion in royalty payment. This is great injustice towards Sabahans!

Increased royalty payment will go a long way towards improving infrastructure and alleviating poverty in Sabah, one of the poorest states in Malaysia despite its rich natural resources.

BN had initially scoffed at PR’s promise to increase oil royalty to Sabah to 20%, calling it “illogical”. Last month, both the Chief Ministers of Sabah and Sarawak have said that the petroleum royalty review is “open for discussion”. Is BN prepared to return to Sabahans what they rightfully deserve?

Still No Solution for Illegals Issue

Undoubtedly, one of the top issues among Sabahans where BN has failed to fulfil its promises is on the four-decades old problem of illegal immigrants. The problem still plagues the state despite the recent establishment of a ‘toothless’ RCI (Royal Commission of Inquiry) into Illegal Immigrants in Sabah.

Census data shows that 27 per cent of Sabah’s population are foreign-born, many acquired identity documents via Mahathir’s Project IC in the 1980s. Living with and granting voting rights to an estimated 2 million foreigners has had grave implications on the social wellbeing, safety, and economic opportunities of local Sabahans.

Will Sabahans become ‘illegal immigrants’ in their own homeland?

Nightmare on Kota Marudu-Ranau Road

The RM330 million upgrading of the Kota Marudu-Ranau road has been a total failure. Construction of the road began in 2008 but stopped abruptly last year. The 110km road is in one of the worst condition in the country.

Only about 4km of the new road has been sealed with bitumen surface. The rest of the old road is in atrocious condition and difficult to travel on. Erosion and logging trucks plying the dirt road have further damaged the road.

The road is steep with loose gravel surfaces and huge rock pieces that pose as a danger and damage to vehicles. The road is dusty during dry days and muddy during rainy days. Students who walk to school will have yellow particles stuck to their hair and their school uniform turns brown with dust.

They have pipes…but no water!

At Kampung Bavang Jamal, Kudat, “Janji Ditepati” again became a joke as water pipes were provided there since 1986 but the villagers suffered with no piped water supply in the past 26 years!

Scenes like this are commonplace in Sabah, where 42.9% of houses are made from wood, and the rural poverty rate is 32.8%. For comparison, rural Kelantan has a poverty rate of 5.8%. (Household Income and Basic Amenities Survey Report 2009)


Poisoned Wasteland in Ranau

Mamut Copper Mine was once an open-cast mine which generated RM3.4 billion export revenue. Closed in 1999, its 24 years of operation left deep ecological scars in its wake.

Today, acid mine drainage and silt from waste dumps have caused massive pollution to the nearby rivers. Villagers live in fear of a ‘rock flood’ from the waste rock slope dumpsite.

There have also been serious allegations of power abuse regarding the land use and alienation after the reversion of the land lease to the state government.

Former Glory Neglected

The Tip of Borneo, the northernmost tip of Sabah in Kudat boasts a breathtaking view of the South China Sea. The tourist attraction boasts of having “best sunset, best surf, best wind of Borneo”.

Today the destination is all but forgotten and under-developed after decades of neglect by federal and state governments under BN-rule. Recent MAS flight re-routing bypassing certain Sabah destinations could see Sabah lose RM72 million in tourism revenue.

It is a symptom of the untapped tourism industry in Sabah, which records annual revenue of RM3.5 billion. Sabah’s Tourism Minister revealed this in an interview with Borneo Post. In comparison, island state Penang gained RM10.8 billion in tourism revenue for 2010 (The Edge).

Sandakan Needs an International Airport

Once the premier city of Sabah, Sandakan was the former capital of British North Borneo for 62 years from 1884 to 1946 until World War II when the capital was transferred to Jesselton (later named Kota Kinabalu).

Today Sandakan is the second largest city in Sabah, but it has no international airport. On the other hand, Tawau and even Miri and Bintulu in Sarawak have international airports despite having smaller populations.

PR has promised to approve the construction of an international airport for Sandakan within 100 days of taking over Federal Government. -The Rocket

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