By : STEVE YAMAN
FOR DECADES, Sabah has been treated like a 'step child' by West Malaysia and the Barisan Nasional (BN) government. The national leaders of BN even said that Sabah is a 'Fixed Deposit' and treated more like an auto teller machine 'ATM' by many BN leaders both by the state and national government.
This is proven by the fact that the “Land below the Wind” used to be among the richest states in Malaysia in the 60’s and 70’s is now reduced to be among the poorest states today as stated by the World Bank.
What are the excuses of the Sabah government and the Malaysian government for Sabah to be among the poorest state and for the Malaysian Ringgit RM1 to be worth only Brunei or Singapore 40 cents today?
Prime Minister Najib recently described the intrusion by Sulu terrorists in Lahad Datu as a 'wake-up' call for the BN government and the need to be better prepared to face external threats. He stressed that the government would not take security for granted and that only now “preventive measure is better than cure”. The indecision in the “stand off” took too long and the sacrifices of eight policemen were unnecessary before stern actions were carried out in full force.
The gang leader, Azzimudie Kiram and Commander Musa former MNLF commander could still make the slip and flee from our security forces despite being surrounded by the battalions of Malaysian army, the police force, naval force, air force, maritime force, artilleries, armored tanks, helicopters and you name it from the Malaysian security forces.
Are they being protected by the 'amulets or azimat' they wear or Mykads or some other lame excuses? The photos and videos we see in the mass media are that it will be insane to be in the “war zone zero” or impossible to escape or get out of it!
May be it will only be right for the government to call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) for the intrusion as suggested by Dr Mahathir and Hishamuddin. But would the RCI be another meaningless political and public relations exercise similar to the previous RCIs on the Police Reform, the VK Lingam video clip and the Teoh Beng Hock case?
The RCI on illegal immigrants is now extended for another six months making it less effective from its initial objective to look into the issue of thousands illegal being used as voters and being listed on the electoral rolls that influenced the Sabah political destiny. The court case that nullified the 1999 election results of Datuk Yong Teck Lee in the state constituency of Likas, due to the presence of thousands of illegal immigrants on the electoral rolls who had voted is a perfect example.
The issues stated by the former Lahad Datu Police Chief, Kamis Daming, that Kuala Lumpur and the federal leaders had never entertained any suggestions and requests for upgrading security in the district. This is a blatant example of Sabah being treated like a “step child” of Malaysia by the federal BN government.
For Mahathir to recently appear in Lahad Datu in the mass media is a “perfect PR exercise”. Who was responsible for “project IC”?
Mahathir blamed the officers for “abuse of power”. Who authorized the officers to conduct their work? Why has Dr Mahathir not been called to the RCI hearings to say his part of the story under oath because he was the chief executive of Malaysia at that time?
Is it acceptable for the chief executive to accuse his officers of abuse and for him to pretend not to know the situation where thousands of immigrants had obtained identity cards and were immediately eligible to vote?
The issues mention by the former Lahad Datu police chief included security beef-up, scarcity of good condition equipment and vehicles (four wheel drives), petrol boats, fuel supply, police personnel, of good condition and sufficient living quarters or barracks within the police compound, funds for maintenance and repairs, et cetera.
It is not good enough for the headquarters, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the federal government to reply that no allocations were available yet.
For the federal government to ignore the requirements of the police and security forces is totally unacceptable. These are the people who ensure that the citizen live in peace, security and harmony. If they are not treated well, how can they be expected to ensure and take care of the peace and security of the citizens? It is unacceptable not to provide our police or security personnel their basic requirements and amenities for them to function effectively.
The former Lahad Datu police chief is only right to voice these basic issues out for Sabahans to take note when deciding on our future “managers”.
We will sack “non-performing managers” in private companies. Similarly, we will remove our governmental managers who have not performed and who are only interested in developing ATM projects for themselves. These are proven by the slack of security in the recent intrusion, the lack of good roads, water supply, electricity supply, agricultural development, and the list is very long.
KKMP Dr Hiew King Cheu recent article regarding the 9th Malaysia Plan (9MP) projects is a very good example. Only RM6.8 billion for Sabah involving 12,568 projects or 46.3% out of 27,120 projects or RM19.9 billion under the 9MP was completed. What happened to 14,552 projects or 53.7% of the projects under the 9MP?
This is evident of the poor performance of the BN government managers in executing the projects and in ensuring that Sabahans maximize the benefits of the Malaysian Plans. For many years now, Sabah has lagged behind in implementation of the Malaysian Plan projects.
What will happen to the RM20.3 billion 10th Malaysia Plan allocations? It is ridiculous for the Sabah and federal government managers not to fully utilize the allocation. We are, therefore, backward because of our “non-performing managers”.
In the Lahad Datu intrusion, the wake-up call is imminent and we have only the federal government to blame for the slack of the security of the whole area. The issue of the illegal immigrants that have mushroomed into overwhelming the local population over the years is another failure of the government.
As observed from the RCI on illegal immigrant hearings, identity cards or Mykads had been given to illegal immigrants without the proper procedures and requirements under the Malaysian law. It is very clear that it will take more than 10 years for an immigrant to become a citizen. Mahathir and Najib must not deny this fact and the basic rule must follow.
It is now time to consider very carefully the people who would deserve the votes. For Sabah and Sarawak, we have given BN total rule and power for the last five decades. Perhaps it is now time for change as a ‘test mandate’ and to see if the success of Penang and Selangor as proven by the Auditor General’s report was not a “fluke” and could be extended to Sabah and Sarawak.
It is now time to turn around the non-performance situation and work towards prosperity, development, security, peace and harmony. There is no excuse for “no budget” because a lot of budget was allocated for Sabah but only 43.6% was utilized in the 9th Malaysia Plan.