CELEBRATING..... STAR Chinese leaders celebrating on stage with Jeffrey at the Dinner.
KOTA KINABALU: The people of Sabah, especially the Chinese shouldn’t be unduly enticed by the sweets being handed out by the Barisan Nasional, said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan.
The Sabah STAR Chairman, made this call in his speech at the Chinese New Year grand dinner at Buhavan Square, Donggongon near here on February 22. He said that the BN government had failed to significantly improve the economy, leaving many poor people continuing to suffer in the villages.
“The Chinese people too have a lot of complaints due to problems affecting their businesses,” he said. “So the government has to do a lot of sweet talks and giving false information about the economy doing well or having improved just to try to give false confidence to the business community.
“But I believe the Chinese community cannot be easily hoodwinked because they are the ones moving the businesses and they know what problems are going on. They have all these years been asking the government to abolish the cabotage policy, to look into the various problems facing the local manufacturers and oil palm mill operators, many of whom have closed down due to serious economic downturn. Kota Kinabalu alone is facing a huge parking problem and endless traffic congestion which are badly affecting businesses in the city.”
He said the people notice that at this time the government has been enthusiastic in giving handouts in the form of aid and grants for Chinese schools, Chinese associations and NGOs as well as religious bodies and temples.
“No doubt these are helpful, but the government is like giving fish for Chinese votes in the coming general elections,” he said.
“What we all need is the proverbial fishing facilities to catch our own fish. And these handouts do not contribute to the long term prospects of the Chinese community. What we sorely need are wholesome and real changes in policies of the government which will open more doors for economic advancement, not ad hoc and charitable handouts in the name of the Umno/BN govt.”
Meanwhile, the organizing chairman, Philip Among, in his welcoming speech, thanked the many sponsors who helped in many ways, including the gift of more than 100 hampers for the lucky draws. He said that as we celebrate the Chinese New Year in our customary harmonious, traditional and multi-racial society, we need to think about the future of Sabah and Sabahans. He invited all Sabahans particularly the people in Kepayan in particular and Penampang to participate in STAR Selamatkan Sabah Tanah Airku (Save Sabah My Homeland) series of campaigns.
“Penampang should be at the forefront of the fight for the restoration of Sabah's rights and autonomy,” he said.
Also present at the grand dinner was USNO’s president Datu Badaruddin Tun Mustapha as well as Abdullah Sani Hj. Salleh, USNO Deputy President and Datu Arifin Datu Abdul Salam, USNO Secretary General and other members of the USNO delegation. The senior STAR leaders present were the three Deputy Chairman Awang Ahmad Sah, Daniel John Jambun and Dr. Nicholas Guntobon; Guandee Kohoi, Secretary-General; Hasmin Azroy Abdullah, Wiramuda (Youth) Chief and Melanie Annol, the Wiranita (Women’s) Chief.